Quote of the day, on LCWR

“While there has been a great deal of work on the part of LCWR promoting issues of social justice in harmony with the Church’s social doctrine, it is silent on the right to life from conception to natural death, a question that is part of the lively public debate about abortion and euthanasia in the United States.Further, issues of crucial importance in the life of the Church and society, such as the Church’s Biblical view of family life and human sexuality, are not part of the LCWR agenda in a way that promotes Church teaching. Moreover, occasional public statements by the LCWR that disagree with or challenge positions taken by the Bishops, who are the Church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals, are not compatible with its purpose.”

– Vatican document calling for oversight of Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Read more on today’s news here and here


  1. Amen!

  2. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    The comments by some sisters upset at the Vatican document indicates that a few of their leaders are disgruntled people who are angry their capitulations to the secular culture are not regarded as some sort of prophetic witness.

  3. Mark Greta says:

    Think the selection was interesting in that this Bishop has some strong dissent issues to work out in his own dioceses with those not following instructions on petitions to get ballot to protect the family. Will be interesting to see how he handles the dissent. If he allows it to stand with priests in his own dioceses, he is going to have a tough time getting it from long term dissenting nuns. Having this appointment should show the Bishop has strong backing in the Vatican to clean up the mess. Our prayers are with him in this tough task.

  4. Catherine says:

    In the wake of the horrible revelations coming out of the Philadelphia trial, I cannot refrain from saying that I hope the bishops are equally determined to clean up their own mess.

  5. That thought occurs to me also.

  6. I see that the text of the Vatican’s doctrinal assessment of the LCWR will be available April 26, 2012. I hope that the final report on the visitation will also be made public. Without a doubt there were serious problems to be addressed; but the way the thing was carried out is troubling in many ways, such as a lack of transparency.

  7. Paul Stokell says:

    The LCWR is in the same boat as the bishops in that regard, so that argument is invalid.
    A mess is a mess, so let’s hope it all get cleaned up in good time.


  8. From a comment over at Father Z’s blog…”Bishop Sartain’s sister is Sister Marian Sartain, O.P., the Secretary-General of the Nashville Dominicans, a thriving community who has retained the traditional habit and apostolic life.” YES!!!!!!!!!!
    Rocco’s blog fills in some interesting history…I wasn’t aware that “While LCWR was chartered as the sole confederation of the US’ womens superiors in 1956, concerns over the group’s stances on church teaching led to the Vatican-backed creation of an alternative body more receptive to Rome…, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR), in 1992. Though a handful of communities hold membership in both organizations — the newer of which requires that its orders maintain a defined habit — the US is the only country to have dueling leadership conferences. All the nation’s mens’ orders are represented by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men.”

  9. Me too!

  10. This comes as no surprise—- these Religious Sisters and their communities are DYING—- and they’ve done it to themselves. They serve themselves, and NOT Christ, while they expect the Body of Christ to fund their lavish lifestyles, and are unfaithful to the Church and basic Church doctrine. They do nothing to build up the Body of Christ. Religious Sisters, who once were at the very heart of the Church, such a significant influence for many people coming to know and love Christ, are now the source of great scandal and division.
    Reform—- or be disolved—and the sooner, the better!
    How far they have fallen! It makes me sad.

  11. Aaron Streeting says:

    That he does, he inherited quite a mess. This is adding to what he has on his plate. But Rocco’s post on his blog adds some context to why he might be uniquely qualified for the position: “Sartain’s sister is a member of the Nashville-based Dominicans of St Cecilia, a booming, full-habited community widely seen as the vanguard order of a tradition-based reform from within of American religious life.” Hopefully, he will be able to delegate some of the heavy lifting, while still providing strong oversight to both his diocese and this task.

  12. You are right Tom! If the reform of the orders of these nuns takes ten years, there will be no nuns to reform! They are up there in their seventies and eighties now, stuck in the 60′s.

