Vatican plans to investigate US Catholic nuns to ensure they are promoting Church teachings on homosexuality and the all-male priesthood.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) said it was informed of the "doctrinal assessment" in a letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican watchdog.
The Vatican launches the probe saying the sisters have not addressed matters of concern -- homosexuality, salvation and the priesthood, which the Vatican says is reserved for men.
Vatican officials have asked the American sisters to "report on the initiatives taken or planned" to promote the church's teachings on the exclusively male character of the priesthood, the primacy of the Catholic Church over other Christian denominations, and the "problem of homosexuality."
The doctrinal investigation comes three months after another Vatican-ordered study of "the quality of life" in 400 women's religious congregations in the US. That study was prompted by the dramatic decline in the number of American women entering religious orders over the past several decades.
Between 1945 and 2000, the number of religious sisters in the US dropped 54 percent, from 122,159 to 79,876, according to Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. That number has continued to drop since 2000.
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