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Arlington nuns reject new Vatican decree

Arlington nuns reject new Vatican decree
Arlington nuns reject new Vatican decree 00:49

NORTH TEXAS – The Arlington nuns who sued the Bishop of Fort Worth last year have fiercely rejected a new decree from Vatican City that they be governed by an association of monasteries, calling the decision a hostile takeover.

"We are not things to be traded or given away in backroom deals," the nuns wrote in a four-page response to the decree posted to their website Saturday afternoon.

The statement reaffirms their position they do not recognize the authority of Bishop Michael Olson, who they have been in a dispute with since April of last year.

It also says no one from the Association of Christ the King, the organization the Vatican says now governs the monastery, is permitted on the grounds of the monastery in Arlington.

The nuns dispute with Olson became public when they sued him in a Tarrant County court last year after he began an investigation into Mother Teresa Agnes Gerlach, removing her from position at the independent monastery amid allegations she had broken a vow of chastity.

When a judge declined to get involved in the matter, the nuns put their legal challenge on hold while pursuing an appeal to a church legal process. They noted in their statement though that they could resume that suit, depending on the outcome of the church proceedings.

The nuns wrote that they welcome the fact that Rome no longer recognizes Olson as being in charge, although they said they were not involved in any discussions about new governance and unaware of the plans until the Fort Worth Diocese delivered a decree and letter Thursday. 

The Carmelite nuns appeared to have removed a online statement from August about Olson. That was one of the directives delivered this week in a letter from a Vatican Secretary. However, the new statement reaffirmed their position, including a 2022 quote from a video message from the Pope.

"We take Pope Francis at his word when he invited Consecrated Women "to fight when, in some cases, they are treated unfairly, even within the Church…at times, by men of the Church."

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