Missing the Mark

What the CDF Gets Wrong about the LCWR

Every day for years I’ve prayed the liturgy of the hours and attended daily Mass. I say a rosary each day, join my parish for a novena, participate in exposition and benediction, play the organ, and still have favorite Latin hymns. I’ve taught the documents of Vatican II, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and encyclicals of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. I’ve never worn full-length religious garb but do wear the modified habit of my congregation. I cooperated graciously with the apostolic visitation, as did all of the sisters in my community.

I was also a member of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) for several years, very recently. (I write anonymously because I work in a leadership position in my diocese, and wouldn’t want to put my bishop—or my community—in a difficult position.) Like many others, I am deeply distressed by the document produced by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and the effect it is having on women religious around the country. And I must concur with the national board of the LCWR in its sense that accusations made against it are “unsubstantiated” and the “sanctions…disproportionate.”

Overall, the document I’ve read and reread does not square with my experience of the LCWR. True, there are some members I’d consider “out there” ecclesiologically and politically. They are, however, also deeply committed to the following of Christ and idealistic about the past, present, and future of religious life. Also true is the fact that a number of women religious, including their leaders, have not had the advantage of an extensive theological education. I’m reminded of the fact that in the mid-1970s Mother Kathryn Sullivan, RSCJ, a Scripture scholar who spent at least half her year in Rome at the Biblicum, reminded us that Catholic women had long been barred from doing doctoral work in Scripture and theology at Catholic institutions. Her doctorate, therefore, had been earned at the University of Pennsylvania.

In the years since, any number of sisters have earned masters degrees in biblical studies, pastoral ministry, and theology. Some few have also attained doctorates—PhD or DMin—in theological and ministerial specialties. Not all have been officers or board members of the LCWR. So perhaps there have been actions or statements of the LCWR leadership that have not been fine-tuned or given a good theological review.

However, a number of statements in the CDF document strike me as patently inaccurate, misleading, and unfair. I cannot attest to whether the LCWR featured or supported New Ways Ministry before the Vatican forced the resignation of Fr. Robert Nugent* and Sr. Jeannine Gramick from its leadership. I do know that when Sr. Jeannine had been counseled to be silent on issues pertaining to the church and homosexuals, she petitioned to be given a forum at one of the LCWR national assemblies—against the wishes not only of Rome but of her congregational leadership. After considerable discussion among the entire body of LCWR membership present, she was not given that platform. After that assembly, I did what one speaker had recommended we do individually: express to bishops we met our concern for compassionate care and outreach to gay and lesbian people on the part of the church. As I recall, no one argued in favor of marriage rights. I have not been privy to every meeting or every discussion or every draft of statements in the years since that assembly, but I bear an indelible memory of a painful and sometimes heated discussion that came to what seemed to me a very balanced and nuanced conclusion.

What’s more, many of us have signed vigorously prolife statements; participated in rosary rallies, forty-days-for-life observances, the annual marches in January; and have been scrupulously faithful to magisterial guidelines, including those set forth in John Paul II’s Evangelium vitae, in our health care facilities, in our teaching, and in decisions we have made as those bearing power of attorney for members facing extremely difficult end-of-life situations. I’m offended at being characterized by association as being insufficiently prolife.

What I have valued deeply in the LCWR is that its members have called attention to policies and practices that offend our Catholic life ethic or our Catholic social teaching in ways that have sometimes gone unnoticed. For example, the LCWR, along with the International Union of Superiors General, highlighted the problem of human trafficking long before others took notice. At LCWR meetings I learned what multinational corporations were doing to illiterate peasants and squatters, what was happening at detention centers in the aftermath of 9/11, and how immigration laws and crackdowns on undocumented people were affecting families. LCWR has served as a consciousness-raiser for those of us who are not on the mailing list of every justice group and aren’t among sisters who have participated in organized protests. Because of LCWR, my congregational leadership signed on to the Earth Charter and a number of other causes that otherwise would not have crossed our minds.

The liturgical controversy in the CDF document seems to be twofold. One issue is the content of public prayer and the celebration of Eucharistic liturgies. I’ve probably attended more regional than national gatherings, but I am one of those liturgically sensitive people. The opening and closing prayers at LCWR meetings have always been devotional, reverent, and creative. The Masses always seemed well within rubrical guidelines. There were locations for smaller daily liturgies as well as the large whole-convention liturgy. These daily liturgies were sometimes held at hotels, sometimes at nearby parishes, and were celebrated by priests of the dioceses where we met, or priests from the men’s group for major superiors.

The other liturgical issue—and one about which considerable ado is made in the CDF document—is the question of the ordination of women. References to actions taken and statements made harking back to 1977-79 highlight this discussion. When Sr. Teresa Kane, RSM, stood up in the basilica in Washington, D.C., and appealed to Pope John Paul II for the full equality of women in roles of ministry in the church, I thought her action was imprudent and ill-advised. Years later, she received a standing ovation at an LCWR meeting, and I joined the applause--not for what she said to the pope, but because I’d bumped into her several times in a small chapel in Pittsburgh and saw her faithfulness to prayer.

I had also learned of the heroism of her sisters who were advocating for poor women amid tremendous threat from the Shining Path in Peru. At the time, Sr. Kane was struggling with cancer, yet still strong in her sense of serving the voiceless. Admiration for a person does not imply endorsement of everything she has said or done.

The CDF document charges that LCWR never officially repudiated those early actions or statements regarding the ordination of women. With the presidency changing every year and membership shifting with every election held by the membership orders and congregations, that means that the makeup of the assembly changes from year to year. It seems strange to expect new membership to undertake a review of what past members have done and issue commendations or condemnations.

Strangely, the CDF document repeatedly refers to what “some members” are or are not doing. For example, the CDF objects that “some members” put greater emphasis on professional formation than doctrinal formation for those in initial formation and in offerings for the ongoing formation of their professed members. It is difficult to put that generalization in context. LCWR has no authority over the formation policies of member orders and congregations. Neither does LCWR have authority over any member group’s governance, communal living, prayer life, spirituality, mission, or ministry. For those matters, congregations are accountable either to their local bishops (if diocesan communities) or to the Vatican (if pontifical).

Finally, it’s helpful for any ecclesial group to have a bishop as a chaplain or liaison. But it seems strange for the Vatican to give Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, who is not a professed religious, authority over an organization whose members are religious. Having a Redemptorist in Rome overseeing the conclusion of the apostolic visitation is one thing. Having someone in charge who has not experienced consecrated life in community seems quite another.

