Posts Tagged women religious
Women in church leadership: 40 years after Sr. Theresa Kane’s request to pope / Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter
“… some sisters see signs of hope in the advancement of women religious and other laypeople to leadership roles. They are also heartened by the pastoral approach of Pope Francis, who shares their desire to dismantle clericalism and create more decision-making roles for laity.” (Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter)
On an October day four decades ago, Sr. Theresa Kane, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and head of the Sisters of Mercy in the U.S., stood before 5,000 other sisters gathered to greet Pope John Paul II at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. She spoke of the sisters’ ‘profound respect, esteem and affection’ for the pontiff.
‘Then Kane uttered these memorable words: ‘Our contemplation leads us to state that the church in its struggle to be faithful to its call for reverence and dignity for all persons must respond by providing the possibility of women as persons being included in all ministries of our church. I urge you, Your Holiness, to be open to and respond to the voices coming from the women of this country who are desirous of serving in and through the church as fully participating members.’
“Kane’s televised statement, a politely worded but direct challenge to the pontiff, drew intense media coverage. Just days before, in an address to an audience of vowed religious men and women in Philadelphia, John Paul had reaffirmed the ban on women priests, saying that an all-male priesthood ‘was the way that God had chosen to shepherd his flock.’
“But many American nuns and some Catholic laypeople saw a pressing need for the church to reform itself. For sisters, in the wave of enthusiasm that followed the Second Vatican Council, “there was a sense of hope that change was going to come, hope for reform. Change was coming, and the sisters could be a part of the change,” said Sandra Yocum, associate professor of religious studies at the University of Dayton, in an interview.”
By Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans, Global Sisters Report, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
“We are throwing in the towel because we feel surrounded by a climate of distrust and progressive de-legitimization,” founder Lucetta Scaraffia wrote in the open letter. (Associated Press)
The founder and all-female editorial board of the Vatican’s women’s magazine have quit after what they say was a Vatican campaign to discredit them and put them ‘under the direct control of men,’ that only increased after they denounced the sexual abuse of nuns by clergy.
“The editorial committee of ‘Women Church World,’ a monthly glossy published alongside the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, made the announcement in the planned April 1 editorial and in an open letter to Pope Francis that was provided Tuesday (Mar. 26) to The Associated Press.
“‘We are throwing in the towel because we feel surrounded by a climate of distrust and progressive de-legitimization,’ founder Lucetta Scaraffia wrote in the open letter.
“In the editorial, she wrote: “We believe there are no longer the conditions to continue our collaboration with L’Osservatore Romano.'”
By Associated Press — Read more …
More than a year after the conclusion of the Vatican’s apostolic visitation of US communities of women religious, the Vatican has begun asking more than a dozen orders to send their superiors to Rome to discuss concerns that surfaced.
“‘We did a very positive report at the conclusion of the visitation,’ a report that looked at the life of women’s congregations in the United States as a whole and was released in December 2014, said Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
“But ‘there remained about 15 — more or less — congregations that we needed to speak with about a few points,’ the cardinal told Catholic News Service on June 14. The cardinal had attended a news conference about a new document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith looking at the relationship between the hierarchy and communities or movements that arise from ‘charismatic gifts.'”
By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in Catholic Herald — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Francis to create commission to study female deacons in Catholic church / National Catholic Reporter
Pope Francis has announced he will create a commission to study the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic church, signaling an historic openness to the possibility of ending the global institution’s practice of an all-male clergy.
“The pontiff indicated he would create such a commission during a meeting at the Vatican Thursday with some 900 leaders of the world’s congregations of Catholic women religious, who asked him during a question-and-answer session why the church excludes women from serving as deacons.
“The women religious, meeting with the pope as part of the triennial assembly of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), told Francis that women has served as deacons in the early church and asked: ‘Why not construct an official commission that might study the question?’
“The pope responded that he had spoken about the matter once some years ago with a ‘good, wise professor’ who had studied the use of female deacons in the early centuries of the church. Francis said it remained unclear to him what role such deacons had.”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Voice of the Faithful’s Women’s Initiative is dedicated to the proposition that all baptized Catholics—women and men—have equal access to all positions within the Church and have a voice in all decision-making processes. VOTF encourages conversation on all ministries and opportunities for women, but we focus our project work primarily on the restoration of the female diaconate.
Women Deacons: How Long? — paper on restoring the female diaconate to the Church (15 pages)
Suggested Readings: Women in the Church — additional resources and information on women’s roles (9 pages)
The leader of the umbrella group for some 600,000 global Catholic women religious has said that in the wake of this month’s Synod of Bishops the women are called to carry forth the pastoral work that the official church is sometimes not able to do.
“Maltese Sr. Carmen Sammut — who participated in the Oct. 4-25 Synod as one of 32 women who took part in non-voting roles alongside the 270 prelate-members — said the women religious should engage with people church institutions may not even know need help.
“‘I think that we should not give up our role at the frontiers of the church,’ said Sammut, who heads the International Union of Superiors General (UISG).”
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
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.
Now that the quaintly named apostolic visitation of U.S. women religious is over and the current leadership of the Vatican agency that oversees religious orders has decided that the women are worthy of praise, admiration and gratitude, it is quite appropriate to ask: “What was that all about?”
“The investigation can now be seen for the sham it was, and we as a church should be ashamed of the abuse these faithful women suffered because of it. They deserve an apology.”
By National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.
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.