Wednesday, September 3, 2014


LCWR is still bad according to Cardinal Muller and he hits the nail on the head in his diagnosis and the fact that groups represented by the LCWR are in free fall and suicide! No kidding! My only comment is why in the world would any order (like the Daughters of Charity) belong to this group that foments suicide of women's religious orders. Can anyone answer that question for me?
This is a story based upon an article in the Vatican Newspaper appearing on Monday, Labor Day:
The Vatican’s guardian of orthodoxy and the force behind Rome’s investigation of American nuns has renewed his criticism of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, downplaying the group’s size and importance and arguing that the Vatican is trying to help them recover their religious identity so they don’t die out.

“Above all we have to clarify that we are not misogynists, we don’t want to gobble up a woman a day!” Cardinal Gerhard Mueller told L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s semiofficial newspaper, in the edition published on Monday (Sept. 1).

Mueller, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told the newspaper that the sisters of the LCWR “do not represent all U.S. nuns, but just a group of North American nuns who form part of an association.”

He added: “We have received many letters of distress from other nuns belonging to the same congregations who are suffering a great deal because of the direction in which they” — members of the LCWR — “are steering their mission.”

The LCWR is a leadership network of Catholic sisters that represents about 80 percent of the 50,000 nuns in the U.S. The group was established in 1956 with Rome’s backing. But in recent years, as the American bishops became more conservative, they grew increasingly critical of the liberal tilt of the various congregations of sisters under the LCWR umbrella.

Behind-the-scenes efforts to rein in the sisters went public in April 2012 when the Vatican revealed that it had been investigating the LCWR and charged that the American sisters were straying too far from traditional doctrines in the theological speculations of some members.
The Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog also said the sisters were focusing too much on social justice issues, such as caring for the poor and advocating for immigrants, and were too active in promoting health care reform. It said the LCWR members should spend more time advancing church teachings on sexuality and abortion.

The Vatican announced that it intended to overhaul the LCWR and Pope Benedict XVI appointed a trio of U.S. churchmen, led by Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, to oversee the process and have final approval on the LCWR’s major decisions.

The nuns, who were surprised by the report, rejected the Vatican’s charges. They said that taking care of society’s poor and vulnerable people is central to their historic mission, and the theological ideas of some in their ranks were efforts to articulate that mission in today’s church and today’s world.

Benedict named Mueller to head the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith a few months later, and he remained in that job even after Benedict resigned and was replaced in March 2013 by Pope Francis. Francis, a member of the Jesuit religious order, is seen as far more open to disagreements in the church and to promoting Catholicism’s social justice teachings, and was expected to downplay the LCWR investigation or end it.

But Mueller continued to press ahead with the LCWR takeover, and in a speech in May to LCWR leaders Mueller blasted the group, saying the nuns were thumbing their noses at the Vatican’s directives and risked losing their status as a Rome-approved group.

He singled out the group’s decision to honor Fordham University theologian Sister Elizabeth Johnson at its annual meeting in August. Johnson is one of the most respected theologians in the U.S., but one of her books was criticized by the doctrinal committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The choice to honor Johnson without Sartain’s approval, Mueller said last spring, “will be seen as a rather open provocation against the Holy See. … Not only that, but it further alienates the LCWR from the bishops as well.”

When Johnson received the LCWR award last month in Nashville, she in turn ripped the Vatican’s takeover, saying “the waste of time on this investigation is unconscionable.”
This week it was Mueller’s turn once again.

While the German cardinal said the CDF has “tried to reduce hostility and tensions,” he added that the Vatican wants to help the LCWR congregations “rediscover their identity” because he said the orders “have no more vocations and risk dying out.”

Conservative critics of the LCWR point to steep declines in the ranks of their member congregations and say their progressive approach in recent decades is to blame. The LCWR communities are aging rapidly and drawing few new members, and critics say that is not the case in communities belonging to a rival, conservative umbrella group, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, that was established by Rome in 1992 as a counterpoint to the LCWR.

But research shows that in fact the LCWR and the CMSWR, which represents about 20 percent of women’s religious orders in the U.S., are drawing about the same number of new postulants and both face similar challenges of a declining and aging membership.


rcg said...

The article is skewed by a biased view point. The author may be attempting to be neutral, but his use of 'conservative' and some quotes as well as portrayal of criticism of the LCWR as criticism of good works betrays him.

Rood Screen said...

The LCWR summation of the trouble seems to be: "we care for the needy, but the Vatican wants us to do less of that and focus more on combating abortion and homosexuality". They seem not to even try to understand what the problem is from the Vatican's perspective. If the LCWR doesn't understand dialogue, then they don't understand Vatican II.

Holy Joe said...

"But in recent years, as the American bishops became more conservative, they grew increasingly critical of the liberal tilt of the various congregations of sisters under the LCWR umbrella."

That is too funny! American bishops have become more conservative? Evidently the author of this article has never read the USCCB website.

just saying said...

Are you kidding me? These are the resolutions that the LCWR ended this assembly with. Seems to me that the Vatican could remind them of their service to the poor in this country. Check out their web page, if you dare to read more!

