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Bishop defends Vatican critique of LCWR

Catholic World News - July 25, 2012

In an interview with National Public Radio, the bishop who conducted a Vatican-ordered apostolic visitation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) explained the Holy See’s demand for a reform of the group.

Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio, said that the LCWR is “promoting unilaterally new understandings—a new kind of theology—that is not in accordance with the faith of the Church.”

National Public Radio interviewed Bishop Blair after having first hosted Sister Patricia Farrell, the president of the LCWR, who had called for a new dialogue with the Vatican on Church teachings. “If by dialogue, they mean that the doctrines of the Church are negotiable,” said Bishop Blair, “then No, I don’t think that’s the dialogue the Holy See would envision.”

Bishop Blair countered the arguments of Sister Farrell on abortion and contraception, noting that the Church teachings on each topic are clear and well known. Regarding the ordination of women—a topic on which Sister Farrell had not spoken directly—the bishop said: “The Church doesn’t say that the ordination of women is not possible because somehow women are unfit to carry out the functions of the priest, but because on the level of sacramental signs, it’s not the choice that our Lord made.”

The bishop stressed that criticism of the LCWR should not be interpreted as a complaint against the many fine women religious working in the US. “If anything,” he said, “part of our concern is precisely for their diminished numbers and their aging population.”

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Jul. 28, 2012 2:20 PM ET USA

    Yes,fwhermann,Terry Gross is not an impartial interviewer.

  • Posted by: fwhermann3492 - Jul. 26, 2012 10:26 AM ET USA

    I thought Bishop Blair handled himself well during the interview. He was calm and collected yet firm in his responses. He might even have been too calm. There was no doubt in the minds of listeners where the interviewer stood on the issues, particularly concerning gay marriage and women's ordination. One could hear the frustration in her voice.

  • Posted by: bruno - Jul. 25, 2012 7:36 PM ET USA

    And where we see great fidelity, vocations are flourishing.

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