Of the LCWR and the end of the CDF “crackdown”

At the conclusion of the CDF investigation of the LCWR, it is interesting to watch the conga line dance threading its delirious way through the liberal catholic MSM led by Fishwrap‘s Tom Fox, AP‘s (not catholic, but liberal) Nicole Winfield and Rachel Zoll, Commonweal‘s Dominic Preziosi, RNS‘s (which takes money from strange sources) David Gibson, and James Martin, SJ, at Amerika who cooed with satisfaction.

Looking at the liberal reactions side-by-side is reminds me of walking into Pompeii’s “Villa of the Mysteries”.  Their elation is nearly Bacchic.

Not all online reactions have been so ecstatic.

Phil Lawler at CatholicCulture.org wrote (my emphases):

“We learned that what we hold in common is much greater than any of our differences.”

That comment did not come from a Presbyterian cleric after a Saturday-afternoon ecumenical meeting. It was made by a leading representative of American Catholic women’s religious orders, at the conclusion of a long, tense exchange with the Vatican.

Shouldn’t we be able to take it for granted that what unites Catholics is greater than their differences? And especially in the case of religious orders, pledged to the service of the Church?

But it could not be taken for granted, in the case of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. That’s why the Vatican stepped in.

Now that the intervention has run its course, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, assures us of the Vatican’s confidence that the LCWR is “fostering a vision of religious life that is centered on the Person of Jesus Christ and is rooted in the Tradition of the Church.”

Again, shouldn’t you be able to take that much for granted? But in 2008, you couldn’t.

Those statements from the two main parties do not guarantee that the Vatican intervention will prove successful. They do, however, demonstrate that the process was necessary.

That’s something that the other side is going to deny: that the process was necessary.

On a somewhat sharper register, at Creative Minority Report we read:

So the Vatican has dropped the investigation into the LCWR. Cuz in the Church, the only thing hetero these days is the doxy.

What is one to make of what happened?

On the one hand, say that the CDF really did back down, on the orders of Pope Francis or not.  One possible take is that they determined that it simply wasn’t worth the effort to attempt a reform of the LCWR, in regard to its guiding principles and goals for formation and spirituality.  After all, most of the groups whose leadership belong to the LCWR are dying out pretty quickly.  If the CDF has closed the file, to quote one of the Left’s darlings, what difference does it make? They have no vocations.

Another point may be that the CDF isn’t the monstrous boogy which liberals delight in reviling.  Perhaps the process simply ran it’s course and ended.   John Allen at Crux as a somewhat less left-skewed view of what happened HERE.  He might have joined the Eleusinian conga by clapping a little on the side-lines, but he didn’t strut.  His analysis is, in its essentials, right, though his own leanings bleed through.

Over at Catholic World Report, Carl Olson has a good round-up of how the story has been covered, the twisted headlines, etc.  Here is a sample with my emphases and comments:


There are, however, several ways of skinning the controversial Catholic cat, as Reuters reporter Philip Pullella makes evident in a piece titled “Activist U.S. nuns make concessions after Vatican investigation”. Instead of reconciliation, Pullella apparently smells capitulation and oppression. And guess who the Bad Guys are?

A six-year row between activist American nuns and Vatican officials who had branded them radical feminists ended on Thursday with the nuns conceding to demands that they keep within the doctrine of the Roman Catholic church.

The clash with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella group representing 80 percent of U.S. nuns, became a national issue in America, with many supporters accusing the Vatican of bullying them.

The Vatican investigated the group for three years and then in 2012 issued a stinging report saying the LCWR had “serious doctrinal problems” and promoted “radical feminist themes incompatible with the (Roman) Catholic faith”.

The Vatican criticized the group for taking a soft line on issues such as birth control and homosexual activity. ([Olson’s] emphasis added for fun)

Goodness! It’s as if the sweet little nuns had been doing nothing but putting band-aids on skinned knees and singing sweet, lilting songs of sisterhood when—wham!—those nasty guys in Rome went all patriarchal on them. Of course, the truth about the history of the LCWR and its various actions in recent years suggest a rather different story. But I don’t expect Reuters to tell it. [A safe bet.]

The New York Times says a “battle” has ended, Seattlepi.com says the “the nuns stand tall”, and Slate claims the Vatican tacitly admitted the entire matter was a waste of time.