As all of us try to digest the practical effects of the CDF’s action, I find myself simply hoping for clear water and a cabin in the woods in which to take shelter. Forty years ago I could have pursued the independent professional life I had already undertaken, married or not married the man of the hour, kept my car, bought a house, charted my career path, moved far from home, befriended many people, espoused many causes, and continued attending Mass at the Puerto Rican and Irish parish around the corner. While scores of my peers were leaving formation programs and being dispensed from their vows, I came to religious life and stayed. I wonder now why that choice has become so suspect.

Meanwhile, the convent supper I ate immediately before writing this article was prepared for us by a mother whose three children we watched and fed a few weeks ago while she was at a police station reporting that she’d been raped while alone at her job. She brought so much food that we resolved to share it with our neighbor and the three boys who wish their father was home for dinner rather than deployed in Afghanistan. Somehow these day-to-day realities seem worthy of my energy and perseverance.

At bottom, my life as “Sister” is about serving with Christ, in Christ, and to some extent as Christ for the sake of the people on my street, in my town, and within reach. My life as “Sister” is about translating the good news into a knock on a door, a meal for children, a listening ear, a word of comfort. I know that walking with people through their messy and complex lives is good reason not to head for the hills or to expend too much energy being vexed by a turn of events which will, in the long roll of history, likely be interpreted as one of many distractions of the early twenty-first-century church. When it comes to the impulse to flee and become a hermit, I have to admit that it isn’t what Jesus would do. And, as far as that clear water is concerned, I’ll just have to heed the lesson learned by the Samaritan woman—who, by the way, led others too.

 

* Correction: this article originally referred to "Br. Robert Nugent."


Related: Cross Examination, by Sister X

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So very well said.. the Vatican recovery will take years because of this sad overreach...and I'm too old to ever see it..There is not even one  bishop so far willing to stand up do a simple Rodney King moment..... "can't we all just get along'...... losers..

You cannot be a committed follower of Christ and at the same time dissent from his teachings. This is the crux of the Vatican's position vis-a-vis the LCWR.

"You cannot be a committed follower of Christ and at the same time dissent from his teachings. This is the crux of the Vatican's position vis-a-vis the LCWR."

Well, the members of the LCWR can join the overwhelming majority of the laity, most theologians and many bishops and priests, who disagree with some Church teachings. If all members of the Church would abide by all Church teachings, then thnk about what kind of a world we would have if certain teachings were never reformed: usury, slavery, freedome of religion, the torture of heretics, the ends of marriage. After all, at one time sex was only for procreation, sex during pregnancy was a moral sin, sex during menstruation was forbidden and sex had only one licit position (Noonan).

This is excellent. I would very much like to link it on SisterNews.net, but we do not publish anonymous material.  Any chance you'd reconsider your choice to be anonymous, Sister Y? Feel free to contact me privately if you want to discuss options. Thank you.

Baya Clare CSJ, Editor of SisterNews.net

Contact me at contactsisternews@gmail.com

Ed Micca:  you very dangerously conflate Christ's teaching increasingly regular magisterial dyspepsia with Christ's teachings!

As a former Dominican, who is still very close to my LCWR-member community, I can only thank Sister Y for what she wrote. The reason: IT IS THE TRUTH. After nine years in the community, where I prayed, ministered, lived and loved with my sisters,  God called me to move on, where I was led to marry a wonderful deeply spiritual Catholic man committed to the Catholic Worker. (and didn't Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin take their share of cr** from the institutional church). We have served the church and Her poor for more than thirty years, and raised our two now adult children to commit to their own ministries in the spirit of "whatsoever you do..."! Every time "someone" puts forth the, by my lights, snippy and superior, comment that "You cannot be a follower of Christ and at the same time dissent from His teaching"...I'm sorry, but many of the things that have been, are, or perhaps will be Church teaching may, in fact, not be in accord with Christ's teachings at all, and some are man-made rules which, when they become too embarrassing, are just allowed to drop onto the dust heap of oblivion and Mother Church then says, "Oh, but We have always taught that earth revolves around the sun, or whatever..." I am as certain of this as I am of anything; someday, the Church will wake up and realize that sexual orientation is genetic, inborn, and inescapable, and we will owe a huge apology to our marginalized gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, wallowing, as they are, in their "intrinsic evil-ness." Fortunately, I imagine that the members of the LCWR, including blessed Sister Y, along with the rest of us know that God is still in charge, and no matter how much the USCCB or The Vatican wants it to be different, in the end, God wins every time.

Sorry:  that s/b ''Christ's teach WITH increasingly .....)

Mea minima culpa.

Thank you Sister Y and thank you to all of the other Sisters who have served us so well in the past and continue to do so today.  It is a shame that a woman who has given her life to Christ and the people of God (the real Church) has to choose to be anonymous to voice her opinion.  Instead of the Catholic hierarchy trying to intimidate nuns and hold Fortnights of Freedom, I think the Church - the People of God - would be better served if the Church hierarchy proclaimed a "Year of Pedophile Penance" with every Bishop in charge of a diocese where a pedophile has been discovered resigning on the spot. 

Greetings Sister Y: Why worry?  Or, Y worry Sr .Y? This is a piece I put on Huff Post in the very recent past under Religion – Christianity - Diana B. Bass’ article ~ 7-19-12.  You can ignore it or verify it (how real what I am saying is) by beginning the reading trek. 

“The real question is not "Can liberal Christianity be saved?" The real question is: Can Christianity be saved?” “ Right to the point Diana. Contemporary scientific biblical scholarship, advanced philosophical thinking, and historical information of another type are tools to discern that Christianity is evolving into a post-axial age religions’ status. It has run its course.

The other axial age religions have their homework to do too. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as Abrahamic religions have to reconsider the revelation issue, -- where it came from and into what is it evolving. Is it interfaith engagement? Interfaith engagement will happen when the leaders read the best intellectuals' works on religion, faith and morality and act on it.

My provisional name for that phenomenon is a post-axial age faith (not religion). I say provisional because the twenty first century is definitive. The global multifaceted crisis and what we as Homo sapiens will do about it is a fundamental feature of a post-axial age faith. Will it be our archetypal evolutionary journey enduring, or species and planetary infrastructure (or more) extinction?

Our times are the most electrifying times in human history.

