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I've heard it said that the style of outfits worn by Christian nuns reflects what would be typical for a mourning widow to wear at the time the order was created. Is there substance to this? --Elijah 20:10, 2004 Dec 10 (UTC) hello every1

First off let me explain that I am Greek Orthodox with a fairly extensive knowledge in this area, however, that does not apply to Roman Catholic monastics. Hopefully a member of the Catholic Church will answer this more fully.
Orthodox Monastics do not have orders. They trace the beginnings of monasticism and monastic garb back to the 1st century in the Egyptian desert. From an Orthodox point of view, the reason monks and nuns wear black is because they are dead to the world. The modern Orthodox monastic garb is not much different that monastic garb of the 1st century. The robe is often wool, qualifying it as a "hair" shirt. The Schema that is worn by advanced monastics represents the chains that ascetics would wear to chastise the flesh. Phiddipus 23:18, 10 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Elijah, basically yes, that is how religous habits got going in the Western Church. DaveTroy 9 Dec 2005

Some types of Catholic nuns wear habits and others just wear normal civilian attire. I'm not sure what the distinctions are; can anyone explain?

Each community sets its own rules. Some kept a full habit, some a modified habit, some no habit.DaveTroy 21:04, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

The community I belong to, as a religous sister, was founded by Elizabeth Seton, who continued to wear "widows weeds" as she moved into becoming a founder of a religious community. Vatican II mandated religious communities to go back to their original roots, their original mission, and distinguish between accretions and essentials. In going back, one of the things we noticed was that founders of religious communities wore the dress of the day. The dress became a cherished point of identification among congregations but with the mandate of Vatican II and a dollup of common sense and a stronger mission focus, appearance became less important than being who we say we are and doing what we say we're about. As D Troy indicates, each congregation's rule, determined in chapter sessions of the members, determines how the individual religious institute handles identification.

However for the most part, and I can think of very few exceptions, nuns as opposed to sisters, still wear the habit. The latest trend these days is that congregations that still wear a habit get the lions share of new vocations. The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia for one had 17 postulants this year. And loking through forums etc. Most of the young people discerning say they have no intention of joining a congregation that goes habitless so to speak. Williamb 22:26, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
Can I just add to this the photo of the Congolese Catholic nun - her attire is not mourning dress - at the same time it is not normal everydaywear in the Congo. This 'habit' or 'outfit' is brighter and more gregarious than the norm - it marks her out as different; if someone saw her, they would know straigh away that she was a nun. So - not a regular habit - but also not normal everyday clothes either.Francis Hannaway 07:57, 26 March 2011 (UTC)


How and can I reference this page? I need to cite the page on nun's and any other wikipedia pages if this is possible.

Here are instructions for Citing_Wikipedia.

Canonical Reference[edit]

I changed the paragraph about submitting the consitutions to Rome for approval to reflect and site the current law, as laid out by JP2 in Pastor BonusDaveTroy 21:06, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Sisters' colleges[edit]

I wanted to add a link to the article about Assumption College for Sisters, which is the last "nun college" in the United States, but...I had no idea where to put it. Are there enough sisters' colleges left outside of the U.S. that we could make a list of some sort? It seems like it would be a good thing to include, but at the same time, just listing one is pretty pointless and doesn't show importance. Beginning 22:13, 2 May 2006 (UTC) Have added link--Simon Speed 19:18, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Controversy[edit]

As a Catholic and as a Religous I find the link to the so called "sisters" of Perpetual Indulgence offensive. Am I alone in thinking this? DaveTroy

I do too. Williamb 21:41, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

24hrs, link to S of Perp Indulgence is removed. It has nothing to do with the ariticle at hand. DaveTroy 14:34, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

What is the logic to the link of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence? They have NOTHING to do with nuns or what they stand for? If anything, they are the opposite. The so called sisters do nothing but indulge themselves -- the opposite of what nuns do. Further, it is offensive to consider them in the same breath as the women religous. DaveTroy

  • Besides they are not in the least bit cloistered, nor do they take a vow of chastity. Williamb 17:50, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Link restored:- I have restored the link to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. It has been there in the past and has been removed because the organisation is disliked by the religious right and its members do not conform to a church definition of "nun". However, the SPI do consider themselves nuns, wear habits and engage in charity work. They actively promote a moral position (a liberal one) both in words and by example. Denying mention of this small, but colourful order (which recieves a lot of press coverage) is censorship. Articles are required to have a neutral point of view where alternative viewpoints are reflected but not promoted (and that is supposed to go for the right as much as the left). I have also put in a link to the Magdalene Laundries reflecting serious controversy which ought to be reported elsewhere in the article.--Simon Speed 19:18, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

I would argue for a twofold 'test': do they consider themselves to be nuns? Are they seen as nuns by society and/or relevant experts? I think the answer to the first 'test' is a clear yes and the second one a clear no. Any suggestions or comments?

GuyIncognito 12:01, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Would you have both criteria needed to be met for a group to be nuns, or just one of the two? And why? Who exactly are the relevant experts and where have they ruled the SPI non-nuns? --Simon Speed 18:02, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Here, Guy, you see the problem. Simon wants this stuff here and will hear no arguments to the contrary.
Is there a way to propose part of an article for deletion, the way you can propose the whole thing? Goldfritha 18:17, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

The 'test' I developed was just something that I came up with. I see the first part as necessary so that we limit our investigation to those that actually claim to be nuns. The second part I see as necessary because it seems sensible to require something more than 'self-identification' in order to label someone as being something (in relation to a profession or 'calling'). I thought to myself why some people are identified as physicians, why some are called police officers and why some are called school teachers and I came to the conclusion that an individual must do more than merely identify themselves as being one, but that society, either through a broad social consensus or some instrument of government, 'ratifies' that identity in some way. I cannot offer any study that shows that society, or, say, religious scholars, don't identify the "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence" as being nuns. But I would argue that the onus is upon the claimant to prove that such groups do identify the "SPI" as nuns.

I don't see why this is such an issue, but I am not in a position to judge the motives of others. The title 'nun' has, to my knowledge, only been applied to religious groups up to this point. The SPI may adhere to a particular philosophy and engage in some commendable works, but as far as I am aware they themselves don't claim to be 'religious' in any sense. I can see that if this dispute continues that some serious research into sociology and religion may be required as well as a formal dispute resolution of some kind. I don't think that it is important enough an issue to go to that kind of trouble.

GuyIncognito 07:53, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

I don't think it fair to put SPI into joke religion. First, they aren't trying to creat a religion. Second, their purpose is not religious.

As to SPI in this category, "nun" is a jurdic term as well as one in popular parlance. By the definitionof the word, SPI simply does not apply.DaveTroy 15:21, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Hi, new-ish to wikipeda but very familiar with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence They are nuns to those in their communities they serve even though they are not tied down to one church or set of beliefs. There are quite a few FEMALE Sisters as well as it seems the gender issue has some completely bothered.

Perhaps this discussion could also enliven the concept that there are many who do consider the Sisters nuns but they simply aren't publishing encyclopedias? The Sisters are widely quoted in newpapers, books and magazines but as a much newer group (founded 1979) they are considered upstarts compared with traditional viewpoints of who and what a nun is - and i think that is the point. They challenged many concepts of gender and power and seem to have a few of those here absolutely obsessed with seeing them discredited and banished from even being thought about as nuns. Mission accomplished indeed.

