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Letter from Archbishop Vincent Fagiolo of the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes to Nugent and Gramick regarding the commission

Rome, July 23, 1988

Dear Sister,

Your letter of June 8, 1988 has arrived here July 1st. As you well know your ministry to homosexual persons has been the occasion of much controversy and concern. This concern does not arise from the fact of the ministry but rather over questions of the content of your talks and writings about homosexuality and your adherence to the moral principles taught by the magisterium in the matter of sexual ethics. We have received a number of inquiries both from the United States and even from Europe about the substance of your message.

In order to come to some resolution of this situation, both for your own sakes, as at least Sister Jeannine has requested, and in order to be able to reply to the concerns that have been addressed to us, w have, with the assistance of the Pro-Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Laghi, established a commission to "render a judgment as to the clarity and orthodoxy of the public presentation of the two religious with respect to the Church’s teaching on homosexuality." These public presentations include both your talks and your writings. Thus the competence of the commission will be to judge by examining your position on homosexuality in the light of sound Church teaching on the subject.

The members of the commission will certainly present their conclusions to you and your institutes as well as to us. What further steps might be taken will depend on their decisions.

The members of this commission were chosen for their competence and for their balance. They are fair and knowledgeable persons who will conduct a just process.

In addition to your provincials you are welcome, each of you to bring with you a moral theologian or canonist of your choice. I think that even by American standards the process will be most fair and equitable. As you know Bishop Maida is a civil lawyer well versed in American process.

One member of the commission, Sister Sharon Holland, will most likely, not be able to continue as a member due to her imminent arrival here to work as a member of this Congregation. We would be disposed to your Superiors General submitting a list of names of persons who could possibly replace her. the choice of a person would then be made by this Congregation.

On the matter of a timeline we understand the concerns and difficulties with two new Provincials taking office. We have no objection to a reasonable delay, nor would the members of the commission, I am sure.

We also are in accord about a desire to have no publicity about this matter at this time. We would want this process to be carried out in a fair, just, and peaceful atmosphere. We too would expect that a public statement would be made at the completion of the commission’s task with the knowledge and consultation of all parties.

I wish to conclude by stating that I am convinced that all of us seek that this process be carried out in a way that will resolve this situation that has continued for such a long time. We all look to the good of the Church that the People of God may be nourished with sound teaching, treated with Christ’s compassion and understanding, and be served with single-hearted zeal tempered with gentleness and love.

May Mary, the Mother of the Church, guide and protect us and may the Holy Spirit grant us wisdom and understanding. Asking God to bless you, I remain

Sincerely in Christ,

P. Fagiolo

C.C. Sr. Patricia Flynn, SSND

Rev. Malachy McBride, SDS

Most Rev. Pio Laghi

Most Rev. Adam Maida