Lcwr-Vatican Doctrinal Office Meeting: " It's Politics That Divides Us, Not Faith"

By Alessandro Speciale
Vatican Insider
June 12, 2012

The LCWR and the Vatican meet in an atmosphere of cordiality and openness

An open and cordial meeting between Cardinal Levada the U.S. nuns who supported Obama's health care reform

The meeting between the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) - the association which represents the majority of women religious in the U.S. accused of "grave doctrinal problems" by the former Holy Office - took place "in an atmosphere of openness and cordiality"

The Vatican accused the LCWR of not making their voice heard enough on "non-negotiable" issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage and the ordination of women priests. It also criticised them for giving too much space in their conferences to "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith." These accusations were scornfully rejected as "unfounded" by the LCWR's board last June.

Many women's religious orders expressed their support for Barack Obama's health reforms, which were, however, heavily criticised by U.S. bishops.

Today, during the meeting convened at the request of the LCWR, the president and director of the association, the Franciscan Pat Farrell and Janet Mock, a sister of the Saint Joseph f Carondelet order had the opportunity to speak for several hours with Cardinal Joseph Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Archbishop of Seattle, Mgr. Peter Sartain. The Vatican had placed Archbishop Sartain in charge of guiding the association's reforms.

The director of the Vatican Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, explained in a communiqué that today's meeting was to "discuss the issues and concerns raised by the "doctrinal assessment", in an atmosphere of openness and cordiality."

At the same time, the Vatican spokesman recalled that according to canonical law, an association like the LCWR "is constituted by and remains under the supreme direction of the Holy See in order to promote common efforts." As such, he added, "The purpose of [the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's] doctrinal assessment is to assist the LCWR in this important mission by promoting a vision of ecclesial communion founded on faith in Jesus Christ and the teachings of the church as faithfully taught through the ages under the guidance of the Magisterium."

The LCWR, Farrell explained at the end of the meeting, is "grateful for the opportunity for open dialogue" offered by the Vatican dicastery. However, he said that any decision on the association's future initiatives will be taken at the LCWR assembly this coming August.


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