ST. LOUIS (CNS) — Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle “listened carefully” to the concerns and feelings of board members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and asked for the board’s help in learning more about “members’ experience and understandings of religious life,” the LCWR said after an Aug. 11 meeting with the archbishop.
Archbishop Sartain was charged with overseeing the group’s reform after an assessment issued in April by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith questioned the organization’s fidelity to Catholic teaching in areas including abortion, euthanasia, women’s ordination and homosexuality.
An Aug. 13 statement from LCWR said the board had been charged by its membership at an Aug. 7-10 meeting attended by 900 sisters in St. Louis with articulating “its belief that religious life, as it is lived by the women religious who comprise LCWR, is an authentic expression of this life that must not be compromised.”
The board also told Archbishop Sartain that “the expectation of the LCWR members is that open and honest dialogue may lead not only to increasing understanding between the Church leadership and women religious, but also to creating more possibilities for the laity and, particularly for women, to have a voice in the Church.”
In his own statement after meeting with the LCWR board, Archbishop Sartain said he remained “committed to working to address the issues raised by the doctrinal assessment in an atmosphere of prayer and respectful dialogue.”
“We must also work toward clearing up any misunderstandings, and I remain truly hopeful that we will work together without compromising Church teaching or the important role of the LCWR,” he added. “I look forward to our continued discussions as we collaborate in promoting consecrated life in the United States.”
The LCWR, an umbrella group of 1,500 leaders of U.S. women’s religious communities representing about 80 percent of the country’s 57,000 women religious, said the board planned to meet again with Archbishop Sartain “later in the fall.”
The recent St. Louis meeting included several closed sessions where members discussed how they would respond to the Vatican’s doctrinal assessment.
At the start of the meeting Sister Farrell announced that the gathering would be “like no other” because of the particular focus on the doctrinal assessment.
At the close of the assembly, Franciscan Sister Florence Deacon, president-elect, was to succeed Sister Farrell. Sister Carol Zinn, a Sister of St. Joseph, was chosen president-elect.
The gathering was the first time the organization had assembled since the assessment was released April 18. The organization’s canonical status is granted by the Vatican.
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it without youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month. Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can -- a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: