This is big. From the site of the CDF.

This is pretty much self-explanatory.  Just read it through.

CONTEXT: Remember that the nuns were trying to spin what the US bishops and the CDF were, and are, doing as payback for their support for ObamaCare.  The nuns were trying to make this political.  Now we see the true issue: Faith.  Faith in Jesus, Son of God, who saved us from our sins!  The Jesus who founded the Church as the means of salvation for all! Some of you have been waiting for me to admit, “for all”.  There it is.

The nuns, however, seem not even to know what they don’t know.

Okay… now read.  Just. Read.


Meeting of the Superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
with the Presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)

April 30, 2014

Opening Remarks
By Cardinal Gerhard Müller

I am happy to welcome once again the Presidency of the LCWR to Rome and to the Congregation. It is a happy occasion that your visit coincides with the Canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII, two great figures important for the Church in our times. I am grateful as well for the presence and participation of the Delegate for the implementation of the LCWR Doctrinal Assessment, Archbishop Peter Sartain.

As in past meetings, I would like to begin by making some introductory observations which I believe will be a helpful way of framing our discussion.

First, I would like to acknowledge with gratitude the progress that has been made in the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment. Archbishop Sartain has kept the Congregation appraised on the work regarding the revision of the LCWR Statutes and civil by-laws. We are glad to see that work continue and remain particularly interested that these foundational documents reflect more explicitly the mission of a Conference of Major Superiors as something centered on Jesus Christ and grounded in the Church’s teaching about Consecrated Life. For that collaboration, I thank you.

Two further introductory comments I would like to frame around what could be called objections to the Doctrinal Assessment raised by your predecessors during past meetings here at the Congregation and in public statements by LCWR officers. We are aware that, from the beginning, LCWR Officers judged the Doctrinal Assessment to be “flawed and the findings based on unsubstantiated accusations” and that the so-called “sanctions” were “disproportionate to the concerns raised and compromised the organization’s ability to fulfill its mission.” This principal objection, I note, was repeated most recently in the preface of the collection of LCWR Presidential Addresses you have just published. It is my intention in discussing these things frankly and openly with you to offer an explanation of why it is that we believe the conclusions of the Doctrinal Assessment are accurate and the path of reform it lays before the LCWR remains necessary so that religious life might continue to flourish in the United States.

Let me begin with the notion of “disproportionate sanctions.” One of the more contentious aspects of the Mandate—though one that has not yet been put into force—is the provision that speakers and presenters at major programs will be subject to approval by the Delegate. This provision has been portrayed as heavy-handed interference in the day-to-day activities of the Conference. For its part, the Holy See would not understand this as a “sanction,” but rather as a point of dialogue and discernment. It allows the Holy See’s Delegate to be involved in the discussion first of all in order to avoid difficult and embarrassing situations wherein speakers use an LCWR forum to advance positions at odds with the teaching of the Church. Further, this is meant as an assistance to you, the Presidency, so as to anticipate better the issues that will further complicate the relationship of the LCWR with the Holy See.

An example may help at this point. It saddens me to learn that you have decided to give the Outstanding Leadership Award during this year’s Assembly to a theologian criticized by the Bishops of the United States because of the gravity of the doctrinal errors in that theologian’s writings. This is a decision that will be seen as a rather open provocation against the Holy See and the Doctrinal Assessment. Not only that, but it further alienates the LCWR from the Bishops as well.

I realize I am speaking rather bluntly about this, but I do so out of an awareness that there is no other interpretive lens, within and outside the Church, through which the decision to confer this honor will be viewed. It is my understanding that Archbishop Sartain was informed of the selection of the honoree only after the decision had been made. Had he been involved in the conversation as the Mandate envisions, I am confident that he would have added an important element to the discernment which then may have gone in a different direction. The decision taken by the LCWR during the ongoing implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment is indeed regrettable and demonstrates clearly the necessity of the Mandate’s provision that speakers and presenters at major programs will be subject to approval by the Delegate. I must therefore inform you that this provision is to be considered fully in force. I do understand that the selection of honorees results from a process, but this case suggests that the process is itself in need of reexamination. I also understand that plans for this year’s Assembly are already at a very advanced stage and I do not see the need to interrupt them. However, following the August Assembly, it will be the expectation of the Holy See that Archbishop Sartain have an active role in the discussion about invited speakers and honorees.

Let me address a second objection, namely that the findings of the Doctrinal Assessment are unsubstantiated. The phrase in the Doctrinal Assessment most often cited as overreaching or unsubstantiated is when it talks about religious moving beyond the Church or even beyond Jesus. Yes, this is hard language and I can imagine it sounded harsh in the ears of thousands of faithful religious. I regret that, because the last thing in the world the Congregation would want to do is call into question the eloquent, even prophetic witness of so many faithful religious women. And yet, the issues raised in the Assessment are so central and so foundational, there is no other way of discussing them except as constituting a movement away from the ecclesial center of faith in Christ Jesus the Lord.

For the last several years, the Congregation has been following with increasing concern a focalizing of attention within the LCWR around the concept of Conscious Evolution. Since Barbara Marx Hubbard addressed the Assembly on this topic two years ago, every issue of your newsletter has discussed Conscious Evolution in some way. Issues of Occasional Papers have been devoted to it. We have even seen some religious Institutes modify their directional statements to incorporate concepts and undeveloped terms from Conscious Evolution.

Again, I apologize if this seems blunt, but what I must say is too important to dress up in flowery language. The fundamental theses of Conscious Evolution are opposed to Christian Revelation and, when taken unreflectively, lead almost necessarily to fundamental errors regarding the omnipotence of God, the Incarnation of Christ, the reality of Original Sin, the necessity of salvation and the definitive nature of the salvific action of Christ in the Paschal Mystery.

My concern is whether such an intense focus on new ideas such as Conscious Evolution has robbed religious of the ability truly to sentire cum Ecclesia. To phrase it as a question, do the many religious listening to addresses on this topic or reading expositions of it even hear the divergences from the Christian faith present?

This concern is even deeper than the Doctrinal Assessment’s criticism of the LCWR for not providing a counter-point during presentations and Assemblies when speakers diverge from Church teaching. The Assessment is concerned with positive errors of doctrine seen in the light of the LCWR’s responsibility to support a vision of religious life in harmony with that of the Church and to promote a solid doctrinal basis for religious life. I am worried that the uncritical acceptance of things such as Conscious Evolution seemingly without any awareness that it offers a vision of God, the cosmos, and the human person divergent from or opposed to Revelation evidences that a de facto movement beyond the Church and sound Christian faith has already occurred.

I do not think I overstate the point when I say that the futuristic ideas advanced by the proponents of Conscious Evolution are not actually new. The Gnostic tradition is filled with similar affirmations and we have seen again and again in the history of the Church the tragic results of partaking of this bitter fruit. Conscious Evolution does not offer anything which will nourish religious life as a privileged and prophetic witness rooted in Christ revealing divine love to a wounded world. It does not present the treasure beyond price for which new generations of young women will leave all to follow Christ. The Gospel does! Selfless service to the poor and marginalized in the name of Jesus Christ does!

It is in this context that we can understand Pope Francis’ remarks to the Plenary Assembly of the International Union of Superiors General in May of 2013. What the Holy Father proposes is a vision of religious life and particularly of the role of conferences of major superiors which in many ways is a positive articulation of issues which come across as concerns in the Doctrinal Assessment. I urge you to reread the Holy Father’s remarks and to make them a point of discussion with members of your Board as well.

I have raised several points in these remarks, so I will stop here. I owe an incalculable debt to the women religious who have long been a part of my life. They were the ones who instilled in me a love for the Lord and for the Church and encouraged me to follow the vocation to which the Lord was calling me. The things I have said today are therefore born of great love. The Holy See and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith deeply desire religious life to thrive and that the LCWR will be an effective instrument supporting its growth. In the end, the point is this: the Holy See believes that the charismatic vitality of religious life can only flourish within the ecclesial faith of the Church. The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life. Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand, and at this phase of the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, we are looking for a clearer expression of that ecclesial vision and more substantive signs of collaboration.



UPDATE: American Catholic put it this way:


Anyone who reads Cardinal Müller’s remarks objectively and carefully will see that he is not “playing poker” with the LCWR. Although gracious and respectful, the Cardinal was not bluffing as he carefully details, point by point, how the LCWR has been less than fully responsive to the Doctrinal Assessment and what its leadership needs to do. Without drawing a line in the sand, Cardinal Müller intimates there is a line in the sand when he concluded:

The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life. Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand, and at this phase of the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, we are looking for a clearer expression of that ecclesial vision and more substantive signs of collaboration.