@ Ed Micca

Ed, if you think that by virtue of a "Bishop" or a "Cardinal" or even a "Father" before his name a man knows the answer to "What would Jesus do?" better than a woman does, I have two words for you: Bernard Law. 

Bravo Sue (a former Dominican), and thank you Sr. Y.

The Church would be far better off with a female pope and a proportionate number of "ordained" women religious in the Roman Curia.

Dear Sr. Y,

There are so many people WITH you and the other Religious on this, in exactly what you have so brilliantly exposee-d, we know the error in the accusations.  I myself, have emailed the CDF office with a very clear admonition of obvious counter-focus to the real issues that face our Church and particularly the hierarchy today.  This is just another addition to the long sad list of why there are 30 million departed and disillusioned Catholics out there.  Why do WE stay, as Religious or Lay, because we see more good than bad and know that the Spirit will and has acted in ways that will do nothing but astonish us going forward. 

We stand with the Nuns!! is our mantra these days and, I, for one, write this on my weekly envelope before I drop it in the basket and have demonstrated for you all in my city and archdiocese.

Do not lose your collective voices and stand for who and what you are--women in faith--half of the baptized of our Church!!  Women everywhere are rooting for you all and we give you our love and our prayers for a fruitful outcome!!

I am gettting a little tired of the lcwr sisters providing us with resumes of their work with the poor and women who have suffered in some way. I dont recall anyone saying that their work with the poor was suspect??!! Why not have the Leadership just answer some questions about doctrine: what do they really think about Catholic sexual ethics, abortion, hierarchical authority, etc. Recently one lcwr sister went on npr and alluded to the fact that she thinks some or all of these doctrines should be held open for discussion, perhaps even to be changed or developed in a new or opposite direction. THAT is the problem sister Y, not the fact that you take care of the poor. Stop hiding behind the poor and just answer the doctrinal and moral questions. j.keating

and J, Keating, I'm getting just a little tired of people, who have no clue as to what religious women have been doing, praying about and living, still want to back the hierarchy, and demand that the sisters answer questions. Does the hierarchy perhaps have a few questions they might answer...I won't even go there, since ALL OF US know what they are. Do you, Mr. keating, really want to back Cardinal Law, the #1 pedophilia cover-up artist in the hierarchy, and Cardinal Levada, who was, by the way, recently FIRED (no, he did not resign) because of his "clumsy handling of the investigation of the LCWR" which has morphed into a PR nightmare for the Vatican? You are getting "a little tired?" Prepare for more sleeplessness, as the institutional church goes down in flames for egregious violations of the Gospel teachings of Christ, Who asked all of us to be His Hands and Feet...and He certainly didn't want to see His servants, clothed in gold and jewels, "celebrating" the "Mass" at St. Peter's in a charade, led by Cardinal Burke,  that would make Jesus weep, if He hasn't wept enough already.

Thank you, Sister, for sharing not only your own, real-life response to Vatican action, but also offering a brief glimpse of your own experience in religious life.  To be frank, I am saddened by the fact that -- even in today's world -- you still feel the need to be anonymous so as to avoid putting your religious and diocesan leaders in a difficult situation.  What you have written is honest and heart-felt; if honesty and sincerity -- expressed with all charity -- makes things difficult for someone, then so be it.

Please know that the vast majority of Catholics -- including clergy -- stand with you in support of the good work you and religious women continue to do in our country and around the world.  Your very balanced and nuanced vignette (at least for me) makes commitment to that stance even stronger.

 

Thank you, Sister Y for insightful, intelligent, and theologically and biblically informed assessment of the Vatican's actions against American Sisters.  How often those people defending the hierarchy's heavy-handed authoritarianism are non-theologically-trained men who consider the Church's historic and current privileging of males, especially clergy, as what Jesus wanted.  They also seem woefully lacking in a knowledge of church history which is one of change and redefinition.

I got my Master's in Theology back in '95. I'm  a female and I'm Jewish. I studied with some awesome nuns, one of whom would probably be an archbishop had she been male. Among the things they showed was a love of God and how it was communicated through love of others. I am very pro nun and I was horrified at the way the Church treats those nuns who are not strictly cloistered and not involved in the world. Is it that they are so afraid of the power of women that they would destroy any woman who came across as independent and capable of thinking and acting for herself? I am reminded of what Wuerl tried to do to Sr. Elizabeth Johnson and what the disciples did after Jesus died, turning Mary Magdalen into a repentant prostitute instead of an independent and wealthy widow who supported Jesus emotionally if not financially. Jesus would not have had that happen to his friend and confidante and I'm not sure he'd feel any different now.

Postmodern convention seems to require self-disclosure, a welcome antidote to the assumption that the rationalist Euro old white male viewpoint was a synonym for "objective." 

So... a Seattle native, raised w/o religion.  I'm transgendered, gay, spent 25 years as a blue collar worker, back to college (science degree) late in life.  Followed by the Graduate Theological Union, affliated with the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.  Thus thoroughly steeped in intellectual Catholic theology and well acquainted with members of RC religious orders.  For whom I have deep respect and more than a little affection.  And no, I'm not a Catholic.

I find humor in the title "Missing the Mark."  That of course is the meaning of the NT Greek word for sin, harmartia.  I really doubt that any among us, including the Curia, are in any position to be casting that parabolic first stone. 

Ah, that infamous Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  Sr. Y has done a splendid job explaining exactly how a life in the Faith works in full.  So that can't be the issue. Elsewhere on this site, Sr. X did "go there" vis a vis the molesting pedophiles and their enablers, aka the cover-ups by-- how many bishops?  She pointed out that the Curia has not shown much interest in investigating those horrors.  Why not?  Especially since the lack of response has so obviously contributed to that large and increasing group:  ex-Catholics. I suspect it's the Doctrine angle.  Since the guys stayed within the dictates of doctrine, no problem.  But these women...  

Anyway, bless all of you who are trying to stick it out!  It's your church. Two thousand years of faith, justice, inspired mystics and brilliant theologians is way bigger than the crimped minds of bureaucrats and their fearful minions can ever imagine.                

Sister Y,  my admiration and respect for you is great.  The balanced, nuanced tone of your letter, as much as its content, shows me a sincere, devoted person, who has taken to heart the gospel message and has labored to live the Sermon on the Mount, as well as her vows. 