My hunch is they absolutely shoul dbe a part of the article and maybe slightly discredited by calling them alternative nuns or simply drag nuns which is a term they use.

But if denial is your bag then by all means. Benjiboi 15:56, 31 December 2006 (UTC) benji

Sorry, but your comments have really caused me to enter the (old) debate here. They do not fall under the definition of a nun. Far from it. There's no controversy to be had here. "Slightly discredited" is an understatement. Do you think the Lostprophets should be put in the Prophet article and then "slightly discredited" as "drag prophets"?
Challenging definitions or no, they still are not nuns. I applaud their try at challenging the definitions, if any, but these definitions are not going to change for them. This is what has come to past and shall be.
And please don't label us as liking to deny. There's a lot more to life than trying to wrongly preempt. Ariedartin JECJY Talk 18:42, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

I think the point is who is to say who is a nun or a healer or a priestess. Every religion starts as a cult then evolves into something on the way to where they are now. The Sisters consider themselves to be nuns and that in itself is enough as they run their organization and set the rules just as other religions have structure, rules and titles are suits the needs.

Can't speak to the reference of prophets being lost or in drag although we were all born naked so we are all in drag per se. As for the denialist comment it may have seemed over the top but then again perhaps it was correctly on target. Knowledge is power!Benjiboi 12:05, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Who is to say? Well, here on Wikipedia, the consensus. Goldfritha 01:03, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Consensus is reached through dialog and not simple majority rules. And just because wikipedians deem what they think is a nun or anything else hardly makes it so. Benjiboi 06:41, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

The members of SPI are NOT nuns. They are a parody of nuns, as their very name suggests. Indulgence is the opposite of ascesis. Merely wearing a uniform and engaging in philanthropic activity does not make one a nun. Nuns by definition are female and celibate. "nun n. a woman who belongs to a religious order devoted to religious service or meditation, usually under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, as in the Roman, Anglican, and Orthodox Churches." (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 1973.) I don't believe SPI meets any of these criteria. MishaPan 22:29, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
The Sisters consider themselves as nuns and operate as such in their respective communities. Limiting the definition to female wouldn't matter as they have female members as well. As for the other tests you're applying to them I'd be willing to bet there are other traditional nuns who don't pass those same tests either. In any case their removal from the article doesn't improve the article, it simply makes it more incomplete and POV. There are numerous ways to include them and eventually a reference to the changing nature of how nuns are seen in the mainstream will be found. Benjiboi 00:54, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

IT seems to me that whether the Sisters are real nuns or not is irrelevant. Many wikipedia articles cover several related uses of a term, some of which may be rare or used only in certain areas or by certain groups, but are still relevant. Even if the nuns are considered a parody/response group, this still should not warrant removal. Most parodies are mentioned in the article of the topic they parody. Personal beliefs aside, the Sisters are using the term 'nun' in a radical way which has sparked debate and resistance. The group has also received significant media coverage (both good and bad). We do not need to reach consensus as to whether the Sisters are nuns, only as to whether they are relevant to to the article about nuns. In my opinion, a noteworthy group using the term 'nun' in a new, non-traditional way (regardless of their intent or gender) is certainly worthy of inclusion in the the article about nuns.Siggins 09:47, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Did you see the dates on the above posts? This arguement was largely resolved and has been quiet almost all year. The SPI are noteworthy in their own own right and have their own article, but they bare no relation what so ever to the female religious monastics disccussed in the article - and that was by consensus. As for reviving the old arguements, I say "live and let die". This is a prime example of why long talk pages need to be archieved regularly. This was over and quiet for the better part of this year! -- SECisek 17:18, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

The issue was never "resolved". Those opposing even a link to the SPI page never produced any convincing argument or evidence to persuade the other side (who were a little skeptical of RC Church dogma). Unfortunately, they represented a sufficient majority of editors of this page to dominate the consensus. Particular pages attracting a particular POV is a problem for the Wikipedia. The dissenting editors shifted to other pages where they were able to make constructive contributions. --Simon Speed 20:12, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Agreed, there was no resolution or consensus but to be fair linking the SPI was also not the biggest problem with the nun article and as those larger issues are addressed the SPI will probably merit a mention or, laughably, a whole new article to ensure their disinclusion will be created to annex them away. Benjiboi 05:16, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

See also (More SPI Controversy)[edit]

This page is about nuns. The See also links should be only those that would illuminate the topic of the page. Goldfritha 00:42, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Very well I shall have to put together something longer that will illuminate the topic. The SPI are a small order of nuns, but they cast a completely new light on what nuns can be and what spirituality can be. There is a separate article on the SPI, but they need to be referred to in any discussion of modern nuns. I thought a simple link would be enough - evidently not. I am quite happy to have different sides of the controversy around this order aired but not to have it suppressed. --Simon Speed 01:36, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Why do you expect a longer section to be treated with any more indulgence than the link? Goldfritha 03:18, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

First of all thankyou for replying, I just wish you would address some of my arguments. Could we at least agree to cut and paste this section to Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Controversy where it will make more sense?

I do not expect or ask for indulgence from anyone. (Don't indulgences have a rather bad reputation?) I do expect that my editing and points of view are respected. I expect that other editors will ensure balance by insisting that alternative points of view are represented (but not think that a consevative Catholic view can justify itself as anywhere near an overwhelming orthodoxy) and that controversial views are not simply censored away. You state that the SPI page is simply irrelevant: it is hardly a motoring or maths page is it?

For any confused reader, we are discussing the deletion of the link to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on the nun page.--Simon Speed 21:39, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Inserting unrelated material -- about non-nuns, no less -- into an article deserves no respect. Goldfritha 00:12, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

The status of the SPI as nuns has been discussed on the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence page argued for by me here already. Once again you have not challenged the arguments, but simply asserted that the SPI are "non-nuns". I'm sure that according to the rules of the catholic church this is true, but the same goes for Buddhists and every other religion and philosophy that lie outside its walls. You believe they are non-nuns, they believe they are nuns and so do many others. Even if you are right, do you seriously believe they are "unrelated". It seems that you need this fiction of "irrelevant" or "unrelated" to justify censorship (removing rather than putting the opposing view).--Simon Speed 00:38, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Nonsense. Of course Buddhist nuns are nuns. But calling yourself a nun does not make you one, dressing up does not making you one, and doing charity work does not make you one. Read the lede if you have any doubts. (Religious sisters, as this article explains, do the second two without being nuns.) Goldfritha 23:52, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

If you must edit war please don't claim to be removing vandalism. Material is not vandalism simply because you disagree with it. Please read the relevant Wikipedia articles before proceding further eg. Wikipedia:Vandalism.

"Of course Buddhist nuns are nuns" - really? There is no "of course" about it. By the rules of the Catholic Church they are no more nuns than I am. They belong to a group in which they claim to be nuns, are accepted as nuns and fulfil the role of nuns. Neutral observers identify them as nuns because of these sociological facts, not because of any "of course".

You state that Religious sisters dress up and do charity work without being nuns, but this article covers lay sisters as wel as "nuns proper" as defined by the Catholic church. The distinction is explained in an earlier section: the sisters are not edited out. Perhaps you should add something to the SPI section suggest that they are in fact Religious sisters.