Rooted in the oneness of our love for God and our love for God’s creation, we, the Leadership
Conference of Women Religious, commit ourselves to use our spiritual, social, and educational
resources and our public credibility to promote the national transition from fossil fuel energy
sources to renewable energy sources as quickly as possible.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) calls upon His Holiness, Pope Francis,
to consider deeply how the Church may embody in these times the Christian heart of justice
and compassion toward indigenous peoples. We humbly and respectfully ask Pope Francis to
lead us in formally repudiating the period of Christian history that used religion to justify
political and personal violence against indigenous nations and peoples and their cultural,
religious, and territorial identities.

Holy Joe said...

"Public credibility"?

Again, what a laugh! They trashed their credibility several drum circles ago. The Vatican would be smarter to let them go their merry way and disintegrate so that the real nuns who are left can take their place. They show no signs of taking any other path than their PC road to extinction.

The 60's are over. Thanks be to God.

JusadBellum said...

No growth in 40 years.
No increase in the number of Catholics actually working in their ministries or from the impact of those ministries.

Not a single city, not a single section of a city where their orders have worked "for the poor" in the past 40 years has actually been elevated out of poverty!

It's one thing to claim you love the poor by running 'peace and justice' ministries. But it's entirely another thing to actually end poverty.

Their founders knew the direct connection between education and moral formation on the one hand and the habits of mind and heart required to escape poverty. The promotion of stable and holy marriages would, all by its lonesome have eliminated much of the poverty in our inner cities...but that would not have been "peace and justice" gobbledegook.

Being AWOL in the front lines of the pro-life movement says a lot about their understanding of human poverty and suffering. Being AWOL in the front lines of the sexual revolution - fighting for orthodoxy rather than against it says a lot about their 'brilliance'.

Lots of Ph.Ds but not much wisdom.

Socialist 'welfare' programs are not designed to alleviate poverty but to cement it as a feature of a life of dependency.

The sexual revolution was designed to destroy the family, to break up marriages, to make people utterly ruthless and individualistic - and thus be more and more dependent on the all-powerful State (and party apparatus). To not only NOT stand against that leviathan but join it in supposedly 'helping the poor' when decade after decade every program, every policy, every initiative invariably results in more and more dependency... is appalling.

Their founders built up schools and orphanages, hospitals and other ministries to form the morals of young men and women and so were loved by them and inspired the world to noble thoughts and self-control. Their founders were salt, light, and leaven in society, making it more civilized, more respectful not less.

And they did all this on a shoe-string budget without federal, state, or local government bureaucratic grants and kickbacks. Without support of the bishops or national campaigns. From the bottom up because people believed in their mission and felt a common cause with them.

So it will be again as the orthodox communities of women inherit the wilderness.

Robert Kumpel said...

As one of those "motionless faces" who has prayed the rosary in front of abortion clinics, I concur with JusadBellum. What kind of "social justice" or "peace" can we expect when we give legal protection to physicians who have effectively snuffed the life out of nearly 50 million unborn children. The "nuns" of the LCWR have been absolutely AWOL in this fight because they are clearly on the side of the militant feminists. Do an internet search and you can find photos of these "nuns" acting as abortion clinic escorts! These "nuns" have dedicated themselves to helping elect the politicians who keep this infanticide "safe and legal".

God said...

These women made an admirable decision to go into consecrated religious life. One would think they did it with the best of intentions. How their vocation morphed into advocating for feminist causes such as the right to abortion and women priests (priestesses?) would make a fascinating, if disheartening read. It would be wrong to generalize and think of all of them as being of one mind-set. Certainly there is a problem within the leadership. They are in need of our prayers and sacrifices. Nothing else but the grace of God will change them.

Anonymous said...

It was a slow process and normally progressed through stages that involved a decidedly one-sided, myopic, "in the epistemological bubble" consumption of only one slant of "Catholicism" while heaping scorn and ridicule on any and all traditional sources of Catholic thought and devotion.

Lots and lots of psychology and New Age devotions, lots and lots of crack pot theories about feminism and God, ecclesiology and social-science, the comfortable alliance with government local and federal to advance "peace and justice" causes while pulling out of schools and parish ministry...

Eventually once you cease consuming Catholic teaching and get a diet of either anti-Catholic or anti-Papal teaching, you will begin to give in little by little to an 'us vs. them' attitude and decide to "explore" sexuality, "explore" dissent in other areas of life too.

Having Popes, saints, their own founders, etc. all called names and pooh poohed as "unenlightened" closes them from doors that otherwise would lead them back to wisdom.

They all went to secular universities to get secular degrees to do essentially secular work in ministries that served women politically, culturally but rarely building up marriages and families.

This is how we get so little assistance on the culture war front - they don't see any problem with the cultural aggressors! No connection between the exploiters of women in porn and abortion and contraception, and the Left Hollywood, Madison avenue types... and the evil capitalists keeping women poor.... it's an amazing disconnect.

Mention "Reagan" and they'll howl with pre-programmed horror. Mention Castro and...crickets. Well, at least he meant well and we all know that so long as intentions are good (for a commie not a capitalist) that's OK by me.

To save them they need to turn back to basic fonts of Catholic wisdom, the saints, the martyrs, the doctors and mystics. They need to turn to the Popes and blessed. They need to have a revolution in media consumption and the presuppositions of 3-4 decades of reading, conferences, etc.

I fear that it's extremely hard to argue someone out of a position that they didn't argue themselves into in the first place. They slowly dissolved into their current state and it'll take a miracle of God's mercy to help these old women come back.