Following up on Sr. Sandra Schneiders’ open hostility toward the upcoming Apostolic Visitation , Lifesite News gets a reaction from Sr. Eva Marie Ackerman, FSMG , U.S. spokesman, for the visit:

Sr. Eva Maria Ackerman, told that the Visitation is intended only as a means of bolstering the works and life of American religious sisters. She rejected the accusation that the Visitation is an attack on a certain kind of religious order.

Sr. Ackerman told LSN that there was nothing to say in response to Sr. Schneiders’ email, because for purposes of their work, her opinion is “irrelevant.” The Visitation, said Sr. Ackerman, is an attempt by the Church to gauge the “vitality of religious life in the U.S. Church.” Four hundred communities, she said, are involved in the various phases and many superiors of religious communities are already preparing to work closely with the visitators.

“The Church esteems the religious life,” she said. “Religious in this country continue even with fewer sisters and older members to serve the Church in a variety of ways.” The purpose of the Visitation then, she said, is to see where the strengths lie and to help bolster them and prepare for the future.

Sr. Schneiders’ opinion to the contrary, Sr. Ackerman has some basis for proclaiming the Church’s “esteem” for the religious life. For some time now, I have been making the argument that throughout history the Catholic Church has permitted women to proclaim themselves, set themselves apart and run with their inspirations .

The Church’s “oppression of women” is one of those convenient narratives that—when thoroughly examined—does not really hold water. The Church simply has had the temerity to assume that when God “made them men and women” He intended for them to have different roles and purposes. Silly Church.