Religion: No Mercy for the Sisters

Fired from teaching jobs, New Hampshire nuns sue the bishop

For Roman Catholics in the placid seaside town of Hampton, N.H., this September is not a season for returning to business as usual. Sacred Heart School, normally filled to its 233-student capacity at this time, has been hit with a boycott by angry parents; enrollment is down 44%. Sacred Heart's troubles result from an extraordinary dispute between four local nuns and their diocesan bishop. The clash has important implications for nuns' rights elsewhere in the U.S., as well as for the tradition of U.S. churches' immunity from government review.

The turmoil at Sacred...

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