Skip to comments.Radical feminist nuns’ group ‘stunned’ by Vatican criticisms, reform plan
Posted on 04/19/2012 3:19:34 PM PDT by Morgana
VATICAN CITY, April 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) The announcement yesterday by the Vaticans Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) that one of the most notoriously liberal radical feminist organizations in the American Catholic Church is to be the subject of a major reform effort has been met with surprise from the group and condemnation from some of its members.
An initial statement from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) leadership says they are stunned by the critical comments made by the CDF in their doctrinal assessment. The CDF had specifically criticized the organization for its refusal to accept Catholic teaching on abortion, human sexuality and womens ordination.
Because the leadership of LCWR has the custom of meeting annually with the staff of CDF in Rome and because the conference follows canonically-approved statutes, we were taken by surprise, the LCWR said in a statement. The leadership will meet in the next month to consider a comprehensive response.
Individual members, however, have been prompt in condemning the Vaticans interest. Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, a lobbying group of U.S. Catholic nuns cited as problematic in the CDFs report, told the Washington Post, Its painfully obvious that the leadership of the church is not used to having educated women form thoughtful opinions and engage in dialogue.
Benedictine sister Joan Chittister, a prolific author and the unofficial spokesman of the extreme feminist left among Catholic women religious, told the National Catholic Reporter, When you set out to reform a people, a group, who have done nothing wrong, you have to have an intention, a motivation that is not only not morally based, but actually immoral.
Chittister called the CDFs proposals an attempt to control people for one thing and one thing only and that is for thinking, for being willing to discuss the issues of the age.
If we stop thinking, if we stop demanding the divine right to think, and to see that as a Catholic gift, then we are betraying the church no matter what the powers of the church see as an inconvenient truth in their own times.
In an interview with LifeSiteNews.com in 2010, Chittister had said that while she is personally against abortion, I would never condemn a woman who finds herself in the position where she believes that, or her doctor believes that, abortion is the only answer for her at that moment. She also criticized the Catholic Church as being based on a patriarchal system and described her admitted divergence from Catholic teaching as a position of query, of theological and scriptural commitment and search.
While the LCWR leadership and supporters say they are surprised, others have noted that reform of the religious life has been a prominent feature of Pope Benedicts papacy. Among his earliest acts as pope was the launching of a reforming investigation into the wealthy and influential Legion of Christ, founded by the now-disgraced, late Marcial Maciel, after years of accusations of misconduct.
One Vatican source told LifeSiteNews.com that while some may consider this action against LCWR typical of an ultra-conservative pope acting to suppress the liberal factions, It should be remembered that Benedicts first target was the Legionaries and Maciel, then the darlings of the conservative end of the Church.
LCWR was founded in 1956 and approved by the Vatican as an umbrella organization representing sisters and nuns in the U.S. Its 1500 members are members of congregations representing over 80 percent of the 59,000 Catholic women religious in the United States. Since the 1960s, however, the LCWR has become the de facto representative of the far left in the U.S. Catholic Church, with its membership dedicated to, in the words of the CDF, certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith, and policies of corporate dissent, from Catholic teaching.
CDF prefect Cardinal Levada said he had received many letters from women religious in the U.S. complaining about Catholic teaching. The terms of the letters, he wrote, suggest that these sisters collectively take a position not in agreement with the Churchs teaching on human sexuality.
It is a serious matter when these Leadership Teams are not providing effective leadership and example to their communities, but place themselves outside the Churchs teaching.
The document from the CDF outlines the Vaticans plan to spend the next five years reforming the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).
Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain has been appointed to oversee the reform of the organization, which will involve revising its statutes, creating new programs, reviewing and offering guidance on liturgy and reviewing LCWRs affiliations with other organizations, citing specifically NETWORK and the Resource Center for Religious Institutes.
The announcement comes at a delicate time in the relations between the US Catholic Church and LCWR, with the latter endorsing the Obama administrations health care plans and former leading a fight against the administrations plans to impose birth control coverage on Catholic institutions and fund abortion in the health reform law. This conflict of interest seems to be in the mind of the CDF, which has an American, William Levada, as cardinal prefect. The document noted, occasional public statements by the LCWR that disagree with or challenge positions taken by the Bishops, who are the Churchs authentic teachers of faith and morals, are not compatible with its purpose.
The CDF said that the sisters represented by the LCWR, 80 percent of the remaining female Catholic religious in the US, are in crisis. They have moved away from the fundamental purpose of their existence as Catholic religious and are suffering from a diminution of the fundamental Christological center and focus of religious consecration, it said.
While there has been a great deal of work on the part of LCWR promoting issues of social justice in harmony with the Churchs social doctrine, it is silent on the right to life from conception to natural death, a question that is part of the lively public debate about abortion and euthanasia in the United States, the document said.