This article covers all those to whom the term "nun" applies. If you check the SPI website (follow the link from the Wikipedia page), you will see that they make no claim to dress as nuns but rather to be nuns. If you also read coverage in the Bay Area Reporter you will see that they are accepted in that role by a large cultural group of which they are members. --Simon Speed 01:09, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Of course the Buddhist nuns are nuns. Do you have any reference at all that Catholics do not consider them nuns?
That this group calls themselves nuns is not relevant. If they called themselves ducks, they would not be suitable for the Duck page. They are obviously not nuns by the lede on this article. Goldfritha 00:15, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

Modern Catholicism has turned rather tolerant on the subject of other religions. It wasn't always so. The nasty attitudes go all the way back to Origen who held that other religions worshiped demons. Do a search on "burning times" to get a glimpse of some of the worst of it. Even now with regard to Anglicans (the Protestants closest to Catholicism) you can get quotes like "Episcopal ordination does not produce a valid priest" [1]. (Not a good example but found quickly with one Google).

Argument from definition: the opening lines of the article define nun in such a way that the SIP should be excluded. The Catechism of the first lines has been recited, oh dear. My dictionary says that nuns are also pagan priestesses, who seem to missing here. We're dealing with social functions, which can and (as the SPI pages and Bay Area Reporter show) do develop with time.

And Ducks. Can the Pope ordain Ducks? Your argument relies on the impossibilty of anyone being a duck, so the person making the claim is silly and we're lead to feel that someone claiming to be a nun is silly. But if there were a group of people who actually managed to somehow take on the role of ducks, I do think they'd warrant a mention on the duck page, in fact rather a big one!--Simon Speed 01:57, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

Random comments about "burning times" only reinforce the problem that you do not, in fact, have any ground to assert that Catholics do not -- and have not -- regarded Buddhist nuns as nuns. Goldfritha 18:19, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

The comment about the burning times was far from random, it was intended rto lead you to a whole raft of well documented material that showed Catholic tradition conceding no validity to any non Judeo-Christian faith whatsoever. The followers of these faiths whatever their role within them were considered witches and as suitable victims for murder. The current Catholic church, though vastly more liberal, is quite clear that it alone can validly give the status of priest, nun, monk or saint (to the dead). The issue only really comes up with Anglicans (because of the historical links) but even there the line is clear [2]. What the Catholic church says about protestants, goes (only much more so) for non-Christian religions.

Coming back to ducks. If you look at the duck page you'll see a picture of Daffy illustrating "Ducks and humor" (my quotes). There are no quotes around the word duck in spite of Daffy being a bizarre blend of duck and human. By comparison the SPI are the very paradigm of nunhood. --Simon Speed 21:55, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

It seems to me that the current text and link to SPI makes it very clear what they are,a nd no association with Catholic nuns is likely to be accidentally assumed. (and incidentally, the church saved more accused witches than killed them -- it was the civillians who were the bloodiest) [signed a Wiccan who Reads] --Scix 02:46, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Well, yeah, but you need something more than "they won't be confused with Catholic nuns" (or Buddhist nuns for that matter) to be in the Nun article. If you put in a section about ducks, people would be unlike to confuse the ducks with nuns, but that's not a justification. Goldfritha 23:40, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Greetings, I have limited experience to Wikipedia but have served as the archivist for the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc. in San Francisco and feel well qualified to speak to some of the issues brought up.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are indeed nuns and do take vows and serve their respective communities just as nuns have throughout history. Four of the main differences from traditional nuns are they:

1. Have no formal religious sect they are tied to instead weaving together modern ritual and public service from a variety of traditions including pagan, wiccan, faerie and eastern spiritualities.
2. Are extremely independent and matriarchal rather than led by one man or one leader they are usually democratic and.or consensus-based.
3. Are sex-positive and sex-affirming rather than sex-shaming.
4. Are queer, gay and kink friendly and focussed.

They are well aware that other religious groups are ruffled or offended by thier presence but are probably just as offended by heterosexist and judeo-christian leanings which affect their lives as well.

No nuns -- not Catholic, not Orthodox, not Buddhist -- are nuns in order to "serve their respective communities," and many such nuns do not perform any such service.
And the offense is irrelevant. Just as if you claimed to be ducks, the problem would not be that you offend anyone by the claim, but that you are, in fact, not ducks. Goldfritha 22:28, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Well hard to argue with logic like that. We will certainly need to agree to disagree - my understanding is that nuns either chose to become a nun or were forced due to poverty or family circumstances (again usually due to class issues). Many are nuns to serve the community despite your assesrtations that that couldn't be true. And I think the offense - real or perceived - is the only issue as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are well used to being the "faeries in the coal mine" for homophobia, classism, mysogyny and a host of other hate-based words and deeds that seem to spew toward them.Benjiboi 03:42, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Stereotype of nuns[edit]

Somehow I have bouncing around my head a silly stereotype of nuns as holding rulers in their hands and rapping people's knuckles with them. Where'd that come from, and how did it come to be so widespread? 04:37, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Actually that has to do with pre-Vatican II sisterhood. Before Vatican II was passed, women who wanted to become nuns didn't necessarily have a free choice of what kind of vocation or order they joined. They might want to join a contemplative order but instead were told by the prevailing bishop they had to do missionary work. One consequence of this was that a LOT of women who had no aptitude for or wish to do teaching were forced to join the faculties of Catholic schools. You can imagine how frustrated and bitter such women might become and many of them took it out, unfortunately, on their pupils. It was also a much more authoritarian age in general, especially in schools (and not just parochial schools).

As to how it became so widespread--well, there are a lot of former Catholics in the world!

It's the evil influence of the media and the even more eveil influence of observation of reality:-) --Simon Speed 02:16, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

There was a movement in the Catholic Church that started back in the 30s in reaction to what was perceived to be the moral decay of the society. This movement by the church was meant to reestablish strong moral values. Unfortunately it was adopted by many somewhat uneducated people both as laymen and in the clergy and monastics. Catholics, by the 50s had become very “hell fire and brimstone”. Practically any sin meant sure damnation. My own brother was slapped by the priest for missing a first Friday at communion. Nuns, who taught school, used harsh discipline. This was not because they were frustrated (monks and nuns expect, when they enter a monastery, to give up what “They” want to do – they choose to serve God as He directs them), it was because they believed they were fighting a war against evil. With Vatican II they recognized the folly in this attitude.--Phiddipus 16:16, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Actually, at one time, even teachers in secular non-religious schools used to be able to spank or strap kids. So why nuns ended up with the stereotype is somewhat interesting.--Splashen (talk) 02:37, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Request for Comment[edit]

This is a controversy about whether a group of activists called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence belongs on this page. 15:01, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Statements by editors previously involved in dispute

  • The lede from this article is clear enough: "In general, a nun is a female ascetic who chooses to voluntarily leave mainstream society and live her life in prayer and contemplation in a monastery or convent." They're not women, and they're not ascetics. Goldfritha 15:01, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Would those commenting please start by reading the debate that has already taken place on the talk page. It seems strange that the exclusion of the SPI is being justified on the basis of neutrality, as the bulk of the article currently reads like an exteact from a Catholic encyclopedia. --Simon Speed 01:02, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
    • I had read the debate before I commented. Andries 00:10, 2 November 2006 (UTC)