[NB… this is rich!] Slate demonstrates it’s tenuous grasp on the story by illustrating it with a photo (see below) of habit-wearing youthful members of Sisters of Life—an order that belongs to the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, not the Leadership Conference of Women Religious  (LCWR), which is the (aging) body in question and which is not known for wearing habits (see photo above, thank you). [Yes… it is also important to look at which photos are chosen for the coverage in all these stories!] For those not versed in these matters, it is analogous to illustrating a story about a Hillary Clinton campaign stop with photos from a Tea Party convention.

A far better balance it struck by veteran reporter Francis Rocca, writing for the Wall Street Journal [behind a paywall]:

The Vatican brought to an end a three-year overhaul of a U.S. nuns’ group stemming from a controversial investigation that found the sisters had neglected church teachings on abortion and other issues.

In a final document released Thursday, the Vatican went lightly on the nuns, effectively sparing them from any sanction or further oversight. The outcome represented a markedly more conciliatory tone in a controversy that saw the Vatican widely criticized for its treatment of the sisters.

His title? “Vatican Ends Overhaul of U.S. Nuns’ Group”.

One final thought: Are matters with the LCWR really resolved—with a whimper? [as John Allen said?] Maybe. Frankly, I doubt it. I have a hard time believing that a group whose leadership has thumbed its nose at the CDF and bishops and has  so often ignored (or even denied) Church teaching is going to so suddenly change its spots. I’d like to be wrong on that count. But, time will tell. In the meantime, let’s hear it for more truth in headlines and the stories beneath them.

It will be interesting to see what happens when the LCWR has its annual meeting.  I wonder if they will again go with a keynote speaker like Barbara Marx Hubbard in 2012 with her snake oil: “I am here to be a voice for the Collective Emergence of humanity as a Co-creative Universal Species!” HERE Or Ilia Delio and her view that “There is no cosmos without God, and no God without cosmos.”  HERE

… Lest anyone doubt that the CDF investigation was necessary….

If the CDF process produced some good fruits, I’ll be delighted.  We shall see.

Meanwhile, as one of my correspondents wrote to me:

The only Catholic Franciscans left are chased like Jews in 1944 Poland for the grievous sin of attracting vocations while sticking to the rule and using certain liturgical books.

Final point….

The way I see it, the nuns signed a public agreement, not a “fig leaf”, as one of the liberals in the conga line called it.

If they violate the agreement the whole Church and world can be reminded that they signed it.

In one year, in five… whatever.  Scriptum manet.

The CDF did not promise to do – or not to do –anything.

The nuns did.

Let’s see if they keep their word.

Reminder: Pope Francis doesn’t like hypocrisy.






The moderation queue is on.  I’ll let some comments stack up before releasing them.  You can react to the post before reacting to each other.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Cantor says:

    A few years ago, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute published its surprising findings that the damage to Titanic’s hull was less than 1.5 square meters.

    In other words, its watertight integrity was far greater than its hole.

  2. ChrisRawlings says:

    There are so many powerful and life-giving things happening in the Church today, and the Sisters of Life are only one example. It gets tiresome hearing about the dissent, the heresies, the disobedience, and so on, all of which are typical manifestations of the very wounds of Christ that aren’t new to the Church. Thank God–and I mean that as literally as possible–for the new priests who love our Lord passionately, for the millions of young people at World Youth Days making their secular elders’ heads spin in disbelief, for the fervent witness of many lay Catholics around the world living their faith with fire and zeal in defiance of the ambient culture’s listless secularism, for the intellectual force of faithful Catholic colleges like Wyoming Catholic College, for the humble fidelity of bishops like Salvatore Cordileone, for the quiet growth of liturgical reverence throughout the country, for the fantastic growth of the pro-life movement especially among college kids aren’t tied down by the cultural baggage of the Roe generation, for the openness to life of young Christian couples who have been graced out of the absurdity of our fecundphobic contraceptive culture.

    There is a lot happening beyond the neuroses of the older generations of Catholics, and even within those, too. Perhaps my age (30) allows me to see more clearly the upswing of Catholic life in the country because a lot of the synthetic stuff that older Catholics created is being mercifully stripped away by younger Catholics who have simply had it. Now there is left increasingly exactly the kind of new evangelization that popes had hoped for.

    At last.

