I was wondering when the media honeymoon with Pope Francis would be over.
The L.A. Times uses a picture of smiling nuns/sisters wearing habits with the caption. “Nuns greet Pope Francis as he arrives in St. Peter’s Square for his inauguration Mass at the Vatican last month. The pope has reaffirmed a crackdown by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, on American nuns.”
Well I guess one man’s “reform” is another man’s “crackdown,”
Vatican City, 15 April 2013 (VIS) – “Today, the Superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met with the Presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) of the United States of America. Archbishop James Peter Sartain, archbishop of Seattle, Washington, USA, and the Holy See’s Delegate for the Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR, also participated in the meeting,” informs a communique from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
“As this was his first opportunity to meet with the Presidency of the LCWR, the Prefect of the Congregation, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, expressed his gratitude for the great contribution of women Religious to the Church in the United States as seen particularly in the many schools, hospitals, and institutions of support for the poor which have been founded and staffed by Religious over the years.”
“The Prefect then highlighted the teaching of the Second Vatican Council regarding the important mission of Religious to promote a vision of ecclesial communion founded on faith in Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church as faithfully taught through the ages under the guidance of the Magisterium. He also emphasized that a Conference of Major Superiors, such as the LCWR, exists in order to promote common efforts among its member Institutes as well as cooperation with the local Conference of Bishops and with individual Bishops. For this reason, such Conferences are constituted by and remain under the direction of the Holy See.”
“Finally, Archbishop Muller informed the Presidency that he had recently discussed the Doctrinal Assessment with Pope Francis, who reaffirmed the findings of the Assessment and the program of reform for this Conference of Major Superiors.” (source)
Sister Simone Campbell says “The censure (of the LCWR) has always been about politics.” When you see everything via a political lens instead of the eyes of faith then of course this is how you frame it.
What has always annoyed me about the LCWR apologists is how disingenuous they are. First off they tried to redirect any criticism of the LCWR as an attack on all religious and even an attack on religious in the past. They totally got the media to buy into this lie and they cooperated with that lie by repeating it. They made it so that to critique any problematic aspect of the LCWR was to disrespect any good American religious have ever done. The fact that they never acknowledge just one problematic action regarding the LCWR makes me not trust a word they say. When a group comes under a doctrinal assessment and the group decides to have a Barbara Marx Hubbard as the keynote speaker there are serious problems. That a group of Catholic religious would sit and listen to the just-plain-whacky meanderings that refer to Jesus as a “post-human universal person” and the same person previously said that she channeled “Christ.” The LCWR apologists at America Magazine and elsewhere had nothing to say about Barbara Marx Hubbard and her Pelagian consciousness evolution.
No the LCWR apologists pretend to be the great defenders of Catholic religious life in the United States while having nothing to say about it’s decline in numbers. We constantly get stories regarding the problems with priestly religious vocations mainly as a drumbeat for women’s ordination and married priests. Yet there seems to be no concern that the very religious orders they champion are dying out.
Fr. James Martin SJ, a prominent LCWR apologist had this bit of spin regarding that fact.
“One of the most striking findings regarding new entrants is that almost equal numbers of women have been attracted to institutes in both conferences of women religious in the U.S. in recent years. As of 2009, L.C.W.R. institutes reported 73 candidates/postulants, 117 novices and 317 sisters in temporary vows/commitment. C.M.S.W.R. institutes reported 73 candidates/postulants, 158 novices and 304 sisters in temporary vows/commitment. (There are 150 nuns in formation in U.S. monasteries.)”
Wow you would think that the two institutes are roughly equal. Funny that he did not mention the 4-to–1 ratio of LCWR to CMSWR respondents and that the LCWR is a much larger group. Joanne McPortland did a good job of calling out the phoniness of this comparison. Besides what was the last new foundation any of these orders made?
The simple fact is that the leadership of the LCWR needs to be reformed and that mostly goes for the orders they represent. I realize that there are certainly members in these orders that are not happy with the LCWR or the direction religious life has taken. But the LCWR apologists are not helping since by spinning the actual problems they contribute to them. I would not be surprised to see the LCWR lose its canonically approved status rather than to cooperate with a reform. Still I have read enough history of the Church to see this as nothing new as there has always been an ebb and flow in religious orders and periods of laxity and reform.
No the pill of orthodoxy is very bitter when contrasted to the sweet itchings of the ear of heterodoxy. 2 Timothy 4:3