My parents sacrificed to give my sisters and me a Catholic education through high school.  I'm in my 65th year, and have been separated from the Church for a very long time.  And yet, having been a "Commonweal Catholic" during my high school and early college years, having lived as a Catholic through the heart-opening era of Vatican II and the saintly life of John XXIII, I have never regretted my old fealty.  I still look to Commonweal, from time to time; and what I find, mostly, is good-hearted people, trying to be faithful to the words and the life of Jesus, at the same time trying with humility and sincerity to square the circle, to reconcile a Christ-like life (as best they can live it) with deference and obedience to a heirarchy exclusively and jealously male, arrogant and vindictive, dominated by individuals whose words and actions show them to be, as I see them, "whited sepulchers".

The Inquisition they have foisted upon the American sisters has been base and shameful.  The heirarchs are fools, weakening their institution by using its power unwisely. (Think of the consequences America faces flowing from the last administration's overreach and malfeasance). 

No one knows what the future holds, but you and many other religious and lay people, by remaining open-hearted even as you work to shepherd the superstructure of your church into a new and more truly Christ-like relationship with our world, need not be concerned with the outcomes of your efforts.  Outcomes will take care of themselves.  You have chosen the better part, and it shall not be taken from you.

Pax tecum.

Art Saulino

The real issue is Rome's stubborn and exaggerated view that the LCWR is violating their vow of obedience. Does not Rome understand that we live in a divided Church and in a Crisis of Truth? Where did this come from? After all did not Vatican II issue a document about the Church and its relationship with the world, Gaudium et specs? Did this not resolve the problem? Unfortunately, anyone with knowledge of Vatianc II know that the problem grew worse because of the differences in interpretation between modern culture and Christian anthropology.... between two groups: the minority neo-Augustinians and the neo-Thomist majority.

Unfortunately, the neo-Augustiinians (Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri du Lubac, Jean Danielou, Louis Boyer, and Joseph Ratzinger) set the church and the world in a situation of rivals; they see the world in a negative light; evil and sin so abound in the world that the church should be always suspicious and distrustful of it. Any openness to the world would be "naive optimism". This worldview dominated the post-Vatican II Church and it condemns anyone who disagrees with a Church teaching, or wants to open debate on certain teachings for good and just reasons.

Rome has an exaggerated fear of open and respectful debate on the issues that divide our Church, especially many sexual ethical teachings. They guardedly tolerate disagreement by the laity, but not disagreement by clergy, women religious and theologians. Debate on these issues is a closed book...end of discussion. Rome sees itself in a war between good and evil, and the truth and distorted reason. The papacy of John Paul II  took away any sense of authority from a decentralized Church..e.g, from the worldwide Conferences of Bishops. Any definitive statement by these conferences would need Vatican approval. This was in large part due to the experience they encountered after the issuance of Humanae Vitae in 1968, whereby many Conferences of Bishops around the world issued carefully worded but less than full agreement statements about his doctrine....e.g., with respect to complex moral issues, the individual could rely on his/her informed conscience. This would not be tolerated by JP II or Ratzinger-Benedict XVI.

The papacy of JP II centralized more power in Rome because he had no patience for anyone who disgreed with his philosophy and theology. Ratzinger-Benedict XVI continued his view point The World and those "Dissenters", versus, the Church Hierarchy and the Magisterium. The LCWR and the Austrian priests are now to be silenced and condemned because they are not obeying their vows by submitting to Rome their minds and spirit to all Church teachings without remainder.

Thank you again Sister Y for expressing your belief that women religious and the LCWR are doing God's Will based on the love of Christ, His Gospel and the Spirit who guides us all.

Thanks Sister Y for this beautiful reflection on religious life live with courage and faithfulness and the LCWR. I have read and re-read the CDF statement on LCWR and it seems to affirm exactly what you have written. It has high praise for all that women religious have done and all that they are-as you have indicated. Anything I have ever read from recent papal statements and from the Congregation for Religious etc  has shown the high regard in which consecrated life in its many forms is held by our bishops and the Holy See.

The CDF statement takes a much narrower focus-just the LCWR as an organ of collaboration among consecrated women whose constitution is established by the Holy See. Therefore the Holy See has the obligation and right to supervise and intervene if necessary if it believes that the LCWR is not being true to its mandate.  A congregation of women religious has the same obligation with regard to any hospital or school board they may have established for one of their ministries. Such interventions do not reflect on the whole school or hospital if the board is not doing its job. Same with LCWR and consecrated women.

I think you have hit on exactly the key issue. Few of the women in leadership may have the theological formation to engage critically with some of the issues raised in some of the LCWR conference papers, systems training manual and the theolgical issues raised by inviting someone like Barbara Marx Hubbard as a key note speaker. An interview I read online given by the current LCWR leader about committment to life issues showed signs of equivocation about the rights of the unborn and displayed a lack of familiariy with Catholic Social Doctrine in which life issues concern rights of the unborn along with access to adequate food, human rights protection, end to the death penalty. It seemed as if the Sr were not aware of much of this since she seemed to present an either or approach-either rights of the unborn or social justice. (This may not have been her intention but the way it was presented suggested this).

The CDF seems only to be concerned that the LCWR has the tools to adequately assist in the full flourishing of consecrtae life. That does mean a solid theological foundation in the teaching of the Church and clear and unambigious affirmation that religious life is lived in, for and with the Church. My hope is that openess to the intervention will assist the LCWR to not only assist current sisters but because of the intervention oversee a flourishing of women of generous spirit who will choose consecrated life.

Thanks Sr Y for this reflection.

I am encouraged by Sister Y's refelections on the situation with the LCWR and the CDF. If her observations are correct, any problems seem to be misunderstandings and lack of clear communication, rather than issues that would separate the LCWR and member organizations from the true teachings of the Church. If so, we may be looking at this situation as "much ado about nothing" a few years from now. I am, however, concerned about the repeated references to the good work of the sisters; this has never been a concern or an issue; the Vatican and the CDC continue to support and praise the sisters for their often heroic dedication to alleviating social issues. This gives rise to an accusation of "changing the issue," or creating a "staw man," which seems to  have some legitimacy. Focusing on the problems raised by the CDC with the organization; discerning their legitimacy and seriousness, as Sister Y tries to do in the first part of her piece, is the way to approach resolving this situation.

 

With all due respect, isn’t it a bit disingenuous to suggest that a lack of theological training is the problem?  One of the many blessings about all of Christianity is that in obedience, and only in holy obedience, we get the gift and fruits of the Holy Spirit, the ultimate “teacher” for any level of intelligence or knowledge.  As obedient Catholics, we also receive not only the Holy Spirit, but the sanctifying grace of the sacraments, especially the extraordinary graces of confession and of course, the Eucharist, a part of Divinity Himself.