    And perhaps this is why the Vatican decided to stop giving so much energy and time to movements in the Church that have grown more irrelevant as they grow further from the authentic doctrine of our faith

  3. Elizabeth D says:

    I consider this joint declaration of the LCWR as an instrument of ecclesial communion is is a significant success, period. I think that any framing of this as “this is nothing” or “the sisters won and the CDF caved” is mistaken. It is the essential thing I was hoping for after the research I did into religious life. I explain why at my blog: http://www.laetificatmadison.com/2015/04/a-positive-final-report-on-the-cdf-doctrinal-assessment-of-the-lcwr/ There have been DEEP problems with individual sisters’ and whole religious congregations’ commitment to communion with the Catholic Church both corporately and in shared faith and morals. There has absolutely been progress made, and while some sisters will try to fundamentally reject it by declaring this as “victory against the patriarchs” and ignoring the content or interpreting it in weaselly ways, the statement published jointly by the LCWR and the CDF in fact challenges the whole attitude of a LOT of LCWR sisters who see themselves as being against and not wanting to be part of “the institutional church.”

    Massive challenges and issues remain. There is strong reason to think that those challenges and issues no longer include LCWR supporting and abetting groups of religious to quit the Church. Rather, the LCWR rightly is pointing with a new simplicity toward the Church and her teaching. I think it is in everyone’s interest to support this as a good result; how fruitful it will going forward be remains to be seen. Younger religious in LCWR orders will TEND to support the statement. Some of the radical old guard will just declare “victory” while basically rejecting it.

  4. sw85 says:

    Yes, this sticks in the craws of faithful Catholics. But the Vatican is surely thinking in the long term (and not THAT long, either): the crazies can be waited out, whereupon their orders and properties will revert to the control of more orthodox elements of the Church. Should the Vatican antagonize them now, they will simply go into schism — having no habits of obedience left, why wouldn’t they? — and take their orders and properties with them, dooming them never to return to the sheepfold. The Church will get her way in the end; we think in days, weeks, and months; she thinks in decades and centuries.

  5. mburn16 says:

    A good rule of thumb for politics – and there is inevitably an element of politics here – is that the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle. The termination of this process seems to have caught many off their guard, so I am disinclined to think it simply wrapped up as expected. Nuns agree to make changes, Vatican agrees to give the appearence of cordiality, and we see what happens. Did Francis play a part? Probably. But so, too, probably, did practicality: these convents and mother houses frequently resemble nursing homes and care centers where healthcare aides vastly outnumber postulates. The few who are still capable of going out and causing trouble probably wouldn’t listen anyway, and the RCC is not going to state excommunicating or evicting dozens of women in their 70s and 80s.

  6. govmatt says:

    It is an act of mercy to comfort the dying.

    Let’s not forget the prophetic words of Pope Francis: “perhaps these orders have completed their mission.”

  7. Robbie says:

    After sorting through what has and, regrettably, hasn’t happened with the LCWR, I’m reminded of a comment the Pope made not long after his election. In speaking to CLAR in June 2013, the Pope was reported to have said this:

    “They will make mistakes, they will make a blunder, this will pass! 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. I would rather have a Church that makes mistakes for doing something than one that gets sick for being closed up.”

    I think these comments were a good predictor of what was ultimately to happen with this case. The Pope, above all, wants action, especially for the poor. And as his comments suggest, if a doctrinal mistake or two are made along the way, so be it so long as those on the margins are being reached. Now, if the LCWR were promoters of the TLM, things might have been different, but I digress!

  8. Per Signum Crucis says:

    If the next LCWR Convention invites Fr. Z as keynote speaker, I’ll guess we’ll definitely know where the wind is blowing…

  9. Sixupman says:

    The attendant photos of the LCWR with Pope Francis and one in “Minority Report” would be worthy of the ‘A Spot the Nun’ competition!

  10. acardnal says:

    Herewith the Joint Final Report on the Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR from the Vatican’s website:HERE

  11. acardnal says:

    Another well thought out article was written by writer Ann Carey, who is well versed on the long standing problematic issues with the LCWR and wrote two books on the subject. She published this in the “National Catholic Register” : HERE

  12. jfk03 says:

    My take is that the CDF won this round, but in charity allowed LCSW to save face. Perhaps that could be called taking the high road.

  13. SanSan says:

    The Poor Clare Nuns and the Sisters for Life are good examples of how nuns LIVE the life of Christ. I pray that through attrition that many of the Liberal LCWR will pass and new orders of teaching Nuns will blossom and help save souls–starting in kindergarten.