Read the entirety of Cardinal Müller’s remarks because they are very important. They represent “the other side of the story,” the one that the National Catholic Reporter isn’t telling except by negative example.  The simple fact is that the LCWR is in error theologically. Despite the image they may want to project, these are not the sisters whose heroic witness over the generations in U.S. Catholic schools, hospitals, and social service agencies is seared upon the memory of those many Catholics and non-Catholics alike their predecessors once selflessly served. These sisters are promoting an ideology that is beyond the boundaries of the Catholic faith.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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


  1. tcreek says:

    There is another religious organization that is slowly taking the place of the LCWR. It is the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR).

    The religious communities that did not share the political and religious views of the LCWR petitioned the Holy See to allow them to form their own association. The CMSWR was established in 1992 under the pontificate of Pope John Paul II.

    Donna F. Bethell chairman of the board of directors Christendom College wrote an essay in the National Catholic Register, 06/04/2012. What’s Going on With the LCWR? It ends:

    “… This sad tale might not end soon, but it will end. The average age of the members of LCWR communities is 73 and increasing, while their numbers fall. Meanwhile, what of the CMSWR? They represent 20% of all the women religious in the U.S., more than 11,000 sisters, but they are young, with an average age of 35 and falling, and they are growing fast. They are happy to state their fidelity to the magisterium of the Church, to pray together as the central focus of their lives, to work together in community apostolates, to wear recognizable religious habits and, above all, to promote and protect their consecration to Christ as the source and goal of the Church’s life.”

    Website of CMSWR http://cmswr.org/
    They now have a hundred or so communities under their umbrella.

  2. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Glad to see this, particularly the reference to the bitter fruit.

  3. TNCath says:

    Slowly but surely! I’m glad to see the CDF has not backed down. I think it’s interesting (and good) that it was Cardinal Muller himself and not Archbishop Sartain who made these remarks.

  4. JamesM says:

    This is encouraging.

  5. RobS says:

    These are words of great charity and great clarity from the good Cardinal. My prayer is that they will be heard and received by everyone represented by the LCWR.

  6. DavidJ says:

    It’s good to hear clear and unambiguous responses from the CDF.

  7. Lisa Graas says:

    “…so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 3:10

    I love Ephesians 3:10. So. Much.

  8. Peter Rother says:

    Our beloved Sisters–the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of the Church (SCMC)–who teach at St. Agnes in St. Paul, Minnesota, are members of the CMSWR. They are wonderful Sisters who stand with the Church and teach with love and fidelity in our school. They have a girls’ vacation to the motherhouse in Baltic, Connecticut, every August. My girls will be going back this year for fun at the ocean and faith everywhere they go.

  9. Elizabeth D says:

    I read this with a lot of gratitude. I myself wrote a book investigating the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa in considerable depth, which described how these same concerns were manifesting in this specific religious congregation–of which Sr Laurie Brink is a member, she was the one who actually said the words about “moving beyond Jesus and beyond the Church” at a LCWR assembly. Sr Elizabeth Johnson is a huge figure for them, frequently cited for instance when they want to justify praying with all male language for God stripped out. I sent it to Archbishop Sartain, who received it and replied thanking me and saying he would have a good look at it even though he had no role in regards to individual religious congregations, and I also sent it to the CDF, where an official replied to me with a note saying he had shown my book to the Prefect (Mueller). The information in my book certainly supports him to speak what he says in this message with confidence. In my book in fact I quote a dissident sister explaining why, in her words, the Doctrinal Assessment of LCWR “is NOT unsubstantiated”–they really do hold these dissident beliefs, she states, and lists the things they disagree with the Church about. My book is titled _A Report on the Sinsinawa Dominicans Today_ and further substantiates that with much detail from this specific religious congregation belonging to the LCWR and can be ordered via Amazon at a low price (I choose not to profit from it one cent) or read online: http://www.fathermazzuchellisociety.org/sinsinawa-dominicans/a-report-on-the-sinsinawa-dominicans-today/ Central to my hopes for this work is that somehow it can result in help to women religious to improve their relationship with the Catholic Church and I continue to pray for that.

  10. Captain Peabody says:

    God bless Cardinal Muller. Ad multos annos!

  11. Gerard Plourde says:

    I wasn’t aware of the issue of “Conscious Evolution” and am unfamiliar with the concept. From the extremely brief review of descriptions of it, I can see the need for cautious and well-thought out examination that Cardinal Mueller advises. Any theory that comes from the secular world needs to be vetted for premises that don’t accord with Catholic teaching (i.e. non-existence of God, for one) and an awareness of that sort of difficulty needs to be made clearly.

  12. Andreas says:

    Based on this Post and that immediately prior to this, the apparent continued defiant actions of the organization leadership being addressed reminds one of the petulant child who, after being admonished by wise parents, continues to push the boundaries; to test the extent to which he/she can go before the inevitable ‘tough love’ commences. The diplomatic language in which Cardinal Müller tactfully couched his opening remarks provides clear evidence that charity, when abused by a recipient, is not without its limits.

  13. anna 6 says:

    Cardinal Muller and Archbishop Marini, two vital collaborators of Pope Francis, give me hope in these uncertain times. Thank you Pope Emeritus!

  14. Nathan says:

    Father Z, you are right that this is big. And since you and the American Catholic blog have been the only US sources I have seen so far to comment on this (the address took place almost a week ago), I hope it starts spreading.

    Once it does, expect to see the allies of the LCWR trying to say it is “politicized,” even though Cardinal Mueller is very clear about it being a matter of faith.

    In Christ,

  15. gracie says:

    Could someone explain “Conscious Evolution”? The words bring to mind Teilhard de Chardin’s “biosphere” – but is this something different?

  16. Quirinus says:

    Canticum graduum.
    In convertendo Dominus captivitatem Sion,
    facti sumus sicut consolati.
    Tunc repletum est gaudio os nostrum,
    et lingua nostra exsultatione.
    Tunc dicent inter gentes :
    Magnificavit Dominus facere cum eis.
    Magnificavit Dominus facere nobiscum ;
    facti sumus lætantes.
    Converte, Domine, captivitatem nostram,
    sicut torrens in austro.
    Qui seminant in lacrimis,
    in exsultatione metent.
    Euntes ibant et flebant,
    mittentes semina sua.
    Venientes autem venient cum exsultatione,
    portantes manipulos suos.

    Please let not any “private phone call to Joan Chittister ruin these moments of consolation…

  17. aviva meriam says:

    Thank you Cardinal Mueller and CDF.

    I’m still blown away by the arrogance and intellectual sloppiness of the LCWR

  18. Father Flores says:

    “Again, I apologize if this seems blunt, but what I must say is too important to dress up in flowery language.”

    Love that.

  19. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    It’s interesting that the sisters of the LCWR did not rush to the microphones to respond, and did not even leak the contents of this address to their friends in the media. In what form and what forum will they answer, I wonder? There are certain to be those among them who will demand a chance to answer. Perhaps this will lead to an internal rupture.

  20. mrshopey says:

    “This concern is even deeper than the Doctrinal Assessment’s criticism of the LCWR for not providing a counter-point during presentations and Assemblies when speakers diverge from Church teaching.”
    I can think of two priests who are qualified to do this-providing counter-points. One starts with a Z.

    Starting a novena that Fr. Z will be approved for this year’s conference.

  21. mrshopey says:

    @ Elizabeth D. thank you for all the work you have done. It is one thing to think they are unaware, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, as you pointed out, with all. To do this on purpose is…

  22. SpesUnica says:

    Ouch. The strongest medicines hurt when they are administered. It is going to hurt like chemo and radiation to clear away the cancers and allow for healthy religious life to grow back and flourish. We should pray pray pray for all these sisters and nuns, especially for those in leadership. We prefer skin grafts to amputations!!

    This is a great book, though certainly a tragedy, that I am working through–great for those who want to lean more about how we got here

  23. tzard says:

    It’s very well written – I’m impressed.

    Bad news, however, is Fr. Z probably won’t be able to speak at their assembly this year, because “…plans for this year’s Assembly are already at a very advanced stage”.

