There is some speculation about what may be said on 16 December in Rome about the Apostolic Visitation that was conducted of communities of women religious in these USA by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (aka Congregation for Religious). Some suggest (hopefully, even triumphantly) that a rosy picture, or at least not a black picture, will be painted of religious life in female institutes and orders. Or, perhaps, there will be the usual positive comments about the many “fruits”, just like all the “fruits” we have obviously been granted since the Second Vatican Council. Then, there could be a small bite of the lip, tilt of the head, and lift of the hand, while, with furrowed brow someone says, even with all the “fruits”, there are points to work on (like the fact that most communities are going to be extinct in 20 years).
Whatever the outcome, whatever the statements, be careful not to fall into a trap. Don’t let media outlets lead you astray. Don’t let, especially liberal catholic commentators blow smoke into your eyes.
Do not conflate – as so often happens – the Visitation of the communities of women religious and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s scrutiny of the LCWR. These are separate issues and actions. The exoneration or praise of or even criticism that might come from the report on the Visitation, is NOT the same as what the CDF is doing in examining the formation and spirituality of the LCWR.
But watch. Some will say, “Look! The Pope himself (even though it’s the Congregation) has said the nuns of the LCWR are groovy! So, everyone now has to listen to the Nuns on the Bus!” No. It will be the Congregation and it won’t concern the CDF and the LCWR, and the Nuns on the Bus are yet another group (though the Venn Diagrams start to overlap heavily).