LCWR Press Release

The LCWR breaks silence for a post-assembly press release. They rejected me, but I’ll share this anyway.  My emphases and comments:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Leadership Conference of Women Religious Assembly Explores the Needs of the Global Community

[Orlando, FL]  At the annual assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) held in Orlando, FL, August 13-16, the more than 820 participants discussed some of the critical issues facing the global community and how US Catholic sisters may respond to them.

In a keynote address, theologian Sister Ilia Delio, OSF spoke to the destruction of the planet and the need for recognition of the place of humanity in the evolutionary process. Noting that the decisions made today will shape the future direction of evolution, she said, “The choices we make in love and for love co-create our future. When we see ourselves as part of a larger whole, we act on behalf of the whole of which we are a part. Christian evolution is thinking and seeing in a new way. [Don't forget that, according to Sister, God needs the cosmos. HERE]

“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the whole biotic community,” she continued. “It is wrong when it tends to do otherwise. We need a new way of being in the world that broadens diversity, deepens interiority, and strengthens the bonds of relationality.” [Was Our Lord and our relationship with the Church anywhere in her address?]

CDF Doctrinal Assessment

Three executive sessions were held during the course of the assembly where LCWR members discussed the doctrinal assessment of the organization by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). The findings of that investigation resulted in the appointment by CDF of Archbishop J. Peter Sartain as the Holy See’s apostolic delegate for the doctrinal assessment of LCWR. LCWR invited Archbishop Sartain to attend the assembly so that he could meet the members, experience firsthand the conference’s annual gathering, and hear the members’ concerns about the doctrinal assessment findings and plan for reform. ["plan for reform"]

At the first executive session, the LCWR officers shared their impressions of the meetings that had taken place between themselves and Archbishop Sartain, as well as his two assistants, Bishop Leonard Blair and Bishop Thomas John Paprocki. LCWR invited Archbishop Sartain to address the assembly during the second session and then to listen to the members’ response to his remarks. At a third session the members gave direction to the LCWR officers for next steps in working with the three bishop delegates. All sessions were conducted in a process of contemplative discernment where time was provided for prayer, silence, and respectful listening. [buzzzzzz]

Immediately following the assembly, the 21-member LCWR national board held a three-day meeting that began with a two-hour debriefing session with Archbishop Sartain. At the conclusion of its meeting, the board issued the following statement: [A press release within a press release!]

“The session with Archbishop Sartain allowed a profound and honest sharing of views. Due to time limitations during the assembly, Archbishop Sartain had little opportunity to answer the members’ questions. [Read: They didn't hear from him what they wanted to hear.] Clearly, however, he had been listening intently and heard the concerns voiced by the members, and their desire for more information. The extraordinarily rich and deeply reverent conversation during the board meeting gave us a greater understanding of Archbishop Sartain, and we believe he now also better understands us. [No doubt.] Although we remain uncertain as to how our work with the bishop delegates will proceed, we maintain hope that continued conversations of this depth will lead to a resolution of this situation that maintains the integrity of LCWR and is healthy for the whole church.” [So, they don't plan to bolt right away.]

Presidential Address

In her address to the assembly, LCWR president Sister Florence Deacon, OSF presented reflections on what it means to be a faithful woman of the church as a framework for a way forward in LCWR’s relationships with church leaders. Referring to LCWR’s doctrinal assessment, she concluded, “Our situation reflects larger questions and concerns such as the ongoing implementation of the Second Vatican Council; [Ahhh... that's it!  The CDF doesn't understand Vatican II!] the ecclesial roles of women religious and of the laity, especially women; understandings of authority, faithful dissent, and obedience; and the need for spaces where honest, probing questions about faith and belief can be raised and discussed.” [The CDF has described in a document how questions can be raised.]

Outstanding Leadership Award

During the assembly, LCWR bestowed the 2013 Outstanding Leadership Award on its past president Sister Pat Farrell, OSF, for the service she gave in her more than 20 years ministering to victims of violence and trauma in Latin America, and for her role in leading LCWR. In her acceptance speech, she reflected on the experience of being thrust into the middle of the polarization in the Catholic Church [which she help to create, btw] and offered possible ways to move through the divisions. One suggestion was “to really see another person and to really allow ourselves to be seen.” She stated, “To see someone requires the simple gift of attention and that in itself is an affirmation.  To allow ourselves to be seen is equally as challenging.  Expressing what we really think and feel, with transparency and vulnerability, is for the brave of heart.  It is, however, what we are being asked to do in our current conflict.  All of a sudden the world is looking to us. [?!?  Is that why the MSM was covering the meeting soooo closely?] In response, we keep calling ourselves and one another to truthfulness and integrity, to a thoughtful sorting out of what that looks like concretely.”

