Posts Tagged Leadership Conference of Women Religious
The U.S. Leadership Conference of Women Religious, meeting for the first time since the Vatican put an end to an investigation of the organization, had much to celebrate. It had survived intact, apparently free for the time being from further Vatican interference. The women expressed warm feelings toward those who helped them work through the crisis, particularly Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain, who received high marks for integrity and skill at mediating the controversy.
“In our community of faith, there is no planning or accounting for grace or the movement of the Spirit, just an expectation that both infuse our lives and actions in abundance. At the same time, the tension in the serpent and dove analogy is also always with us.
“So we dare to note, amid the celebration and despite the salutary outcome of the LCWR investigation and the earlier investigation of U.S. women religious generally, that a number of institutional realities regarding the Vatican’s attitudes toward women remain unchanged.”
By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.
The controversial investigations of U.S. women religious by the Vatican — and resulting tensions — stemmed largely from a ‘cultural chasm,’ the group’s president said Wednesday (Aug. 12).
“But that chasm is closing, she said, and a new era of communion seems to have begun.
“Immaculate Heart of Mary Sr. Sharon Holland, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, told the group’s annual assembly that behavior that is very normal for a woman in American culture — such as asking questions and thinking critically — might easily be perceived as disrespectful in another setting.
“Holland understands one of those settings well: She spent 21 years as a canon lawyer in Rome, where she was one of the highest-ranking women in the Vatican. Now vice president of her community in Monroe, Michigan, and in her final days as president of LCWR, Holland gave the presidential address Wednesday (Aug. 12) morning to the approximately 800 LCWR members gathered here in Houston. The organization is made up of Catholic women religious who are leaders of their orders in the United States; communities in LCWR represent about 80 percent of the nearly 50,000 women religious in the United States.”
By Dan Stockman, Global Sisters Report — Click here to read the rest of this story.
It seems, in what can be gleaned from the final report of the doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, that a certain reasonableness ultimately prevailed in an exercise that has rightfully been called ‘a disaster.’
“Religious women remain one of American Catholicism’s great treasures. Of all the matters in the church in need of investigation, the organization whose members are leaders of more than 80 percent of women religious in the United States was not one of them.
“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s ‘assessment’ of LCWR was a disaster, an unnecessary sign of distrust. Keeping that assessment in mind should temper the celebration coming from some quarters of the church and commentariat acclaiming the success of ‘dialogue.’”
Editorial by National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.
Vatican ends controversial three-year oversight of U.S. sisters’ leaders / National Catholic Reporter
A controversial three-year program of Vatican oversight of the main leadership group of U.S. Catholic sisters has come to a curt and unexpected end, with the sisters and the church’s doctrinal office announcing that the goal of the oversight ‘has been accomplished.’
“The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has accepted a final report of the doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, ‘marking the conclusion’ of the oversight, the Vatican announced Thursday (Apr. 16).
“The lengthy process saw the Vatican issue what the sisters called unsubstantiated sharp critiques of their work and life while appointing Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain to oversee a program of reform for LCWR. Thursday’s news release says the Vatican and the sisters both noted the ‘spirit of cooperation’ of the ordeal.
“The end of the mandate, the Vatican release says, came in a meeting Thursday morning between LCWR officers, Sartain, and officials of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation. Sartain and the LCWR officers presented a joint report on the implementation of the mandate, which the doctrinal congregation approved.”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
The apostolic visitation report was laudatory, but the sisters remain caught in ambiguity / National Catholic Reporter
Well, I’ll admit it, the Vatican’s apostolic visitation report has been on my mind. For over two years, my community’s leadership diverted precious time, energy and resources away from sorely needed ministry to the marginalized to address a searching Vatican inquiry that we had neither chosen nor had a part in shaping.
“Over these past stressful years, my feelings veered widely from anxiety, to sorrow, to anger, to pain. I was regularly sustained, however, by various sister leaders around the U.S. who, although also deeply affected, seemed imbued with an impressive calm.
“So when I heard the congregation for religious would live stream a press conference to report on their findings, I knew I wanted to hear what U.S. sister leaders thought about it all first, if I could.”
By Christine Schenk, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this article.
I learned somewhere that ‘All spirit starts at the top.’ The attribution may be apocryphal, perhaps, but in this case true, nevertheless.
“Tuesday, in fact, I saw the truth of that with my own eyes.
“Tuesday’s release of the final report on the apostolic visitation of American nuns launched in 2008 by Cardinal Franc Rodé, then prefect of the congregation for religious life, takes on a completely different tone than at its inception …
“Like the drop of a medieval guillotine ordered from above and subject to no review, the harsh imposition of the process was met by appropriate resistance from one end of the country to the other …
“Nevertheless, today, six years later, under Cardinal João Bráz de Aviz, this final report issued in response to that national evaluation has all but leached out the negative and punitive spirit that unloosed it. The spirit at the top has changed. The tone has changed. The degree of collaboration has changed …
“In fact, Tuesday’s report, with its recognition of the momentous effect of the American sisterhood on the development of the church in the United States, is precisely the document that should have opened the discussion rather than ended it.”
By Joan Chittister, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read this entire article.
Nuns in the United States can get on with their missions to those on the margins of society in keeping with the best traditions of their religious orders without undue Vatican interference—sort of. The Vatican issued today a report on its six-year apostolic visitation to religious women in the United States.
Roman Catholic Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful® joins in solidarity with its U.S. sisters first in being encouraged by the report’s conciliatory tone and second in decrying this investigation in the first place and the mandate against the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. VOTF would like that mandate removed as soon as possible.
The Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life began the apostolic visitation that resulted in this report in 2008. The visitation included all U.S. nuns. The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith began its investigation of LCWR in 2009, and the group presently is under a Vatican mandate calling for their reform and placing LCWR under the guidance of several U.S. bishops.
LCWR leader Sister Susan Holland, however, said the apostolic visitation report was “affirmative and realistic.” And Mother Mary Agnes Donovan, who leads the smaller Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, said the visitation was “a wonderful one,” during which they spoke honestly and “with the knowledge that what they had to say would eventually reach the Holy Father.”
VOTF hopes that, in the coming weeks, the Vatican will encourage the optimistic view represented by these two women religious leaders so that these issues are resolved quickly.
Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful® is a worldwide movement of faithful Roman Catholics working to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, support priests of integrity and increase the laity’s role in governance and guidance of the Church. VOTF is a sponsor of the Nun Justice Project.