By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Dozens of Catholics gathered in Sister Cities Park for a vigil to protest the Vatican’s crackdown on the women religious. The vigil is just one of dozens of protests nationwide.

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Last month, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith directed the Leadership Conference of Women Religious to reform its rules and programming to better conform to the doctrines of the Church, appointing Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain to oversee the group. So, the Nun Justice Project decided to speak out.

“We feel that the bishops are out of touch with the gospel values that the sisters live every day of their lives with ministries in our communities staffing schools, hospitals, working with immigrants, the mentally ill, the homeless the poor,” says Philadelphia organizer Maureen Tate.

(Credit: Cherri Gregg/KYW Newsradio)

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Some say the Women Religious group does not adequately promote the church’s positions on a number of issues including abortion, women’s ordination and homosexuality.

“They want to have the power to control people. And that’s always been the attitude of the Vatican–you do it my way or no way. Today, people aren’t listening to that. The people in the pew are the Church. Not the Pope in Rome, or the people wearing their fancy outfits,” says Bill Quinn, who attended the vigil.

The Women Religious represents 80 percent of the 57,000 religious sisters nationwide. For more information on the protests, go to

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