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Leading sister defends LCWR against Vatican investigation

Catholic World News - May 07, 2013

Sister Mary Lou Wirtz, the president of the International Union of Superiors General, has defended the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in the face of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s efforts to reform it.

After a thorough investigation of the LCWR, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) concluded in April 2012 that “the current doctrinal and pastoral situation of LCWR is grave and a matter of serious concern.” The CDF concluded that a Vatican intervention was necessary to reform the group, and Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle has been appointed as the Vatican’s delegate to supervise the LCWR’s reform. The archbishop was charged with helping LCWR leaders to revise the group’s statues, plan its programs, review liturgical texts, and reconsider the group’s affiliations with other organizations.

“Ever since Vatican II, the understanding of obedience and authority has taken on new nuances or concepts,” Sister Wirtz told Vatican Radio, “so I think it’s important for us to look at what does Gospel leadership mean today.”

“We’re very hopeful that we will have more open dialogue in the future,” she continued. “I think the LCWR are really using an approach of prayer and reflection, trying to open this channel of understanding from both sides.”

“I think in some circles it’s been recognized, but I think from the circles within the Vatican we don’t hear that recognition,” added Sister Wirtz, an American who also serves as general superior of the Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

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  • Posted by: bruno - May. 07, 2013 9:00 PM ET USA

    What is implicit in Wirtz's comments, it seems, is an assumption that reform cannot be a healing experience...that it can only mean something negative for the LCWR. Obedience needs to precede dialog. What can authentic 'Gospel leadership' mean except following Jesus to the cross?

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