Wish I had broken this story, but I have to tip the hat to the National Catholic Reporter, which got ahold of a letter from the Vatican asking the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to come up with $1.1 million for its ongoing investigation of American nuns. Their piece ran yesterday. The Vatican’s investigation has not gotten the greatest press this year, so the idea that Rome is making the Americans pay for the pleasure of being investigated has raised obvious hackles.
The Vatican announced the study in December. The letter NCR got ahold of was written in July by Slovenian Cardinal Franc Rodé, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. However, the article notes, the nun who is heading up the investigation told Catholic News Service last summer that the U.S. bishops would not be footing the bill. Something must have changed here.
I did a related piece on the topic this past spring. Rocco Palmo also had some commentary on the matter today. I’m guessing the USCCB doesn’t have that kind of money lying around and will fight behind closed doors any efforts to make them pay this bill.
— Julia Duin, religion editor