Shorter LCWR: “We still don’t have a clue”

The LCWR has published some reactions to the meeting of Sisters Pat Farrell and Janet Mock with Cardinal Levada and Archbishop Sartain. It’s so helpful that the LCWR continues to produce documents that can also double as exhibits explaining why the correction was necessary. Here’s the entire thing:


June 18, 2012

[Silver Spring, MD] The board members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) held a special session on Friday night, June 15, where they were briefed by conference president Sister Pat Farrell, OSF and executive director Sister Janet Mock, CSJ on their June 12 meeting in Rome with officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). The LCWR leaders had requested the meeting at the Vatican to address their concerns about the doctrinal assessment report of LCWR conducted by CDF and released on April 18.

While the LCWR officers reported that they were able to express their concerns during the meeting with openness and honesty, they acknowledged that the meeting was difficult because of the differing perspectives the CDF officials and the LCWR representatives hold on the matters raised in the report.

Since the release of the findings in April, some Vatican officials and US bishops have publicly claimed that the report is not a reflection on all US Catholic sisters and is directed only to LCWR, the organization of leaders. The board noted that the actions of CDF are keenly felt by the vast majority of Catholic sisters who have elected, and therefore feel a close identity with, their leaders. Moreover, the statements and gestures of solidarity from men religious and from conferences of Catholic sisters in other countries, as well as the letters and petitions from thousands of lay supporters worldwide, indicate that many others are also concerned about how to live as people of faith in the complexities of these times. The concerns they have shared with LCWR will be part of the conference’s discernment of its response to the CDF report.

LCWR members will continue their careful, prayerful discernment in their geographic regions throughout June and July, and at LCWR’s annual assembly in August.

Do you mean you’ll talk about it at the assembly that’s structured around the views of New Age Gnostic Nut-Ball Barbara Marx Hubbard? However will you find the time in between pondering zero-point energy and the Naissance to talk about being, y’know, Catholic nuns.

I love how “statements and gestures of solidarity” are summoned as some kind of proof of their rightness. They are operating under the mandate of the Church, and the Church is telling them what they expect. There is no “discernment” of a response. They don’t get to speak for how “to live as people of faith in the complexities of these times.” They don’t have magisterial authority. Did someone (say, Jesus, or maybe the Holy Spirit) give them the authority to summon a Vatican III and redefine the faith as “whatever the culture of the time thinks is groovy”? Were they given the authority to teach and promote things counter to consistent church teaching?

Their monstrous arrogance just continues to amaze. The people in control of the LCWR are not nice, humble little workers in the vineyard of the Lord (to quote a man they detest). These are women filled with brazen hubris. I’ve known these kind of nuns. I’ve sat through enough of their lectures about the evils of bottled water and the virtues of fair trade coffee, and none about the fundamentals of the faith. I’m done.

I know far too many nuns who go about the hard work of being women religious–doing the teaching, serving in the hospitals, praying–to stand for this grotesque scene of the nun-as-activist seizing the bully pulpit and claiming to speak for all sisters. They do not. It was the sisters themselves who requested this investigation in order to de-politicize the over-reaching grasp of the LCWR leadership.

The press release tries to make much of the fact that the sisters voted for the leadership. Really? Who else was on the ballot? I’m facing a vote for either an incompetent buffoon or a corporate lackey for president. Does either of them speak for me? Not even a little. So don’t make too much of your mandate, sisters. You were elected from a tiny pool of potential candidates. You weren’t voted any kind of charism. Magisterial authority didn’t come with your simple majority. You may well have been the least-worst candidates.


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Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • Anthony Esolen

    And don’t pretend, O sisters, that you genuinely care for the poor above all. The sexual revolution, which you favor, has devastated the poor, but more than you love the poor, you love and hug your feminism and that sexual revolution that comes with it. You were the ones who balked at teaching little children, considering it beneath your august wisdom. To you we owe the withering of the sisterhoods and consequently the destruction of thousands of Catholic schools in the US alone, many of those serving the poor. How can you serve the poor, O sisters, when you’ve ensured that there won’t be any of you around to serve them?

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    The most outrageous part is the way they presume to speak for American nuns. Not long ago I did a story on some new approaches to saving Catholics schools and encountered some joyful, faithful Franciscan sisters doing incredible work teaching children under challenging circumstances. Those sisters would almost certainly have a thing or two to say to the LCWR leadership about their assumptions and presumption, but they’re too busy doing the work of the Church.

  • victor

    Boomers, dude. Boomers. The minute they lose their over-developed sense of self-aggrandizement, they cease to exist. They just pop right out of existence.

    Me and my homies in Generation X are counting down the days until the lovely one when they’re gone.

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    Word up.

  • Elizabeth Scalia

    Reading this statement, all I could think was, “in their heads, they’re already gone.”

  • lisajulia

    What i would like to see, as a blog reader, are some pieces about the nuns with the who are NOT part of the LCWR. The ‘world’ needs to know what the other group is doing and which nuns belong to it. Those are the nuns the LCWR should be emulating because they are the nuns who are emulating our Blessed Mother…and isn’t she the one all nuns should model?

  • Catholic School Teacher

    First of all, most of the “American Nuns” aren’t nuns – they are sisters. Second, the CMSWR is comprised of (yet again) Sisters. I don’t know of any communities of nuns that belong to it (but please, correct me if I am wrong. I have not had time to click on every single member community and read its history. However, I have read the book “Revisiting the Vision”). So yes, let’s have some pieces on the SISTERS who are faithful to the magisterium. It’s the sisters who are doing the active work (schools, hospitals, orphanages, rest homes) that should be getting the good press. Shine a light on the Religious Sisters of Mercy (Alma); the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia (aka the Nashville Dominicans); the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church; the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles; the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist; and dozens of other communities listed on the CMSWR website. Also, you might want to check out some secular institutes, such as the Schoenstatt Sisters. (And, if you insist on nuns, then by all means include the Dominican Nuns of Summit, NJ and any other groups of nuns who are faithful to the Magisterium.)

  • sharon stark

    These comments sicken me. Thank God that someone is questioning the uncaringness of the Catholic Church and doing the work of Jesus, not a bunch of brittle old men. You go, Sister Janet Mock. (I remember you as a radiant novice, many decades ago). And you still shine with that special light, which I trust more than all the dogma and dry directives you can name.