  14. SanSan says:

    Just wanted to say that I still pray and think about my wonderful Kindergarten teacher Sister Mary Thomas of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She was so beautiful and left a lasting impression on this now elderly woman. :)

  15. LeeF says:

    I agree that it is not worth the effort to slap a few little aging nuns on the back of the hand with a ruler like they used to do to us. The publicity only helps them and their agenda, which John Allen points out in saying their “nuns on a bus” tour was a feat of PR. After all, they probably are not converting anyone not already inclined to their loopy thinking. As the percentage of those belonging to orders that are members of the CMSWR versus the total of religious sisters continues to rise over the next decade or two until they comprise a majority, the LCWR will continue to get smaller and more shrill and more silly. Ignoring them is the best antidote to their continued silliness and lack of orthodoxy. Years from now perhaps they will realize that the so-called crackdown was actually a brief respite on their long downward spiral.

    Perhaps the next time they post a “nuns on the bus” vid, some conservative could post a vid showing nuns in habits performing actual works of mercy in feeding the poor, nursing the sick and teaching school children. (I realize some of the LCWR order members do these things, but it is not their principal focus as it was decades ago.)

  16. cpttom says:

    The only Catholic Franciscans left are chased like Jews in 1944 Poland for the grievous sin of attracting vocations while sticking to the rule and using certain liturgical books.

    So I guess now we will hear that the Vatican Administrator has been relieved of his Duties over the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, and that all is forgiven, Right? *chirping of crickets*

  17. Aquinas Gal says:

    I’ve pondered why the Vatican did an investigation in the first place, at this late date, when it should have been done 30 years ago. The LCWR congregations are indeed dying out, so what is the point?
    I can think of two reasons: 1) To offer a final call to conversion in the hopes that perhaps some of the misguided nuns might yet convert
    2) Failing that, to let the masks come off so everyone with eyes to see can understand what is really going on. It is apparent that the LCWR is far from Catholic doctrine. I doubt they will change. But for any objective observer, it is obvious that they are really not very Catholic at all. Some are even going non-canonical. So let the masks drop and let all see where their version of religious life ends up: in apostasy.

    Their next meeting will be “Springs of the Great Deep Burst Forth: Meeting the Thirsts of the World”

    Keynote speakers: Janet Mock, CSJ and Stephen Bevan, SVD
    I don’t know much about them but an abstract from one of Bevan’s papers says:

    These rich reflections, by one of today’s foremost missiologists, lead us to think church and mission less in terms of onerous duty than divine invitation to join in the dance.

    Join in the dance, indeed, as they dance themselves right out of the Church!

  18. Supertradmum says:

    I betcha the powers that be looked at the average age of the members of the orders which they were investigating and thought, “Well, God will judge most of these sisters soon, so let Him do it.”

    Passing the problem up the proverbial hierarchical ladder…

  19. iPadre says:

    This is probably the best solution. Time will sort out everything and the Church will not look like a stick. Let’s look at the LCWR in 10, 15, 20 years. Time!

  20. Athelstan says:

    I confess I remain skeptical that anything will change out of all this; but then there was no process or structure that was ever likely to return most of these orders or sisters to something like theological or vocational “solvency,” if you. Obviously, I pray and hope for something better, as must we all.

    One niggle: The only Catholic Franciscans left are chased like Jews in 1944 Poland for the grievous sin of attracting vocations while sticking to the rule and using certain liturgical books. If you listen to the critics, like a certain blogging FFI friar, they are being “chased” not for these things (not that they particularly approve of them, either), but for “crypto-lefebvrism,” which chiefly seems (when you press them on it) to come down to the grave crime of publishing Brunero Gherardini books. Which must mean that they utterly reject Vatican II and the Novus Ordo or something. But the larger point remains: the FFI seems to be facing the equivalent of 40 years at hard labor for the ecclesiastical equivalent, in the context of what these progressive orders have gotten away with, of jaywalking.

  21. The Cobbler says:

    “…reminds me of walking into Pompeii’s…”
    I see what you did there.

    “A few years ago, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute published its surprising findings that the damage to Titanic’s hull was less than 1.5 square meters.

    In other words, its watertight integrity was far greater than its hole.”
    That depends somewhat on the length of those 1.5 square meters, I suppose.

