CDF examination of the LCWR

In a recent post on the site of National Catholic Fishwrap, I read that His Eminence William Card. Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sent a letter to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (cf. magisterium of nuns), …

… announcing the doctrinal assessment. Levada cited Vatican doctrinal concerns with the conference dating back to 2001.

The Levada letter set no timetable for further discussions or resolution of the issues involved. The outcome of the assessment could have a significant impact on the future of the conference and, in turn, the leadership of U.S. women religious communities, possibly leading to Vatican demands for new methods of communication among women religious or even new structures of leadership.


According to Levada’s letter, the Vatican study became necessary after the conference failed to respond adequately to concerns expressed by the Vatican in 2001. The Levada letter cited three areas of doctrinal concern: women’s ordination, the primacy of the Catholic faith, and homosexuality.

Levada designated Toledo, Ohio, Bishop Leonard P. Blair, a member of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, as the lead bishop in the study.


Levada told the women, the letter stated, that once Blair sends his final report to the congregation, his assessment will be sent for review to different groups, including “a subcommission, the American cardinals in Rome, and perhaps some others.” Levada explained he will then consult with Rodé and develop a final report that will be presented to Pope Benedict XVI.

The Fishwrap article is really about the persecution of these beleaguered women religious, who just want to help the poor, after all.

There is no mention of the fact that the LCWR has been straight-arming SNAP because of the emerging picture of female abuse of minors.

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  1. TrueLiturgy says:

    I just read the whole article on NCR. I said to myself “Good! They finally got a real talking to.” I think the letter that the LCWR sent out among their constituents did not really say all that was said to them by the Prefects.

    Then I read the comments below. They are sickening!!! Just a warning for those intending to look at it.


  2. TomG says:

    While I’m sure there are some good, orthodox sisters in the LCWR, the leadership is bankrupt and, frankly, they are all rapidly going the way of all flesh. The future is in the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (of which those splendid Dominican Sisters of Mary of Mich. are a part!)

  3. Athelstan says:

    Reading NCR – not necessarily Tom Fox’s article, but certainly the columns (such as those by Chittester, McBrien, Gumble) – and its comboxes, it’s really hard to escape the conclusion that they and we really mean fundamentally different things when we talk about the Church. The distance is so vast…that we do not even share common premises from which to work. It’s more than just religious habits, or even women’s ordination or the nature of homosexuality. Their ecclesiology, soteriology, even their Christology is different. Everything is about power.

    I don’t know how that circle gets squared. Too much of what passes for internal dialogue in the Church seems chiefly about obscuring this (sad) reality.

  4. chironomo says:


    Ditto… every conversation I’ve ever had with others on NCR, Pray Tell and other “lefty” type “Catholic” blogs always ends at an impasse when I’m forced to ask “and so why exactly do you say you’re Catholic”? At that point they get defensive and say something like “well who are YOU to say what’s Catholic?” to which I have to reply; “It’s not my call, but if you disagree with what the Church believes, why stay?”, then they say “so you have to agree with what the hierarchy says if you want to be a Catholic?”, to which I simply answer “well…. yes actually, you do”. At that point they start babbling on about the nature of “Church” and individual belief, free will and the such and I lose interest.

  5. chironomo says:

    Just went and read the NCR comments… I really don’t understand where these people come from and what exactly they see as a model for the Church other than a place where your own opinions and beliefs can be validated and accepted regardless of what they are. One commenter claimed “just because the Church proclaims it and teaches it doesn’t mean that we can’t disagree publicly with it”


    It is getting harder and harder to see common ground between these folks and the Church.

  6. The Cobbler says:

    What’s at issue with the problems raised by Athelstan and Chironomo is that it isn’t a question of whether there should exist a religion that is all-affirming, it’s a question of whether the Catholic Church should not be something other than that religion. If they want a Church that is an Unchurch and is All-Affirming, they can have it — if they want, on the other hand, to replace my Church with this one, they need to stow it and learn some of that tolerance they keep blathering about. You see, I am a live and let live kind of guy: I do not give a hoot what you do in your personal space, so long as you actually allow me and mine the same courtesy. Unfortunately, none of the “tolerance” and “open” types actually wish to take this deal.

  7. Athelstan says:

    Hello Chironomo,

    Because I value my peace of mind, I may have to forgo reading the comboxes at NCR before long.

    It is interesting that these…people seem unwilling to leave a Church whose teachings they in the main find so disagreeable – indeed, most of whose history they find to be wrongheaded, bigoted, damaging. If they were (say) Baptists, they would long ago have just pulled up sticks and started a new church across town. Instead, unable to undo history, they dream into being a church of heir own imagining, “the Church of Vatican II,” and give their allegiance to *that*.

    Perhaps this says something about the magnetic pull of the Catholic Church.

  8. Athelstan says:

    Hello Cobbler,

    Ask the parish priest – at least in many parishes I have been – for a non-peak hour mass which perhaps uses some chant or something else not found in an OCP Gather hymnal and find out how quickly tolerance ends once the liturgical director gets wind of it.

    Ask for a traditional EF mass and you may initiate World War III. But I think many of us here have lived this experience.

    Some of this is more than just mere…well, modernism. It’s a kind of control pathology found in certain kinds of people who are drawn to intense involvement in parish life – only liberated by kind of lay-centered model adopted in much of the west after the Council.

  9. Peggy R says:

    I have developed a simple proverb to illustrate what the problem is with the NCR crowd and off-the reservation nuns etc. They have not grasped that:

    “You can’t work for Coke and promote Pepsi.”

  10. AnAmericanMother says:


    Coming from the Home of Coca-Cola, I had developed a similar saying: “You can’t draw a paycheck from Coke while you’re selling Pepsi.”

    Or as C.S. Lewis said in reference to his Apostate Bishop in The Great Divorce, the honorable thing to do if you no longer believe is to resign your position . . . not to get book deals, press coverage, a bishopric . . . . .

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