Recent LCWR statements – context for the Holy See’s smackdown

Today the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith smacked down, hard, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.  This is, as you may remember, the group of leaders of communities of women religious (not all the religious themselves, but the leaders), who have recently been under scrutiny by the Holy See… and rightly so.

When Francis was elected, they issued this statement. HERE

Prayers for Pope Francis
March 13, 2013

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) offers its congratulations and heartfelt prayer to Pope Francis as he assumes the papacy at this critical time for the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio demonstrated great dedication to the mission of the Church during his leadership in Argentina. As he serves in the papacy, we trust that his many gifts will continue to be spent on behalf of the universal church, and most especially for people who live in poverty in all parts of the world.

As a conference of leaders of orders of Catholic sisters in the United States, we welcome Pope Francis’s spiritual leadership and look forward to working with him in carrying forward the Gospel message.

In the wake of today’s Francis-approved smackdown, they issued this statement. HERE

LCWR Statement on Meeting with CDF
April 15, 2013

On April 15, 2013 Sister Florence Deacon, OSF, LCWR president; Sister Carol Zinn, SSJ, LCWR president-elect; and Sister Janet Mock, CSJ, LCWR executive director; met with Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF); Archbishop Luis Ladaria, secretary of CDF; and other members of the CDF dicastery. Archbishop J. Peter Sartain was also present.

The LCWR officers reviewed the activities of this past year since receiving the report of CDF’s doctrinal assessment of LCWR in April 2012.

In his opening remarks, ArchbishopMüller informed the group the he had met with Pope Francis who “reaffirmed the findings of the assessment and the program of reform for this Conference of Major Superiors“.

The conversation was open and frank. [I'll bet it was.] We pray that these conversations may bear fruit for the good of the Church.

Although the sisters have been whining for months that they have been treated unfairly by the mean old Vatican men, Francis agrees with the CDF.

Francis agrees that the sisters need to change they ways.

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35 Responses to Recent LCWR statements – context for the Holy See’s smackdown

  1. catholicmidwest says:

    The conversation was probably open and frank on some matters and less so on others. This is a very troubled area in the Church in this country and it’s been that way for many years. There are a lot of historical reasons for this. At any rate, this reform is a very good thing since women’s religious life, in general, has gone far off the rails and it needs reform.

  2. APX says:

    I detect a very strong shift in tone. It’s hard to argue with someone who you supported for their care for “social justice” (I loathe that term.)

  3. TNCath says:

    This didn’t sound like a “conversation” to me. Judging by their reaction, you’d think the Pope had put on his mozzetta or his fanon or (gasp!) finally moved into the Apostolic Palace.

  4. In his opening remarks, Archbishop Müller informed the group the he had met with Pope Francis who “reaffirmed the findings of the assessment and the program of reform for this Conference of Major Superiors….The conversation was open and frank. We pray that these conversations may bear fruit for the good of the Church.

    Who couldn’t possibly agree with these statements? The problem with the LCWR “response” is that it says absolutely nothing about the rest of the communique.

    Perhaps the LCWR will take aim at Archbishop Müller, especially if he was to be replaced at CDF. LCWR could claim a “victory” in that the howling on the part of the Catholic left in response to the Archbishop’s direct challenge to conform caused the Holy Father to reconsider.

    This story isn’t finished being written…not by any means.

  5. anna 6 says:

    So the doctrinal assessment was affirmed by a new head of the CDF AND a new Pope.

  6. Well. I guess this is NOT the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

  7. BLB Oregon says:

    Of course they know that the Pope has shown his care for the poor in a very personal and ongoing way, but they also cannot be surprised that he sees abortion as totally intolerable in anything like a just society. He will not tolerate teaching only those parts of the Gospel that certain people like. He is not going to tolerate a re-write of moral law. None of this can be a surprise.

