Vatican Overturns Bishop Olson’s Dismissal of Carmelite Nun

The Vatican has overturned a Texas bishop’s dismissal of a Carmelite nun from her order after she was accused of breaking her vow of chastity with a priest, weighing in on a power struggle and scandal that drew national attention.

The Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life found in favor of Mother Teresa Agnes Gerlach, prioress of the the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity in Arlington, Texas, in her appeal to remain in her order after Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson dismissed her in June 2023.

However, the dicastery upheld several of Olson’s other decisions, including his opening an investigation into the accusation that Gerlach had violated her chastity vow in her contacts with the Rev. Philip G. Johnson, a priest in the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Olson also was deemed correct in placing Gerlach on a leave of absence and issuing a canonical warning to nuns in the monastery against impeding the investigation.

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