The recent appointment of an American archbishop to the Vatican office overseeing a wide-ranging investigation of U.S. nuns has the sisters and their supporters breathing a little easier.
Archbishop Joseph Tobin has already acknowledged the “anger and hurt” among U.S. nuns caused by the probe in his new role as the secretary, or No. 2 official, of the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
Tobin, who grew up in Detroit, has said he will work to heal any rifts between American sisters and the Catholic hierarchy in Rome. He also hopes to lift a shroud of secrecy surrounding the probe.
“We’re very excited by his appointment,” said Sr. Mary Ann Flannery, director of the Jesuit Retreat House in Parma, Ohio. “He’s coming from an American culture that believes you have a right to defend yourself, a right to have your voice heard.”
The investigation, officially known as an “apostolic visitation,” is meant to “look into the quality of life” in sisters’ religious communities, according to the Vatican.