Communique of the CDF concerning meeting with LCWR

Today the Superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met with the Presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in the United States of America. Most Rev. J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop of Seattle and the Holy See’s Delegate for the Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR, also participated in the meeting.
Archbishop Müller informed the Presidency that** he had 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.**



So what will the LCWR do now? Submit with humility? Of course, humility and obedience come from the heart…

Many people were celebrating their false belief that Because PBXVI was no longer Pope, the LCWR reform would be dropped. Thanks be to God (and thank you to Pope Francis!), this MUCH needed medicinal remedy will be continued…let us pray that the disease isn’t too far gone to be cured.

Let us pray, also, for those who have been infected by the dreadful disease spread by the LCWR. May we all come to the good health of orthodoxy & orthopraxy!


I really have been dumbfounded by the attitude and media hype that thinks Pope Francis will somehow be soft on doctrine. Nothing in his past points in that direction.

Thank God :slight_smile:

I agree. Especially now that Pope Francis has appointed 8 Cardinal advisers. One headline I saw said something about these men reforming the Church. :shrug:

Not sure it will be the ‘reform’ some are hoping for!

Associated press has begun the over the top reporting:

The Vatican said Monday that Pope Francis supports the Holy See’s crackdown on the largest umbrella group of U.S. nuns, dimming hopes that a Jesuit pope whose emphasis on the poor mirrored the nuns’ own social outreach would take a different approach than his predecessor.

Following Francis’ election, several sisters had expressed hope that a Jesuit pope devoted to the poor and stressing a message of mercy rather than condemnation would take a gentler approach than his predecessor, Benedict XVI. Francis has called for a more “tender” church and one that serves society’s poorest — precisely a message American sisters have stressed in their ministry in hospitals, hospices, soup kitchens and schools that serve some of the most marginalized in the U.S.

I always knew the mainstream media would eventually realise that this Pope is as Catholic as the last one was. I wonder if this marks the begining of the end of the media honeymoon period where Pope Francis=good, Pope Benedict=bad?

Either way God bless our Pope!

I watched the 60 Minutes episode featuring the LCWR. It is my understanding that Church leaders are unhappy with the LCWR because they voice support for health care, which covers birth control - although this is not why the LCWR is in favor of it.

The women represented by the LCWR work closely with the disenfranchised - people, who for whatever reason, are in desperate need of health care and support. These women do that selflessly, and in accordance with their vows to Christ. They see the health care mandate as a way to fill a need that right now, is not being met. People who struggle with homelessness, poverty, mental illness - can not hope to improve their quality of life until these needs are met. It is a vicious circle, and it’s been going on for a long time. We know if you take someone who is struggling at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and help them, their outlook on life and potential for success improves dramatically.

Shouldn’t we celebrate their work? Don’t they deserve our support? It’s like picketing a soup kitchen because at the end of the line there is a basket of free condoms. People don’t have to take them, but they are there for those that want them. Those providing the soup want the basket there because they believe it can help reduce disease. Are you really going to tell people who volunteer to work (LCWR) in the soup kitchen that they are bad because of the basket? They just want to help feed hungry people.

These are women who are consecrated to our Lord. Can we really claim fidelity while rejecting our Lord’s law? Is it right and true to help with physical poverty while leading one astray spiritually? Why was the Church founded?

Let us all celebrate “moving beyond Jesus” as the LCWR promotes.

The LCWR assembly in 1972 featured a canon lawyer who spoke on “Religious Communities as Providential Gift for the Liberation of Women” and suggested that women bring lawsuits against the Church in both civil and Church courts and stage economic boycotts of parish churches.

At the LCWR 1974 annual assembly, the membership approved a resolution calling for “all ministries in the church [to] be open to women and men as the Spirit calls them.” Also in 1974, the LCWR published the book Widening the Dialogue, a response to Evangelica Testificatio, the Pope’s exhortation on renewal of religious life. The LCWR book was highly critical of the Pope’s teachings and was used by the LCWR in workshops for sisters.

When the first Women’s Ordination Conference was being organized in 1975, the LCWR president appointed a sister as liaison to the group planning the event. The Vatican curial office overseeing religious subsequently directed the LCWR to dissociate itself from the ordination conference, but the LCWR officers refused, and the sister went on to become coordinator of the organizing task force for the event.

At the 1977 assembly, the new LCWR president, Sister Joan Doyle, BVM, related that sisters were moving into “socio-political ministries” in or out of Church institutions, and she called for women’s involvement in decision-making at every level of the Church, as well as “active participation in all aspects of the church’s ministry.” It was during the 1970s that the LCWR board voted to join the National Organization for Women’s boycott of convention sites in states that had not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, and the board obtained NGO status for the LCWR at the United Nations.