In this day and age, it’s almost insulting to even suggest that one need be a theologian to get it right.  For heaven’s sake the Catechism of the Catholic Faith is free on line, for the entire world, along with extensive papal documents from encyclicals to Pope Benedict’s latest homily.

But the real problem sadly, especially after reading the comments, is that for most, not only some sisters but also the laity, the sense of authority has been lost.   Consequently, without papal authority, despite what we want to label it, it simply can’t be Catholicism, only another form of “Protestantism in denial. “

It’s bad enough that many of the comments contain examples of poor or total lack of catechesis, consequently, a rebellion against what one “thinks” the Church teaches as to what and why the Church teaches as it does.  I sometimes wonder how many Catholics are even aware that the dogmatic teachings of the Catholic Church are nothing more, and nothing less, than the immutable teachings (based on Divine Revelation), of Jesus Christ.  If for example, the Church ever did allow “female priests”, it would no longer be the Catholic Church, as it’s the job of the Catholic Church to uphold, in fullness, all of the teachings of Jesus Christ.

That brings me back to any sister or nun who believes that the Magesterium, despite the most recent popes being some of the holiest  in papal history, has it wrong.  Truly it’s painful to watch, not only any sister who dissents on church teachings, but those who also “cheer them on” in their disobedience.  Unlike the misguided laity, nuns and sisters are the spouses of Jesus Christ.  In authentic  love, we are obedient  out of love of faith and Christ.  How is possible to no longer have that spousal love that demands holy obedience?  Sacred scripture (and of course the life of Jesus Christ), couldn’t be more clear that obedience is better than any sacrifice. 

Perhaps that is why God sent us, in our lifetimes, Blessed Mother Theresa; to remind us all what obedience and holiness looks like.

sacrificehttp://www.geocities.ws/lauho08/mother_teresa_on_obedience_and_surrender...

Holy obedience is everything.  Not only does it allow in the Holy Spirit, it is the only thing that frees us, from ourselves and our restless hearts.  I can assure any sister who struggles with the Vatican requests, which is merely upholding the teachings of Christ,  that she is the one “missing the mark.”  The goal of the Vatican is and only ever will be, the salvation of souls.  As I commented to Sister “X”, success isn’t about the things of this world, as it is only “holiness” to which we are called, and only holiness that will save us.

Consequently, if the CDF Document brings in even one of the sisters who is “out there”, how could it not be worth it?

Patricia makes good points, and I don't question her sincerity and beliefs.   However, I do question how far obedience reaches into one's religious conscience without violatiing the vow of obedience that all sisters make.

One could say that all Catholics should be obedient to all Church teachings, inclusive of clergy and religious theologians. Unfortunately, we know that is not the case, especially regarding sexual ethics. If all members of God's Church would have abided by a strick definition of "obedience", especially in past centuries, I question what type of world we would be living in. Would not ursery, slavery, freedom of religion, the torture of heretics, the ends of marriage....etc, be with us today?

In the past, bishops, priests and theologians taught us that sex was only for procreation, sex during menstruation was a mortal sin, sex during pregnancy was forbidden and sex had only one licit position (Noonan). In the past, clergy, theologians and the laity have challanged and disagreed with some Church teachings for good and just reasons. This has helped the Church and I would not classify this as violating a vow of obedience. This does not mean that religious women, should be able to disagree with a Church teaching without good and just reasons and without their informed consciences. They should give respect to the Church and follow the process proscribed for any type of disagreement. In my opinion, the question is: Can the LCWR invite someone to talk about an issue from a different point of view, without violating their vow of obedience? 

As Patricia said, there may well be a misunderstanding between the LCWR and the CDF. I certainly pray this is the case. However, there is a wide consenses, in my opinion, that certain subjects should and must be discussed especially if they are based on scholarship, new knowledge and respect. Many of these subjects, unfortunately, are a closed book according to the CDF. Does the LCWR have the certain degree of freedom to explore a re-thinking of an current teaching without violating their vow of obedience?....Without violating a call to holiness in service to Christ and the Gospel and our growing knowledge of Scripture, Tradition,  Human Experience and Reason.

 

 

Patricia, a gaggle of old, fallible men say that THEIR interpretation of the Bible "proves" that Jesus wanted only men to be priests.  Not good enough. 

Sister Y’s testimonial is what every religious and lay person should aspire to.  Living the Gospel message of service, compassion and love to and for the poor are ‘non-negotiables’ (if this stupid term bothers you, I like you) of Christianity.  This is the Focus of Sister Y’s life, God bless her.  May her example inspire all of us to be worthy of the name Catholic.  I’m not convinced, though, that the American bishops and CDF are crazy.  Why would they want to caput those very things defining a Christian?  Why subject the American Church to a bombardment of negative media attention?  Is it possible that these men are not demons and have nothing but respect for such commitment?  If so, and I believe it is, then what’s the problem?

To quote from Sister Y’s testimonial, “In the years since, any number of sisters have earned masters degrees in biblical studies, pastoral ministry, and theology. Some few have also attained doctorates—PhD or DMin—in theological and ministerial specialties. Not all have been officers or board members of the LCWR. So perhaps there have been actions or statements of the LCWR leadership that have not been fine-tuned or given a good theological review.”  Extracting the quoted part from the main body of Sister Y’s article leaves some confusion but in essence I think it points out that the religious of today are well educated and highly trained.  They have built impressive careers in academia.  They hold leadership positions with charitable foundations and hospitals.  And here the problem lies.

Institutional survival usually hardens the soul.  You become so enamoured with your position that all other positions are inferior and unworthy of consideration.  Non conformity and radicalism become your persona.  Of course this charge has always been applied to the governance of the Church.  But now we have the LCWR promoting direct and public opposition to the teaching of the Church.  The LCWR has no teaching or governing authority whatsoever.  I think Sister Y alludes to this several times but waters it down as though it's mischievousness, not rebellion.

The American bishops and CDF have no alternative.  They have to do their job and reprimand the LCWR.  I really don't believe we're dealing with the genius of a Henri de Lubec, Yves Congar or Jean Danielou.  These were brilliant theologians and Scriptual scholars who had the street smarts to stay outside the cross hairs of the CDF and a curia suspecious of every thought outside the Vatican fortress.  They didn't escape censorship but they certainly opened the space for the Holy Spirit to do her work.

