Friday, October 12, 2007

Eviction looms as end to defiant Polish nuns' holdout

Police in Kazimierz Dolny, Poland, plan to carry out the eviction of a group of nuns on Wednesday morning, October 11, in what looms as the final confrontation in a long series of battles.

More than 100 police officers have been given the task of removing 9 former members of the Sisters of the Bethany Family, who have illegally occupied the convent for months.

The eviction-- which was ordered by a Polish court after the nuns refused a May order to vacate the premises-- is the latest development in a running battle that began when the Vatican ordered the removal of a mother superior. The ousted superior refused to accept that order, and took up residence in a convent in Kazimierz along with some members of the congregation. Since that time the women have continued to occupy the convent despite a series of judgments against them in both ecclesiastical and civil courts.

In February of this year, the Congregation for Religious issued a decree saying that the women were no longer members of the religious order. A year earlier, Archbishop Jozef Zycinski of Lublin-- in whose jurisdiction the convent is located-- had forbidden the administration of the sacraments in the disputed convent. While the former sisters have been offered temporary lodging at three local retreat houses, most are expected to return to their families.