Spanish nuns excommunicated after sect claim, property row

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The Vatican has excommunicated 10 nuns from northern Spain after a months-long standoff over a property dispute and amid claims they belonged to a sect, it emerged Saturday.

“It was the sisters themselves who expressed their free and personal decision to abandon the Catholic Church,” said a statement from the Archbishop of Burgos’s office.

It issued the statement after the nuns failed to turn up for a meeting to discuss their position before a church tribunal.

The nuns excommunicated were among 16 Poor Clare sisters living in a 15th-century convent in the small northern town of Belorado near Burgos. The other six — the eldest in the group — have been spared excommunication as they are considered vulnerable.

On Friday, they had confirmed their “irreversible” desire to leave the Church following a dispute during which the Vatican blocked their attempt to buy another convent.

The stand-off began when the sisters accused the Vatican of “doctrinal chaos” and “contradictions” in positions on faith matters in a May 13 letter published on social media.

It was signed by the order’s Mother Superior, Sister Isabel de la Trinidad, who said they were being “persecuted” for trying to purchase another convent in the northern Basque region.

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