Actions for Justice

Members of the Hope CommUnity Center, Apopka, FL, a service learning community dedicated to the empowerment of Central Florida’s immigrant and working poor communites, shared in a panel presentation to the assembly their personal stories and struggle for commonsense reform of the broken immigration system. Eli Garcia, coordinator of the Sin Fronteras Youth Group at Hope CommUnity Center and a farmworker, DREAMer, and activist, told of her own journey from silent fear to empowerment. Jose Luis Marantes, the service learning coordinator at Hope, reminded those gathered that the work of restoring relationships and opening the community to all will continue long after the passage of comprehensive immigration reform. Evelyn Rivera, a member of the national coordinating committee of United We Dream, shared the story of the loss of her mother to deportation more than seven years ago. Sister Ann Scholz, SSND, LCWR associate director for social mission, spoke about the state of comprehensive reform legislation and called the LCWR members to pledge to walk in solidarity with all who seek justice for immigrants.

The assembly also adopted a resolution that reads: “We, the members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, are compelled to work toward a world where reverence for all living beings finds expression in an approach to life free from violence. [Would that include the unborn?] We stand in solidarity with the victims of violence, [the unborn?] with a majority of the American people, and with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as we heed the Gospel call to nonviolence and seek to persuade our local, state, and federal officials to enact laws that will: require universal background checks for all gun purchases; [What about the unborn?] restrict civilian access to assault weapons and high capacity magazines; and make gun trafficking a federal crime. The resolution further calls for laws that will improve access to mental health care and other services for those in need and fund programs that make available educational materials on the effects of violence and provide opportunities for youth and young adults to end gang violence.” [How about opportunities to be born?]

Election of Officers

At the conclusion of the assembly, Sister Carol Zinn, a member of the leadership team of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, assumed the office of LCWR president for 2013-2014. Prior to her election to congregation leadership, she was serving as the representative for the Congregations of St. Joseph, an NGO in general consultative status with the economic and social council of the United Nations. [You knew the UN had to be in here somewhere.]

The body voted in Sister Sharon Holland, vice-president of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe Michigan, as the LCWR president-elect. Prior to serving in congregational leadership, she was one of the highest-ranking women at the Vatican where she spent 21 years on the staff of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

The conference also elected Sister Barbara Blesse of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield as conference secretary for a third year.

LCWR has nearly 1400 members who are elected leaders of their religious orders, representing approximately 57,000 Catholic sisters. The conference develops leadership, promotes collaboration within church and society, and serves as a voice for systemic change.  ["systemic change" is code language]

Sister Annmarie Sanders, IHM
Associate Director for Communications
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
8808 Cameron Street
Silver Spring, MD  20910
301-588-4955
asanders@lcwr.org
www.lcwr.org
Facebook: facebook.com/lcwr.org

Nothing about the right to life.

Not a word about Christ.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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32 Responses to LCWR Press Release

  1. Mandy P. says:

    Just read that whole thing and I have a serious question. These ladies are supposed to be Brides of Christ, right? Unless I am mistaken, there was not one reference to or mention of Jesus in that entire statement. I realize that part of some women religious’ vocation is working with the poor, education, etc and so on, but isn’t their primary job in all of that being espoused to the Lord? You would think that Jesus, and discussion related to that, would be the focus of the convention and any statements from them about it.

    I don’t comment often and I don’t want to dump on these ladies unnecessarily, but the lack of anything pertaining to Christ in their statement really did strike me the wrong way. Combined with the new age babble-talk they received, this is very, very troubling. No wonder the CDF got involved.

  2. Fr AJ says:

    “Not a word about Christ.” That pretty much sums up where this group is right now.

  3. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Is all this nonsense about evolution some debt the sisters owe to Fr. Pierre Teilard de Chardin? Is the problem that they have no doctrinal grounding in Christ, that they have ceased to think like Christians in any real way? Is it to sisters such as these that Cardinal Ratzinger’s book Behold the Pierced One need to be read: real Christology begins on the knees, he says, or it doesn’t begin at all.

  4. Supertradmum says:

    Well, it is too bad there is not such thing as Teilhard’s evolution of the spirit (tongue in cheek here, folks) as then these good ladies would merely become disembodied spirits floating around and in the universal cosmic Christ and leave the Church alone….