  24. Gregg the Obscure says:

    It is not readily evident, but it appears that the sixth and seventh paragraphs of Cdl. Mueller’s remarks are his response to the event described in the previous post.

  25. JustaSinner says:

    Went to parochial school and Catholic High School. Loved the nuns. They were old school, wore habits and used rulers on knuckles; only once on me, I was such a ‘darling’ ;) Since then my dealings with them have been so bad that if they age away, I won’t shed a tear.
    Just heard about the alternate to the LCWR, and they are growing while the LCWR is shriveling away. God’s Will? Me thinks yes…

  26. Heather F says:

    I am friends with some sisters whose order is affiliated with both the LCWR and the CMSWR. I remember asking one of them at one point why they had a foot in both camps, so to speak. The answer was that they wanted to try to help bridge the divide, although the vast majority of them do not subscribe to the LCWR’s nonsense.

    Unfortunately the divide seems to get bigger and bigger as the LCWR decays further and further.

  27. Scott W. says:

    I realize I am speaking rather bluntly about this, but I do so out of an awareness that there is no other interpretive lens, within and outside the Church, through which the decision to confer this honor will be viewed

    Every Churchman from the lowest parish priest all the way up to the Holy Father should use this as a litmus test before they open their mouths. Time to dump the PR and speak in simple and direct words rarely exceeding two syllables and leave no room for creative interpretation.

  28. irishnana says:

    I was the product of 12 years of education by the Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood, NY, and I taught with them and the Sisters of Mercy, Syosset, NY, for an additional 9 years. I have always loved and admired them for their faithfulness and courage and I know that remnants of that still exists. Due to the LCWR “cult”, however, those days of faithfulness and courage are long and sadly passed. I hope and pray that the LCWR realizes how they have decimated their congregations, and take the loving hand that God extends to them through the CDF and return to the Church as His faithful and courageous daughters once more.

  29. Robbie says:

    Sounds like we’re getting some good cop/bad cop from Pope Francis and Cardinal Muller.

  30. Legisperitus says:

    Robbie: If Cardinal Müller is the bad cop, he’s the kindest, gentlest bad cop I’ve ever heard.

    I imagine many of the FFI would give their right arms for such treatment.

  31. This is great, but I must say that the disparity in approach between how Rome is handling the LCWR – an obscenely heretical group far removed from Christianity – and the FFI is disappointing, and is quite unjust.

  32. Kathleen10 says:

    So refreshingly direct, charitable and yet pointedly firm. The line is drawn, the terms are clear.
    This is not likely to be well received.

    [D’ya think?]

  33. majuscule says:

    The Fishwrap™ has chimed in:


    I must confess that I was so eager to spread the gossip word that I barely skimmed it.

  34. Athelstan says:


    I imagine many of the FFI would give their right arms for such treatment.

    Undoubtedly myopic of me, but I did have the same thought. Volpi has now even forbidden Fr. Manelli from visiting the graves of his parents (both declared Servants of God already).

    That said, this address and these new actions constitute a step in the right direction.

  35. Vecchio di Londra says:

    The Cardinal has summed it up beautifully.
    I hope the LCWR are not relying on the Holy Father’s words to the Latin American Congregations on 6th June 2013:
    “Perhaps even a letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine (of the Faith) will arrive for you, telling you that you said such or such thing… But do not worry. Explain whatever you have to explain, but move forward… Open the doors, do something there where life calls for it.”
    Because I suspect that Pope Francis will not want to address them to the LCWR.

  36. Menagerie says:

    If I am committing grave mortal sins, and more importantly, leading others into sin through a vocation which I should be using to serve faithfully, then the best possible thing to happen is for me to encounter such instruction as Cardinal Müller offers.

    Obviously, these sisters are blind to their own sins. Aside from all other considerations discussed here, the fact is, this action taken is charitable and loving to the sisters themselves, in that so many are trying to call them back from their sins.

  37. chantgirl says:

    Holy Smackdown, Batman!

  38. An American Mother says:

    Given the general tendency of the CDF to couch things in circumlocutory language . . . this is indeed a major, earthshaking rebuke.
    Judging from the comments over at the Fishwrap, though, a significant number of those involved still do not seem to get the message. My daddy used to say about plow mules that you had to hit them up side the head with a 2 by 4 ‘just to get their attention.’ I hope that is not necessary.

  39. dans0622 says:

    It’s an obvious correction but certainly not extreme or dismissive. I think of it like this: the LCWR gives the USCCB and the CDF the finger by lauding Sr. Johnson. The CDF notices and while they could have broken that finger right off, the Prefect only said “I see you’re giving us the finger. I know it and you know it. After making it obvious that I know what you’re doing, I am going to bend your finger down. I trust you will not hit us with your now clenched fist. Thank you.”

    [Yep. That’s it.]

  40. The prefect’s decision to spell this out in very plain terms is very significant; he even acknowledges that this is hardly how he usually speaks.

  41. Suburbanbanshee says:

    “….Do the many religious listening to addresses on this topic… even hear the divergences from the Christian faith….?”

    Yep, that’s the question.

  42. Allan S. says:

    And yet the award presentation continues. Until actions accompany words, this means very little.

    If only the CDF could actually do something, like seize assets and place leaders under house arrest or something.

    Oh…wait a minute…FFI

  43. Magpie says:

    The sisters are in their own orbit now and they gotta fly. There’s no stopping them as they are not Catholic.

  44. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Could someone explain “Conscious Evolution”? The words bring to mind Teilhard de Chardin’s “biosphere” – but is this something different?”

    For the sake of apologetics, I might as well take a stab at it. Basically, Councious Evolution, CE, is the Human Potential Movement (HPM) seasoned with a little evolutionary biology, eugenics, and a dash of quantum theory.

    The HPM came out of the 1960’s and posited that each human could develop themselves to use their, “full potential,” by use of psychological and pharmaceutical techniques. As Christopher Lasch commented:

    “The new therapies spawned by the human potential movement, according to Peter Marin, teach that “the individual will is all powerful and totally determines one’s fate”; thus they intensify the “isolation of the self.” [from Wikipedia].

    CE does the same thing, but for the entire human race. It posits that, as a species, we have the ability to determine our own evolutionary destiny. While we could, if we were ruthless enough, guide humanity so that everyone were red-haired (we would have to kill a lot of people to do it), nevertheless, Lasch’s comment applies equally well to CE as to HPM. Who gets to determine what is right and wrong? Who gets to determine what man should become? It is a way of co-opting science to play God. It has a pseudo-mystical philosophy of the perfectability of man dressed up in faux quantum theory language without coming to grips with the recognition of Original Sin. They have to renounce God because He constantly reminds them, though the humanity and death of His Son, that man is and always will be a weak creature, prone more to kill than to cure to regress rather than evolve.

    Obviously, there is a certain amount of social evolution taking place today (birth contro plays a part, you know) because of modern medicine and other sources (mutations from chemical, etc.), but these changes, at least in the past, have always been seen as simply man developing in knowledge as God intends, not challenging God for how things should develop.

    Of you want any more information, I could give it, but I find the fake science nauseating.

    The Chicken

  45. lana says:

    Go, Cardinal Muller!!!!

    I pray these ladies get the point.

  46. Sonshine135 says:

    Well, from what I just read, it is the LCWR’s move. If they ignore the CDF, I’d be very interested to see what happens. I believe if they are ever called to disband their organization, a few of these dissidents will simply create a re-branded group under a different name. It is sort of like fire ants. You can destroy the colony with some ant killer, but unless you get the queen, the mound just pops up somewhere else.

  47. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Christians 7, lionesses 0.

  48. Priam1184 says:

    Umm I hate to say this BUT these women, and anyone else who promotes the idea of something called ‘conscious evolution’, are not Catholic. They do not subscribe to Catholic Teaching in even a rudimentary sense: why are they allowed to keep portraying themselves as such? The Holy See should give them a choice to either get with the program or get out. It is an either/or choice, black and white; there is no gray area on this question. Either they are Catholic or they are not. If they do not want to be Catholic then the Holy See should dissolve all connection between this organization and the Catholic Church. Obviously this will not stop the LCWR from portraying itself however it wants to in public but we do not have to acknowledge them. It is time to cut out the cancer, and it would not be merciful to do otherwise. Firm statements are nice but for a problem that is this blatant and has been going on this long I will echo one of the other commenters: ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.

  49. LeeF says:

    This is what happens when 3rd rate “theologians” meet top shelf. They get schooled.