  • Move to Joke religion. Self-labelling is not enough for inclusion unless may be if they were very notable for which I see little indication or evidence. Andries 16:00, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
  • The burden of evidence is always on those desiring inclusion. What independent sources that are reliable sources describe the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as nuns? For the present, there are no such references either here or in the article on the SPI. Without such references, the relevant policy is this quote from WP:NPOV#Undue weight "If your viewpoint is held by an extremely small minority, then — whether it's true or not, whether you can prove it or not — it doesn't belong in Wikipedia, except perhaps in some ancilliary article. Wikipedia is not the place for original research." So the material should be removed from this article. For anything substantial to be here, the test is "it should be easy to substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted reference texts". GRBerry 18:25, 28 October 2006 (UTC)
  • The SPI is a social activism group. It doesn't bear more than a superficial comparison to actual nuns. Durova 14:54, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Actually it tends to masquerade as a social action group more than do THAT much good work. They don't fit any of the definitions of a nun, which is fairly standard throughout the religious world. Williamb 12:26, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Actually they were formed as social activists and have established Orders worldwide of other social activists so hardly masquerading at all. Just because you don' think the work they do is good (educating, empowering and fundraising, etc for queer people) doesn't make it any less so.Benjiboi 04:02, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Also the definition of a nun is hardly standard throughout the world - just the world you are familiar with and acknowledge as is evident by this entire discussion.Benjiboi 04:02, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
  • This SPI group is not a monastic community. It is clear that Simon Speed the proponent of including the SPI group in the "nun" article wants to promote a "new and innovative definition" of the word "nun". Nuns are women, but we can see from the SPI article: "Originally, the organization included only gay male nuns, but it now includes people of all genders and orientations including intersex, gay or homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, and transgendered." Drawing from admissions already made by Simon Speed one can only conclude that this is nothing but an attempt to hijack the dictionary and to offend as many people as possible. I think the operative things to remember here are WP:POINT and Wikilawyering is disruptive and inappropriate. Simon Speed's actions are pure vandalism and deserve no support. DismasMama 08:25, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
And now we have personal attacks - ah but I mustn't object because that's Wikilawyering. I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition but that may have bit naive, given the nature of this page of the dictionary (sic). I have been trying to get some balance in against the dead hand of the religious right.--Simon Speed 19:52, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Simon, you will have to admit that this is farcical and SPI was from the very beginning. There is nothing in common with nuns except for the use of a habit, which was intended to be a farce. You are allowing your POV spoil the value of WIKI and of this article. Storm Rider (talk) 23:55, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Storm, I must admit that the Sisters are funny: but they intend to be funny - their logo is the laughing nun. I doubt that Sister Edith Myflesh was baptised with that name. But then if you meet a Catholic nun called Sister Theresa you'll find that she wasn't baptised with that name either. These are new names taken when an individual joins an order, only the SPI have a sense of humour. I think you'll find that the humour is always used in the service of the Sisters' stated moral goals.
Perhaps farce is sugested to you by the idea of females being men. Male priestesses may seem an impossibilty to the conservative Christian mind or even just bad grammar but they were a norm in traditional American societies. If you look at the NPOV article you'll see in the list of biases that we're exhorted to avoid, Heteronormativity. The part of the statement starting this RFC "...female ascetic ....They're not women..." is a paradigm of heteronormative bias.
Perhaps farce is sugested by the Sisters performing events such as a condom saviour mass on Easter Sunday. Conservative Christians squeal "blasphemy", but the sisters know that loving thy neighbour means using a condom and saving thy neighbour from AIDS, and coyness was never much good at getting a message across. The Catholic Church has campaigned throughout Africa against condom use with great success, resulting in untold death and misery, which the Catholic Church can then minister to. Don't you find those antics farcical, if rather unfunny? Do you remember somebody saying "By their fruit shall ye know them"?--Simon Speed 22:53, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
And if the Sisters claimed that they were ducks, and you were trying to put them into the article on ducks, you could claim that objections that they were not birds is a paradigm of avianormative bias. That wouldn't make them ducks. Goldfritha 00:39, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

I love the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence; I've seen them three times. I'm glad they're around. The SPI, however, are not associated with a church of any kind. They're not cloistered. They don't have a common spiritual practice. They haven't taken a vow of celibacy. They aren't nuns, and bear little resemblance to nuns - which to my mind is a large part of the humor.

I feel the article is well written, and I learned a lot - I did not know, for example, that there were nuns in Jainism or in Eastern Orthodoxy. A reference to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence would be irrelevant.

It would be great to have a page about them, since they have a long history and are certainly notable.

I'm disappointed by some of the more pointed and, frankly, unkind responses to Simon Speed. We can disagree a little more gently and not drag this out. NinzEliza 05:10, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

NinzEliza, there is a page about them. Goldfritha 23:41, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

IMO The article is not improved by their inclusion. Surely, the main purpose of this debate should be the article not the SPI.

Inclusion would also necessitate a re-writing of major portions of the article in order to avoid contradiction. For example:

To be a nun, one must

  • Live in a cloistered community or monastery
  • Belong to an order the members of which eventually take the solemn vows and
  • Recite the Liturgy of the Hours or other prayers together with her community.

Nuns are restricted from leaving the cloister, though some may engage in limited teaching or other vocational work depending on the strictness of enforcement.

--sony-youth 20:31, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

  • Agree with NinzEliza. I love them, but not in this article. Thesmothete 16:43, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
  • It's not Wikipedia's duty to determine who is or is not a nun. Wikipedia only reports on how other sources regard nuns. I have not seen any evidence produced to indicate that any significant number of independent sources consider SIP to be nuns. Keeping in mind the principle of undue weight, I don't think that there is sufficient reason to include details about them in this article. A link to the SIP article in the "See also" section is probably fine though. —Cswrye 21:39, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
  • THE SPI are no more nuns, than a female impersonator belting out If I could turn back time is Cher. They deserve their own page, but don't belong here. I don't anyone looking for information on the SPI is going to search on nun.Caper13 06:50, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Thanks Cswrye. Unless you have a couple of credible sources calling them nuns you CAN'T put them here- that would be OR. So cite sources that say they ARE nuns in the traditional sense of the word or... end of story. Sethie 04:21, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Wow. Seems the Sisters have gotten some folks terribly hot & bothered! The Sisters are a young group (established 1979) so finding many "credible" sources will certainly be a challenge but one well worth it. The Sisters are nuns and will be nuns virtually cloistered and perfoming miracles wether included in this article or not. With the heatedess of the discussion to date it would seem painfully obvious that they should be included ina section about post-modern nuns at least! I know that all nuns fit the litmus tests spelled out so far - you might start with the female part which is problematic for trans and intersex nuns but spin your wheels against the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence if you must. I will heartily second the concept that Simon raised about the article seeming to favor Roman Catholicism viewpoints above all else - hardly neutral there but carry on. Benjiboi 03:54, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm late to the party, but I don't see any reason why you can't mention them under a 'Nuns in pop culture' section or something similar. ~~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:18, 5 September 2007 (UTC)


So Simonxag is now trying to stick "pagan priestess" and "courtesan" in the reference as "related definitions." This doesn't contribute to the article, either. Goldfritha 03:27, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Simon is trying to stick what it says in the OED in the definition. I understand there is a religious-right concensus among most editors. But we are supposed to stick to FACTS (even above truth). More serious was the removal (I assume accidentally) of all the non-cutesy movie references. This was originally a piece of vandalism by a character who I find deleted all the stuff about Judaism from the priest page. Curiously the other editors (the religious right concensus) had ignored that quiet disappearance which I reverted. How nice a world must be when Jews and gays and anything we don't like just quietly disappears, but then a nasty annoying Simon comes along. --Simon Speed 17:03, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Simon, that definition is not relevant to the article.
Would you prefer another Request for Comment to be sure what the consensus is? Goldfritha 00:57, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

As you might suspect I'm not terribly impressed by the concensus on this page. How about we stick to facts from a recognised authority?

