Catholic World News

Franciscan leaders back LCWR in conflict with Vatican

June 08, 2012

The American leaders of the Franciscan order have released a statement expressing “deep concern” over the Vatican’s quest for reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), saying that the effort “may inadvertently fuel the current climate of division and confusion.”

The statement is signed by the leaders of all 7 American provinces of the Order of Friars Minor, and by Father John Vaughn, who was the minister general of the order worldwide between 1979 and 1991.

The Franciscans’ statement warned against “excessive oversight” of the LCWR, and praised the American women’s religious group for its bid to “facilitate honest and faithful dialogue on critical issues of our times.”

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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Jun. 14, 2012 6:31 PM ET USA

    Our Franciscan Chapter of the Third Order is very much concerned about this "unusual" posture of the First Order OFM. I am personally very concerned that I have not seen any Franciscan reaction in support of the Papacy in this matter, at least not published. I would therefore actively solicit any comments by ANY Franciscans, either lay or religious, as far as questioning this action (of the OFM), which appears to be a brazen contradiction to the reasonable authority of Rome.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Jun. 12, 2012 6:31 PM ET USA

    My unity with my Franciscan brothers and sisters is seriously challenged by this unfortunate stand. Participation in ANY kind of “specialized” spirituality is NEVER a call from orthodoxy. In fact, the “acid test” of any “specialized” spirituality with any peculiar emphasis is support and congruency with Rome. St Padre Pio, a Capuchin Franciscan priest said it best, “Without obedience, you have nothing!”

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jun. 09, 2012 4:32 PM ET USA

    The "current climate of division and confusion"? Pope Benedict continues to move boldly against the prevailing "spirit of Vatican II," and the Americans don't like it. Western Catholics have been confused for more than 40 years because this spurious "spirit" has been turning Catholic theology and catechesis on its head. Now that we have a more accurate and reverent translation of the 1969 Roman Missal, just listen to the squeals of dissent. Division is indeed coming, but as a just pruning.

  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Jun. 08, 2012 10:41 PM ET USA

    As an ordinary Catholic, I find all this dissenting discussion by group after group of bishops, priests, religious day after day simply hard to understnad. Our Lord's teachings seem so very clear. How does anyone think they can simply change those teachings? To us ordinary folks, it's beginning to sound like so much babble.

  • Posted by: veniteadoremus1822 - Jun. 08, 2012 9:41 PM ET USA

    This is a good sign. Yet another American religious group has stepped forward and identified themselves as greatly in need of reform.

  • Posted by: unum - Jun. 08, 2012 8:21 PM ET USA

    Fr. Vaughn perhaps missed the fact that the LCWR's "honest and faithful dialogue on critical issues of our times" has been with the White House and Congress, not the bishops who are responsible for the teaching of the Church. Most Catholics can't understand why progressive nuns can't have dialogue with the USCCB since the majority of its bishops are also progressives. We, the laity, are just on the sidelines watching both groups take our beloved Church to the left and wondering WWJD.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 08, 2012 5:54 PM ET USA

    The only "division and confusion" exist in orders such as OFM.