LCWR on Vatican meeting: 'It was difficult'

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the main umbrella group for leaders of women's religious orders in the United States, today released a statement on a June 12 meeting in Rome between LCWR representatives and officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led by American Cardinal William Levada.

The statement describes the meeting as "open" but "difficult because of the differing perspectives the CDF officials and the LCWR representatives hold."

The meeting was requested by LCWR officials in the wake of an April 18 doctrinal assessment from the doctrinal congregation accusing LCWR of "serious doctrinal problems" on issues such as the ordination of women to the priesthood, same-sex marriage, and the inroads of "radical feminism."

The LCWR statement follows.

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June 18, 2012

[Silver Spring, MD] The board members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) held a special session on Friday night, June 15, where they were briefed by conference president Sister Pat Farrell, OSF and executive director Sister Janet Mock, CSJ on their June 12 meeting in Rome with officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). The LCWR leaders had requested the meeting at the Vatican to address their concerns about the doctrinal assessment report of LCWR conducted by CDF and released on April 18.

While the LCWR officers reported that they were able to express their concerns during the meeting with openness and honesty, they acknowledged that the meeting was difficult because of the differing perspectives the CDF officials and the LCWR representatives hold on the matters raised in the report.

Since the release of the findings in April, some Vatican officials and US bishops have publicly claimed that the report is not a reflection on all US Catholic sisters and is directed only to LCWR, the organization of leaders. The board noted that the actions of CDF are keenly felt by the vast majority of Catholic sisters who have elected, and therefore feel a close identity with, their leaders. Moreover, the statements and gestures of solidarity from men religious and from conferences of Catholic sisters in other countries, as well as the letters and petitions from thousands of lay supporters worldwide, indicate that many others are also concerned about how to live as people of faith in the complexities of these times. The concerns they have shared with LCWR will be part of the conference’s discernment of its response to the CDF report.

LCWR members will continue their careful, prayerful discernment in their geographic regions throughout June and July, and at LCWR’s annual assembly in August.

Please note that no interviews will be given.

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