  8. mamajen says:

    Well, well…looks like Fishwrap is now reading Francis through Benedict. Talk about frank:

    Pope Francis on Monday reaffirmed Pope Benedict XVI’s rebuke of the main leadership group of U.S. Catholic sisters and approved a plan to place the group under the control of three U.S. bishops, according to the Vatican.

    http://ncronline.org/news/sisters-stories/pope-francis-reaffirms-lcwr-critique-plan-reform

  9. catholicmidwest says:

    Unfortunately, Motley Monk, you’re almost certainly right about both the LCWR response and the prognosis. The problem is very complex and long-standing in the United States. The only good thing, if you can call it that, is that the whole crazy scenario has natural limits for a couple of rather commonsensical reasons.
    1. On the one hand, the number of sisters is plummeting and the average age is now about 76 years old, which means that day-to-day contact with sisters among laypeople is now rare. The things that go on in some of these congregations, the anger and so on, is limited in its expression outside the membership, and limited in its ability to harm laypeople. This hasn’t always been the case, but it is now.
    2. There are fewer sisters to reform and fewer congregational structures will exist shortly, no matter what the Holy See says. Some of these congregations are simply passing out of existence because they no longer serve their original purposes. Indeed, some of the problem is that when they were asked to “go back to their founders,” some of them didn’t know who their founders were or why they were founded in the first place. So they punted, and we’ve all seen the results of that.
    3. And the one no one wants to talk about, funding. For many years, these objectionable activities of some women’s congregations were not openly acknowledged simply because some of these congregations needed donations to fund their living arrangements. So they put the pious front on and lived on the legacy in public. This is what the “nuns on the bus” thing is about. However, it’s no longer believable in the general society or in the Church. The internet has taken care of that. Simultaneously, however, some of these congregations have also built large investment portfolios and hold a lot of real estate, so some of them can’t be touched now from that standpoint. In order to bolster this, some of the disparate branches have, in the last few years, undergone mergers to manage costs and maintain a central core of people capable of running the organizations. Some congregations of women in this country are very, very wealthy; some less so. All this funding and real estate, which is properly the property of the congregation and not some diocese, constitutes a “prize” that is part of the conversation about going “non-canonical.”

  10. catholicmidwest says:

    In light of all the frankness that’s going on in the Church nowdays, the name Francis takes on a new meaning.

    Sorry, bad pun. But there’s some truth to it.

  11. jbosco88 says:

    I doubt we’ll hear much more on this from Rome – who will continue to get on with it (maybe a few responses to complaints from the LCWR).

    Pope Francis has bigger fish to fry himself, and now Benedict XVI is moving into his retirement home close by, I imagine The Dossier prepared for him is about to be gone through over the occasional consultation with glasses of Orange Fanta. Hopefully, we won’t know what the Pope is doing on this front. No doubt it will be a ‘good’ thing.

    Note how the MSM still haven’t found anything sufficiently scandalous on the new Pope. Long may it stay that way!

  12. Sister H. says:

    Pray, pray, pray for the Bishops charged with trying to help this group; “Hell hath no fury like a liberal scorned!” (Even if the scorning existed only in their imaginations and the correction was done in complete charity).

    These LCWR types are some of the meanest, nastiest, most horrible people I have ever had the misfortune to meet and have to deal with (even though a good friend always told me to “learn how NOT to be by observing them!”).

  13. Thomas S says:

    The comments at the Fishwrap put a smile on my face. I know I shouldn’t engage in schadenfreude, but I just can’t help it.

  14. oldcanon2257 says:

    Although the sisters have been whining for months that they have been treated unfairly by the mean old Vatican men, Francis agrees with the CDF.

    They have found out the hard way that doctrinally the new Holy Father is no pushover. Some sisters will now decry that the papacy has transformed the good Cardinal Bergoglio into the mean old Vatican man Pope Francis. No doubt those sisters will now use that line of “reasoning” to bolster their case for “moving beyond the papacy” as the first baby step of moving beyond Jesus and moving beyond the Church.