 "What would Jesus do?" better than a woman does

Angela,  What a sexist statment!

Patricia, a gaggle of old, fallible men say that THEIR interpretation of the Bible "proves" that Jesus wanted only men to be priests. Not good enough.

 

FYI to Angela, Jesus was one of those "men."  There are countless examples in Scripture and Sacred Tradition as to why women can't be ordained as priests, dating all the way back to the early Church Fathers.  Jesus clearly taught against it. 

Two thousand years later, JPII in "Ordanatio Sacerdotalis", took the issue off the table, again stating that the Chruch didn't and never will have the power to change what Christ established.

 

Michael Barbari I think you might be a bit misguided between doctrines (made man laws that can change with moderntiy and culture), and dogma (teachings instituted by Christ that can never be changed).  FYI, the church has never, ever, changed a dogmatic teaching in over 2000 years.  You also seem to have some Old Testament issues in the mix, that were typologies of things to come with Christ in the New Testament. 

Perhaps I missed your point, but I also don't understand what you mean by "violating obedience" when Christ clearly taught, by His own example, 'Obedience unto death,,"

Bruce and Patricia: my mother used to say that she was astounded to discover, long after she became an adult, that a pope had claimed to speak infallibly only once in the entire 20th century.  She said that when she was growing up in St. Meinrad, Indiana, her parish priest always spoke as if every word out of HIS mouth were infallible.

I don't agree that the Bible and tradition prove that women can never, ever be priests even if Pope John Paul II, admittedly a remarkable man, said it.  Simply stated: priests, bishops and popes do not have a 24/7 pipeline to God guiding their every word and action.  If they had, not a single member of the clergy would ever have molested a child.

 

To Patricia and Bruce,

Jesus did not ordain anyone at the Last Supper.  Nor did he consecrate anyone bishops.

Jesus did not TEACH against it.  After all, Jesus was the only TEACHER who accepted women as disciples.  No other Rabbi of his time did that.  And the women were accepted---not just to be silent followers of the men---but as active evangelizers as well. 

The early Church is replete with examples of women taking leadership in the Christian communities---as deacons, as presbyters, and as apostles.  Please read Paul's Letter to the Romans (Chapter 16).  Know also that in Paul's letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 3:8-14) where he lists the qualities for deacons---male and female.

Sorry, but John Paul II and Benedict were/are both more concerned for their Centralized power than WHAT JESUS ACTUALLY WANTED and TAUGHT.  In the long history of the Church---they, sadly, were not the only ones who believed/believe that THEY ARE the CHURCH---rather than being Servants of the Servants of God.  They have both failed to be true servant leaders as Jesus had taught in Sacred Scriptures.

 

Angela I'm sorry to say that your mother was probably confused with "dogma" not papal infallibality.  It is true that the last "dogma" was in 1950 by Pope Pius XII declaring the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.  Any time a Pope speaks "in faith or morals" it's infallable.  A good example is when a saint is canonized; an infallible declaration by the Pope that said person is a saint in heaven (of which JPII is already "on the track" BTW).  JPII also canonized a plethora saints, each time using "infallibality."  And FWIW, it would make sense that a holy priest, in all things "faith and morals", would indeed speak infallibalily owing to the fact he would be speaking of dogmas and authorative teachings of the Magesterium.  On the other hand, even if the the Pope told us who he thought was going to win the gold medal in breaststroke swimming, it would be nothing more than "papal human opinion", as it would have no connection to his gift of infallibilty.

I also hate to tell you that even Pope's can (and do) sin, as well as, as we all  know, bishops, priests and nuns.  Why do you think Jesus picked Peter (sinful Peter), to be the first Pope and not John, the almost perfect apostle?  Because we are all fallen, and the Catholic Church was made for sinners, not the perfect.  We have had some doozy popes (not recently), throughout history, but the interesting thing is, none of them (they were probably too busy sinning) ever changed or taught dogma, consequently, as Christ promised, not even the "gates of hell" would prevail against His church, which is always guided by the Holy Spirit. 

 

Angela and Little Bear, Scripture and Tradition clearly teach that women can not be priest.  Yes, a women could be a "deaconess", but never, "ordained."  I dug out some of the early church fathers' teachings that may help you or anyone who has trouble understading why.  It's only the tip of the ice burg, but my stronger point is to demonostate that this teaching was in place close to the days of Jesus.  One quote even addressess the fact that Jesus did not send out the women disciples in "twos" to evangalize  as you describle Little Bear. 

Here's the link:

http://www.catholic.com/tracts/women-and-the-priesthood

As I mentioned in my earlier post, one most be in obedience and the state of grace to recieve the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

Little Bear I'm afraid that you make my point that many who dissent dissent' on what they "think" the Church teaches and not what it actually does teach. 

 

Your post is the epitome of such an example, also proving that if we as Catholics dissent on even one dogmatic teaching, the whole Catholic Faith collaspes like dominos.  For example, if Jesus did not institute the priesthood at the last supper, the Eucharist could not be possible, which just so happens to be the source and summit of the Catholic Faith. 

 

And if you truly believe that the Pope JPII and Pope Benedict, two of the holiest popes who ever lived, are "power grabbers", you couldn't possible have a clue as to what they teach or taught.  In addition, JPII is halfway to sainthood, and that IS an infallible doing. 

 

That all comes back to my original point.  The problem, be it nuns or dissenting catholics, appears to be far more an "authority" problem.  So, we either believe what the Church teachings, or we don't.  Rest assured there are 4000 plus Protestant Demoninations that indeed believe that the pope is not the authority, which means at least 3999 of them have to be wrong.

Lastly, Little Bear, everyone baptized in Christ IS the Chruch, for better of for worse. which most certainly includes our popes.

 

 

 

A decade ago, there was an often seen bumper sticker that neatly summed up the mind set of ultra-con evangelicals.  It read: "God said it, I believe it, that settles it." 

So much for historical scholarship, linguistic analysis, or recognition of the cultural delimitation of truth claims.  Catholic theologians have become quite adept at a more nuanced approach.

Yet much of the counter-argument, as in this thread, comes down to "Rome said it, I believe that I should believe it, that settles it."  No need for conscience.  Or much consciousness, either. 

But a blinkered obedience does offer security and certainty in world that seems chaotic and frightening.  It just doesn't offer much to the young who seek spiritual depth and intellectual honesty.  Or anything to anyone in the rest of the world whose faith is of another order entirely.           