    And from reading the comments over at Fishwrap, two things are clear. They have populist deceptive (and self-deceiving) rhetoric down pat. But they are sorely in need of a course in critical thinking.

    Two women come to mind re all this. The formally uneducated yet profound St. Thérèse of Lisieux?, who as novice mistress would take those LCWR sisters to task for their lack of adherence to the Magisterium and lack of a clear vocation, and St. Edith Stein, the well-educated and likewise profound theologian who would set those sisters right theologically just as Cardinal Müller has.

  50. Imrahil says:

    The dear AmericanMother spoke of a tendency of the CDF to speak in a cloudy language. This may be; but it is not the tendency of Cardinal Müller. I have heard him preach.

    Which is why I defended him so much as orthodox against accusations (substantiated in detail though they may have been) from the traditional spectrum. Ask the Diocese of Ratisbon: he was a good bishop. (That is, if your expectations for being a good bishop are Catholic expectations.)

    Now he does for the world what he did for Ratisbon.

  51. texsain says:

    The Chicken,

    Conscious evolution sounds a lot like Nietzsche’s “transvaluation of values,” which stemmed from his hatred of Christianity.

  52. Kathleen10 says:

    Thanks Chicken, a clear explanation and that sounds right. These “theologies” borrow from this and that and end up a hodgepodge, one of the reasons they can fool alot of people. To a discerning Christian, it can probably be detected pretty easily, but there are so many who are not discerning.
    I would have preferred that this year’s hootenanny was cancelled by the CDF, but they didn’t ask me.
    Sonshine is surely correct, in that they may shriek, quit, and pop up somewhere else as something else, under the mantle of another order or group. I hope the sisters accept the guidance and correction, but it doesn’t seem likely.

  53. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Thank you, Card. Müller! Our Pope Emeritus knew what he was doing when he appointed you. And as far as I am concerned, I would welcome bluntness all the time. Down with flowery language!

    Conscious Evolution is not really new, as the good Cardinal points out. It is a warmed over Gnosticism with a few modern ideas like quantum theory misappropriated for an up-to-date flavor. Too bad they don’t pay more attention to the Uncertainty Principle. ;-)

    The self-perfectibility of man is the Pelagian, Cathar, Marxist dream and, as someone has noted above, to do it can end up requiring killing a lot of people. CE was not cooked up by the LCWR; they have been imbibing this stuff in college courses, seminars, and conferences for decades, much of it under the auspices of various “Catholic” universities and organizations. There is a lot of cleaning up to do. Who is running the Congregation for Catholic Education these days?

    I don’t expect the ladies of the LCWR to change, but the LCWR is a creature of the Vatican and presumably can be dismantled. The biological solution is working, but it would be a help to have some clear action for a change, just once see someone stand up to the Church of Nice (and Looney).

  54. Suburbanbanshee says:

    “The formally uneducated yet profound St. Thérèse of Lisieux….” Point of order — she was homeschooled and also went to a regular school. She and her family read some pretty advanced theology and devotional works, too.

    It would have been pretty odd for the time if she’d gone to high school or university. IIRC, that was what Frenchmen did who were preparing for being professors, lawyers, priests, or high government bureaucrats in Paris.

  55. I confess to indulging in schadenfreude as I read the comments you-know-where…

  56. Andrew says:

    “The nuns, however, seem not even to know what they don’t know.”

    Fr. Z: Now you’re starting to sound like St. Jerome who writes:

    Puerilia sunt haec, et circulatorum ludo similia, docere quod ignores: imo, ut cum stomacho loquar, ne hoc quidem scire quod nescias. Epistola LIII Ad Paulinum de studio Scripturarum

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  57. Cordelio says:

    It’s nice that the head of the CDF is willing to state that the fundamental theses of Conscious Evolution are opposed to Christian Revelation, and I assume that he is correct in that statement (based on a very brief visit to the website of Barbara Marx Hubbard, it would be hard to imagine that it’s not nonsense), but the enthusiastic reaction to this statement shows how far our standards have fallen.

    Sheriff: This is an important matter, and I can’t use flowery language. You are serving poisoned food at your public banquets, and including the same poisoned food in all of your food deliveries. I am concerned that when you offer up this poisoned food, you are not explaining that it is poisoned and making it clear that those to whom you are serving it should not eat this poisoned food – like every good host who serves poisoned food at a banquet should always make sure to do.

    Caterer: So are you saying I need to stop serving poisoned food at banquets, and stop my poisoned food deliveries?

    Sheriff: No, that would be a sanction. I am only requiring you to consult with my deputy on your menu selections for future major banquets. If you do that, you might decide to go in a different direction when it comes to serving poisoned food. I realize your next banquet is coming up, and it would probably be difficult to change the menu at this stage, so we won’t worry about that.

    Caterer: What about minor banquets and private meals? Can I still serve poisoned food there?

    Sheriff: I wouldn’t, if I were you, but I’m not telling you not to.

    Caterer: What about the food deliveries?

    Sheriff: No problemo.

  58. MarthainCanada says:

    How is the MSM going to take this? ” Some sisters had hoped for a new approach under Pope Francis, a Jesuit who has stressed mercy over morals and has made social justice issues his top priority.” That’s from a (pretty rubbish) AP article I found, “Vatican Crackdown on Nuns Continues Under Pope Francis.” Well, Father Z, you did predict this kind of souring on the Pope would happen. [Why… yes! In fact I did!]
    I’m wondering, though, will this be the cause, or if it’s too “Inside Baseball” for most people.

  59. Martha:

    Good question. I note a couple of things. The LCWR didn’t say anything about the prefect’s blunt words; it was the Vatican that made them public.

    Second, in the story at “the Fishwrap,” the comments from the LCWR are remarkably muted. They say only that what the Vatican said is “accurate.”

    Now, there are lots of folks (such as the combox warriors you know where) who are breathing fire over this. But I’m wondering what the LCWR is going to say…

  60. Former Altar Boy says:

    If only all priests and bishops spoke this plainly and bluntly about what the Church believes and should be teaching.

  61. LeslieL says:

    IRISHNANA! I too was 12 years at the Academy! and of course, depending on when you were there, you know we were taught by a Sr. Elizabeth Johnson….whom I remember arguing with even then *lol* I’m guessing it is she…….must pull out the yearbook :-) She just spoke at a presentation at Fordham where she currently teaches – sharing the stage with Fr. James Martin. I believe both were speaking about their new books…..I wasn’t there.
    Anyway, I just forwarded this CDF article to my pastor….he will find it interesting considering two Sisters who work at our parish are pretty much in line with Sr. Elizabeth. I remember telling him that I told one of them that I was glad the LCWR was being investigated. She was furious – and he was surprised I said anything. This is going to make her apoplectic.

  62. LeslieL says:

    BTW – this is the response from the LCWR posted on their frontpage….

    LCWR Response to CDF Remarks
    May 5, 2014
    On April 30, the LCWR presidency ( Carol Zinn, SSJ; Florence Deacon, OSF; Sharon Holland, IHM) and Janet Mock, CSJ, executive director met with Cardinal Gerhard Muller and officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Archbishop Sartain, apostolic delegate, was also present for the meeting.
    Archbishop Muller’s opening remarks released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith accurately reflect the content of the mandate communicated to LCWR in April 2012. As articulated in the Cardinal’s statement, these remarks were meant to set a context for the discussion that followed. The actual interaction with Cardinal Muller and his staff was an experience of dialogue that was respectful and engaging.

    Sister Annmarie Sanders, IHM
    Associate Director for Communications
    ( https://lcwr.org/media/news/lcwr-response-cdf-remarks )

  63. Widukind says:

    Following on what Fr. Fox has stated about what their response will be, considering that not much has been said, could they now dare give a response, as they have done in the past, that thumbs their noses at the Vatican? Having been called out as disobedient, would they venture out into any response that could be considered as giving evidence to their disobedience, and thus confirming it? They seem to be boxed in. I guess as adult women, they have been stung, as having been portrayed as acting like spoiled children. Would anything that extends that image come at too high of a cost for them?

  64. Supertradmum says:

    Is an Interdict possible or likely?

  65. jhayes says:

    Sister Elizabeth Johnson has produced a lifetime of work in theology, which is much more than the one book that the USCCB criticized.

    Here is a video of a recent presentation at Fordham by Sr. johnson and Fr. James Martin. [You are kidding, right?]

