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LCWR meets this week to decide response to Vatican

July 30, 2012

A New York Times report looked forward to this week’s meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), at which members will discuss their response to a Vatican demand for reform of the group.

“We have a differing perspective on obedience,” said Sister Patricia Farrell, the LCWR president, summarizing the conflict between her organization and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The LCWR members will decide whether to accede to the Vatican’s directives or form a separate group independent of Vatican contol.

The Times article described the conflict in what has become the usual journalistic perspective:

The sisters have been caught in the riptide. Most of them have spent their lives serving the sick, the poor, children and immigrants--and not engaged in battles over theology.

Whether “most” American women religious have been involved in front-line battles against poverty is debatable. But as both Vatican officials and American bishops have repeatedly emphasized, the problems cited by an apostolic visitation of the LCWR are not problems with American women religious as an entire group; they are problems that afflict the LCWR as an umbrella organization. As the Vatican report noted, the LCWR has been engaged in battles over theology. The investigation found ample evidence that the group has sometimes taken an adversarial approach to Church teachings.


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  • Posted by: Jim.K - Jul. 30, 2012 8:18 PM ET USA

    Perhaps the LCWR can join with the SSPX and they can all tell the Pope how he should be running the Church. Left, Right, what's the difference once you break with the Holy Father and become your own authority?