Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

The Vatican says the LCWR is acting Catholic. And that's news.

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Apr 16, 2015

“We learned that what we hold in common is much greater than any of our differences.”

That comment did not come from a Presbyterian cleric after a Saturday-afternoon ecumenical meeting. It was made by a leading representative of American Catholic women’s religious orders, at the conclusion of a long, tense exchange with the Vatican.

Shouldn’t we be able to take it for granted that what unites Catholics is greater than their differences? And especially in the case of religious orders, pledged to the service of the Church?

But it could not be taken for granted, in the case of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. That’s why the Vatican stepped in.

Now that the intervention has run its course, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, assures us of the Vatican’s confidence that the LCWR is “fostering a vision of religious life that is centered on the Person of Jesus Christ and is rooted in the Tradition of the Church.”

Again, shouldn’t you be able to take that much for granted? But in 2012, when this process began, you couldn’t.

Those statements from the two main parties do not guarantee that the Vatican intervention will prove successful. They do, however, demonstrate that the process was necessary.

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: Bveritas2322 - Apr. 29, 2015 9:35 PM ET USA

    In a church that no longer mentions the concept of the sin of pride, there is not a snowball's chance in Satan's homeland that the LCWR will remain faithful to anything but their egos.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Apr. 20, 2015 9:41 PM ET USA

    "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." Matt 13:44 By our baptism this treasure is ours if we are faithful. "Watch and Pray." Holy Week is still fresh in our minds. Yes, "Watch and pray."

  • Posted by: LCRich - Apr. 17, 2015 7:57 PM ET USA

    The need was great for the Vatican to step in and correct the actions and statements of the LCWR. My concern is this: with this conclusion of the Vatican intercession, have they corrected the LCWR defiance or did they walk away?