Catholic World News

Vatican cardinal questions decision to reform LCWR

May 06, 2013

The prefect of the Congregation for Religious has complained that his office was not notified about Vatican plans to require reforms in the American Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

Last April the Holy See appointed Archbishop James Sartain of Seattle as the Vatican's delegate to oversee a reform of the LCWR, finding that “the current doctrinal and pastoral situation of LCWR is grave and a matter of serious concern." The Vatican move came after an apostolic visitation of the LCWR, which was conducted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

Speaking on May 5 to a group of religious superiors, Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, the prefect of the Congregation for Religious, said that he was dismayed to learn that the CDF had embarked on a plan to reform the American group without consulting his office. He said the decision caused him “much pain.”

“We have to change this way of doing things,” the Brazilian prelate said, saying that cardinals working in the Roman Curia should learn to trust each other’s judgments and coordinate their plans.

The cardinal's candid expression of dissatisfaction with another office of the Roman Curia was a rare break from the usual display of public unity among Vatican officials. His call for changes in the operation of the Roman Curia, however, echo statements made by many prelates before the conclave that elected Pope Francis.

The Brazilian cardinal’s own dicastery, the Congregation for Religious, has conducted its own separate apostolic visitation of women’s religious orders in the US. Although the results of that investigation have not been finalized, the congregation has signaled that it will not call for any major reforms.

Cardinal Braz de Aviz made his complaint about the CDF action just a few weeks after the CDF confirmed that Pope Francis had given his approval to the critical appraisal of the LCWR that prompted the CDF intervention.

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Show 7 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Bveritas2322 - May. 07, 2013 12:08 PM ET USA

    What will it take to finally excommunicate a nun, a priest, a bishops, or a cardinal who directly or indirectly supports the slaughter of the unborn?

  • Posted by: Defender - May. 07, 2013 2:20 AM ET USA

    The pope has already given his approval to CDF intervention, obviously because the LCWR is widely known to have expressed views in contradiction to the Magisterium. Cardinal de Aviz's report seems like it will be completely at odds with the CDF's, which is probably the reason why the cardinal went public.

  • Posted by: florentine - May. 06, 2013 10:05 PM ET USA

    What this exposes is the need for Cardinal Braz's removal from his office subito! Unfortunately he is one among many who has been negligent in his duty to protect and preserve the faith. The so - called "sisters" of LCWR are liberal feminists using the Catholic Church to promote a very specific pro - choice, women priests, SS "marriage" agenda. For all their charitable works, they are leading many astray w/ their outspoken heresies.

  • Posted by: wsw33410 - May. 06, 2013 7:52 PM ET USA

    Another unfortunate and false "leadership" in Vatican, expect more disaster to come out of this - if you wonder about "sisters'" reaction, please read comments to this article by National Catholic REPORTER ... and remember what this NCR stands for - ordination of women, among other "good ideas" ...

  • Posted by: Gregory108 - May. 06, 2013 6:00 PM ET USA

    I thought it was common knowledge that there was an investigation of the LCWR. At least I was informed of it; I'm surprsed the Cardinal was not. Maybe he should subscribe to this news service if he feels out of the loop on Catholic news and affairs! I'm also aurprised his congregation can't find any need for major reforms in the LCWR. That need is as obvious as the red hat he was given for his head. Or maybe he can't find that either.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - May. 06, 2013 5:15 PM ET USA

    The real problem, aside from the disastrous state of the LCWR that anyone still awake is aware of, is exposed in 2 sentences above: "The Brazilian cardinal’s own dicastery, the Congregation for Religious, has conducted its own separate apostolic visitation of women’s religious orders in the US. Although the results of that investigation have not been finalized, the congregation has signaled that it will not call for any major reforms."

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - May. 06, 2013 1:24 PM ET USA

    Well, I think we now see one Vatican office in need of reform.