If the LCWR leadership says it is stunned by the outcome of the CDFs investigation, the reaction is possibly the result of statements previously coming from the Vatican itself. Following several negative reactions from LCWR sisters after the investigation was announced, the recently appointed Secretary of the Congregation for Religious, Archbishop Joseph Tobin, said that he anticipated no censure from Rome as a result.
I can say that I would be very surprised if anybody would purport to give any punitive or overly prescriptive norms as a result of this visitation, he said. If the visitors, in dialogue with the sisters, have identified some specific issues that need to be dealt with, okay. But forcing people into habits or something like that? Thats not what this is about.
Tobin also said that strong actions against American womens religious orders would be really disrespectful of what women religious in America have accomplished, and that the depth of anger and hurt that exists among the sisters ... cant be ignored.
Archbishop Tobin had previously told journalists that the animosity between the US religious orders and the Vatican is the Vaticans fault. The real problem, he said, was the presence of unscrupulous canonical advisers in the Vatican.
Two years after Archbishop Tobin reassured LCWR, Mother Clare Millea, the sister appointed in 2008 by the Vatican to coordinate the Apostolic Visitation of all the U.S. active religious orders, issued a statement saying, Although there are concerns in religious life that warrant support and attention, the enduring reality is one of fidelity, joy, and hope.
She told Catholic journalist Ann Carey in January this year, The dialogue promoted by the apostolic visitation is just a beginning of new vitality in religious life. I am confident that much more will unfold with the passing of time and that the Holy Spirit will continue to work in and through women religious to strengthen unity within the Church and further the saving mission of Christ.
As I learned of and observed firsthand the perseverance of the religious in the United States in their vocations, in their ministries and in their faith I have been both inspired and humbled, she added.
The situation of the Catholic sisterhoods in the U.S. has been in flux since the closing of the Second Vatican Council in 1965 ushered in a maelstrom of change. This change, while frequently lauded as prophetic by the LCWR sisters themselves, has seen the near-total collapse of the Catholic religious life, and after 40 years, the closure or effective secularization of hundreds, if not thousands, of schools, nursing homes, hospitals, colleges and other Catholic charitable institutions, including convents.
In the intervening decades, while new vocations became more rare, the religious orders turned their attention largely to political interests, with the sisters themselves focusing on an array of left-liberal and secular causes. Meanwhile, the average median age of women in LCWR institutes is now 74, and many of the LCWR-represented congregations are no longer accepting applicants, choosing instead to merge with other orders or shut down their operations entirely.
He had a brother named George who sometimes came out on his show and played a violin. Never said anything just played. I am going to guess the whole family had musical talents.
You know what is sad? He was talented and had not not been a homo he would have never died of AIDS. He’d still be playing today or at least longer than he did.
Let us all pray for it.
They are either dying off or being retired. The barque of St. Peter is slow to adjust course and make corrections. However, like any gigantic oil tanker or container ship, it will eventually make it where the Captain wishes it to go. And with an XO like BXVI, the course corrections are a little quicker than with some of the previous ones.
I'd start the divergence of funding for her lifestyle as well.
I am a bit stunned by all of this, too, particularly on the “social justice” issue, which is just a buzz word for socialism and equal misery for all - don’t know why the nuns don’t get that. I worked for a Catholic hospital system and that was one of their main goals (social justice) - I thought the Church endorsed that as well, but now I know it was all coming from the nuns who ran the hospitals.
Well, it’s not about social justice, whatever that is.
It’s about power and the ability to practice it over others, unearned. It’s also about not having to work for a living. Did our current President, as community organizer (whatever that is) have to work for a living?
My padre works for a living and very hard and long hours. My bishop, even though I publicly have excoriated him to his face and on camera, works hard for a living. These social justice nuns are not working for a living - they are working to undermine the Faith in order to support their own particular warped fantasies of what the Faith might be manipulated to.
The Beatitudes are at the top of Catholic Faith, make no mistake. However, abortion and fascism cannot be.
In my opinion, condemnations based on Biblical beliefs are highly questionable.
Ask yourself ... What would Jesus do?
Horse Hockey. The 'conference', on paper, might follow the statutes, but in practice, the individual nuns went off the rails long ago.
I would ask you the same question.....ask yourself what would Jesus do to those that act in His name and do abominable things... It seems to me that the nuns involved are rendering unto Caesar that that belongs to God.....If they want to continue in their practice of being a party to abortion, as they say they assist those wanting one to get to the abortionist, they are far removed from Christ and his love for the least amongst men.... they are doing such things while using the Catholic church as their cover for their unholy practices...JMHO.
If they want to continue, leave the church and do their secular garbage under their own name, what ever that may be...
Last I heard, in certain instances, abortion is acceptable in Catholic hospitals.
... That condition exists when continuing a pregnancy would kill both mother and child.
See for yourself at http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/medical_ethics/me0140.htm