    Fr. Martin says on his Facebook page:

    You asked for it, you got it! Here is the complete video recording of the conversation between Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ and me, about Jesus, at Fordham University on April 22. Thanks to Fordham’s Department of Theology, Patrick Hornbeck and Jake Braithwaite for posting this. And thanks of course to Distinguished Professor of Theology Elizabeth Johnson. It was an honor to be with her.


    Cardinal Walter Kasper, tonight at Fordham University, was asked about feminist theologians by an audience member through M. Cathleen Kaveny: “I esteem both Elizabeth Schussler-Fiorenza and Elizabeth Johnson,” he said. Asked about the church’s recent critique of Sister Johnson: “This is not a tragedy…St. Thomas Aquinas was suspect, too. She is in good company.”


    [With such figures as James Martin and Walter Kasper backing her up, I can’t imagine what could possibly be wrong with her theology.]

  66. Tantum Ergo says:

    Cardinal Gerhard Müller has flexed the Vatican’s muscle, and that’s one big bad bicep to behold! This “Conscious Evolution” takes me back to the lunacy of the 1968 musical “Hair”… “my soul is in orbit with God, face to face.”
    Sad… so very, very sad.

  67. Peasant of the Garonne says:

    LCWR came into existence in 1972 and from the get-go has been thumbing their noses at the bishops and hostile to the Vatican. Why are they still around? Because for 40+ years, the hierarchy has been too weak and timid to do anything about them. Now the CDF is talking tough–as if the nuns need to be told that they’re out of line! So what’s new–they’re giving the bishops the finger, yet again. They know there will be no consequences, just like the insolent teen at the high school who knows he won’t be expelled. Yes, they will eventually die out–in 10 years? 20? 30?Which is just about when I and the rest of us boomers will be dying out. Thank you, USCCB, for enabling them.

  68. mrshopey says:

    “The actual interaction with Cardinal Muller and his staff was an experience of dialogue that was respectful and engaging.”
    What was NOT said by them: we see our serious mistake and plan to correct it and apologize.

    If it is true what Elizabeth D stated above that do in fact KNOW they are out line with some things they hold, then I don’t see, after their response and the fact that the CDF DID publish it (meaning the dialogue did not resolve in them be obedient), then that would be formal heresy? Or getting there? Isn’t that the progression – material then formal?

  69. benedetta says:

    The premise of evolution is “survival of the fittest”. Evolutionary biology pits human beings against one another. The gnosticism inherent in this heretical line of thinking is obvious today: 30 million sacrificed on the altar of the pelvic left. There is nothing Christ like or theological in this contrivance.

  70. Mike says:

    Hmm. This is good news indeed. Though remember a few years ago, when Muller was appointed by B16? So many trads were going bonkers because the man was supposed to be a flaming heretic. His recent article on Communion for the divorced and remarried, and his book on the impossibility of female deacons have shown his appointment was providential, in my view.

  71. traditionalorganist says:

    The Cardinal said that “plans for this year’s Assembly are already at a very advanced stage and [he does] not see the need to interrupt them.

    It would be a sign of good faith if the sisters did cancel the Assembly or at the bare minimum rescind the award.

  72. LeeF says:

    As to what the LCWR’s response will be, well they can either obey or not, not males or bishops, but the teachings of the Church as embodied in the catechism. We already know which they will choose, because we know what they have chosen in the past. But while they may try to continue to dialogue it to death, they know the endgame is upon them, as in (hopefully) a couple years at most.

    So then the question becomes how will they let this play out. They can either willingly make a canonical break on their own initiative as so many Fishwrap supporters urge them to do, and play the victim of course, or they can continue their defiance of the Faith (at the same time hoping the fluffiest pope rescues them from the evil men in the CDF), and just wait until the CDF makes the break for them, and then play the victim to the max. My guess is they choose the latter.

  73. LeeF says:

    Notice that I’d like to see in a parish bulletin:

    Novena, this Sunday through next Monday, for the good but misguided sisters of the LCWR, that they might discover anew the adherence to the Faith taught by the Magisterium, and the Christological focus of the Church, that they had when they first made their vows. Mass every evening in the Church at 6 p.m., preceded by confessions and the Rosary. Novena preached by Fr. [John Zuhlsdorf /Martin Fox /other faithful priest].

  74. HeatherPA says:

    This is excellent and so encouraging.
    Now, let’s hope for the same clarity and doctrinal authoritative answer regarding the upcoming debate that is trying to “reevaluate?” “water down?” “weaken?” (at any rate do something not the teaching of the Church) in reference to Christian marriage. St. Joseph, pray for us.

  75. papaefidelis says:

    As I stated at the very start of this, nothing will change. Two years now, nothing has changes. Five years hence, nothing will change. Please, Lord, let me be wrong. It’s the Quinn Commission all over again.

  76. Gail F says:

    Chicken: From what I’ve read the brand of “Conscious Evolution” embraced by the LCWR and similar groups of elderly people is more spiritual than physical — they think they can change the spiritual direction of the human race by consciously choosing to unite themselves to the Earth, or something. They don’t seem to think they have to convince anyone else to do it; just their doing it will turn the tide. Or something.

    There are stories at Catholic World Report and at the NCReg. Interesting, one of the comments at the latter was from a sister who said that many younger sisters in LCWR congregations don’t subscribe to what they older LCWR leadership does.

    Will anything come of this? I wonder. You really cannot blame these sisters for their serene assurance; they’ve been doing this stuff for decades and no one has ever made them stop. They are convinced that they’re right.

  77. Gail F says:


    Here is a bit of it, from the web site — this is what I meant by the sisters being into a more spiritual kind of CE. They seem to like the idea of their “evolving themselves” and somehow thereby ushering in a new kind of humanity. This is from a page called “The Evolutionary Woman.”

    “It is almost as though a new woman is emerging.

    In the West, women are having fewer children and living longer lives. Women’s visibility is increasing as they participate at all levels of society. In less fortunate parts of the world, population pressures are impacting women as well, and the old dictum “be fruitful and multiply up to maximum” does not result in greater wholeness, personally or socially.

    The effect on women of this bio-evolutionary development is profound. We are shifting from procreation toward cocreation. There is a trend developing, away from reproducing ourselves toward evolving ourselves. Many of us are experiencing this trend as an upwelling of creativity, spirituality, and vitality. We find ourselves yearning for life purpose, chosen work, and a vocation that expresses our unique creativity for the good of the self and the larger human family.

    I call this the rise of suprasexual cocreativity. Our life’s impulse now is expanding into the creative drive for purpose, self-expression and inter-being.

    We are recognizing ourselves as Evolutionary Women; Feminine Cocreators. We are building a new archetype, a new agency of evolution. This archetype is arising now during Late Transition on planet Earth, along with many crises that might destroy our life support systems within our own lifetimes! It is clear that the current leadership models, whether male or female, are not leading us in a direction that will carry us through the transition to a future equal to our full potential.

    The whole woman, the universal woman, the evolutionary woman, the feminine cocreator is now vital to the survival and evolution of our whole species. Feminine principles of leadership are essential to whole-making.”

    Gosh. What COULD the Cardinal have found problematic?

  78. “Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand.”

    ‘Nuff said.

  79. Geoffrey says:

    God bless His Eminence Cardinal Müller!

  80. Tellling it like it is. At LAST.

    The Vatican may be learning to speak a bit more firmly, while carrying that big stick!

  81. JonPatrick says:

    I still can’t help wondering about the difference between how the LCWR are treated on the one hand, and the FFI and SSPX on the other. No Fr. Volpi treatment for the LCWR. My theory is that it has to do with the fact that there are still many in the Vatican and the hierarchy who agree with or sympathize with what the LCWR teaches. So we just wait for the “biological solution”, in the meantime they get to continue to spread their poison.

  82. tcreek says:

    If the devotees of the LCWR wish to continue doing good in the world but can’t abide certain teachings of the Catholic faith, the Salvation Army comes to mind.

  83. Ed the Roman says:

    The Salvationists wouldn’t put up with them.

  84. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Peasant of the Garonne said:
    “Why are they still around? Because for 40+ years, the hierarchy has been too weak and timid to do anything about them.” And…

    “Thank you, USCCB, for enabling them.”

    Have you considered, PotG, the LCWR is “still around” and the USCCB may have been “enabling them” because some (many?) in the USCCB *think* and *believe* like the LCWR?

