Nuns in Arms! Sr. Fiedler runs down Archbp. Sartain as the LCWR Games begin.

The inimitable Sr. Maureen Fiedler has taken it upon her broad shoulder to be spokesone for the LCWR.

We know that a past mentor of the LCWR is annoyed that Archbp. Sartain (appointed by the CDF to keep his eyes on the nuns) is attending the proceedings (starting today) at the Caribe Royale in Orlando. HERE

The old guard is piping up.

From the National Schismatic Reporter (aka Fishwrap) with my emphases and comments:

LCWR: The coming assembly
Maureen Fiedler | Aug. 13, 2013

The website of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) offers this headline: “We welcome new members and new ideas for living religious life into the future.” And this year, some of those new ideas might come from the keynote speaker at the annual LCWR assembly in Orlando, Fla.: Franciscan Sr. Ilia Delio, who directs the Catholic Studies Program at Georgetown University. She is one of the emerging thinkers [what a curious way to put that] emphasizing the “new cosmos story” and, in this case, its relevance for contemporary religious life. [“new cosmos story”… remember last year?  They had a chat about the “noosphere,” “cosmo genesis,” synergistic convergence”…]
But hanging over the entire assembly [like the proverbial Sword of Damocles] is the Vatican “mandate” [Do you hear a touch of scorn in those “”?] that made headlines last year. LCWR leaders and many others offered stinging critiques of the mandate’s thrust [Oooo!] and inaccuracies. Thousands of Catholics took to the streets and cathedral steps to voice their protest.  [Thousands?  Puhleeze.]

Now, Sr. Patricia McDermott, president of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, a large community in [the] LCWR, said in an interview that “the points of direction for the future, I think are unacceptable — that the bishops would be looking at our materials, our publications, giving direction to the assembly. … That’s not a conference that most leaders want to belong to.” [First, the sisters can opt out of the LCWR if they wish.  Second, this is a manifestation of the attitude which drives the Magisterium of Nuns, whereby the nuns seek to set up their own teaching authority over and against that of the divinely instituted college of bishops.] I’m sure she speaks for far more LCWR members than just herself.  [And Sister is speaking for all of them with the help of the Fishwrap.]

Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle, head of the three-bishop committee that is supposed to carry out the mandate, [Can you hear the dismissive tone?] will speak at the assembly and reportedly will take questions from the assembled sisters. It will be interesting to see if he has heard any of those messages and if he understands the thrust of religious life today.  [No no… dear readers… I’m sure she meant no disrespect.]

In fact, Sartain should be familiar with Catholics who operate out of conscience.  [She is about to justify the defiance of the nuns.] According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on Aug. 5: “He has found that Catholics, and parishes, in Western Washington are an independent-minded, conscience-driven lot. Several parishes in Seattle and Tacoma refused to serve as gathering points for the signature campaign to roll back marriage equality in Washington. A big demonstration of pro-gay marriage Catholics took place outside St. James Cathedral a week before election day.” [See? The enlightened of Seattle defy Archbp. Sartain!  If the nuns defy him at the Caribe Royal, Sartain is just getting what he deserves.]

It will also be interesting to try to decipher whether Pope Francis has any influence on this process. [!] Early reports said he approved the mandate, but those reports came from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which inaugurated the mandate, not the pope himself. [HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!  Too rich.  Don’t you love the insinuation of underhanded dealings, conspiratorial machinations, disinformation campaigns against the lamb-innocent sisters?]

One of the accusations against LCWR in the mandate was its emphasis on social justice rather than issues of sexuality or abortion. Funny thing: One might say the same thing about Pope Francis. [Pope Francis… he’s so dreamy.  He’s on our side.   What does Maureen think of Francis’ clear position against the ordination of women?]

Get the LCWR GAMES begin!

And may the odds be ever in your favor.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Liberals, Magisterium of Nuns, Throwing a Nutty, Women Religious and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Anchorite says:

    It was easy for her to compare their priorities with that of Francis as he made it clear, that he would rather preach about social justice in front of millions than about abortion and gay marriage.

  2. Legisperitus says:

    Catholics who follow the teachings of the Church are never “conscience-driven,” are they?

    Pity the poor LCWR-ites aren’t more conscience-ridden. Or perhaps they got “rid” of theirs some time ago.

