The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) has a Vatican call for reform of their group, saying that it has “caused scandal and pain throughout the church community, and caused greater polarization.”Pour yourself a strong cuppa: no milk, no sugar. Penance, these are Ember Days!, and read on.
After a 3-day meeting in Washington, the national board of the LCWR issued a stinging reply to a Vatican investigation of the group’s activities. The board said that the report was “based on unsubstantiated accusations and the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency.”
The LCWR, an umbrella group that represents most of the women’s religious orders in the US, was the subject of a Vatican investigation that found “serious doctrinal problems which affect many in consecrated life.” The investigation, which reported widespread departures from fundamental Catholic teachings, prompted an April announcement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) that a thorough reform of the group was needed, and Seattle’s Archbishop Peter Sartain had been appointed to supervise that process.
In their June 1 response, the LCWR board members protested the Vatican intervention, saying that “the sanctions imposed were disproportionate to the concerns raised and could compromise their ability to fulfill their mission.” The LCWR leaders said that they will travel to Rome later this month to meet with Cardinal William Levada, the prefect of the CDF, and with Archbishop Sartain. They said they would then confer with their members about an appropriate response.
Sister Pat Farrell, the LCWR president, told reporters that the group’s board had met in a mood of “deep, deep sadness” because of the Vatican’s stand. She said that the LCWR would not issue a full response to the Vatican’s investigation until after meeting with members during the summer and convening a national convention in August.