Befuddled by Women

After a nine-year effort, U.S. Catholic bishops reject a controversial decree

MAJOR POLICY STATEMENTS PREPARED BY U.S. Catholic bishops are always worked out in a fashion that wins the final texts lopsided support. That pattern ended with a troublesome letter on women's issues that took nine years to produce. Meeting in Washington, the bishops gave the conservative final version a paltry 55.5% support, far short of the two-thirds needed for approval. The text will now be issued as a mere committee document.

Chicago's Cardinal Bernardin got through a separate motion making the paper the basis for "further study and dialogue," most notably on the church's opposition to women priests, which was endorsed...

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