|Photo from Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau|
At the conclusion of a 4-day annual assembly, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) issued a cautious statement expressing hopes that a Vatican mandate for reform of the group could find “a resolution of this situation that maintains the integrity of LCWR and is healthy for the whole church.”
LCWR members conducted their discussions on the Vatican mandate quietly, meeting three times in executive session. The meeting heard a presentation from Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle, who has been appointed by the Vatican to oversee reform efforts within the group, and held a feedback session in which women religious offered their responses, characterized in the LCWR statement as “a profound and honest sharing of views.”
Archbishop Sartain also meet with the group’s board members, for what the LCWR said was an “extraordinarily rich and deeply reverent conversation.”
The LCWR statement avoided any discussion of the substantive issues mentioned in a Vatican report that was released last April, which pointed to a pattern of dissent from Church teachings and “serious theological, even doctrinal errors” in LCWR statements and in addresses to LCWR assemblies.
The LCWR—which represents leaders of roughly 80% of the women religious in the US—has avoided direct confrontation with the Vatican over the plans for the mandated reform. But Ann Carey, the author of Sisters in Crisis, observed in a National Catholic Register report that the group has not taken any concrete action to address the Vatican’s concerns.