Always Forward

The Vatican's unprecedented study of U.S. women's religious congregations, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's recently announced doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella group that represents 95 percent of U.S. sisters, could easily be interpreted as a double putdown of American women religious. The investigations have reportedly been undertaken at the request of some U.S. bishops (brothers, stand up and identify yourselves, please). More curiously, the person appointed by the Vatican to lead the “visitation” belongs to a group formed as an alternative to the LCWR.

Are U.S. sisters, and the LCWR in particular, the target of a clerical witch hunt?

Some notable sisters, including Anne Marie Mongoven, OP, and Sandra M. Schneiders, IHM, both writing in the National Catholic Reporter, have respectfully raised serious concerns. A dispassionate reading of the Vatican's “working document” outlining the review (see Origins, August 13) only underscores those concerns; one is left with the impression that the Vatican suspects the decline in women's religious vocations in the United States (...

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