  22. Fr_Sotelo says:

    This reminds me of the end of the Thirty Years’ War and the Peace of Westphalia. It brings about a tenuous truce between Catholics and Protestants, who just happen to be sharing the same denomination this time around.

  23. Prayerful says:

    Whatever the real reason most of the orders in the LCWR will be distinctly shadowy in a few years, if not now, as you say. They often have to convert schools and other institutions into largely lay run trusts, as the numbers for a religious management team let alone vowed staff below retirement age, do not exist. I suspect a strong reason is that their left leaning progressive values are in favour in Rome. Tradition and orthodoxy as espoused by the Franciscan of the Immaculate, among others, is positively not in favour.

  24. jhayes says:

    John Allen:

    the more sweeping investigation of women’s orders and the LCWR investigation were orphans almost as soon as they were born.

    Both were pushed forward at the beginning by a handful of well-placed American cardinals in Rome coming to the end of their careers, who were convinced that they’d watched the progressive disintegration of religious life in the country and felt this was their last chance to do something about it. They persuaded friends in the right Vatican departments to set the wheels in motion.

    The US bishops were not consulted; had they been asked, most would have voted “no.” Even those who shared many of the same concerns about the drift in women’s orders, perhaps especially the LCWR, would have argued there were better ways of addressing them.

    Inevitably, many of them said, a Vatican investigation will be perceived as punitive, creating a PR nightmare. That’s what Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley meant when he told “60 Minutes” that the whole thing had been a “disaster.”

  25. Sandy says:

    It has been many years since I read Ungodly Rage by Donna Steichen, and her book is probably more pertinent now than when it was written. Things have certainly not improved in the ranks of the feminist nuns!

  26. JimGB says:

    I agree that the Vatican concluded that the downside of further action against thie LCWR (i.e., the media narrative of a bunch of men in Rome “cracking down” on these poor humble servants of the Lord) did not outweigh any additional benefit to be gained. The orders that are attracting vocations do not belong to the LCWR by and large, and in 10 to 20 years many of these congregations will have died out or dwindled to a small number of elderly women trying to maintain their by-then wildly overgrown labyrnths. As to the ones who publicly support or even, in one notorious case, help procure abortions, they will have to answer before God for their actions, which is far worse than anything the CDF could do to them.

  27. excalibur says:

    … with the nuns conceding to demands that they keep within the doctrine of the Roman Catholic church.

    Who woulda thunk it!

  28. dave morgan says:

    I am not surprised by this, given that the on women religious in the USA was a wash out also. It all fits this regime in Rome.

    I am not surprised, but I am disappointed.

    The Vatican (and probably Pope Francis) have caved.

    The nuns waged an effective media campaign, with assistance of course, from their liberal atheist buddies in that field…and the men in Rome have bowed under the pressure. In addition, they have weighed up all the other criteria, like you have mentioned Fr Z, regarding their age etc, and have concluded that they’ll leave it to others to fix (other churchmen, natural processes, or the HS directly).

    Sad. It’s an abdication of their their authority and vocation, given by to them by Christ, especially, the Petrine Ministry.

    Or they think that it isn’t that serious and these nuns are ok, and were being bullied. If that’s the case, then all the signs we’re seeing in Rome (including the up-coming Synod), are aligning for dark days ahead…

    I disagree with you Fr Z regarding the document that they signed. These nuns are hyprocrites. They’ll sign it and do the opposite without any qualms. And if people remind them about it, they play all the same games they played with Bishop (can’t remember his name) who was delegated to “dialogue” with them in the US.

    It’s a capitulation.

    It’s analogous to so many liturgical abuses which were then given permission to be done; e.g., altar girls, Communion in the hand. This sell-out says, “Be disobedient, obfuscate, argue, misdirect, accuse Rome, and shout about patriarchal abuse, and in the end you’ll win. Rome will back off, and let you have what you want…You disobedience will be rewarded with permissions…”


  29. Norah says:

    Some years ago when this story was running hot in the blogs and comboxes I predicted this outcome; I wish I had kept the post.

    “In other words, its watertight integrity was far greater than its hole.”
    And the Titanic still sank.
    Will the Catholic Church still ignore the holes in the hull of the barque of Peter and suffer the same fate as the Titanic?

  30. andia says:

    All of this makes me wonder how to find a good order of nuns to join. sigh.