  3. kclark14 says:

    So, according to the Catholic “Left,” Pope Francis’s off-the-cuff comments on the role of women, gay priests and gay lay faithful, etc. (which they never attempt to interpret or understand in light of authentic Catholic teaching) are to be taken at face value, harbingers of the enlightened, progressive Church to be ushered in by Francis, (“Sing a New Church into Being, anybody?), but Francis’s reaffirmation of the CDF’s LCWR program somehow just slipped by him? He was misled/misinformed and couldn’t possibly have signed off on it? Desperate excuses like this indicate that, at least for the perennially aggrieved dissidents known as the LCWR leadership, the initial love affair with Francis has reached the “denial” stage.

  4. Joseph-Mary says:

    “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross!” (Phil 2:8)

    These women need our prayers for their salvation! It is so serious what they are doing and have done to lead souls astray and they are held highly responsible because of their ‘religious life’ and vows.

  5. Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

    I fear that I must bring to your attention that you have misspelled a word in one of your comments on the Fishwrap article. Here is my recommended correction (strikethrough of the error and bold for the correct spelling):

    The enlightened benighted of Seattle defy Archbp. Sartain!

    I pray that you will take this mild corrective in the spirit of charity towards your good self in which it is offered.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer [Alas, pro tempore, residing in a near suburb of Seattle, but blessed to have the good Archbishop as our prelate]

  6. Robbie says:

    This story perfectly illustrates the problems the Church has faced since the “spirit of the council” took hold. Before 1960, would a story like this have ever been conceivable? Would a group of religious women, nuns, have ever spoken so openly and with such hostility about the Vatican and the teachings of the Church? I doubt it, but Francis did tell people to create commotion, right?

    The LCWR issue is merely a product of VCII. Allowing the “spirit of the council” to essentially mean whatever anyone wants has fractured the Church in many directions. Now rather than Catholic meaning the same thing to all people, we’ve got factions fighting each other over what the Church is and isn’t. It’s that very infighting that has created a culture where some parishes in Seattle refuse to act as gathering points for a campaign to defend traditional marriage, a central tenet of the faith.

    And let’s be honest here. Pope Francis did the Church few favors with his press conference on the plane. Regardless of what he meant, his tone was certainly noted by the progressive and modernists forces and they have run with it. Maybe the views of the hard left will change over time, but right now they see Francis as someone who’s on their side. If he doesn’t exert firm control over the business of the Church and over what and how he says things, more and more confusion and commotion will exist.

  7. StWinefride says:

    I was looking through some old copies of the UK Catholic Herald last week. In one from June there was an interview with Sister Joan Chittister entitled:

    “We Sisters are all highly traditionalist”.

    I didn’t read the article.

  8. acardnal says:

    I note the LCWR “countdown” clock you have posted in the upper right hand corner of your blog. What happens when it reaches zero? Does it implode?

    [Perhaps they will implode?]

  9. CPT TOM says:

    This is all so very painful. 40 years of this crazy, slow and thorough decent into the abyss. Is it really necessary to go through the trouble of trying to reform LCWR? It is obviously a contaminated and toxic organization that should just be suppressed with a goodly portion of it’s leadership excommunicated or censured. By their actions over the years they have condemned themselves. Maybe the shock of the Vatican actually taking direct action will wake them up and force some conversion of their hearts.

    It’s not like there isn’t another leadership organization for women’s religious (ie. CMSWR) in the USA that, as well as their member organizations, are actually loyal and faithful to the magisterium of the Church, as well as the Pope.

    Time to let the heads roll were they may. Show the old gals the door, they seemed to have chosen the exit in their actions.

  10. iPadre says:

    Since the Sisters “welcome new members and new ideas for living religious life into the future.” In the spirit of “caring and sharing” that I learned from the good Sister in seminary, I have seven ideas for them that are tried and true.

    1) Get back into your habits
    2) dump the pant suits
    3) renounce your heretical ideas
    4) give up the jewelry (Pope Francis would be very happy)
    5) get back into convents
    6) subsume a Marian & Eucharistic prayer life
    7) wholeheartedly embrace all Catholic doctrine and morals.

    All of these seem to work well for the orders that are growing by leaps and bounds.

    [They are so welcoming that the rejected out of hand my application for media credentials.]