OED does not tell you that those definitions are relevant to this page. Which recognized authority are you citing for that? Goldfritha 00:21, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

The OED contains a group of 3 related definitions. I thought 2 were less important for the page so relegated them to the footnote. Perhaps all 3 should be there in the 1st paragraph. I would argue that the actual definition (from a most reputable source) is pretty relevant to a page where a religious-right definition (totally unsourced) has been used for so long to determine the page's content. The view of nuns in the mainstream media, from newspapers to accademia, is totally at odds with this pious twaddle (to call it Catholic is unfair to a church that had Vatican II half a century ago). Goldfritha why don't you source some of the "Catholic" stuff or delete that for a change? --Simon Speed 01:10, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

The actual definition is what we are trying to keep. You are trying to insert irrevelant information. All sorts of definitions get clumped together; it does not mean they are all relavant to a page on one of them.
As for sourcing, I might -- if I had reason to believe that it would do any good. As there is a Wikipedian who insists on putting irrelavant information, and I don't know what else he would do, I would rather put my efforts where I have reason to believe they won't be trampled on. Goldfritha 01:45, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Websters online definition of a nun is the following:

"a woman belonging to a religious order; especially: one under solemn vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience."

The very nature of the word requires aestheticism. What ever the virtues of any other group, the word means what it means. The result is only a woman can be a nun, and by definition has taken vows of a particular kind. DaveTroy 11:15, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

List of movies[edit]

Does this add anything to the article? Especially since it is limited to one medium; nuns have appeared in all sorts of art. Goldfritha 00:30, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

I think it could list here , I already have created a page The Nun , and listed some movies , I think it could be redirect here , and then movies be listed here. Ali CraLazyEative 14:04, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree, a redirect would make more sense, and allow a distinction between movies about historical persons and fictional persons.DaveTroy 11:16, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Request for Comment[edit]

This is a dispute about whether all the OED definitions -- including "courtesan" -- should be listed on this page. 02:21, 16 January 2007 (UTC) Statements by editors previously involved in dispute

  • The mere fact that these are listed as alternative definitions does not prove they belong here, and no other reason is given. The definitions do not in fact say anything important about nuns. Goldfritha 02:21, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
  • There has been some dispute on this page over the content of this article. Some of the arguments were based on a spurious definition in the intro. I went to the OED and looked up the real definition and this is the result. The 2 related definitions did not seem as important, which is why I stuck them in the footnote, nevertheless they are quirky (maybe annoying) little facts. But if facts are annoying, it is no reason for them to be excluded. I remember the church having some problems with awkward facts that Gallileo published.--Simon Speed 01:32, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Comments Ummm unless you have other sources explaining it, I'd say you have an interesting piece of trivia. Maybe list it at the end if the editor NEEDS it there? Sethie 03:00, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Even trivia has to be relevant, and these aren't. (The editor only added them after the Request for Comment above disagreed with him about what was suitable for the article.) 03:18, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Someone just reverted the reversal, saying that this trivia was NEEDED? :) Please explain, how that un-coorborated, factoid is NEEDED?Sethie 18:42, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Calling a fact a "factoid" does not render it non-factual, it just signals that you don't like it. If something coming from the OED can be counted as "uncorroborated" then so can absolutely anythieng. Editors wanting to challenge this material should go verify the source: they will find it is correct. Have a look at the standards for a good article that the box at the top of this page urges the Nun article to b improved towards. They include both a Neutral Point of View and Breadth. This article has a narrow and grossly biased (ultra-reverent religious) coverage of its material which makes irreverent or quirky facts and links seem wrong (it is almost as if we are in church). Anything that can broaden and balance the article is NEEDED. If you want to set up a separate Trivia section, do so, but in the meantime a footnote remains the most appropriate place. --Simon Speed 23:23, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Your assumption is incorrect, I did not use the word "factiod" to imply that it is not true. I used to term to connote (rather unsuccesfully it seems!) that it isn't relevant to the article. Come on.... do you serioulsy think EVERY fact about nuns should be included?
"This article has a narrow and grossly biased (ultra-reverent religious) coverage of its material which makes irreverent or quirky facts and links seem wrong (it is almost as if we are in church)." Well, actually we are in an encyclopedia. Until you provide sources that say otherwise, Nun is a religious term, and one citation from a dictionary don't cut it.
"Have a look at the standards for a good article that the box at the top of this page urges the Nun article to b improved towards." There is no such box. One section asks for sources. Sethie 00:55, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

The box that you cannot see is at the top of this page, directly under "Talk:Nun From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". The precise words are "Please participate by editing the article, and help us assess and improve articles to good and 1.0 standards, or visit the wikiproject page for more details". The link from good is to a page that staes that a good article needs to be broad and NPOV. The box ends with the statement "This article has been marked as needing immediate attention." The reviewer may or may not agree with me in this dispute, but at least not everybody thinks that god's in his heaven and all's right with the page. --Simon Speed 00:04, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Those, apparently, are the words you can't see. You are actively vandalizing efforts to improve the page by removing the irrelevant from it. Goldfritha 00:28, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
I see them now, on the talk page, my mistake. Sethie 01:02, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Photograph "Roman Catholic Nuns singing Gregorian Chant"[edit]

I googled for the "Daughters of Mary", who are described for this photo as "Roman Catholic nuns". They actually belong to the "Society of St. Pius V", that is not only not in Communion with the Pope, but is also sedevacantist (they are saying that there is no real Pope now). The description "Roman Catholic nuns" is thus misleading. I propose that the description of the picture should be altered or (better) the pic should be replaced by another one from a real Catholic community that wears the unmodified habit (Benedictines, Poor Clares etc.). The only problem now is copyright... Lumendelumine 21:15, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

While I understand your perspective, perhaps it is only fair to consider that from their perspective the are Roman Catholic nuns. Perhaps removing the photo is a little too radical; what may be in order is simply adding to the caption to clarify that they are nuns of SSPV. MishaPan 14:30, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Photograph "Taoist nun"[edit]

There is a picture of a Taoist nun in this article. First, there is nothing about Taoist nuns in the article, so the picture seems kinda inrrelevant. Secondly, I have my doubts that they exist. I am a religious studies student at university and I have never came across something like a Taoist nun. Correct me if I am wrong though. Eva 23:23, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

You're wrong. That was easy "smile." (Serious answer below)
Taoism began to have a monastic aspect sometime after the fall of the latter Han Dynasty. Some assert this is due to Buddhist influences or as a response to Buddhism, but I can not confirm that at the moment. In any event that monastic element included women, see the life of Tang Dynasty poet Yu Xuanji. (In her life she was also a concubine and possibly a murderer) If you want something with a Wikipedia article, well there really isn't anything. However the article on Empress Hu (Xiaoming) mentions the existence of Taoist nuns in the 6th century.--T. Anthony 09:43, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

a Nun is not always a woman, a Monk is not always a man[edit]

