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Pope backs crackdown on nuns for social justice work

The Vatican says Pope Francis supports the Holy See's crackdown on the largest umbrella group of U.S. nuns, who were faulted for focusing too much on social justice instead of issues such as opposing abortion rights.

American sisters had expressed hope that Francis, a Jesuit whose emphasis on the poor mirrored their social outreach, would take a different approach than his predecessor.

The Vatican last year imposed a reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious after determining the sisters took positions undermining Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality while promoting "radical feminist themes."

The heads of the conference met on April 15 with the Vatican's doctrine czar, Archbishop Gerhard Mueller.

Mueller's office said he told the sisters that in discussions with Francis, the pope reaffirmed the Vatican's findings and reform program.

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