Religion: The Immaculate Heart Rebels

It was a conflict of principles deeply held between a majority of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Roman Catholic hierarchy. For nearly three years, the nuns had demanded freedom from the traditional rules of the cloister; the Vatican and the archdiocese of Los Angeles insisted on fealty to religious discipline. Last week the dispute ended with the largest exodus from Roman Catholic religious life in recent memory.

About 315 of the 380 nuns decided to follow their president, Sister Anita Caspary, in asking for dispensation from church vows. The request will be granted. Rather than disband, they...

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