I'd be willing to bet any changes I make would be quickly squashed by the gender police but I do take exception to the opening lines that insist a nun is a woman which is insulting to not only those who are clearly not women but also transgender and intersex nuns and monks who don't ascribe to the binary either/or world of male or female. I can live with the wording a "nun is usually female" and "a monk is usually male" as I feel that that is accurate. As the world's population grows and medical science expands we're understanding more and more that ambiguous genitals can be left as is rather than the traditional approach of doctors choosing which gender a baby should be.Benjiboi 21:35, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

What you feel is accurate is not a valid source in Wikipedia. Goldfritha 23:58, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

I guess that's an answer of sorts. Reality doesn't count on Wikipedia? Do you need a John-Hopkins reference that babies are born with ambiguous genitalia? Perhaps you have a source that clearly proves that no nuns exist that aren't female and no monks exist that aren't male?Benjiboi 15:10, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark is a transgendered nun, Catalina de Erauso was an intersex Roman Catholic nun. Most hermaphrodites, transgender and intersex people tend to avoid bringing attention to this aspect of themselves and often it's when a person dies or is killed that that aspect of their lives is known.Benjiboi 22:25, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

This is not a page even to discuss nuns in general. It is certainly not a page to discuss physical sexual abnormalities. Goldfritha 03:01, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

Ooops, my bad! I thought it was better to use the talk discussion page to propose changes to the Nun article, perhaps I missed an announcement that that is no longer true? I assert that the Nun article be changed to reflect that a nun is usually a woman but not always. I would hope that personal bias could be set aside for a better article.Benjiboi 06:19, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

Then you shouldn't have gone off on a tangent. Goldfritha 17:23, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

Not sure what tangent you're deflecting to, my case has remained the same asserting that a nun can only be a woman is not accurate and the article should change to reflect that. It seems to me you kept deflecting to a personal tangent instead. Benjiboi 18:20, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, nuns are women. end of conversation. This isn't a mater of bias; it's a matter of fact. Take a look at the published corpus on the matter. Yours is a fringe opinion. Majoreditor 20:37, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

"End of conversation", how educational and open-minded. As is pointed out elsewhere in wikipedia nuns are not always women and monks are not always men. By the way, just because some thing is or is not widely accepted or published hardly make it so just widely accepted until shown to be otherwise. Benjiboi 22:06, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

The argument is a bit silly. The terms monk and nun - also monastery and convent, are anglisized terms used alternatly for men and women and their religious dwellings. In fact, traditionally and in ancient usage a more correct term would be monastic or ascetic or anchorite or hesychast, and their dwelling a monastery. These terms apply to men and women. See above - in the Orthodox Church the terms are the same. The arguments about transgendered, etc are valid, but even more so, there are a number of famous "monks" (St Theodora the Great, St Evgenia, Etc.) who lived their entire monastic lives in monasteries among men, pretending to be men. The fact they were female was not discovered until they died. --Phiddipus 05:28, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Article Is Biased Against Most things Non-Catholic[edit]

When I first came to this article I had hoped to be a bit more inspired about the true (amazing) history of what nuns have done throughout history and continue to do every day throughout the world. Nuns of every race, most religions/spiritualities (I think) and how they have adapted to life's challenges and the ever-changing cultural make-up of so many places in the world where languages and peoples of vastly different experience intersect - is what I had hoped to find. Instead I get a (very) old-schooled lesson in Catholicism and seemingly endless tunnel vision limiting a nun's role and potential more than any pope has ever done. Simply because there is a majority rules mentality (AKA might equals right) doesn't make it right and nuns fight injustice where I'm from. Let's help the rest of the world see the changing face and role of nuns, I want to be able to read about the nuns who have been working behind the scenes t bring an end to war and environmental genocides in ravaged countries. If not for knowledge do it for the very selfish reason that it might encourage more people to be nuns and take up the fight for justice for those who are not able to fend for themselves.Benjiboi 13:58, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

It is not Wikipedia's purpose to sell people on becoming nuns. Furthermore, as there have been nuns for thousands of years, I note that your emphasis is on the last century, no more. (And not all nuns fit your template, even there.) Please try to keep events in historical perspective. Goldfritha 00:43, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
Simply because Catholicism has successfully wiped out other cultures (and the nuns with it) wholesale does not make it the standard or history's only mainstay of who is a nun or should be. Seemingly most traces of pagan or other non-Catholic-ish nuns have either been purged, ignored or existence denied in favor of stereotypes perpetuated. As far as "selling folks on becoming nuns" I was simply hoping to enliven the concepts that nuns often, although certainly not always, strive for a higher calling beyond self-interest - in this case hopefully for future generations. Benjiboi 07:06, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
You do know there are less confrontational ways of saying you think this needs more on female monastics in non-Catholic societies?--T. Anthony 09:47, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
I have numerous issues with the article as is and even the slightest edits have been met with hostility, in my opinion. It's not just the issue you mention above but the entire gender and societal constructs that are assumed as is and accurate. I didn't want to give up on the article as I feel it's important so even if it's heated, I'd like to have discussion taking place towards getting a better article.Benjiboi 21:28, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
On gender I think you are incorrect. A nun is, most simply, just the name for any female monastic. A monastic is defined as someone living a communal life under religious vows. By definition a "male nun" is not a nun, but is instead a monk. Denominations that allow transsexuals to become nuns is a slightly different matter and perhaps that can be dealt with somewhere. The objections I thought you had, rather than the ones you do have, do have some validity. I think that this article needs more on Anglican, Jain, and Taoist nuns. Other than saying they exist it's unhelpful. I think a link to Vestal Virgins might be valid as well as there are similarities. Groups that are neither under religious vows nor living communally can't be included simply by definition. Although if you know of LGBT groups of "women" living communally under religious vows they may apply depending on how the concensus feels.--T. Anthony 14:26, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Step out of your country and go see the world! There are many nuns in many different traditions. Not just Catholicism, and not just Christianity, too!Greetings, Sacca 14:02, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
It is blatant cultural imperialism to fit other people's religious institutions into a Christian, European mold. Goldfritha 01:23, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, we certainly agree there. The article seems to have a quite of few culturally imperialistic leanings. Perhaps delving into more of the origins of nuns and development into religious and spiritual service before breaking into separate sects would be of benefit. Benjiboi 21:04, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

First you produce some evidence that you are not the cultural imperialist. Who are you talking about and what reference do you have that they are actually nuns? Goldfritha 01:30, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
lol! Prove I'm not a cultural imperialist, well that's gotta go in the diary - today I was called a cultural imperialist. How special. Instead I suggest again that the article should not be victimized by personal attacks and tunnel vision and be a bit more un-biased. I can wait though, if now soon enough it will happen regardless of edit wars and revisionist history and mythological ideals.Benjiboi 02:51, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
What you need is references. No amount of time will help without them. Goldfritha 04:07, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

In time truth will reveal itself.Benjiboi 00:18, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

In time maybe you will get a life..but... Williamb 13:15, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for proving my point that this article is being compromised by personal issues.Benjiboi 21:42, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