  11. ClavesCoelorum says:

    Father, great article, I’m addicted! :)

  12. VexillaRegis says:

    What is the average age of the nuns in the orders whose leaders belong to the LCWR? How many of them are under, say, 65?

    Nutty Nonsense Nuns.

  13. jfish313 says:

    Father Z made a Hunger Games reference. My life is complete. Who says the Church doesn’t reach out to the youth?!

  14. jhayes says:

    Cardinal O’Malley speaks to the K of C:

    “Some people think that the Holy Father should talk more about abortion. I think he speaks of love and mercy to give people the context for the Church’s teaching on abortion. We oppose abortion, not because we are mean or old fashioned, but because we love people….

    We must be better people; we must love all people, even those who advocate abortion. It is only if we love them that we will be able to help them discover the sacredness of the life of an unborn child. Only love and mercy will open hearts that have been hardened by the individualism of our age….

    We must overcome this indifference in our own lives and help people to see that the Church’s teaching is about loving and caring for everyone. In his talk to the Brazilian bishops last week, Pope Francis said: “We need a Church capable of rediscovering the maternal womb of mercy. Without mercy we have little chance nowadays of entering the world of wounded persons in need of understanding, forgiveness and love.” The Holy Father alludes to Cardinal Kasper’s work on mercy when he says that mercy without truth would be consolation without honesty and is empty chatter.

    On the other hand, however, the truth without mercy would be cold, offputting and ready to wound. The truth isn’t a wet rag that you throw in someone’s face, but a warm cape that you wrap around a person, to protect and strengthen them.”

  15. kpoterack says:

    Vexilla Regis,

    If you google “average age of lcwr” you will find that the average age of the sisters in the groups that are represented by the LCWR is either 73 or 74 and climbing, depending on the source. They are not attracting new members. They are certainly on their way out but, it seems, they are going to make as big a noise and mess as they can.

  16. poohbear says:

    What will it take for the Vatican to actually DO something about this? Appointing a watcher doesn’t change anything. Can’t this group be disbanded?

  17. Gail F says:

    The LCWR is not a simple product of Vatican II. If it were, there would be no second leadership conference (which also came into being after and because of Vatican II), and there would be no long-suffering sisters still trying to remain loyal to their vows and there would be no LCWR member congregations that were only partly committed to its aims. There would be only the LCWR. It seems to me that a handful of vocal and power-seeking women (those of us that have had women bosses — and let me be clear, I am a woman — know EXACTLY the type) got the chance to take the reigns of something and no one ever told them “no.” Vatican II gave them the circumstances but it was not the cause. It’s a very sad situation and the NCR’s coverage shows exactly why it is still going on — many people get a kick out of it for some reason.

  18. VexillaRegis says:

    kpoterack: Thanks for the info! I didn’t think the average age was THAT high, gosh! Let’s pray for their conversion.

  19. JabbaPapa says:

    My cosmo-empowered male-rainbow-clad Earth krypto-consciousness fills me with neuro-waves of dys-nomic anti-life when it is empowered with the inter- infra- and supra- gnosis of these hurtful anti-Gaia-ties.

  20. Athelstan says:

    What is the average age of the nuns in the orders whose leaders belong to the LCWR? How many of them are under, say, 65?

    Well, according to Ann Carey in her report at Catholic World Report last summer:

    “Currently, the superiors in the CMSWR lead orders with about 8,000 members, and the LCWR members lead orders with about 48,000 sisters. (A few superiors of women belong to neither group, and some belong to both). Even though CMSWR members represent fewer sisters, CMSWR communities are receiving the majority of new vocations and have an average age in the 30s, whereas the average age in LCWR-related communities is in the 70s.”


    Note that neither conference includes superiors of contemplative orders.

    P.S. Average age of the Ann Arbor Dominicans (Dominican Sisters of Mary) as of 2012: 28.

    We can see where the future lies.

  21. Stephen D says:

    Has someone informed the Pope (who used public transport when a cardinal and hates waste) that the venue of this meeting is in such an opulent hotel? I am sure that he wouldn’t approve and neither would nuns who meant what they say about ‘social justice’. Why not feed a few deprived families and hold the meeting somewhere without a bar, room service and a pool?

