So far as I’m concerned this settles it.
According to Archbishop Gerhard Muller, prefect for the Vatican’s doctrine congregation, the Holy Father has reaffirmed the Vatican’s assessment of the American Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The assessment found “serious doctrinal problems” and the findings also said that the Conference needed to be reformed.
This action resulted in public controversy and bitter comments that the bishops were a just a bunch of men attacking women for supporting the poor. I think quite a bit of the backlash could have been avoided if the bishops had done a better job of explaining what their concerns with the Leadership Conference for Women Religious were.
The situation was complicated by partisan electoral politics and the fact that the bishops were forced to take a stand against the HHS Mandate at the same time the assessment came down.
It was poor timing, that played into the hand of secular politicians, to say the least.
What followed is what has happened far too often. Supporters and attackers of the assessment inside the Church went right past the issues in question and headed straight on into name-calling and slander of both the bishops and the sisters. If you listened too long to either side in this debate, you would come away convinced that the other side was evil incarnate.
We really need to stop this kind of behavior if we are going to continue calling ourselves Christians. I am not talking here about private conversations with your closely-held friends, family and clerical advisers. I am talking about the sorry practice of Catholics trashing Catholics in public discussion.
So far as the issue of reform in the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is concerned, the Pope has spoken and that settles it. At least it does for me. I support my Church in its struggle to conform itself in all its members to the Gospels of Christ.
At the same time, there is no way that I am going to engage in an attack on the sisters. I was the Oklahoma contact for their legislative alerts for a couple of years and I can say they never once asked me to support or oppose any piece of legislation where I thought their position was contrary to Church teaching. I think they do a lot of good.
However, if the Holy Father has reviewed the report and says that he supports its findings, including the need for reform of the Conference, then I believe it, trust it and am not going to give it one more thought.
I will however, pray that this whole situation will be resolved in a manner that leads to the greater glory of the Kingdom and the increased holiness of all involved.
.- Pope Francis has reaffirmed the Vatican’s assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which found it had “serious doctrinal problems” and needed to be reformed.
Archbishop Gerhard L. Müller, the prefect for the Vatican’s doctrine congregation, met in Rome with conference president Sister Florence Deacon on April 15, along with Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle, who was named to carry out the reform of the group.
Archbishop Müller told Sr. Deacon that he “recently discussed the Doctrinal Assessment with Pope Francis, who reaffirmed the findings of the Assessment and the program of reform for this Conference of Major Superiors,” an April 15 statement from the congregation said.
“It is the sincere desire of the Holy See that this meeting may help to promote the integral witness of women Religious,” the communiqué stated, and this requires “a firm foundation of faith and Christian love, so as to preserve and strengthen it for the enrichment of the Church and society for generations to come.”
Since it was his first time meeting with the leadership of the group, Archbishop Müller thanked the sisters for their “great contribution” to the Church in the United States, “as seen particularly in the many schools, hospitals, and institutions of support for the poor” that have been founded and staffed by religious.
He also “emphasized that a Conference of Major Superiors, such as the LCWR, exists in order to promote common efforts among its member institutes as well as cooperation with the local Conference of Bishops and with individual Bishops.
“For this reason, such Conferences are constituted by and remain under the direction of the Holy See,” he stated, citing canons 708-709. (Read more here.)