Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

In a preposterous Vatican statement, one important revelation

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | May 07, 2013

Today’s bizarre public statement from the Vatican press office, denying what any intelligent observer recognizes as the truth, does contain one nugget of reality.

The statement denies that there has been any difference of opinion between Cardinal Braz de Aviz and Archbishop Müller, when the cardinal has already made their differences public.

The statement claims that two Vatican congregations have been collaborating closely, when the cardinal has already revealed that one congregation didn’t know what the other was doing.

On those matters, the Vatican statement does not—how shall I put it?—correspond very closely with reality. However, when the statement adds that Cardinal Braz de Aviz and Archbishop Müller met yesterday, there no reason to doubt that is true. It seems likely that other Vatican officials (one or two names come to mind) insisted on that meeting. And it is worth noticing what the two prelates were said to have agreed upon; they “reaffirmed their common commitment to the renewal of Religious Life, and particularly to the Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR and the program of reform it requires, in accordance with the wishes of the Holy Father.”

Thus after making a few claims that will be quickly and rightly dismissed, the Vatican statement actually underlines an important point: that the reform of the LCWR is required, and that Pope Francis supports that reform.

If Cardinal Braz de Aviz hoped to undermine the CDF plans for reform by going public with his dissatisfaction, that move backfired.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Retired01 - Mar. 15, 2018 4:15 PM ET USA

    I just bought a copy of the Lost Shepherd and I am looking forward to reading it next.

  • Posted by: ElizabethD - May. 07, 2013 10:36 PM ET USA

    I wondered if perhaps Braz de Aviz had been hearing all kinds of upset from sisters and felt that they were untrusting of his office, and exercised amazingly poor judgement in wanting to say to them "hey it wasn't us, they didn't even ask us, don't blame me." I have been really struck by what a hard time there seems to be getting really excellent people for the Congregation for Religious. But then I think, how many really EXCELLENT religious have I ever met?

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - May. 07, 2013 3:42 PM ET USA

    Apparently Cardinal Braz de Aviz didn't get things his way. I suppose it's too much to expect Vatican administrators to universally respond with discipline and humility. In any human institution, that's apparently the exception rather than the rule.