In reply to Angela and Bear; I do not think the current Pope or any leading theologian uses the Bible to base the Church’s current position on the ordination of women.  It’s more a matter of timing and preparation.  The focus of Benedict’s energy is Ecumenism in the form of unification.  To accept women ordinations would end his hope of unification with the Eastern Orthodox.   Also, there would be repercussions here in the Western hemisphere.  The Evangelical movement is even more conservative than Catholicism and is certainly less divided between liberals and conservatives.  Much of the attraction and successful converting of main Christian church members is this conservatism.  And then there is the history of Christian liberalism becoming a runaway train without breaks.

In the book Jesus of Nazareth, Vol. I, Joseph Ratzinger addresses the two types of Old Testament laws, apodietic and casuistic.   Apodietic, as I understand him, is immutable.  Casuistic is a law suitable for a certain culture and time in history but is not divine.  It can be updated when and if needed.   I’m a layman, not a Scriptural scholar, but I found this section of his book intriguing.  I got the impression that his intent was to lay a foundation for future discussion of such laws as married priests and women ordinations.

Our Pope isn’t anti women or power hungry.  He’s old, knows his limitations and must choose his battles.

Patricia,

I am not the least misguided.

I understand the difference between doctrine and dogma and never mentioned dogma. If your defintion of dogma is what is written in Scripture (New Testament), then usery was clearly written as divine law, but was refomed in the 16th century. If you are referring to Scripture and John Paul II's argument, and proclamation, that if Christ wanted to make a woman one of his disciples he would have...is not a convincing argument to exclude women from ordained, ecclesial higher office.

As "Little Bear" mentioned, this did not prevent women from being given significant roles as leaders in the early Christian Church...far from it...we know of a number of women who were gifted spirtitually and their early roles as deacons and presbyters are similar to hierarchical roles today. Yet, women religious cannot be ordained and serve Christ today as they did in the early Church.

With respect to the issue of "obedience" I was questioning how far does one have to go to be obedient....to death as you infer? When deciding on a voluntary human action, under rules and vows, does not the virtues of prudence, wisdom, justice and charity help us to formulate right action? I am not defending the LCWR, but I respect the reflection and judgment of the LCWR. It is difficult for the LCWR to defend itself, when they have no access to the evidence and analysis used by the CDF that condemn their actions. Nor can they legitimately dispute the conclusions under such circumstances. It is also difficult for any of us to support the CDF's allegations, based on the submission of mind and spirit to the hierarchy, when no one can reasonably evaluate the facts. To rationale people, the CDF acts like a kangaroo court.

@William Sublette,

Your wrote:

"I got the impression that his intent was to lay a foundation for future discussion of such laws as married priests and women ordinations."

Wow! I never heard anyone claim that Ratzinger-Benedict XVI was laying the foudation for a future discussion about the laws regulating married clergy and women ordinations. If this is true, what is he waiting for? Where is the courage that the Fathers of the Church had, or for that matter, the courage and bravery that Christ displayed in a time when such behavior would clearly lead to his death?

We live in a divided Church and in a Crisis of Truth, as JP II asserted. I see no evidence that Benedict XVI is interested in challenging or studying the issues that divide us....women ordination, reconciliation and Eucharist for the divorced and remarried, the option of marriage for clergy....as well as many sexual ethical teachings such as: In vitro fertilization and contraception under certain conditions in marriage, the definition of direct and indirect abortion (e.g, the Pheonix Case).

 

 

@ William Sublette,

Whoa! Don't blame this on the Eastern Orthodox.  For them, there is no top down hierachy, only what is callecd collegiality, as was the ancient practice in the early Chuch.  Thus the Roman Catholic pope is only one among equals.  Albeit perhaps one accorded more respect.   BTW, the head of the Coptic (Egyptian Orthodox) Church is also called pope.  That's the big objection; the issue of collegiality.

There is another factor.  Bishops (and priests, for that matter) aren't just imposed on the laity.  People have the right to disapprove bishops.  Given the respect for tradition, it isn't common, but it has happened.   

The filioque, the alleged problem of close to a thousand years, isnt much of an issue doctrinally.  The real problem for the Orthodox and Eastern Christians was that one part of the Church acted unilaterally. 

There's no huge theological horror regarding the ordination of women!  The Orthodox realize that there is no real biblical refutation. Their explanation is simply an appeal to tradition.  And officially stated, "there is no demand for it"  The implication is that this could change if the laity decides that this is what they want.      

Patricia,

Unfortunately I have to disagree with you again on history and in heumenutics. You said:

"Angela and Little Bear, Scripture and Tradition clearly teach that women can not be priest.  Yes, a women could be a "deaconess", but never, "ordained."  I dug out some of the early church fathers' teachings that may help you or anyone who has trouble understading why."

It is not never enough to read the texts (Scripture) to find out what it says.....its original sociohistorical context must be first clarified, and then the text can be translated and interpreted. Patriarchy ruled the early Church and this was a social order in which women were declared the possessions of, first fathers, and later, husbands. In 1 Cor. 11.7-12; Col. 3:18...we see how the New Testament silences women in Church, and suggests the way that women should atone for their collective guilt in causing men to sin is to bear men children. 

In Genesis we find two conflicting stories. A women was created to be a helper for man and his companion. In later account, the woman is blamed for the man's sin.

No one knows why Christ did not send women out two by two and there are various legitimate interpretations. There is no theological "horror" as you assert in the ordination of women. Much is to be admired of JP II, but he was not free from misunderstandings and erroneous judgments about women and human sexuality. He never understood feminism or Western women religious, and they never understood his philosophy either. That is a fact. If you want to read a factual and scholarly work, read Ted Lipien's Wojtyla's Women: How They Shaped the Life of Pope John Paul II and Changed the Catholic Church. D

Do yo honestly believe that when popes speak on faith and morals, their pronouncements are infallible? Consider the many papal bulls and teachings that were declared divine law, and were eventually reformed. We must give respect to the pope and the Roman Curia, but this does not mean to blindly accept without questions certain teachings that are in tension with our right reason, human experience and "informed" consciences. There is a process to follow if one's informed conscience disagrees with a Church teaching. We can be faithful Catholics and disagree. 

Mike, the changes you want just won’t happen no matter who’s Pope.  It took four years, three thousand bishops and several hundred theologians for Vatican II to define what it would take to bring the Church up to date and open Her to the modern world.  And, that was the easy part.  Implementation of the changes, the hard part, is another issue in itself.