  31. Bea says:

    Their “crackdown” cracked me up.
    I hope they don’t think this legitimizes the mis-orientation some nun/teachers gave their students. My children only escaped because we gave them the Baltimore Catechism at home before they entered the Catholic school system. Many of the former students have ended with broken marriages and even in prison for drug dealings and transporting drugs across the border.

    Poor Bishop Cordileone, this is what he’s trying to prevent in S. F. by giving the students a solid Catholic teaching.

  32. iamlucky13 says:

    It’s far from re-assuring to read this in the America article:

    “This is a delicate balance for religious: the need to be faithful both to the institutional church and true to the unique role of religious life, as well to the individual charisms of their orders.”

    If the faith Our Lord gave us contradicts your “charism,” there’s something devilishly wrong with your charism.

  33. PA mom says:

    Andia-Fr Z has many prior discussions of good orders of nuns and so does The Anchoress blog also does as “Nun Updates”.

  34. Elizabeth D says:

    I am so sad reading the comments of faithful Catholics who perhaps do not care enough about the souls of religious sisters to truly value this step that helps keep them in the Church and potentially encourages faithfulness, or who cynically see a successful joint statement that our Holy Father Francis and a most faithful Cardinal, an exceptional Archbishop and two orthodox Bishops are genuinely satisfied with, as if it were “capitulation.” Those who want the Sisters punished are hard of heart, and those who want authoritarian exercise of force if they are not docile and teachable as children forget these are old women. Kindness is the way to go, especially since a substantial basic concord has been reached.

    Maybe this is a dreadful analogy, but I have a background with horses and these experiences also help me think about how human relationships work. If you need the horse to bend you keep up pressure only until the horse understands and yields. Then you release the pressure and praise him. He becomes more and more your friend. And increasingly he understands what you’re “saying” and tries to cooperate, and then he’s working with you freely. When dealing with people, this is even more true because their freedom and their personal dignity has to be respected. Conscience has to be formed, it also has to be respected.

  35. robtbrown says:

    In the US tuition in Catholic primary and secondary education has increased to the point that many cannot afford it. This is largely a consequence of the disappearance of sisters. And so I don’t think their mission has been completed.

    These liberal orders are dying. Let the dead bury the dead

    Unfortunately, it seems certain forces in the Vatican are trying to kill the FFI

  36. Benedict Joseph says:

    It has often been said that this LCWR is constituted only by the leaders of these groups of women. “It speaks only for itself, not the actual communities.” You would think that the women remaining in collapsing communities would withhold support for these “leaders.” Then there are some communities with a more traditional face who nevertheless still have their leadership represented in LCWR. Why? Why don’t they withdraw and go to the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious? In the end, why do they have these groups at all? They seem to be nothing more than an opportunity to gossip and grouse. We can be thankful for the remnant of authentic sisters and nuns, deeply thankful. If only that conga line to extinction for the rest of them would find its definitive terminus.

  37. This fits into the style of St. John Paul II, which was to leave a “paper trail.” No one really won, but for those who want to know the real story, it’s there. In 20 years, the LCWR types will be irrelevant, as the heterodox always become in the end.

  38. kimberley jean says:

    Most of these women have reached the age where you are getting ready to leave this world and on a personal level I’m inclined to say leave them to Heaven. Nobody in their right mind are joining these dying orders so we can wait them out. The only growth is in orders like the Nashville Dominicans or the Sister Servants. But it should be noted that these women have done great harm to the Church. I know of one Catholic family that was severely damaged by their close relationship with a liberal nun. The son no longer goes to church and the daughter goes rarely. The only serious Catholic in the family is the elderly father.

  39. Kathleen10 says:

    @kimberly jean, your point is a good one. Our hearts and maybe good reason tell us not to hammer at elderly nuns, and I’m sure no one wants that, but we all see our church is full of errors and problems, and at some point, they simply have to be addressed and corrected. It is temping to give people a pass, especially adorable seniors, but seniors who have been responsible for teaching God’s truth, but who have in fact taught error, even grave sin, have to be prevented from continuing. It is not just a lesson for the nuns, but for the many others who are watching.
    The effects from error taught as truth cannot be undone, people have been harmed, can there be any doubt? The little material I read from their workshops sounded like a Scientology fest, and as I recall some of the nuns were escorting women to abortion clinics, which is just shocking to imagine.

