Robert Mickens of the Tablet and Sandro Magister of Chiesa are reporting the names of the men behind the investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. You’re going to recognize a few. First, Magister:
The inspection [of LCWR] had been urged above all by some cardinals of the United States, both of the curia and residential [i.e., those who live in Rome], with direct knowledge of the “problematic” orientations of the LCWR.
Cardinal Franc Rodé, prefect of the congregation for religious until the end of 2010, had given the go-ahead to a rather hostile apostolic visitation of the LCWR. But after, on January 4, 2011, he was replaced by Brazilian cardinal João Braz de Aviz, a focolarino [member of the Focolare movement], and even before that, when the American Redemptorist Joseph W. Tobin became secretary of the same congregation, the apostolic visitation continued and concluded in a much more conciliatory manner.
This changing of the guard at the top of the congregation for religious was not at all to the liking of the cardinals from the United States residing in Rome at the time – Levada, Raymond L. Burke, James F. Stafford, Bernard F. Law, John P. Foley – so much so that none of them attended Tobin’s episcopal ordination at Saint Peter’s Basilica on October 9, 2010.
That’s extraordinary. On Magister’s telling, those American cardinals were so disappointed with the decision to appoint Tobin — an outsider who didn’t want the job and freely admits to “ranting about the curia” — that they couldn’t be bothered to attend his ordination to the episcopacy. (I wonder who attended Cardinal Law’s 2004 appointment as archpriest of St. Mary Major. His retirement ran silent.) Imagine their surprise when soon after a nun was appointed undersecretary for the congregation — and one who doesn’t usually wear a habit, just like those troublesome LCWR nuns. Those American cardinals must have seen the writing on the wall. Under new management, the apostolic visitation of the LCWR seems to have gone precisely nowhere.
Unlike the doctrinal investigation, which was run by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by Levada. As Mickens explains, the CDF had been looking into the LCWR for quite some time: