World News

A bishop in Texas has accused a sick nun in a catheter of breaking her vow of chastity. Now she and her sisters are fighting back.

Reverend Mother Superior Teresa Agnes Gerlach and the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Arlington are suing Bishop Michael Olson and the Diocese of Fort Worth for $1 million.Courtesy of Matthew Bobo

  • A bishop in Texas has announced an ecclesiastical inquiry into whether a nun broke her vow of chastity.

  • The nun and her sisters sued the Bishop and Diocese of Fort Worth, alleging abuse of power.

  • The nuns’ lawyer told Insider that the bishop had ulterior motives and wanted to take over the monastery.

A group of nuns in Texas have sued a bishop and the Diocese of Fort Worth in a dispute over an allegation that one of the nuns – who is critically ill and uses a wheelchair and feeding tube – broke her vow of chastity with a priest.

The Discalced Carmelite nuns of Arlington have accused Bishop Michael Olson and the Diocese of Fort Worth of overzealous investigation into the alleged violation of the vow of chastity, confiscating the nuns’ phones and personal devices, ‘spying’ their texts and even showing up personally at their monastery to spend hours interviewing the nuns.

In Catholicism, a vow of chastity is a promise of celibacy made by nuns and priests. The diocese publicly announced its investigation into the violation of the vow of chastity in a May 16 statement appointing Reverend Mother Superior Teresa Agnes Gerlach.

The priest, who is accused of having sex with the woman, has not been named.

The nuns’ attorney, Matthew Bobo, told Insider he believes Olson and the Diocese of Fort Worth had ulterior motives in bringing such an allegation against Gerlach.

“They span 72 acres in Arlington, Texas on the Trinity River in the middle of the metroplex,” Bobo said, adding that’s what he thinks the bishop has in mind. “It’s worth about $20 million. That’s what he’s trying to do.”

Bobo added that the vow of chastity accusation is “insulting” and said the nun in question has probably only dated four or five men in the past 25 years.

“They have no evidence that this happened. They have no evidence that she admitted to this. It just didn’t happen,” Bobo told Insider, adding that Olson “uses simply this as an excuse to abuse his power.”

In response to Insider’s request for comment, a representative from the diocese told Insider that Gerlach “admitted to violating the Sixth Commandment,” which prohibits adultery. The rep declined to comment further.

Bobo denied to Insider that Gerlach made such an admission. He said the diocese has not released any information regarding the alleged breach, such as when and where it occurred. Additionally, the nuns said in their court filing that Olson interviewed Gerlach immediately after returning from surgery, during which she was placed under general anesthesia, intubated and given fentanyl.

Nuns alleged ‘unlawful, ungodly, unwarranted, explicit and systemic assault’ by Bishop Michael Olson

Gerlach said in an affidavit that she was critically ill and required a central line, feeding tube and intravenous drip for 10 hours a day. Yet despite her condition, she said Bishop Olson “imposed himself on our peaceful community” at the end of April, questioned her and other nuns for several hours and “had a temper tantrum” in which he had shouted that the monastery was closed and that there was no mass. would stand.

“Although she was in a lot of pain, under the influence of medication and felt very weak, she felt compelled to acquiesce and was subjected to further questioning,” the nuns’ court filing said. “The bishop knew that she had just returned from the hospital and had undergone surgery.”

In their lawsuit, the nuns said that due to the actions of Olson and the diocese, the monastery was no longer able to pay the bills or operate financially because their technology had been confiscated.

Bobo told Insider that the nuns’ devices have since been returned to them — but not before Olson and the diocese obtained a forensic copy of everything on the devices. He said that not only does Olson now have access to the nuns’ personal, private and financial information, but that he has all the personal information about the people who contribute financially to the monastery.

The nuns alleged in their lawsuit that Olson and the diocese “abuse their power, inflict moral abuse and psychological distress” on the sisters, and “undertake unlawful, ungodly, unwarranted, explicit and systemic aggression.”

Gerlach’s affidavit indicates that the Discalced Carmelite nuns spend their days attending Mass every morning, meeting seven times a day to sing the official church prayer, focusing on contemplative prayer, cooking, cleaning and work on the grounds of the monastery.

The nuns’ trial argued that Olson and the Diocese of Fort Worth had grossly exceeded their authority.

“We are not and have never been under the control of the local diocesan bishop: we answer directly to the pope,” Gerlach’s affidavit states.

Read the original Insider article


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button