  40. Gail F says:

    Elizabeth D has been consistently charitable toward the LCWR throughout this investigation, even as she has been alarmed and concerned about the sisters (living, as she does, near SEVERAL problematic groups). I agree with her that the right thing is concern for their souls and the souls of their congregations. I hope that this is the best outcome but I don’t know that a much better outcome was ever possible, given the lack of oversight and guidance that led many of these women to go off the deep end long ago. Much of the harm they’ve done is already done and over; many of them don’t have much influence anymore beyond their own congregations (one reason, I think, that so many of their events feature mystically taking on a cosmic role in human development). It’s sad and sometimes infuriating, but perhaps the time for a showdown was long past and all that remains is to contain the damage, help the elderly and dying, reconcile as many individually with the Church as possible, and just go on.

  41. Supertradmum says:

    Why are people so upset with these bad, disobedient orders? They are not getting young girls in, like the Benedictines in Kansas City, or the Sisters of Life, or the Dominicans up in Ann Arbor.

    These orders have been corrupted since the 1970s, which is the main reason I never joined. Nothing new…three orders near or in my home city still use the condemned inclusive language breviary, as do some others I know of in the Midwest, but no vocations have swelled their ranks.

    Let them die off. Stop giving these orders money.

    Support the trad, new good ones.

    Pray for the souls of the lost nuns.

    Pray they repent before they die. What we need are saints to renew the orders, not complaints–pray that your girls become bright stars in the newer orders and renew the Church that way. It is up to parents to encourage vocations.

  42. Alsatian says:

    Puzzled at why the patient had died, the doctor finally concluded “Indeed, I should have administered the penicillin, BEFORE the gangrene set in.”
    This was a doomed endeavor from the outset. The Venerable Abp Sheen was making trenchant observations about the loss of faith in American nuns over forty years ago. Then was the time to have acted. At this point, the sisters have been confirmed for decades in their error. They deserve excommunication for their own good and the good of the Church. This meek reconciliation is a ludicrous farce that insults any Catholic with the capacity for reason.

  43. pj_houston says:

    Elizabeth D.,
    I really take exception to your accusations, and would argue that it’s people like you who are not acting in the best interest of these sisters’ souls. Where has endless dialogue and accommodation gotten us in the last 40+ years with these wayward sisters, who’ve caused the destruction of many souls? Sister Simone Campbell, she of Nuns on the Bus infamy, who helped pass Obamacare (along with Sr. Helen at the CHS – remember that scandal?) and helped get Obama elected a second time, is now bragging over at Time magazine that the end of the LCRW investigation “powerfully affirmed the ministry of Catholic sisters in this nation and ended an unneeded investigation that had fostered painful divisions within our church.” Oh yea, does she ever sound ” reformed”. Give me a break. Yes, of course we should pray for the return of these elderly sisters, but this decision to bring an end to the investigation with no real changes, is just another scandal among countless others.

  44. Elizabeth D says:

    pj_houston, I have personally met Sr Simone Campbell twice and brought her a very strong Catholic message. The background to my comments is that I have been there on the front lines with a faithful message and reporting on problems with what the sisters were doing. See my various articles about that here: http://www.laetificatmadison.com/tag/nuns-on-the-bus/ I broke the story that they were using help from a George Soros funded organization.

    I wrote a book called A Report on the Sinsinawa Dominicans Today with detailed info on problems, which was sent to all the bishops investigating LCWR, the LCWR themselves and many others, Cardinal Muller liked it!

    I have confronted the problems head on. And I believe in a charitable approach to the sisters.

  45. Elizabeth D says:

    The link to my book A Report on the Sinsinawa Dominicans Today:

    Peruse this, and then tell me if I am soft on them or not.

  46. pattif says:

    My first reaction to this news was to wonder if Cardinal Muller has decided that he can only fight effectively on one front at a time. Perhaps the CDF has decided to park this issue for the time being, so that it can concentrate on the Synod. If the LCWR sticks to the terms of the agreement, fine; if not, the existence of an agreement presumably gives a basis for revisiting (pun intended) the matter once the Synod and its ramifications have been addressed.

  47. TNCath says:

    The Vatican has time on its side. The LCWR and its members don’t. The Vatican has done its work, but will the Sisters do theirs? Highly unlikely. Twenty-five years from now the only thing this investigation and its findings (along with the Apostolic Visitation of American religious communities) will be able to say is “See! We told you so!” Case closed.

  48. Pingback: Convert Journal – Elsewhere: R.I.P. – LCWR

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