  5. Peggy R says:

    I can’t help but think of these self-serving remarks in contrast to the real suffering of the women religious in Egypt.

    Quite the opposite of Mother Teresa’s mantra: “We do it for Jesus.”

  6. A decade or two from now they will have to shut up shop. The biological solution applies to them too.

  7. Fool_for_Christ says:

    Save the evolving planet and cosmos!… but don’t worry about the salvation of souls!?!

    Evolution and global warming… these are the heresies of the day that are distracting people from the four last things: death, judgment, Heaven, Hell. “Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell; lead all souls to Heaven especially those in most need of Thy mercy!”

  8. PA mom says:

    How can faithful dissent be a goal?
    I pray that the efforts of Abp. Sartain have warmed the hearts of some of the Sisters.

  9. CPT TOM says:

    It is interesting that according to the National Catholic Register, the President of the LCWR,

    Referencing Perfectae Caritatis (Perfect Charity), the decree on the renewal of religious life issued in 1965 by the Second Vatican Council, Sister Florence added, “It called on religious to undertake a ‘radical renewal’ in the sense of a return to the roots or sources of Christian life, including the vision of our founders; and to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as we adapt to the changing conditions of our times.”— NCRegister.com, LCWR Leader Describes Its Relationship With the Church as ‘Delicate Weaving’

    Well having read through Perfectae Caritatis, You can see where the excuses for dumping habits, abandoning charisms, and moving out to apartments, and other abuse came from. You also see where the degree seems to call upon the religious to well, get closer to Christ, the Father, and the Holy Spirit (para 2), imbue their actions with God, to “renouncing the world they may live for God alone,” (para 5) to live the poverty of their vows (para 13), and live out Chastity and pure continence as well as promote it. “[C]hastity “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:12) which religious profess should be counted an outstanding gift of grace. (Para 12).

    This sounds more like the renewal we’ve seen in the new traditional and orthodox orders that have blossomed lately, NOT, the crazy, higgly piggly heterodoxy we’ve seen in these aging orders.

    There are several paragraphs (para 4, 14, 17, 18, and 20) are problematic especially when you consider how most of the council was implemented…they essentially became the basis to disobey and to break things that didn’t need to be broken.

    If this, like most of the abuses born out of Vatican II, had been read in light of Tradition and common sense (eg not wearing wool full-habits in tropical climates perhaps, or wearing full habits in countries that customarily cover their women fully) the whole LCWR fiasco could have been avoided. As well as the damage to Catholic Education, Hospitals, Social work, orphanages, etc.

    The enormous waste of it all. so many souls lost. Father forgive them, they knew not what they were doing.

  10. iPadre says:

    Isn’t it ironic how Nuns are paraded in the streets of Egypt for their fidelity, while others are searching for new was to avoid the call to TRUE reform and greater fidelity.

  11. Clinton says:

    Interesting that the LCWR sisters had time to issue a detailed wish list for gun control laws,
    but, as Father pointed out, not one word about the unborn. Also, has the LCWR ever
    issued any statement repudiating so-called ‘same-sex marriage’? They are as curiously mute
    on that topic as they are on abortion…

    Peggy R., I too was struck by the juxtaposition of these two posts in Fr. Z’s blog. If you put a
    LCWR sister next to one of those suffering Franciscan nuns, the contrast couldn’t be more
    marked– one is a Bride of Christ, even experiencing her Groom’s suffering. The other is a
    decadent community organizer who long ago ditched actual hands-on service for a comfortable
    gig in academia, on the board of some non-profit, or burrowed into a chancery office.

    For all their gassing on about serving the poor and disenfranchised, the sisters of the LCWR’s
    teaching and nursing orders couldn’t wait to drop actually teaching and nursing. I assume it’s
    because schoolchildren, the sick, and the poor are far from the levers of power that the sisters
    dropped them like a bad habit. As it is, I cannot recall the last time I saw a sister teaching
    elementary schoolkids, and the last time a LCWR sister emptied a bedpan, Paul VI was
    probably still Pope.

  12. Sandy says:

    “….to be a faithful woman of the church…” hmm; if I were a betting person, I would bet that their definition and mine would vary immensely! Lord have mercy! How did they go off the deep end so badly?! It was so sad to find out that the Religious of the Sacred Heart (of my Alma Mater) are included in this bunch. The holy nuns of decades past must be turning over in their graves!

  13. Athelstan says:

    LCWR has nearly 1400 members who are elected leaders of their religious orders, representing approximately 57,000 Catholic sisters.

