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Vatican Launches “Assessment” of Dissident Women Religious Conference

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer The Vatican has launched another investigation of American nuns, this time focusing on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an organization known for its promotion of the ordination of women and homosexuality, and for its dissent regarding the unique role of Christ in salvation. According to the LCWR, the new investigation, called a “doctrinal assessment,” was announced by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in a letter to them dated dated February 20.  The letter came from Cardinal William Joseph Levada, the congregation's prefect, who explained that the assessment was taking place because doctrinal concerns raised by the Vatican in 2001 were not addressed.   Apparently, during a 2001 meeting between the women's leadership conference and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which took place in Rome, the women were invited "to report on the initiatives taken or planned" to promote the reception of three areas of Vatican doctrinal concern: the 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis, the 2000 declaration Dominus Jesus from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and "the problem of homosexuality." They did not comply with this request. "Given both the tenor and the doctrinal content of various addresses given at the annual assemblies of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the intervening years, this Dicastery can only conclude that the problems which had motivated its request in 2001 continue to be present," Cardinal Levada said in his letter. The LCWR is well-known for its embrace of creation spirituality and demands for "gender-equality." Former head of the LCWR, Sr. Theresa Kane, became famous for chiding the Pope about his refusal to allow women priests during his 1979 visit to the U.S. The group is also active politically, lobbying Congress and promoting  United Nations secular initiatives such as the Earth Charter (consistent with eco-feminism) and the establishment of an International Criminal Court. When asked by the National Catholic Reporter to respond to the Vatican initiative, the leadership conference issued a brief statement.   "At this time, LCWR knows neither the process nor timeline for completion of this assessment. As more information is made available to LCWR, the conference will take the appropriate steps to prepare for its participation in the assessment. LCWR faces this process with confidence, believing that the conference has remained faithful to its mission of service to leaders of congregations of women religious as they seek to further the mission of Christ in today's world." The assessment will be conducted by Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio, a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace.




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