  15. kpoterack says:

    Well, this is good news indeed! I am curious about the “program of reform.” Apparently it involves the LCWR being put under the control of three US bishops? Hmmm . . . we’ll see how this goes. My mind keeps going back to the Vatican’s attempt to investigate Archbishop Hunthausen in the 1980′s. Still, a good sign out of the Vatican.

  16. John White says:

    APX said:

    “It’s hard to argue with someone who you supported for their care for “social justice” (I loathe that term.)”

    Do you loathe its frequent use in the Catechism of the Catholic Church? And in the Social Compendium?

  17. B16_Fan says:

    “Well. I guess this is NOT the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.” Priceless!! :-) Thank God I was not drinking something at the time or I would need a new keyboard and monitor! lol Perhaps a Gold Star Fr. Z?

  18. maryh says:

    The LCWR was blind-sided because there are a lot of people who have actually bought the line that if you are truly for the poor and marginalized, and if you are truly humble, you MUST be for liberal ideas on abortion, etc, because Church moral teaching is mean.

    Pope Francis has made it clear, and has had the buy-in of the MSM that he is for the poor and marginalized and is humble. Of course he blind-sided them.

    I don’t know whether the LCWR will get the message, but what I’m hoping for is that the “pew-sitters” and those who have left the Church will get the message. I pray that we are finally seeing the beginning of the end of the opposition between Church doctrine and social justice. Time to reclaim the “peace and justice” dialogue.

    The last person I remember that did this was Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, but the MSM managed to marginalize her strong orthodox belief as sort of an other-worldly peculiarity of hers. I wonder how they’ll handle Pope Francis.

  19. Pingback: Pope Francis and the L. C. W. R. | Big Pulpit

  20. catholicmidwest says:

    John,
    According to the first Concordance I laid hands on just a minute ago (and I have a stack of them), there are 188 mentions of the words “just” and “justice” in scripture. And that doesn’t include the words “justification,” “justified,” “justifies,” “justify,” “justifying,” or “justly.” This means that you’re probably not going to get out of this life as a Christian without considering the topic of justice in some way. It also means that it’s very important to understand the meaning and the context of the word(s) as they are used in scripture and in the Church. Some people misuse these words, yes, but that doesn’t make them useless or non-usable, nor does it make the theological content which stands behind the words null.

  21. Cantor says:

    Just curious: Do few/some/multis/all Argentinian nuns wear habits?

  22. marylise says:

    Discipline of heretics currently thriving within the Catholic Church would appear to be an enormous challenge. These malignant agents have had their own way for a long time. In addition to heading up religious orders, they run parishes, universities and charities. Perceiving no threat to their agenda, they have become emboldened, hardened and entrenched — like parasites, bloated from feeding off the body they aim to destroy. Pope Francis might end up re-evaluating decisions made during the early phase of his papacy when confronted with this type of evil. He might begin to realize that the sacred traditions associated with the papacy are there for a reason: they attract the divine mercy and fecundate the soul with a supernatural strength that is unobtainable by any other means.

  23. southIndia says:

    First LCWR Statement at the Election of HH Pope Francis:
    To the drums of the choir master of the African plain lands –

    We jumped and danced
    Our knees creaking; pant suits tripping.
    In our hall ways we pranced
    At these conservative crowds flipping.

    They wanted a Ratzinger Part II Pope
    But they got Francis, a man for the poor.
    Fancy ferulas, mitre, latin liturgies – NOPE !
    Francis will support the LCWR much more.

    We sisters of the LCWR
    With our vision of the Spirit of Vatican II.
    Our own pope – we ARE.
    We know what is true and what is untrue.

    Our spirit discerning retreats
    The winter solstice, yoga and transcendental meditations.
    Dancing during Mass, shaking for the beats.
    Mother Earth and the Winds of the four directions.

    Above all we fight
    The mean men in Vatican
    It is our right.
    To be a priest – yes we can.

    We have our social gospel.
    Gay marriage, abortion, immigration and gun control.
    All religions are same. Prayer or a spell.
    The ozone layer we worry, not the soul.

