One of the more recent things I’ve seen is this interview by John Allen with Archbishop Joseph Tobin after his appointment as Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. In the introduction to the interview it says “Announced in early 2009, the visitation is currently in “phase three”, meaning on-site visits to selected congregations. The aim is for reports to be delivered to the Vatican throughout 2011, marking the formal end of the process.” So there is still some time before the process is finished.
Some of the responses in the interview give a sense of how things are going.
Your office won’t be seeing any reports from the visitation until next year?
That’s right. Everything so far has been oral.
Is it therefore too early to talk about what the end-game might be?
Yes, although I can say that I would be very surprised if anybody would purport to give any punitive or overly prescriptive norms as a result of this visitation. If the visitors, in dialogue with the sisters, have identified some specific issues that need to be dealt with, okay. But forcing people into habits or something like that? That’s not what this is about.
**You don’t anticipate that the visitation is going to trigger an earthquake in women’s religious life in America?
No, I don’t. I think that would be really disrespectful of what women religious in America have accomplished. Anyway, earthquakes in religious life generally don’t work out very well. Pope Clement XIV suppressed the Jesuits, for example, and in retrospect that wasn’t a very good idea!