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 gathering in Philadelphia is just one of dozens of protests nationwide.

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,” Philadelphia Organizer Maureen Tate says.

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

Bill Quinn attended the vigil and believes the church wants to have 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 bishops wearing their fancy outfits.”

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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