This October we will celebrate the opening of the Vatican II Council. The beloved Pope John XXIII would often state his reason for convening the Council was the need to throw open the windows of the Church to allow some ‘fresh air’ in. That was fifty years ago.
Last week the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF), (previously known in the 15th century as the Roman Inquisition), in conjunction with the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops called for a “reform” of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). This organization represents 80% of the women religious congregations in the United States. The CDF found “serious doctrinal problems” with the LCWR’s activities including promoting “radical feminist themes.” They went on to accuse the leadership of focusing too much on poverty and economic injustice while alleging keeping “silent” on abortion and same sex marriage.
So now, for the next five years they have an overseer to answer to, the archbishop of Seattle, Peter Sartain. Which I guess makes great sense since the male clergy have been stellar overseers of their own institutions these past forty years or so. I mean, no scandals there – right?
So these religious sisters who have worked in our schools, prisons, hospitals and priest retirement homes...the sisters who have fed and clothed the poor and served the homeless of our streets...the nuns, who seemed to be reading and following the gospel way too much in their focus of poverty and social injustice – what are they to do?
According to Georgetown Law Professor, Fr. Ladislas Orsy, S.J. – the woman religious have no real options. There is no appeal process. He states, “It’s not complicated. The Vatican has taken control...and they hope in five years they will put LCWR on a different track.”
Wow! OMG, what was that sound I just heard? Must have been the window Pope John the XXIII opened fifty years ago...slamming shut.
So much for the fresh air.