Cardinal Müller’s crib sheet

This story appears in the LCWR CDF 2014 feature series. View the full series.

by Dennis Coday

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Working on a tip from “a sharp-eyed correspondent” Religion News Service reporter David Gibson may have unearthed Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s crib sheet: the National Catholic Register and writer Ann Carey.

In an RNS blog, Gibson notes what he calls a “remarkable parallel between a key passage in Müller’s remarks [to the LCWR leadership] and a story two weeks earlier in the Register by Ann Carey,” who has been gunning of the U.S. sisters for a long time. Her 1997 book is titled, Sisters in Crisis: The Tragic Unraveling of Women's Religious Communities, and it was updated and reissued last year as Sisters in Crisis: Revisited From Unraveling to Reform and Renewal.

Carey was also a speaker at a symposium held at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., in September 2008 that included talks on religious life, many of them sharply critical of much of women religious life in the United States today. Cardinal Franc Rodé, then the prefect of the Vatican’s congregation for religious was a keynote speaker at the symposium, and he later said that the symposium had influenced his decision to begin an apostolic visitation, that is, an investigation, of U.S. women religious congregations.

Rodé launched his investigation in December 2008. Less than three months later, Cardinal William Levada, an American and head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, announced that his office would open a doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

You’ll have to go to Gibson’s posting to see the Müller’s alleged cribbing of Carey’s words, which includes, apparently, misplaced quotation marks. But here’s Gibson’s conclusion:

It’s a rather amusing cut-and-paste example, and not too surprising — the Roman Curia has long relied on information fed to its officials by conservatives and their media outlets in the U.S. And Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain, who is overseeing the LCWR on the Vatican’s behalf, is sure to have had a hand in advising Mueller for his talk.

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