Will an Italian convent be closed for opposition to COVID-19 vaccines? | National Catholic Registry

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According to Mother Caterina, there is no other explanation for the closure than the refusal of the five remaining sisters to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

PERUGIA, Italy — The head of a cloistered Benedictine convent in Perugia, central Italy, said his community would be closed because nuns opposed the COVID-19 vaccine.

Speculation about the closure of the Monastery of Santa Caterina has swirled since news emerged that the Vatican had carried out an apostolic visitation or inspection. But the local archdiocese told CNA it knew nothing about the possible closure of the convent.

In an interview with the site Nuova Bussola Dailythe abbess said the only reason given to her for the closure was that the five resident nuns did not want to be vaccinated.

“Shortly after mid-February there was the apostolic visitation immediately after the report was sent,” Mother Caterina said. “Now we await the response of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.”

She said she learned of the visit from Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, Archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve, but only when she went to his house to have a document signed. The cardinal said he did not know the reasons for the visit and was simply informed that it was taking place.

The apostolic visitor was Mother Cristina Ianni of the Poor Clares of Orvieto.

The Monastery of Santa Caterina is a historic building. It was the seat of the Poor Clares from the 13th century and was initially dedicated to Saint Giuliana (Juliana of Nicomedia). In 1649, with the transfer of the Benedictine nuns of Santa Caterina Vecchia, it took its present name.

After the unification of Italy in the 19th century, part of the monastery was remodeled. First of all, it served as a match factory. It now houses the offices of the Superintendence of Architectural Heritage.

According to Mother Caterina, there is no other explanation for the closure than the refusal of the five remaining sisters to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

She said that in her opinion the possible closure was not due to the small number of nuns, although Pope Francis’ 2016 apostolic constitution Vultum Dei quaerere encourages small monasteries to close or federate.

In a press release, the Archdiocese of Perugia-Città della Pieve noted that the visitations are initiated by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. From then on, nothing could be known with certainty “about the imminent closure of the monastery, even less about the fact that the reason for a possible closure is due to the non-vaccination of the nuns who are present there against COVID-19”. .

The archdiocese stressed that Cardinal Bassetti “never intervened on the internal problems of the monastery and not even on questions relating to the vaccination of nuns.”

The archdiocese has denied “journalistic insinuations” that the nuns were transferred because they refused to be vaccinated.

The March 24 statement also pointed out that the cardinal had not yet received any report regarding the state of the monastery from a spiritual, liturgical and economic point of view.

The Archdiocese said the monastery is “the property of the Benedictine Order which has the exclusive right to its eventual destination or alienation following the closure of the monastery. Therefore, any involvement of the Archdiocese in this respect is void of any foundation.

The statement also underlined “how precious the monastic presence is for the life of the Church and how it has always tried to accompany it with paternity and respect and to value it in all its charismatic richness.”

“Therefore, he can only live this moment with pain, which instead of building ecclesial unity and communion, hurts him with news and insinuations that do not correspond to the reality of the facts,” he said. he concluded.

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