In the LCWR 2001 annual report, Sister Mary Mollisson, CSA, LCWR president, reiterated the long-held conference strategy to keep “dialoging” with Church authorities to keep the issues open. She wrote: “In keeping with our desire for right relationships among church officials and members of the Conference, the Presidency continues a dialogue with bishops and Vatican officials. We approach this dialogue with a sense of urgency and with a passion to stay in conversations that will decrease the tension between doctrinal adherence and the pastoral needs of marginalized people. We also continue to express our desire for women to be involved in more decision-making within church structures. The risk of this part of our journey is being misunderstood and being perceived as unfaithful to the Magisterium of the church.” And she characterized Church officials as just not comprehending the sisters’ message: “Understanding of authority, obedience, communal discernment, and the prophetic nature of religious need further conversations.”

The LCWR national board agreed in 2002 to write letters of support to New Ways Ministry and chose as the theme for that year’s assembly “Leadership in Dynamic Tension.” In her presidential address to the assembly, Sister Kathleen Pruitt, CSJP continued the LCWR mantra that the Church needed to be reformed, and that LCWR sisters were the very people to do it: “The challenge to us, how best to speak clearly, to act effectively to bring about necessary change, reform, renewal, and healing within our wounded world, our nation, among ourselves, and particularly in our church.… Call for change or reform of structures, modes, and methods of acting that perpetuate exclusivity, secrecy, lack of honesty and openness, all of which foster inappropriate exercise of power, is tension-filled.”

A LCWR press release after the 2003 assembly reported that “LCWR president Sister Mary Ann Zollmann, BVM challenged the [LCWR] leaders to maximize the potential to create change that is inherent in religious life. ‘We have uncovered within ourselves the power most necessary for the creation, salvation, and resurrection of our church, our world, and our earth. It is the power of relationship, of our sisterhood with all that is. This power is prophetic; it is the most radical act of dissent.’”

For example, a sister whose motherhouse is in New York reports that the elderly in her order are dispersed in secular nursing homes where access to the sacraments is limited. Many sisters say that it is common in their religious orders for sisters chosen by leadership to give a“reflection” in place of the homily. And they say that strange rituals often replace observances of the Church’s liturgical practices.

Sister Elizabeth McDonough, OP wrote in Review for Religious in 1992 what sisters in dozens of communities have told her: “They are repulsed by rituals that center on shells and stones, streams and twigs, windmills and waterfalls, and at which so fundamental a Christian symbol as the cross of Jesus Christ is often noticeable only by its absence.” And it is obvious this trend continues today, as anyone can see by looking at photos on the web pages of a variety of women’s orders, as well as photos from LCWR assemblies that are posted on

Even the doxology prayed in many of the women’s orders has been debased and neutered, with “Father” being replaced with “Source of all being,” and “Son” replaced with “Eternal word.” Liturgical books also have been corrupted, with many women’s orders replacing the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours with an inclusive-language, feminist version of the daily office. And routinely it is made quite clear to priests that they are not welcome to concelebrate at convent liturgies because the sight of multiple priests is upsetting or offensive to sisters who support the ordination of women.

I don’t see how they are doing that. They aren’t providing birth control. They want to help anyone that needs it - how is that leading anyone astray? I think their example of charity speaks much higher of what it is to follow Christ - than exclusion and condemnation. A quote from the Catholic World Report:

After an 11-year study of the work of these two religious, the Vatican in 1999 permanently prohibited them from any further pastoral work involving homosexuals because: “The ambiguities and errors of the approach of Father Nugent and Sister Gramick have caused confusion among the Catholic people and have harmed the community of the Church.” Father Nugent accepted this disciplinary decision, but Sister Jeannine did not, and the LCWR rushed to her defense.

Now Cardinal Dolan calls the Church to be more inclusive towards homosexuals - which is what the LCWR was doing in the first place.

Criticism of New ways ministry:

We cannot barter with our Lord. Helping with material poverty is good, but leading others astray is unacceptable. There is no false inclusiveness that can be part of the faith. That would be serious error.

I think we should strive to avoid oversimplifying this issue.

If you read the official comments coming out of the Vatican, they are always quick to affirm the great work that religious sisters have done for the Church. It’s always necessary to recognize that.

That said, all the good work they have done does not mean the LCWR is above criticism. People are not upset with them for feeding the poor and desiring health care. They are upset over the undermining of Church teaching.

I keep praying that the current process will result in a revitalization of the LCWR and all religious. We can feed the poor, work for health care and impart the teachings of the Church in a dynamic, faithful, and convincing way.

I’ve been told the LCWR are feminists movement under cover of a religious order.

I agree and appreciate the way you formed your response.

I don’t think LCWR is related to New Ways Ministry…

I don’t know if the LCWR is a feminist front - but there are some very hard working nuns there.

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