Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Nuns withdraw application for injunction against bishop

The Carmelite nuns of Arlington have withdrawn their application for a temporary restraining order against their bishop and their superior appointed by the Vatican. 

In an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper (Tuesday), their lawyer Matthew Bobo said that there was no need for the hearing originally scheduled for Tuesday in the district court of Tarrant County (US state of Texas). 

He did not give any reasons for the sisters' partial withdrawal. 

The Carmelite nuns wanted to enforce in courtthat neither the locally responsible diocesan bishop of Fort Worth, Michael Olson, nor the the new superior appointed by the Vatican dicastery for religious orders Mother Marie of the Incarnation, was not allowed to enter the convent. 

The dicastery had transferred the leadership of the convent from Bishop Olson to Mother Marie, who heads the Carmelite Association, to which the Arlington Carmel belongs. 

The sisters rejected this immediately.

The diocese had requested that the sisters' lawsuit be dismissed. A lawyer for the diocese told the newspaper that a hearing had been scheduled for 23 May: "We are asking the court to dismiss the case because the court does not have jurisdiction to decide an ecclesiastical matter." 

The sisters had argued in their motion that the convent was organised as a non-profit corporation under Texas state law. 

This corporation is managed by the prioress and two other sisters. 

Since neither the diocese nor the Carmelite Association is part of the board under state corporate law, the order of the religious dicastery was not permissible.

Canonical appeals against Vatican decree in prospect

The nuns' lawyer announced that the convent's canon lawyer would decide with the nuns on an appeal against the Vatican decree. 

The Apostolic Signature, the highest ecclesiastical court, is responsible for appeals against administrative acts of dicasteries. 

They must be submitted within 60 days. 

The decree of the dicastery for religious orders is dated 18 April.

The dispute over the convent and its superior has been smouldering for months. 

The superior is said to have admitted a breach of her vow of chastity, whereupon the bishop had the Carmel searched to secure evidence. 

The dispute came to light in mid-May last year after the sisters the sisters turned to the public to discuss a lawsuit to inform the public about a lawsuit against the search and seizure in their convent. 

In July the state court seized dismissed the complaintthe police launched an investigation based on a a complaint from the diocese about alleged drug abuse in the monastery. in the convent. 

Olson maintained the allegations against the superior despite the nuns' protests continued to maintain

The Discalced Carmelites are a religious order under papal law and are therefore not subject to the diocesan bishop. 

In June, the Vatican appointed Olson as Papal Delegate

At the request of the monastic association to which Carmel belongs, the "Christ the King" Association, the dicastery for religious orders transferred the leadership from the bishop to the president of the association and her council.