The problem with this page is that even references get deleted as "irrelevant" i.e. not approved by the religious right. --Simon Speed 14:45, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Getting back to Benjiboi's original comment on the subject, female religious have made extremely important contributions to social justice, opposing racial oppression, working against poverty, and many other valuable contributions. All of these factors should be included in Wikipedia. However, among the religions that have nuns, being a nun is essentially a contemplative vocation. In Eastern and Western reglions, from Catholicism to Eastern Christianity to Buddhism to Taoism, it is consistent that within them all, being a nun is to commit oneself to a life of meditiation and prayer apart from the world. Within Christianity, the nuns are infact cloistered, that is they are physically separate from the world in order to foster lives full of meditation and prayerfulness. All the works in social justice that female religious have accomplished have been accomplished by religious sisters, who are women religious who are not contemplative nuns. Just today I was thinking of creating an article on religious sisters at Sisters (religious. This article would focus on relisious sisters who are not contemplative nuns. This is not a POV fork, rather they are two articles about two different types of religious vocations, one for contemplative nuns, one for active religious sisters. I'd like to get the page started soon, and I'd appreciate any collaborations from those of you who have posted here, especially Benjiboi, as this was kind of his idea in the first place. The distinction between contemplative nun and active religious sister having been made, I'd also like to suggest that the POV tag be removed from the article. If there are any other POV concerns, I'd be happy to work towards getting them resolved, but I think having made the role of nuns as contemplatives evident, this clears up Benjiboi's objection. Dgf32 (talk) 07:04, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

I appreciate the effort but disagree this would clear up my POV concerns. I also disagree on the premise that most or all nuns take a contemplative path. Unless we have agreed upon experts that assert that it seems a bit POV as well. People choose or are compelled to be nuns for a variety of reasons and we shouldn't assume because someone is a nun that _____. We can show, with verifiable sources, that many nuns do or act in certain ways and I would support that generally. Benjiboi 14:38, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your response. I'm going to address your concerns one by one.
"I also disagree on the premise that most or all nuns take a contemplative path." Nuns exist primarily in 3 major religious groups: Buddhism, Eastern Christianity (including the Eastern Orthodox and Orietnal Orthodox), and Roman Catholicism. (Very small groups of nuns exist within Taoism, Anglicanism, and Hinduism.) In Christianity, all nuns are contemplative. In order to qualify as a nun within Christianity, you have to be in a cloistered community. In Buddhism, every vocation is contemplative. Most notably monks and nuns, who devote themselves to a life of mediation.
"People choose or are compelled to be nuns for a variety of reasons and we shouldn't assume because someone is a nun that _____. " I agree. I don't think the article makes any assumptions about the psychological motivations for why one might choose to become a nun.
"We can show, with verifiable sources, that many nuns do or act in certain ways and I would support that generally." If I understand this correctly, you want information on how nuns behave and act? Perhaps you could clarify this. I don't think the article should address the behaviors or nuns or the psychological motivations behind why one becomes a nun or how nuns "do and act". That's not really encyclopedic information to me.
In the meantime, I'll work on citations describing the contemplative vocation of nuns. If there's anything else I can do to help work towards NPOV in the article. Please let me know. Please be specific. It's hard for me to address subjects like "many nuns do or act in certain ways." I look forward to getting this resolved. Dgf32 (talk) 19:23, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
My primary NPOV concerns are centered on: 1. article trends towards Euro- and American- centric views 2. article favors Catholic POV and should instead focus on nuns later delving into differing sects and religions. 3. article should explain better gender issues as not all nuns are women and not all monks are men, bury the information later in the article if needed but lede should be accurate per WP:MOS 4. images should reflect a world view to educate our readers not reinforce stereotypes and 5. the changing nature of nuns, their roles and activities in contemporary societies, world politics, etc. I feel these are my main concerns but as article improves I may be able to give better insight. Benjiboi 00:30, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
1. I think the article is balanced between western and eastern religions. 2. The functions of nuns depends upon their religion, that's why the article is in sections. 3. If you want to find citations about a male nun here or there, that's fine with me. However, most nuns are female. I'm not looking to get a sections on nuns in the transman article, and I don't think we need a section on transmen in the nuns article. While there might be a male nun or a trans nun, that's generally not what someone going to an encyclopedia article on nuns is going to be looking for. 4. The images to reflect a diverse perspective of nuns from across cultures and around the world. 5. As I said, and added a citation to this effect, nuns in major religions are contemplative, not active, and certainly not active in world politics. Invovlement in world politics is contrary to the entire notion of being a contemplative nun. Given your objections, I'm going to suggest we proceed to having a discussion of whether the POV tag should stay on the article. Dgf32 (talk) 01:16, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

New name[edit]

How about moving the article to Women's monasticism or Female monasticism per WP:DICDEF? Voting is welcomed. --Brand спойт 13:47, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

I think most users who are looking for the information contained in this article would search under the word "nun." "Women's monasticism" seems to me a rather long-winded way of saying what the word "nun" says precisely. "Nun" is not slang, jargon, or an idiomatic phrase, so it does not violate any principle of WP:DICDEF. On an Internet search, "women's monasticism" brought up several academic papers, but "nun" brought up encyclopedic entries, such as Encyclopedia Britannica. MishaPan 15:16, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Both of those heading should redirect here. SECisek 23:55, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Done. MishaPan 17:01, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Neutrality Tag[edit]

This tag is currently on the article:

After reviewing the article, I've found it to have NPOV. I'd like to use this area to discuss whether the POV tag should remain on the article. Dgf32 (talk) 01:20, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

  • Remove tag - I suggest we remove the tag. I have careful reviewed the article I have have found it to have NPOV. It gives fair weight and discussion to nuns within a wide variety of world religions in a fair manner with neutral tone. Dgf32 (talk) 01:24, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose removal. None of my concerns over the past several months have been addressed. My primary NPOV concerns are centered on:
1. article trends towards Euro- and American- centric views
2. article favors Catholic POV and should instead focus on nuns later delving into differing sects and religions.
3. article should explain better gender issues as not all nuns are women and not all monks are men, bury the information later in the article if needed but lede should be accurate per WP:MOS
4. images should reflect a world view to educate our readers not reinforce stereotypes and
5. the changing nature of nuns, their roles and activities in contemporary societies, world politics, etc.
I feel these are my main concerns but as article improves I may be able to give better insight. I appreciate genuine and constructive editing but simply declaring an issue unimportant hardly resolves it. Improving an article to make it more NPOV should be seen as a welcome challenge not unfounded criticisms against anyone's religious leanings and practices. Benjiboi 01:59, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
The article does a good job covering many religious viewpoints. Heck, the artcle delves into Eastern Orthodoxy before addressing Catholicism. And NPOV doesn't mean that fringe issues need extensive coverage. Majoreditor (talk) 02:55, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Remove tag – While I agree with Benjiboi that certain aspects of the article do not address LGBT situations within the ancient traditions of Christian monasticism, I think that the terminology, specifically “nun” is a western word applied to female monastics. Personally I like the all-inclusive term “Monastic” and use it for all genders. I would like to see articles written about notable transgendered monastics, but I don’t think their existence alters the fact that “nun” is a word applied to women. Perhaps we should write one article called “Monastic Vocation” and redirect Monk and Nun to this.--Phiddipus (talk) 05:00, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Remove tag. Of course there is always more information that can be added to any WikiPedia article--that's the genius of a living encyclopedia. If an editor feels the article needs more info on a particular aspect, he or she should do some research and add it. As for "gender issues", the argument that "not all nuns are women and not all monks are men" is absurd in the extreme. Nuns, by definition, are female; monks, by definition are male. While I do not pretend to be an expert on transgender issues, it seems to me that if a transgendered individual wishes to call herself a nun, it stands to reason that it is only because she considers herself a woman, not a man. If a transgendered person consideres himself a male and wants to enter the monastic life, he would call himself a monk. So what's the problem? MishaPan (talk) 05:13, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment At present the Catholic section doesn't seem longer than Orthodoxy or Buddhism to me. Although seeing as Taoist nuns are mentioned and pictured I'd still think it'd be nice to have something to say on them. However I'm not sure that lack makes it non-neutral as Taoist nuns are difficult to find information on. Taoism did not fluorish among English-speaking women to the extent Buddhism did and in China Taoist monasticism was purged. Still perhaps after Easter I'll look through my literature on China. I can't speak on gender issues as this is mostly a recent matter and I'm more of a historian. I'm reasonably certain that male, transgendered, or intersexual "nuns" are a very minor part of the phenomenon that doesn't merit too much mention. Although if Benjiboi can make a non-POV section on this issue he should feel free to do so.--T. Anthony (talk) 06:09, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Fine, I give up. Obviously the article is spot on and accurate. I've stated my concerns and have no wish to drudge on an uphill battle nor do I feel up to being the target of criticism for my belief that this article is indeed flawed and non-NPOV. Do what you wish and label me and my views whatever works for y'all, I'd rather do constructive work on other articles than battle here, at all. Benjiboi 23:05, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