  22. Gail F says:

    According to Ann Carey’s book, the largest age cohort of all sisters in 2011 was 70-79, followed by the 89-89 group (!), followed by the 60-69, and then the 90-99 age. The number of sisters age 90-99 is higher than any cohort below age 60. Sobering. Also according to her book. a 2009 CARA study found that 91 percent of sisters were over 60. That’s why we have the Retirement Fund for Religious. My review of the book:

    I find it so sad that the LCWR seems content to let its congregations die while they “birth a new way of religious living.”

    Over at the very sad NCR page, one person wondered why the Vatican has not investigated men’s religious congregations, which the writer said have plummeted even more in number. Does anyone know the answer?

  23. jhayes says:

    Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburgh writes:

    “I am convinced that many so called Pro-Life groups are not really pro-life but merely anti-abortion. We heard nothing from the heavy hitters in the prolife movement in the last week when Florida last night executed a man on death row for 34 years having been diagnosed as a severe schizophrenic. Which personality did the state execute? Many priests grow weary of continual calls to action for legislative support for abortion and contraception related issues but nothing for immigration reform, food aid, and capital punishment.”

  24. netokor says:

    JabbaPapa, me too! :-)

  25. McCall1981 says:

    Thanks for posting that article. After reading the age stats on the LCWR, I ‘d say its the VERY old guard thats up in arms here.

  26. Athelstan says:

    I find it so sad that the LCWR seems content to let its congregations die while they “birth a new way of religious living.”

    It’s pride.

  27. Alanmac says:

    LCWR, the finest group of Anglican nuns you’ll ever meet!

  28. AA Cunningham says:

    “What is the average age of the nuns(sic) in the orders whose leaders belong to the LCWR? How many of them are under, say, 65?

    Nutty Nonsense Nuns(sic).” VexillaRegis

    Sisters not nuns – big difference – and don’t let them tell you otherwise.

  29. robtbrown says:

    Even though CMSWR members represent fewer sisters, CMSWR communities are receiving the majority of new vocations and have an average age in the 30s, whereas the average age in LCWR-related communities is in the 70s.

    So the Nuns on the Bus are on the way to being Nuns in the Hearse.

    Meanwhile, since 1971 Fontgombault has made three Foundations in France and one in the US. And now it is preparing to take over the Abbey of Wisque.

  30. ghp95134 says:

    jhayes sez: “…Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburgh writes:

    “I am convinced that many so called Pro-Life groups are not really pro-life but merely anti-abortion …”

    That sounds extremely reasonable to me.


  31. VexillaRegis says:

    Gail F: Shocking and sad stats! Many of these dying orders were once founded by orthodox and solid persons. Soon there will be None on the Bus.

    AACunningham: Of course you are right, but I go with Fr. Z’s nomenclature and he talks about them as nuns in some contexts :-).

    Silly Sisters of The Slippery Slope?

  32. JonPatrick says:

    Alanmac, some of the congregations of Anglican nuns might object to being lumped in with the LCWR. For example, one community I am familiar with, the Community of St. Mary in Greenwich NY, wear traditional habits and live according to the Benedictine rule, including daily office chanted with traditional Gregorian Chant (although in English) and daily Mass. They would put many LCWR communities to shame.

  33. acardnal says:

    I don’t understand how jhayes’ comment above regarding Bp. Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida pertains to a post about the LCWR – other than Bp. Lynch, 72, is in the same age group as them and is very liberal like them.

    Bp. Lynch banned Eucharistic Adoration in his diocese in September 2001 , dislikes the TLM/EF, and he has other issues to deal with like allegations of sexual harassment of a male coworker.

    Fr. Z has posted about Bp. Lynch a few times previously. Just search his blog. Here’s one post:

  34. Cathy says:

    Prayers to St. Michael that Bishop Sartain is not put to the test – the Nazi salute blessing of the LCWR assembly.

  35. Eugene says:

    “One of the accusations against LCWR in the mandate was its emphasis on social justice rather than issues of sexuality or abortion” – HOW OH HOW CAN “RELIGIOUS” SISTERS NOT VIEW ABORTION AS A SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUE??
    God have mercy on us and them!

  36. Pingback: NCR: Singing Nuns of Ann Arbor -

  37. Bob Rowland says:

    Too bad we can’t recapture First Vatican Council sanity

  38. Pingback: The LCWR Games… | Being Frank

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