    Good grief I hope not, but it is still something to ponder.


  85. Kerry says:

    “One of these days Alice, bang! Zoom!!”

  86. Priam1184 says:

    @Midwest St. Michael:

    “Have you considered, PotG, the LCWR is “still around” and the USCCB may have been “enabling them” because some (many?) in the USCCB *think* and *believe* like the LCWR?”

    Is there any other possible explanation? I mean really? Any one at all? I would love to find something else that explains why do many dissident groups who are completely and 100% opposed to Catholic Teaching in multiple essential doctrinal fields and follow the most ridiculous and absurd theologies have been allowed to flourish within the American Church and to continue to call themselves ‘catholic’ in public with little more response than a shrug of the shoulders from our bishops? And for such a long time now, as long as I have been alive and probably much longer than that? Please, someone give me an answer. It would set my mind at ease but I will not hold my breath.

  87. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Perhaps the end state of the “Conscious Evolution” of the sisters of the LCWR will be the “Conscious Uncoupling” of their union with the Catholic Church, as explained by Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, http://www.goop.com/journal/be/conscious-uncoupling

  88. Midwest St. Michael says:


    If you have not read these, you might consider doing so. They will answer most of your questions.

    “Call to Action or Call to Apostacy?” by Brian Clowes
    “The Desolate City” by Anne-Roche Muggeridge
    “Catechisms and Controversies” by Msgr. Michael Wrenn
    “Flawed Expectations” by Msgr. Michael Wrenn
    “A Generation Betrayed” by Eamonn Keane

    They are tough, tough reads and are just a *few* of many books I could recommend.


  89. The Masked Chicken says:

    Gail F.,

    I agree that their focus is more spiritual than physical, although this movement does not come out of Catholicism (it comes from behind the Iron Curtain via Ervin László) and the Hungarian/Iron Curtain blend included a bit more physicality (including non-equilibrium thermodynamics and chaos theory – which was way too much in its infancy for these guys to do anything with it). Basically, CE thinks it possible to tap into something called (hold onto your hats, boys and girls), the Akashic field, which László claims is a remnant of everything that happened in the last universe that existed before ours and contains all of their knowledge. If this sounds familiar, it is because it was used, verbatim, as a plot device in the first season of Eureka on the SciFi channel.

    László was heavily influenced by the Club of Rome (ah, the plot thickens) which was concerned with coming environmental and economic disasters (it was they who published that stupid book, Limits to Growth in the 1972) based on variables such as world population, industrialization, pollution, food production and resource depletion. [See the Wikipedia article]

    On the spiritual front, the feminine analog seeks to, as you say, “We are shifting from procreation toward cocreation. There is a trend developing, away from reproducing ourselves toward evolving ourselves.”

    All of this is codswallop. I know something about both quantum theory and chaos theory and all of this is just nonsense. This is so like Star Gate: Atlantis’s idea of Ascension, that it reeks of a bad novel. It denies Christian anthropology, explicitly. It is not really something that a serious scientist or mathematician can look at with out wanting to yell. It does contain an element of Gnosticism, as in there is a type of universal knowledge that will render us all perfect, but it is more like a good con show, where one is told not to pull back the curtain and to ignore that man pulling levers.

    The Chicken

  90. benedetta says:

    The other issue, and the note by the Cardinal above that the sisters in the leadership conference are behaving as if they just have no idea/never heard of basic sound doctrine, is the origin and impetus of this movement. From its outward appearance, it seems that its raison d’etre is solely to disparage, deny,and undermine, not live harmoniously with, sound doctrine. That in itself is incredibly suspect. When you hear of this in “mainstream” type Catholic places, it will hijack just a little whiff or hint of traditional teaching in order to serve as a trojan horse for entry into the faith, theology, spirituality, of folks who lacking much catechesis or formation are quite susceptible to false doctrines.

  91. robtbrown says:

    Gail F,

    Conscious Evolution is just garden variety Hegelianism, which is often thought to be a type of Gnosticism.

    CE also has much in common with the thought of Joachim de Fiore, a 12th cent Cistercian abbot who thought that there would be an Age of the Holy Spirit, which would transcend the letter of Scripture. JRatzinger is well informed about the doctrine of Abbot Joachim.

  92. acardnal says:

    Ann Carey, “Sisters in Crisis Revisited” author, wrote an article about the LCWR’s weird, out of this world cosmology here: http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/women-religious-and-the-new-cosmology/

  93. robtbrown says:

    Also: The contemporary tendency is to consider Evolution just to be biological. In fact, the concept has been around for hundreds of years and has taken many forms, e.g., 6th cent BC–Pythagoras and metempsychosis, Marx and socio-economic evolution, and the psychological evolution of Freud.

  94. The Masked Chicken says:

    Not only the Vatican should be denouncing this, but scientists, as well. Perhaps, then, with their pseudo-scientific foundation undercut from them, they will finally listen.

    The Chicken

  95. wmeyer says:

    MSM, I would insert, between Msgr. Wrenn’s two fine volumes, DOA: The ambush of the universal catechism, which can be found among used books.

  96. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Thx, wmeyer.

    I have seen that one, but have not picked it up. I am still reeling from the ones I mentioned above.

    ;’^( MSM

  97. Gail F says:

    robtbrown: Agreed. My point was not that anyone was wrong about the LCWR and CE, but that what seems to appeal to them about it is geared toward spirituality and elderly women — the idea that they can help “birth humanity” and help humanity evolve, etc. etc. — through the spiritual gifts and talents they believe they possess.

    It’s a type of Gnosticism wrapped in pseudo-science. Gnosticism is alive and well. A woman at a very traditional Catholic event I attended recently told me all about a local Waldorf school some relatives of hers attended, and I wondered if she knew anything about Rudolph Steiner and his wacky Gnostic “church” — which Waldorf education was developed for. Some Waldorf schools just use the educational part but the whole point of it is to form children before (they think) their souls fully integrate with their bodies so that they can develop spiritual and psychic powers (it’s too late for the rest of us, once we’re “ensouled”).

  98. Gail F says:

    The Masked Chicken: I had no idea, thanks for that crash course on the bizarre context for CE. It all probably goes back to Madame Blavatsky in the end.

  99. wmeyer says:

    To compensate, MSM, read FR. Wiltgen’s excellent The Rhine Flows into the Tiber: A History of Vatican II.

    I wonder whether the LCWR have read the CCC….

  100. benedetta says:

    It seems also to make an idol of a biological theory, placing above and over the Living God. And to what end?

  101. If the LCWR sticks to “Conscious Evolution”, the biggest problem would be to divide out if this concept is “only” heretical or by the intention to overcome Jesus and Christianism de facto apostatic. Persistance in either is object to poena latae sententiae of excommunication due to Can. 1364 CIC 1983.

    My guess is that the LCWR is playing poker, if the CDF is willing to bring this into talk. If the CDF does, they will whine about these “outdated disciplinary measures” and that the CDF is unable to understand the splendor of “Conscious Evolution” due to their patriachalistic oppressive thinking. Any similarity of this to the argument of genderism-faithful about the “other sciences” naming the “gender science” unscientific is fully intended.

  102. heidieliz says:

    Thanks Chicken for your remarks on what CE is. Nauseates me too. I wonder if the LCWR had its members read “Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life” ?
    Probably ignored like all encyclicals (especially the first papal encyc 1 Peter!)
    What a pity.

  103. Lutgardis says:

    One big problem–probably the main one–with their obsession with promoting Cosmic Evolution is that it’s not something they keep to themselves; they are disseminating it through innocent parishes.

    For example, the bread and butter of this group of Sisters of St. Joseph is running an ecumenical spirituality center (http://www.csjthewell.org/index.html and http://www.csjthewell.org/region.htm) : “The Well is a regional center for the telling of the Universe Story, where people of all faiths and cultures are invited to recognize and affirm our communion with God and all creation; to experience an atmosphere for spiritual, physical, and emotional wholeness; and to participate in the sacred processes of healing and caring for Earth and her people.”

    Although they are open about the center being ecumenical, not Catholic, it is their “sponsored ministry,” and local parochial school children are brought in on field trips to learn about the Universe Story and their life debt to the star Tiamat, and the bulletins of at least two local parishes are constantly promoting their various workshops and talks, including ones given in the past by Barbara Marx Hubbard, of course.