    At last our persecution comes to an end.
    The mean Pope Ratzinger is gone.
    Here comes Francis, a dear friend.
    Rejoice sisters, it is a new dawn.

    In the WhiteHouse, we got our man.
    Watch out CDF – retract your communique!
    We now have our modern Pope in the Vatican.
    O Joan, O Janet. Florence and Monique!

  24. mamajen says:

    @Cantor

    The nuns I saw in the infamous Misa de Ninos video were wearing habits, and the Argentinian nuns I saw celebrating the Pope’s election in the Vatican wore habits as well.

  25. Pingback: Logos and Muse: No Hope and Change for LCWR Under Pope Francis

  26. NBW says:

    Does this mean no more labyrinths? I hope so!

  27. Daniel says:

    mamajen:

    How would you know if you had seen nuns that weren’t wearing habits? I would expect that any “nuns” most likely do wear habits, though many refer to all “sisters” as “nuns” whether they fit the formal definition or not.

  28. mamajen says:

    @Daniel

    I wouldn’t.

  29. av8er says:

    DOT DOT DASH DOT DADASH… THIS JUST IN.. THE POPE IS CATHOLIC.. MORE TO FOLLOW… DOT DAH DOT DADOT DOT DASH….

  30. pjsandstrom says:

    I wish that the confusion caused by calling this women ‘nuns’ would be corrected by Father Z and many others. That is, they by vows and Canon Law are ‘sisters’ — that is, ‘active religious’ and not ‘contemplatives’ or ‘enclosed/cloistered’ as ‘nuns’ are. This is a true distinction which is often ‘slid over’ in American usage — but it is a very important distinction both for understanding the attitudes/theological choices and also for understanding ‘who is who’ as religious women. Another ‘historical point of connection’ is the news that the ‘last Beguine in the world’ died yesterday at 93 in Belgium. The Beguines in their day were the great exponents of the ‘Devotio Moderna’ and a ‘religious life’ based on it — which had many similarities with the present attitudes and activities of the ‘sisters’.

  31. pjsandstrom says:

    I wish that the confusion caused by calling these women ‘nuns’ would be corrected by Father Z and many others. That is, they by vows and Canon Law are ‘sisters’ — that is, ‘active religious’ and not ‘contemplatives’ or ‘enclosed/cloistered’ as ‘nuns’ are. This is a true distinction which is often ‘slid over’ in American usage — but it is a very important distinction both for understanding the attitudes/theological choices and also for understanding ‘who is who’ as religious women. Another ‘historical point of connection’ is the news that the ‘last Beguine in the world’ died yesterday at 93 in Belgium. The Beguines in their day were the great exponents of the ‘Devotio Moderna’ and a ‘religious life’ based on it — which had many similarities with the present attitudes and activities of the ‘sisters’.

  32. wmeyer says:

    I do not loathe the phrase “social justice”, but I do loathe it when used to override Church doctrine. Or rather, as an excuse for ignoring Church doctrine. Sadly, it is very commonly used in just that way.

  33. boko fittleworth says:

    Sister Mock and Sister Deacon? Are you making this up, Father? What did Sister Fake and Sister Priest have to say? How ’bout Sister Pant and Sister Suit?

  34. wymer comments ” I do not loathe the phrase “social justice”, but I do loathe it when used to override Church doctrine. Or rather, as an excuse for ignoring Church doctrine. Sadly, it is very commonly used in just that way.Get exactly what you’re saying wymer. Good point.With ya. However, I do loathe the term social justice in the way it’s been hijacked by the secular media and humanist culture. Their leader,the Marxist Obama administration,lives and breathes the term social justice.It’s an excuse to ignore it’s true meaning and is sadly used to promote Marxist ideology. i wish the Church had found a better term or grabbed the narrative before the knuckleheads did-even some Catholics claim that they can support obummer’s policies because he (at least they spin it that way)agrees with the Church’s definition of Social Justice.They hardly understand what it means.

  35. i know. name calling. not too charitable but i was actually being kind.