Monday, December 14, 2009


The Vatican is conducting a doctrinal investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. For the past forty years, the LCWR has deliberately shaped religious life along a path of dissent and apostasy, emerging now finally as an advocacy group for “post-Christian” patterns of life.

It is difficult to imagine how the Vatican has allowed the manifest rebellion and catastrophic decline of female religious communities in the United States to continue for so long. It has been apparent from the first that women religious were hardest hit by the upheaval in values caused by “sexual liberation” and the rapid secularization of culture beginning in the 1960s. Indeed, the fundamentally anti-Christian commitments of many mainstream religious communities was already crystal clear by the 1970s, and after a long generation of ignoring and resisting every effort of the Vatican to bring order out of the chaos, the LCWR—which has always represented the vanguard of the deChristianization of religious life—is finally openly admitting that it is giving up not only on the Church but on Christ Himself.

The sordid history of the LCWR has been cogently recounted by Ann Carey in a fine article in the July 2009 issue of Catholic World Report: Post-Christian Sisters. If you read it, you’ll gasp again at the monumental failure of discipline on the part of Church leadership over the same long generation. This consistent failure to discipline is a scandal of huge proportions in itself, as I have often noted. What might have been handled far more simply, and with the support of many women religious, in the early 1970’s will now be almost impossible to manage without allowing many communities to die, or indeed actively suppressing them.

It has long since been obvious that the Leadership Conference of Women Religious should be disbanded (which, even if it persisted in its defiance, would eliminate its official connection with the Church). It is noteworthy that the doctrinal investigation of the LCWR is proceeding at the same time as the Apostolic Visitation of female religious communities. Readers may recall that two major visitations of American seminaries did help to get priestly formation back on track, but the biggest problems there continue to be with (male) religious institutes. The fact is that ecclesiastical governance and infrastructure facilitates responsiveness to Rome on the part of bishops far more than on the part of religious superiors. Moreover, typical dioceses never became as sick as female religious communities. One wonders, therefore, whether some limbs will have to be amputated to preserve the life of the body as a whole.

In 1992 Rome set up an alternative Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious to accommodate those who could no longer stomach the LCWR. The fact that only ten percent of female orders have since affiliated with the CMSWR is an outrageous testimony to the scope of the problem, though one would love to know what percentage of religious under age 40 are represented by that ten percent. Sadly, as has been typical in our time, what Rome has failed to do has made things worse. In the matter of women religious, Pope Benedict XVI may now have few options left.
Jeffrey Mirus - President of


Anonymous said...

I do share your concerns; however I visited the Women and Spirit exhibit,
expecting hints of LCWR dissent and apostasy but didn't see it there... Comments?

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

That exhibit is mostly looking at the past. Consider if it was a traveling exhibit about the contributions of nuns like Sr. Joan Chittister filled with the modernist escapades of the nust. Sr. Teresa Kane lecturing Pope John Paul II. Sr. Joan Chittister thumbing her nose at the Vatican. Sr. Donna Quinn working as an abortion mill deathscort. I wonder how popular THAT exhibit would be.

No one argues that the mainstream religious orders have an admirable past. It's their pathetic present that is so disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

Another tack: Congress should see this exhibit and learn why they should listen to the Catholic Church and our Bishops and all their experience on healthcare!

Maria said...

Padre, I whole heartedly agree with your analysis. I've a short story to share. I was persuing blogs and came across one called " Consider the Lillies" by an RSCJ, a librarian at 91st Street. Sister Blogger, as I will call her, listed as several of her muses, three lesbian poets and novelists. I responded in the comments. I advised her that as she is repsonsible for the spiritual formation of children, that she should be mindful, that her endorsement of lesbian literature could give way to scandal. The comment was removed.

I sent an E-mail to the Director of Vocations and received no response. I then E-maild Paula Toner, the provincil. She responded to the E-mail by saying:" I do not not who you are".
It is simply breathtaking. I sent her an E-mail thusly worded--and people wonder why there is an apostolic visitation. I was educated at the Convent of the Sacred Heart. It is so very sad. No one cares.

Anonymous said...

I know soemone who has occasionally communicated on a young Sister's blog. On this site Sister tries very politically to seem fair and non-ideological, but then those comments from her readers which she allows, always skew the topic away from the more traditional beliefs. My point is that my friend has shown me several respectful challenges he has written on this blog, usually quoting the Sister's Order 's own website. Eventually she announced that this writer had taken to "uncharitable" tactics and accordingly she removed all his posts. I saw his posts; they were polute, truthful and honestly engaging. This is one example of more ofthe same...feminazzi oppression!

Anonymous said...

The last comment matches my reaction to a blog I find as annoying as getting a tooth filled. It is called something like "A N-n's Life." Your contributor is right; Sister SEEMS to attempt to sound fair and even-handed, but in the end her comments (and the commenters she allows) make it seem as if the more traditional thought is "well, I guess OK for some folks if they really need to be that way but not for me!" whereas the voices that are critical of the Church (and her traditions) are somehow packaged as the mature, more correct way. Count me out of that kind of feminazzi control. How long, O Lord, how long will we have to endure these women? I believe they are harmful to the Church. Their pictures are sometimes shown and of course, not a veil in sight.