  • Oppose removal I gave up trying to edit the article a long time ago because of the consensus of editors who edit this article. Basically it's a consensus of the pro-Catholic religious right. Even in the Catholic Church the role of nuns in the Church hierarchy is controversial: Vatican 2 promised so much and a few nuns dare to speak out. In the wider community the role of nuns is heavily questioned (see the views expressed in the fiction that is linked to). This article could be from some official Catholic encyclopedia. Look at the pictures that illustrate it and try saying to yourself This is not fantasy. This is fact. NPOV, what a joke. --Simon Speed (talk) 23:34, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
It's best to focus on the article rather than launching ad hominem attacks on fellow editors. You'll also find that many of the comments are from editors who aren't Roman Catholics. Majoreditor (talk) 13:20, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
My apologies if this came across as a personal attack. It was intended as a strong attack on the article which is grossly POV. The point I intended about the editors, is that the subject attracts a large proportion of people from one side of a controversy and strength of numbers then leads these people to see no controversy (rather than merely seeing their POV as correct).--Simon Speed (talk) 16:00, 10 March 2008 (UTC)


Removed vandalism as follows:

Nun Cleaving [2] refers to an ancient and noble hobby whereby one encounters two sisters of the habit walking in the oposite direction, apparently joined by their flowing robes and one successfully seperates them simply by walking through the middle. Contrary to popular misunderstandings, one does not need to be a nun and one certainly doesn't need to either possess or use a cleaver to engage in this once-popular pastime. There is no historical evidence whatsoever that His Holiness Pope Gregory IX gave his approval to Nun Cleaving on the 18th March 1237 although the church has never issued a formal condemnation of the practice. -- (talk) 00:05, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Catholic and Eastern Orthodox sections are too long; start separate article?[edit]

The section on Catholic nuns is too long compared to the the other sections (the section on Eastern Orthodox nuns is also too long). I propose copying the text to separate articles and leaving a shorter summary behind. Any suggestions on what the titles of the new articles should be? Catholic Nuns and Sisters redirects here but I'm not convinced that is the best article title. --Pseudo-Richard (talk) 16:00, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

Avoid representing a Disneyfication of nuns[edit]

The present first picture of a nun on the page shows a nun who is active and liberated: active in her Christian actions and liberated from the contsraints of the expected life of a woman. She is a creature of the 21st Century but was not created then. Nuns have long been on the cutting edge of affirmative action in many walks of life. The "Bells of St Mary's Bing Crosby" image should be put to one side. Unfortunately, people - especially non-practising Christians - want ot maintain a cosy image of what a nun is.
Let's start again: two nuns walk into a bar ... one is dressed in a habit, the other is wearing everyday clothing. One Wikipedia editor says to another - "OK, they're both nuns, ... but that one is a REAL nun." It's got to stop. Most nuns wear a "habit-lite" or regular everyday clothes. Most are active in the community, working, not just in hospitals and schools, but in human rights groups, political think-tanks, and working with the disadvantaged. Stop thinking just about women with gaunt faces dressed in black. Francis Hannaway (talk) Francis Hannaway 17:48, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

Sexual abuse[edit]

  • The entire "Sexual Abuse" section is biased, slanted, misleading and libelous.

"Nuns have been implicated in many cases of sexual abuse and pedophilia."

Will someone show me an occupation or vocation where "many" of the members were NOT "implicated" in murder, rape, incest, sexual abuse, jaywalking etc. There is much talk on here about "stereotyping". It is the grossest and perniciously bigoted exaggeration reinforcing the heinous belief that nuns and priests have predilections towards sexual deviancy (due, I guess, to the natural corruption of the Roman Catholic Church).

I see no study linked which shows nuns are more likely than Code Pink members to abuse anyone. It's defamatory and prejudicial to include a line like that. You wouldn't have something pernicious like that up about any other religious group, but Catholics seem to be fair game.

"Rabbis have been implicated in many cases of sexual abuse and pedophilia." "Baptist ministers have been implicated in many cases of sexual abuse and pedophilia." then it's a short jump to: "Blacks have been implicated in many cases of sexual abuse and pedophilia."

The article ends with the factoid that more nuns have been implicated than priests, getting a 2 for one smear, as if priests OR nuns were more likely than the general public to commit these acts. "Wow, priests are perverts, I know, but nuns are even BIGGER perverts!!"

Invalid, untrue, prejudicial, irrelevant, biased, unencyclopedic. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 06:17, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

Although the above is a bit of a 'rant', I do totally agree. The entire sexual abuse section was added recently by an anonymous editor, without any edit summary or rationale. This article is about Nuns in general - across all world religions and traditions - it is NOT the appropriate place for this type of material, which is exclusively about one denomination of one religion. Furthermore, the sweeping and prejudicial comments were not appropriate to Wikipedia at all. If this sexual abuse section belongs on Wikipedia at all (which I doubt, at least in its present form) then it is at an article about Roman Catholic nuns, NOT here. I have therefore re-deleted the section. Timothy Titus Talk To TT 08:23, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

Buddhist nuns in Taiwan[edit]

I was supposed to read these but I fell asleep after 3 pages and left the class.

  • Cheng, Wei-Yi. Buddhist nuns in Taiwan and Sri Lanka: a critique of the feminist perspective. Routledge. 2007.
  • Huang, C. Julia. Charisma and compassion: Cheng-Yen and the Buddhist * * Tzu Chi movement. Harvard University Press. 2009.
  • DeVido, Elise Anne. Taiwan’s Buddhist nuns. State University of New York Press. 2010.

About laywomen:

  • Reed, Barbara. "Women and Chinese religion in contemporary Taiwan." Today’s woman in world religions. Edited by Arvind Sharma. (talk) 23:29, 4 June 2013 (UTC)