    Agree or disagree with the LCWR leadership, it’s disappointing to see them 1) citing out of date membership statistics for member orders, and 2) implying that the LCWR really speaks for all the sisters in those orders.

    In regards to the first, there were projected to be only 43,664 sisters in LCWR member orders by 2012 (down from 60,642 sisters in 2007) by LCWR’s own statistics; they seem to be losing roughly 2,000 to 3,000 sisters, mostly through, obviously, demographic change. LCWR affiliated orders still receive some vocations , but they tend to be far older than the norm in CMSWR affiliated orders. The average age of women religious in these orders is in the late 70′s as a result.

    And it must also be emphasized that LCWR is a canonical group of leaders of religious orders, not the orders themselves – an individual sister in an LCWR order is not ipso facto a member of LCWR. Undoubtedly the sentiments expressed by the LCWR *do* reflect the beliefs of many of those sisters (if most of an order disagreed, they could disaffiliate and join CMSWR instead, after all), but it can’t be assumed that they speak for all of them, certainly not on every issue. I know that I have encountered more than one sister in such orders who have made that reality plain.

  14. SonofMonica says:

    These sisters seem to actually believe that they are in some sort of negotiation with the Vatican and/or bishops. They are, of course, mistaken. But given that they have seen these types of screeds lead to structural change (read:destruction) in protestant ecclesial communities like The Episcopal Church, and given that these sisters are seeking the same type of “change,” it is hardly surprising.

  15. nanetteclaret says:

    As far as I know, Modernism is still a heresy (the “synthesis of all heresies”). “Pascendi Dominici Gregis,” Pope St. Pius X, 1907. Instead of being curtailed, this heresy has infected the Church, except for a very few places which seem to be immune.

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

  16. dep says:

    “All of a sudden the world is looking to us.”

    “To” or “at”? The right preposition is ever so important.

  17. marylise says:

    Useful idiots are people who enthusiastically work towards their own destruction, often at considerable personal cost, for the sake of an agenda masterminded by someone who despises them and is disgusted by their lack of discernment. The LCWR spokespersons should look more carefully at the fallen angel they currently serve. In his face, they will see only hatred. He can hardly believe how easily they have been seduced into spewing vomit back and forth at each other. He laughs at their plans for saving the planet. By the way, as a matter of passing interest — is there a positive correlation between lesbianism and witchcraft, does anyone know?

  18. benedetta says:

    “Faithful dissent.” Whacky.

  19. Gaetano says:

    The language of “Christian Evolution” is grounded in gnosticism, and can never be reconciled with orthodox Christianity. Gnosticism is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, heresy the Church has confronted.

    The Church has had 1,800 years to consider the issue, and it isn’t ever going to change. There is no common ground, nor can there ever be common ground, between gnosticism and Christianity.

    Anathema sit.

  20. Geoffrey says:

    “As it is, I cannot recall the last time I saw a sister teaching elementary schoolkids…”

    I attended parochial school in the 1980s and 3 of my teachers were religious sisters (with modern habits/”uniforms”, but with head coverings). Last I heard, their order abandoned their head coverings in the early 2000s…

  21. Clinton says:

    Athelstan, I agree that it is important to keep in mind that the LCWR is an organization
    of leaders of various congregations and not of all the sisters in a given congregation.
    I’m sure that most congregations represented in the LCWR contain sisters who are unhappy
    with the positions taken by their LCWR delegates.

    However, these congregations of sisters keep re-electing leaders with the same mindset. Where
    is an LCWR member critical of the organization’s priorities? Has even one of the 1400 LCWR
    members publicly criticized the organization, its goals, its dubious fidelity to basic Church
    teachings (like the sanctity of unborn life)? Has one come forward to suggest that the orders
    represented by the LCWR consider that orthodoxy might be a means to revitalize their
    withering demographic? How is it that the LCWR members can be so uniformly decadent
    unless the sisters electing these delegates are not themselves overwhelmingly of like mind?

    The LCWR has chosen to stonewall inquiry into allegations of past sexual abuse of children by
    members of the congregations it says it represents. It’s chosen to stonewall the investigations
    of the CDF, and hasn’t addressed the heterodoxy that prompted the CDF’s intervention in the
    first place. The LCWR hasn’t, in all its years, honestly assessed the reasons why its member
    congregations are facing demographic collapse but other congregations outside the LCWR are
    flourishing. Will the ‘leadership’ in the LCWR ever take time away from its self-congratulatory
    psychobabble to address some of the issues that face the sisters they claim to represent?
    If it’s not going to address those issues, then what on earth is the LCWR in business for?