  13. Aaron Streeting says:

    Coincidentally, I ran across this documentary, “Band of Sisters” yesterday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=012-LpaifpI.

    Although the movie is intended to promote and defend LCWR-type American women religious, one can’t help but watch and think about how far the once flourishing movement of American Sisters has fallen. Everything that characterized female religious in the past–vitality, youth, a sense of mission, adventure, strong and growing communities, the religious habit–dried up between 1960 and 1970. That so many of these same communities became stagnant, dissenting, and aging groups of women with no respect for Church teaching and authority is an unbelievable tragedy.

    You can’t place the blame on all of these women. Many of them became sisters before the changes, giving their lives in obedience to their orders and later getting swept up in the chaos. It is incredibly sad to imagine that most of these women went into the convent anticipating a life of service to Christ, but being convinced by their own communities that there was a better way. How unimaginable it must have been that they would become the last generation in their orders and that the youngest of that generation of sisters would remain the youngest until they all died out.

  14. Some may recall that the review of LCWR was led by a woman religious from the Apostles of the Sacred Heart.

    In addition, there were calls from some (not all) orders to resist. From others, the call was to be cordial, letting those who had questions to ask but to only offer the information asked and not a drop more. Others outright called this a witch hunt. It seems to me, that when this is the response from some, they know that they have been caught with their “polyester pantsuit” down.

    Let us pray that they listen, learn and can once again flourish.

  15. awashingtoncatholic, i think that you and many others are getting the vatican’s report mixed up.
    the one released today is from an on going doctrinal dialogue between the CDF and LCWR that has been going on for at least 10 years.

    the apostolic visitation was from the congregation of consecrated life and done by the sister from the Apostles of the Sacred Heart for the congregation. it may be 6 months to a year before any results of that visitation are released.

    getting the two mixed up will only add to more confusion. it seems the religious press/blogs have mixed the two as well as the secular press that is reporting on this.

  16. What an ugly statement, unappreciative of the huge gifts that dedicated religious sisters have given for ages. The sexism of the hierarchy is a huge scandal and sin, and has directed many women to serve God in ways that best use their gifts.

  17. Ryan J Hilliard says:

    My hope and prayer is that these women will repent and be converted, however too many of them are so far gone, truly believing they are prophets, as they have declared themselves for years at the LCWR annual conferences. Like the Pharisees, they have created their own legal fictions like, “responsible dissent,” to assuage their consciences.

    In some ways I can’t fully blame the sisters. They were encouraged by many bishops and priests over the last 45 years to continue down this path. And rather disciplined or taken to task, they were elevated to important positions within diocesan offices, hospitals, universities, seminaries and so forth. I find it hard to believe the heads of the LCWR are “shocked” at this news, but perhaps they truly are, after decades of being rewarded for disobedience.

    Nonetheless, it will be an interesting showdown. Who will be left standing when this is all said and done?

    -Ryan J Hilliard

  18. I do not know how so many of the commenters can pass such pompous judgments on women who have dedicated their lives to totally giving themselves for others. This is a dispute about male domination, sexism, authoritarianism, and the Vatican radically attempting to eliminate any type of spirituality that differs from the bland or the saccharin. I feel sorry for all women religious after this horrible insult, but especially the elderly ones who in their last years are getting such disrespect and punches in the stomach from the Vatican, cheered on by many whom they are serving. I guess that you all want a return of the days when the nuns scrubbed the rectories and acted as nannies to priests and bishops. Of course, one of the many hierarchy scandals is that the bishops not only did not really pay the nuns for so many generations, but also never provided for their retirements, health insurance, or even paid Social Security for them until recently. Don’t you think this abuses have something to do about the declining numbers of religious sisters also? I have never seen a priest or a bishop or a cardinal who had not richly provide for their retirements, health insurance, and other perks.
    The male bishops who are now the appointed masters of the women religious are already presiding over scandals that they have been ignoring, and continue to ignore in many ways, that have already cost the church billions of dollars in payments ( and will cost us all hundreds of millions of more dollars) , ruined thousands of lives of victims and families all over the world, and which cause many thoughtful prayerful persons to either turn from this scandal ridden church, or to ignore the bishops who among other things totally lack common sense and common decency. One only needs to have been following the horrible news of the criminal trial in Philadelphia where we have learned so much about these pious hypocrites in the hierarchy, who to this very day, are covering up, and who are picking on others within our church, the nuns, who have kept the ship afloat in so many ways while the crew (bishops and many clergy) have been acting in scandals and promoting authoritarianism instead of truth and spirituality.