About Pope Benedict, I think you should study his writings.  It’s impossible not to have hidden agendas exposed in the books you write.  There is nothing hidden in Benedict’s writings.  Those who know him, Catholic and Protestant, agree that he is a man of truth.   His book Jesus of Nazareth, Vol. I is the best book I’ve ever encountered.  It’s not the Bible but it built a love of Scripture that I never had.  Give it a try and be very patient.  You don’t read this book, you study it.

If I sound like someone giving fatherly advice, it’s because I’m probably old enough to be your grandfather.

@William Sublette,

I am 65 years old, and I doubt you could be my grandfather!!

The reform that most Catholics, theologians and many bishops and priests want will likely not happen in my lifetime. It will take decades or even a century. This is consistent with the time needed to change a Church teaching, but hopefully, it will not take as long as it did in the past. Nevertheless, a teaching not received is a dead letter. The Church is hoping for an epiphany on the part of the laity and theologians, but the Church needs to offer an intelligible and convincing theory in support of certain teachings, e.g., the limited use of contraception in marriage for good and just reasons...and reconciliation and Eucharist for the divorced and remarried under realistic conditions.

Benedict XVI believed that either there is moral unanimity or there is no collegial action at all. The Church does not speak in one voice, nor do the bishops together, on the issue of Humanae Vitae or the reception of the Euharist for the divorced and remarried. The 1980 Synod on the Family is a case in point. JP II proclaimed that all the bishops believe that Humanae Vitae is the truth. Anyone familiar with the details of this synod know that many bishops called for reform. However, it fell of the deaf ears of JP II because he had no patience with anyone that disagreed with him and he used the papacy to bully and pressure his bishops into agreeing with him. This resulted in disagreement in silence and inaction. 

As for the ordination of women, that will take much longer. 

I don't believe Benedict XVI is attempting, explicitly or implicity, to lay the foundation for the ordination of women and the marriage option for priests. You are entitled to your opinion, but not my agreement. I have two of Benedict's books, The Thought of Pope Benedict XVI" and "The Essential Pope Benedict XVI". Benedict XVI is a neo-Augustinian and his interpretation of Vatican II is much different than the majority.

Michael Barberi we will just have to agree to disagree.  In the entire 2000 plus years of Catholicism, there never has and never will be an "ordained" women in the church, nor will any other of the "hot button" dogmatic teachings be changed.  To do so would simply make the Church Christ founded, "non catholic."

You mention Humane Vitae, and like many in modernity, seem to have an erroneous belief that if enough believe some thing to be true, especially the masses, and most certainly a relgious, well then by darn, "it must be."  As GK Chesterton's famous quote goes (parapharased):  "It's the job of the church to be right when the world is wrong."

 

Allow me to give you two exmaples.   The first would be the crowds who yelled "Crucify Him, crucify him."  So how did that work out?   Deicide to our Creator!  More than an "oops."

 

The next is also huge, and that is in regards to early century Arianism.  Like Humane Vitae, that too had many bishops on board.  Being that Aranism denies the divinity of Christ, not sure how that could happe, but that's my point.  Never under estimate what culture and "moderntiy" can distort.   Thanks to St. Athanasius, the one and only "lone ranger", a Paul Paul VI of his time, Christianty lives/lived on.

Here's the last line of the write up of St. Athanasius in the New Advent Aranism definition:

In the whole story there is but one single hero — the undaunted Athanasius — whose mind was equal to the problems, as his great spirit to the vicissitudes, a question on which the future of Christianity depended.

 

My point, yet again Michael, is an "authority problem."  History teaches us that the crowds are often wrong, espeically when they are so sure they are "right with the times."  Also, you would be wise to consider the advise of William S as if he could be your grandfather.  It's more than obvioius, you see the last two popes, one on the way to saint hood, through a very distorted lens, when in reality, they are pure gift, at least for any of us with eternal  salvation as the goal.

 

 

Patricia,

I agree with you that "opinion polls" should never be used as a source in the formulation of doctrine, but human experience should be one of the sources as in: Scripture, Tradition, Human Experience and Reason. 

There are legitimate philosophical and theological arguments that cause most informed Catholics and theologians, and many bishops and priests (who understand moral theology) to disagree with the encylical Humanae Vitae. That debate has been going on for the past 44 years without resolution. The argument eventually came down to one of authority. However, authority is a the weakest of arguments in a theological debate. This does not mean all Catholics should dismiss all teachings of authority. However, when a teaching is in tension with one's judgment based on human experience, prayerful reflection, the guidance of one's spiritual advisor, practical reason, diligent education of the subject, and one's informed conscience, then even Benedict XVI has asserted that one must never go against one's conscience even if it is against a papal teaching.

One of the problems is indeed "authority" but not disrespect for it, but disagreement with it. Another common problem is that anyone who disagrees with a moral teaching of the Church for good and just reasons,  are characterized by the Church and its defenders as: dissenters, the invincibly ignorant, unfaithful and those infected with the evils of a liberal secular society. Theologians don't debate on "disputed questions" they talk past each other and ignore any legitimate sound counter-argument. 

If you want to have an common example of the absurdity of HV consider this: A young marrired women with 3 children is told that another pregnancy will be life-threatening. She cannot be sterilzed or take the pill to safe-guard her life because the Church says this is immoral. She must practice 'risky PC' or a life of 'sexual abstinence'. Risky PC is an imprudent and irresponsible means to safe-guard her life, as well as her marriage....and celibacy for a young mother with a devoted husband is stoic insensibility. HV is too much of a moral certitude and if you understand the relevant theological issues, I would like you to explain to me, and other bloggers, the reasonability of this case in point.

I respect all popes and but they are not infallible. My view is not from a 'distorted lens' but based on my sincere faith and prayful reflection. Your can disagee and remain a faithful Catholic. As to whether Wiilliam S is old enough to be my grandfather is frankly not relevant.

On NPR's "Fresh Air" there were independent, in depth interviews with both Sister Pat Farrell, the president of the Leadership Conference and Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio -- the bishop who assessed the LCWR.  I think that both did an excellent job of explaining their respective positions.  It's worthwhile listening to the interviews, in addition to reading the excerpts.

http://www.npr.org/2012/07/17/156858223/an-american-nun-responds-to-vati...http://www.npr.org/2012/07/25/157356092/bishop-explains-vaticans-critici...

- Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

 

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About the Author

Sister Y has served as a member of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious for over a decade.