‘Sister X,’ Vatican II & women religious



In the otherwise very fine piece by “Sister X” on the Vatican investigation of U.S. women religious, an argument was attributed to me which is a very serious misinterpretation of my position (“Cross Examination,” October 9). I’m sure it was unintentional, but it could have major consequences in the context of this current assault.

I did not say that Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR) congregations read Perfectae caritatis (PC) through the lens of the conciliar document on the church, Lumen gentium (would that they had!), and that Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) congregations read it through the lens of the constitution on the church in the modern world, Gaudium et spes. Rather, I said the CMSWR congregations read PC in isolation—the original name of CMSWR was “Consortium Perfectae Caritatis”—whereas LCWR congregations read PC through the lenses of Lumen gentium and Gaudium et spes (see “We’ve Given Birth to a New Form of Religious Life,” NCR, February 27). In other words, CMSWR read PC as a call to spiritual deepening (that is, a return to Scripture and the vision of the founder)...

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