There are many nuns who hold fast to the church out of genuine devotion. But there are others who stay out of fear — fear that they will grow old alone, fear of penury and homelessness, fear of losing purpose.
Thankfully, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York has offered us one possible remedy for this problem. As Laurie Goodstein documented in The Times recently, when he was archbishop of Milwaukee Dolan authorized payments of up to $20,000 to predator priests if they agreed to leave the clergy without resisting. He described this as “an act of charity.” Bill Donohue calls it “a severance package.”
I suggest that any long-serving nun who has come to find church teachings incompatible with her conscience should be offered a generous severance. We could call these acts of charity “Dolan Grants.” Surely a church that offers a lifeline to men who brought disgrace on the institution can offer a living stipend to women who brought it honor at great sacrifice.