  22. netokor says:

    “is there a positive correlation between lesbianism and witchcraft, does anyone know?”

    Juan Antonio Reig Plá, Bishop of Alcalá de Henares (Madrid) stated last year by televised homily that those who seek homosexual relations most assuredly find hell. He was attacked by the left as I’m sure he knew he would.

    What a contrast he makes with our Fr. Jim. Surely courageous, forceful words of true charity from a Shepherd such as this can save souls.

  23. One of those TNCs says:

    I love the paragraph (#3) where she throws around “look-at-me-I’m-educated” words like “biotic,” “interiority,” and especially, “relationality.”

    Explain, ma’am, how one “deepens” one’s “interiority.” (Maybe I can avoid it.)

    “Relationality”? How about plain ol’ “relationships”?

    I tend to dislike listening to over-educated people.

  24. One of those TNCs says:

    “All of a sudden, the world is looking to us.”

    Sister, your narcissism is showing…

    [As I wrote HERE.]

  25. jeffreyquick says:

    So LCWR is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Brady Campaign?
    “Emit gladius” — Jesus.

  26. Gail F says:

    “To see someone requires the simple gift of attention and that in itself is an affirmation. To allow ourselves to be seen is equally as challenging. Expressing what we really think and feel, with transparency and vulnerability, is for the brave of heart. It is, however, what we are being asked to do in our current conflict. All of a sudden the world is looking to us. In response, we keep calling ourselves and one another to truthfulness and integrity, to a thoughtful sorting out of what that looks like concretely.”

    The world is looking not looking at them. Hardly anyone has a clue they’re meeting. But if the world were looking, what would it see? A bunch of people that have been pretending to “dialogue” with the Church for YEARS, always saying disingenuously that they don’t know where the dialogue will go next. I do: nowhere. I think I have a pretty good idea of what truthfulness and integrity “look like concretely,” I don’t need a national conference to have people remind me of it. Why do they? This is yet another waste of everyone’s time.

  27. mbutton says:

    They gave Ph.Ds to anyone in those days.

  28. Nancy D. says:

    The fact is, the polarization in Christ’s Church has been allowed to occur due to the false ecumenism of Vatican II. The charitable anathema has always existed for the sake of Christ, His Church, all who will come to believe, and those prodigal sons and daughters who, hopefully, will return to the fold.

  29. Supertradmum says:

    mbutton, I have knowledge to contest your statement not based on fact. When many of these nuns were getting their doctorates, universities were old boys’ clubs which made it harder for women to get PhDs not easier. I know this from experience. When I was working on the doctoral thesis at Notre Dame, only 1% of all doctoral students in America were women, and the bar was set much higher than now. Many topics which are now accepted were not considered scholastic. Do not disparage their degrees. You may question the type of theology or philosophy, but not the work.

    When I was at ND, I asked to live with nuns to get away from fornicating grad students, and I can assure you, although most of them were liberals, they worked hard and did excellent research for well-earned degrees. It is much, much easier to get a doctorate today, as all the standards in education have been lowered and remember, I just left teaching at the university level in December of 2010 and saw the slide of expectations.

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  31. JonPatrick says:

    I don’t understand why the Vatican continues to tolerate this ridiculous charade. To try to “negotiate” with the LCWR is a waste of time. They are not going to suddenly see the light and change. They should just abolish the LCWR and start over with a new leadership group composed of nuns that are orthodox and faithful to the Church’s teachings. There must be some left within the orders. The existing leaders should be given a choice to return to religious life as ordinary sisters or to quit the order.

  32. Stumbler but trying says:

    “the ecclesial roles of women religious and of the laity, especially women; understandings of authority, faithful dissent, and obedience; and the need for spaces where honest, probing questions about faith and belief can be raised and discussed.”

    In my humble opinion, these women are a useless bunch and offer no real vitality to the Church. I see no brides of Christ when they speak or when they are marching around in protest. Where is the beauty of their femininity consecrated to Christ? When I visit the beloved Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart, here in Los Angeles, wow…what a difference. They do not even have to speak to me and already, just by looking at them, I see joy, love, true witness, and complete surrender. That joyful witness is passed on and as a result I am joyful and hopeful and renewed.

    These LCWR types leave me angry and upset to see them so bitter and so out there…”faithful dissent? Need for spaces? I am sure Hades has lots of “spaces.”

    Lord Jesus, please help me to pray for them that they will never be marched around or ridiculed like war prisoners for love of you like their poor sisters in present day Egypt.