The Vatican has started “two sweeping investigations of American nuns,” said Laurie Goodstein in The New York Times, and many sisters are bracing for a “doctrinal inquisition.” The church usually only launches such “apostolic visitations” when a church community has “gone seriously astray,” but this seems more like a move to “reel in American nuns” who have moved from the convent and Catholic institutions to academia, social work, and activism.

A nun “inquisition”? said Rod Dreher in BeliefNet. It’s about time. The Vatican has turned a blind eye to “heterodox nuns” for decades, letting them preach about moving to a “Post-Christian” spirituality and the like, without “so much as a peep from Rome.” If that’s what these nuns think Catholicism is, it’s no wonder the only growing Catholic women’s religious orders are those practicing “fidelity and orthodoxy.”

What growth? said Tim Carmody in Snarkmarket. There are only about 60,000 nuns left in the U.S., down from 180,000 in 1965. So now “the Vatican wants to start an inquisition into what’s left of the orders, ’cause some o’ them ladies just maybe ain’t been doin’ what they’re told”? Thanks a lot, Pope Benedict.