Thursday, September 5, 2013

Where have the Sisters Gone?

I’m not talking about the disappearance of the habits, nor am I talking about the tremendous loss of vocations – I’m talking about the defiance of the leadership of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) of the mandate of reform imposed by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Imagine that. These sisters are so far off that the Vatican had to step in. But guess what? These same sisters have refused any iota of reform.
All of us love the sisters who devote their lives to Christ’s mission and service. Our minds and memories are filled with many lovely memories. But today, their leadership is so liberal (and that is an insufficient label) that they have gone beyond the pall so long and so far as to defy the Vatican.
I believe most of these ladies are Franciscan. Do they not have in their Rule to love and be faithful to the Pope and Magisterium as Francis was? What happened to their vows of humility, discipline, obedience? And what about the LCWRs membership? If I was a member, I would withdraw so fast my head would spin. Their inaction is a confirmation of their agreement with their leadership.
They are so consumed in their agenda that they are willing to separate themselves from canonical status and form a separate organization according to an article in the National Catholic Register dated 9/8/2013 .
I believe this is a major factor in the continuing loss of vocations. Imagine a young woman loving Christ, filled with love to serve, religious, prayerful. She explores how she may serve more faithfully (note faithfully) and she runs across these defiant, liberal, self-consumed women. Ah, no thanks, she will say, and walk away. You cannot love yourself, dear ladies, and God. You cannot serve the Church by defying it.
Am I going too strong against these ladies? I think not. I have read the mandate. It is available on the internet. These are serious things. Yet these sisters are ignoring it. Here is a sampling: “’corporate dissent,’ ‘serious theological, even doctrinal errors,’ ‘various theological interpretations that risk distorting faith in Jesus and his loving Father’ and commentaries that ‘undermine the revealed doctrines of the Holy Trinity, the divinity of Christ and the inspiration of sacred Scripture.’” As reported in the article cited above, and in reading the mandate myself. The mandate can be seen here:
In June of 2012 I wrote an open letter entitled: “An Open Letter to My Brothers of the Franciscan First Order and to My Sisters in the Third Order Regular” which can be read here: in which I expressed my disappointments after I learned that the leadership of the First Order sent a press release in support of the LCWR. I told them how very scandalized I felt.
So a year later these sisters are still standing firm with their arms crossed before them in defiance of the Vatican, not making even the smallest concession like taking down their “Systems Thinking Handbook” from their website which the mandate directed be withdrawn pending revision.

I will continue to pray for these women as I do all religious. Because the direction they are taking is putting their very souls in danger. My faith calls me to correct my brothers and sisters when I see they error. The Vatican has attempted the same. It is now time for them to turn, metanoia.


Louis M said...

I, too, pray for their reversion. I wonder how long before the Vatican acts again?


Tom, O.F.S. said...

I would say that the Vatican works very slowly. Time is on their side. But the LCWR has gone too far, so the Vatican had to step in. I'm not sure about Pope Francis. I think he will be more moderate than Benedict.