    Their manifesto: http://www.csjthewell.org/images/BelongingtotheUniverse.jpg

    Here’s the sad spring edition of their SpiritEarth newsletter that talks about the “Earth-body,” does not mention Jesus once, and talks about how the idea of a mean patriarchal Sky God was imposed on humanity by a misogynistic religious elite that made up the Genesis “myths” out of whole cloth: http://www.csjthewell.org/documents/SpiritEarthSpring2014-working.pdf One lovely quote: “Indoctrinated in a theology of redemption, we lost our primordial innocence and the sense of ourselves as original blessings. We needed to be redeemed not only from sin, but from the natural world itself. Striving for salvation elsewhere, a self-understanding as Earthlings was lost to us.”

    Here’s their summer workshop offerings to mislead soul after soul from neighboring parishes into worshipping themselves and the universe: http://www.csjthewell.org/documents/TheWell2014SabbaticalBrochureWEB.pdf

    They are doing real boots-on-the-ground work of spreading these beliefs as widely as they can, all under the umbrella of love, justice (sorry, “eco-justice”), mercy, being “dear neighbors” and so on. And this is how everyday Catholics get exposed to and warped by these ideas, all in the idea that they are being loving and saving the Earth. And again, there’s a certain emphasis on God, but not much mention of Jesus, especially as a historical person, though Sr. Jeanne on p. 4 has some time for the idea of “Jesus the Christ”: http://www.csjoseph.org/files/stjosephks/files/publications/imagineONE/imagineONE.Winter2013.pdf

    The cross of their logo is actually a shining star surrounded by a whirly cloud. That really says it all.

  104. Midwest St. Michael says:

    wmeyer asks: “I wonder whether the LCWR have read the CCC….”

    Would that be, per chance, the Catechism of Conscious Confusion?

    Oh, never mind.


  105. Gerard Plourde says:

    As an aside, Joachim de Fiore is a favorite of evangelicals trying to prove the Rapture, the Tribulation and the thousand-year reign of Jesus.

  106. aviva meriam says:

    Would it be too much to ask for/hope for/pray for that the CDF will turn their focus on to Fordham’s Theology department? As an alumna, I’m embarrassed….

  107. LarryW2LJ says:


    Excellent point! Everyday in my prayers, in addition to praying for all the clergy and religious throughout the world, I offer a special prayer for those who have gone (for lack of a better term) “wobbly”. That they would awake, repent and come back to the fold. The Lord know what I mean, and the Holy Spirit polishes up my prayer before it is presented to the Father, anyway – so God knows what I mean – even if I don’t express it the best way possible.

  108. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Two more good reads: Msgr. George A. Kelly’s The Battle for the American Church Revisited (1995) and Roberto di Mattei’s The Second Vatican Council: The Untold Story (2013). The first is a review of all the players, including bishops’ conferences, and the fight to uncouple the American Church from Rome. The second, which I have barely begun, gives the history for the modernist agenda that was only temporarily stymied by Pope St. Pius X and infiltrated Catholic educational institutions in theology, scripture studies, catechetics, and liturgy, just waiting for the excuse of Vatican II to break out.

    I have to say, y’all are the best commenters on the Internet. I learn so much from you and it is all so pleasant and respectful. Not like some other sites!

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  110. Traductora says:

    Rbtbrown, entirely agree. There’s no such thing as a new heresy, in any case. These girls are just doing the same old same old.

    Midwest Catholic, you’re probably right – we had some very weak bishops during the time that the LCWR was getting going, and very weak if not even quasi-heretical bishops some time after that. But we have many good ones now, and I think things will change.

  111. PhilipNeri says:

    Hmmmmm. . .I wonder if we could interest Crdl. Muller in taking a look at male religious life in the U.S.?

    Fr. Philip Neri, OP

  112. Suburbanbanshee says:

    To add to the Chicken’s comments, it would seem that the stupid “Akashic records” concept was invented in 1884 by a Theosophist named Alfred Percy Sinnett (following some concepts mentioned by Madame Blavatsky). It was popularized by the medium Edgar Cayce. So yeah… that’s exactly the kind of stuff we want to see nuns studying. Warmed over Victorian Theosophism.

    Re: Barbara Marx Hubbard’s website statement, it looks like yet another woman who wishes she’d had kids, or more kids, or possibly some real friends. And now she is trying to paint inner emptiness and loneliness as an evolved state, instead of realizing that she should turn to God.

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  114. Ted says:

    RNS today has more on Cardinal Cardinal Kasper effectively repudiating Cardinal Muller’s criticism of the LCWR. He even compares the feminist theologian Johnson to Aquinas, both poor victims of the Church hierarchy:


  115. benedetta says:

    I’m with Card. Kasper! He is right! This is not such a big deal in that it was bound to happen, and what does happen in the ordinary course of dealing with heretical currents, which pop up in the history of the Church in different ways and certainly need attending to, by someone, and good that we have the ability in the Church do deal with it rationally, unlike other systems which are not apostolic. It is to laugh that the msm barks headlines such as “crackdown” and “smackdown” and even Mr. Gibson a Catholic himself felt the need to go with that headline. Regardless of the spin, neither Card. Kasper, nor Pope Francis himself it seems, is “with” this bizarre agenda. Let’s take a look at the facts, shall we? Even the LCWR, who in essence has alienated a good number of women religious who do not subscribe to this weird and wild eco/evo whatever it is, states that what has been happening has been…”dialogue”…LOL…not the comfy chair! So far I see nothing but patient listening and engagement by this much aligned and nefarious “Vatican”. So much for the reportage this time around, again…sigh.

  116. benedetta says:

    As usual, this spin doesn’t in fact seem to be coming from the LCWR at all…it is coming from, once again, outside the Church, from the Church haters who only wish to bask in any negative press with respect to the Church that possibly can be enabled/orchestrated/incentivized….etc…These are grown up ladies, like so many of us, and in their case, their professional title is Catholic theologian…or whatever it may be. So, one cannot expect to be in service of the Church without also engaging in these aspects of discussion about this so-called theology that is proffered for widespread dissemination by the faithful, or as representation of the Faith to the faithful and to all others. If one is going to sign on to do theology, it seems, it goes without saying that the Church is permitted to also comment and even reject the product of that theology. It seems that the issue as framed by the msm cares not about this sort of evolutionary, spirituality (?) but rather the premise advanced is that any interest into what is being taught as Catholic is none of the Church’s business! I should think these LCWR sisters would have trouble supporting that even farther out notion. We in the Church have an interest that theology be not loony.

  117. robtbrown says:

    Ted says:
    RNS today has more on Cardinal Cardinal Kasper effectively repudiating Cardinal Muller’s criticism of the LCWR. He even compares the feminist theologian Johnson to Aquinas, both poor victims of the Church hierarchy:

    I read a couple Kasper books some years ago, and I finished with the impression that he is a mediocre Lutheran theologian. His remarks on St Thomas indicate that as an historian he is less than mediocre.

  118. benedetta says:

    St. Thomas a “poor victim of the Church hierarchy”…LOL

  119. edm says:

    Why is it that if one goes to the website of the LCWR there is no readily available list of communities/congregations that belong to them? I would think that would be a very basic piece of information on the site. I looked all over the place for it. Could someone find it? How does one easily find out which groups belong to what? Some would prefer to offer (financial/spiritual) support to some orders rather than others and membership in the two conferences might determine where to put one’s effort.

  120. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    The Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious has a website, cmswr.org, that lists member communities with their contact information. They are young, getting younger, and growing, unlike the member communities of the LCWR.

  121. These type of nuns have been doing this kind of masquerading since the 1980’s that I personally recall. They support an alternative theology while shielding themselves behind their social justice mantra.

  122. A.D. says:

    Holy Moly! Prediction: LCWR goes non-canonical in 3…. 2…. 1…. !

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  124. Vecchio di Londra says:

    “We in the Church have an interest that theology be not loony.”
    Benedetta, I’m afraid the open stable door was dismantled and burnt decades ago to prevent it from shutting.
    A surprising number of Catholic theologians have a similar background, character, academic career, and views. (Some are even related to each other.) The more they talk, the more you realize their theology is a code, and frequently it is really about them.
    Kasperle is no exception.

  125. Peasant of the Garonne says:

    “You have a discussion, you have a dialogue….”–Cardinal Kasper.
    “As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful, he is self-condemned.” Titus 3:10-11, RSVCE (Note: “a man who is factious”: the Greek expression would later become a technical term for a “heretic” whose teachings were contrary to the truth and condemned by the Church).
    To an elderly Cardinal who complained that a book by Cardinal Kasper was heretical, Pope Francis is said to have replied, “This enters in one ear and goes out the other.”
    Send the disruptive student down to the office, where they will talk to him. Later, he will be back in your classroom, disrupting it again. Problem solved!
    The Peasant of the Garonne says, “What is the shepherd’s staff for? On the farm, we use it to give the stubborn sheep a little whack.”

  126. benedetta says:

    Is this dialogue that is taking place, with patience and charity on the part of the Vatican representatives, happening in good faith on the part of the lcwr? If they pretend that the points for dialogue do not exist? So much for the dialogue…it is almost as if they desire and seek after a “smackdown” truly. What would be the point of that. If they appreciate the unity of the Church then they will visibly seek after it with their actions. If they see the entire interest in inquiry to be illegitimate then…?

  127. benedetta says:

    Will also say that with respect to Card. Kasper’s recent writings, it appears that the foundation for his advocacy for divorced and remarried Catholics is altogether different from what these LCWR sisters’ are attempting to advance which appears even from the point of view of any lay person to be esoteric and detached from the communion of faith. It is one thing to point out that the Catholic concept of mercy supports outreach and dialogue with divorced and remarried Catholics, it is quite another to propose that their situations are per se justified due to “conscious evolution” principles. I see nothing in Cardinal Kasper’s comments at this orchestrated event with lcwr representatives in theology which put him on the hotseat to indicate support for “conscious evo” whatever it may be, 2nd century gnosticism dressed up in modern day clothing.

  128. jhayes says:

    St. Thomas a “poor victim of the Church hierarchy”…LOL

    Some of his Aristotle-based views were forbidden to be taught at the University of Paris by Bishop Tempier’s Condemnation of 1277. Pope John XXI had authorized Tempier to investigate complaints .
    The Condemnation of 1277 was not annulled until 1325 , two years after Thomas’s canonization.

  129. HighMass says:

    There was alot of descent caused by LIBERAL AS Heck nuns after the Council, many of us lived thru it and many never returned to church….again more fruits that went sour.

  130. benedetta says:

    It begs the question, why are these sisters and their orders in practice, and this “theology” in outlook and as a movement, so very opposed to prolife? Looking at this easily reveals what this current means for, humanity. And if the philosophy turns humanity on itself in the form of pitting a mother against her child in the womb, with approval, then, it does not mean well for humanity. If “conscious evolution” and this movement doesn’t mean well for humanity then it is not something that the Church can support, simple as that. These sisters have a great deal of clout politically with Obama and also it seems on local levels. If they won’t even get involved to advocate for prolife in their own party, then their ideology cannot mean well for the whole of humanity. The right to be born is a fundamental human right. Our creator calls us to be faithful to life and not set up oppositions, false ones such as attempting to say that faithfulness to ecology mandates or justifies the sacrifice of innocent life. Further the torture of the innocent in the womb cannot be seriously countenanced by any movement that claims to advocate for progress or compassion. It is not evolution, or the ecology which necessitates such an ideological position.

  131. Cathy says:

    What seems really weird is the common complaint at the NSR that the same bishops who failed to protect children during the abuse scandal are now called to oversee them. There seems to be a great disconnect there, in lack of recognition that many of these bishops are, or have been lauded, by the NSR . Do you think their complaints would be so adamant had Cardinal Mahoney, Thomas Gumbleton or Rembert Weakland been assigned to this task?

  132. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Midwest Catholic, you’re probably right – we had some very weak bishops during the time that the LCWR was getting going, and very weak if not even quasi-heretical bishops some time after that. But we have many good ones now, and I think things will change.”

    I can tell you when all of this started. The warrant was issued with:

    ON OCTOBER 28, 1965

    In section 18, p. 2, it reads:

    “In order that the adaptation of religious life to the needs of our time may not be merely external and that those employed by rule in the active apostolate may be equal to their task, religious must be given suitable instruction, depending on their intellectual capacity and personal talent, in the currents and attitudes of sentiment and thought prevalent in social life today.[My emphasis] This education must blend its elements together harmoniously so that an integrated life on the part of the religious concerned results.”

    What was the current thought in social life from 1965 – 1970? It was Transactional Analysis, Human Potential Movement, Primal Scream Therapy, psychobabble, psychobabble, psychobabble…That the Vatican was in so much disarray after Vatican II that they could not rebuke these new-fangled ways of social thought allowed them to be legitimately absorbed by many religious seeking higher education in the liberal arts of the time. There is a straight line from the silence of the CDF at the time and the modern LCWR fiasco. I blame the women, but, even more, I blame the Holy See for a lack of explanation and oversight at the time. It is a little late, now.

    The Chicken

  133. anniemw says:


    Here is what I found https://lcwr.org/links/organizations


  134. Gail F says:

    Lutgardis: That is INSANE!!! I glanced through the newsletter… St. Irenaeus is NOT pleased!

  135. Gail F says:

    Suburbanbanshee: I KNEW it went back to Madame Blavatsky! Everything does…

  136. edm says:

    Thank you! I never thought to look under links. Looked everywhere else!
    WOW! Community after community appears to be really “messed up” (I know…not a theologically correct term).

  137. The Cobbler says:

    edm, it’s worth keeping in mind the LCWR’s first two initials stand for “Leadership Conference”, which, however influential it may be, is quite a different thing from a representation of entire communities, let alone all of these entire communities. Granted it’s small comfort, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find religious within any number of those communities that are praying for Rome to straighten out the “Leadership Conference”.

  138. MikeM says:

    “Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand, and at this phase of the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, we are looking for a clearer expression of that ecclesial vision and more substantive signs of collaboration.”

    Well, that’s a message to send them home with.

  139. Lutgardis says:

    Gail F: I know. It makes me sick to my stomach. Please pray for the sisters and for our community, that everyone’s eyes be opened to what is being perpetuated.

  140. wmeyer says:

    edm, to take one LCWR member order with which I have some familiarity, consider the Sisters of St. Joseph of Nazareth. The order is in Nazareth, MI, adjacent to Kalamazoo. They ran Nazareth College, which closed in 1992, and Barbour Hall, a military academy for boys, which closed in 1979. I have not recently been in Kalamazoo, but a quick look on Google Earth indicates that the sisters’ residence home is gone, and although the other buildings remain, I rather suspect that we’re talking about a retirement community at this point.

  141. frahobbit says:

    “Anakin: When I got to them we got into aggressive negotiations…” Why can’t they be more aggressive in their directions to these sisters?

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  143. RobertK says:

    I wonder how many Franciscan OFM’s will come to their aid now after this revelation from the CDF. Gnosticism!. Hmm!.

  144. Kathleen10 says:

    “The whole woman, the universal woman, the evolutionary woman, the feminine cocreator is now vital to the survival and evolution of our whole species. Feminine principles of leadership are essential to whole-making.”

    I can tell you that’s false because working for women is typically a nightmare, evolutionary woman or not.

    That aside, I too lament the delay between obvious heresies and correction. How many souls lost due to the errors taught by these nuns? What a terrible thing. I imagine how long, say, a Padre Pio or an Archbishop Sheen would have allowed for such obvious error to go unchallenged. The church moves with it’s own timing, yet, I often wonder why individuals or groups are allowed to get away with these things for what seems like forever, especially when souls can be lost over it. Universities are another site for heresies that go virtually unchallenged, at least as far as I know. Everything moves with the speed of glaciers.

  145. edm says:

    The Cobbler,
    Yes, I understand it is the “leadership conference” but I clicked on the links to the actual websites and found very few where the members of the communities were, for example habited (or in modern jargon, in distinctive garb), preferring in stead the flowered dress or the sweat suit. Few sites provided religious content in any devotional way. Rather, the emphasis in so many was “woman centered” and if possible in circular arrangements of “members”. I applaud the obvious, if few “holdouts” here and there in habits: THEY are the ones I would say have strength.
    I also understand that there may be pockets of good faithful religious intertwined. I was somewhat familiar with the former Franciscan Sisters of Ringwood (NJ). They were probably 95% faithful to the Church. However, because of their numbers they merged with the Franciscan Sisters of Philadelphia (of Hope, now) and…oh, boy! A look at their site can make one cringe just a little and also make one wonder how some of the former FSRs must feel when they see the others. Obviously, I can’t speak for them.

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