  19. Bill Smith says:


    In my assessment, your argument seems to boil down to the main conclusions that the Church is viciously attacking women religious because 1) they have a different spirituality than the bishops are used to, and 2) the hierarchy (i.e. the Magisterium) is attacking women religious who have no problems and have done nothing wrong.

    Is that a fair assessment of your position?

    Regarding #1, it’s not that the women religious are embracing different “spiritualities,” but different *religions!* Note a recent address at an LWCR conference where a sister spoke about “moving beyond the Church” and even beyond Jesus. Statements like this reflect a general *rejection of faith* by many women religious under the LWCR banner. Scripture straight up tells us that Christ gave the Church the legitimate authority over doctrine. Luke 10:16 – “Whoever hears you, hears me. Whoever rejects you, rejects me.” Jesus is very clear that the Peter and the bishops of the Church speak with Christ’s infallible authority.

    regarding #2, it seems the sisters have been covering up a huge sexual abuse cover-up as well, blocking even SNAP, which tends to be pretty anti-clerical itself.

    What do you think? Am I wrong?

    God Bless! Christus Resurrexit!

  20. I’m sorry, I don’t find the article to which you linked very persuasive. It is an opinion piece. What has been coming out of Philadelphia is sworn testimony, and the revelations that shocked me are not only the ones about the abuse itself. Besides, the bishops are in an entirely different position in the Church than the sisters in the LCWR. They have immensely more authority in every sense.

  21. Everyone on every side is talking as if the CDF is coming down on the whole of women religious leadership in the US. This is a false representation. The LCWR are simply one “leadership group” that has been wayward for decades. There is also The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR), which are very much in line with those teachings taught in the Ecumenical Councils and other infallible documents which Catholics cannot dissent against and remain truly in the Fold. The CMSWR represents religious women all over the United States. They represent over 100 communities and the CMSWR goals are stated as:
    1-to establish collaboration among major superiors who desire it,
    2-to serve as a channel of communication among major superiors,
    3-to provide a forum for participation, dialogue, and education on the patrimony of the Church’s teaching on religious life,
    4-to promote unity among major superiors, thus testifying to their union with the Magisterium and their love for Christ’s Vicar on earth, and,
    5-to coordinate active cooperation with the USCCB.

    The only reason that it is “shocking” that the CDF has come down on LCWR is due to so very many years of open dissent not being dealt with. The first people to drop the ball were the local bishops, who refused to reign in dissent from those Catholic teachings which are a part of the Deposit of Faith. If the local bishops were doing their respective jobs, it would have never turned into an issue. After much more time passing without these issues being dealt with, they became deep seated. The CDF should have stepped in quite a bit earlier. So, I would say that the CDF also dropped the ball.

    Now, the dissent is rooted deeply in the US Catholic Church. There is plenty of blame to go around, but finger pointing will do no good. It is time for correction. Unfortunately, it was let go for so long that those dissenters FEEL they have a “right” to do and say what they are doing and saying. They do not have a right to do what they are doing, or to say what they are saying. They are abandoning Jesus Christ, and His Bride, the Holy Catholic Church when they do so.

    So, let’s pray for these women, and for our Church. There is going to be some ugly backlash due to this development. We are going through some growing pains right now.

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