Vatican Goes After U.S. Nuns and Women
On Monday, the National Catholic Reporter reported that the Vatican rebuked the largest umbrella organization for U.S. nuns for planning to honor Sister Elizabeth Johnson, a theologian whose work has been criticized by U.S. bishops for containing “misrepresentations” and doctrinal errors. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) was sharply criticized by the Vatican’s orthodoxy watchdog, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, in a speech that was made public on Monday… .
The Vatican chief of doctrine has accused U.S. women religious leaders of not abiding by a reform agenda the Vatican imposed on their leadership organization following a doctrinal assessment of the group.
Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told the leadership group they were ignoring procedures for choosing speakers for their annual conferences and questioned if their programs were promoting heresy.
Using the most direct and confrontational language since the Vatican began to rein in the Leadership Conference of Women Religious two years ago, Müller told leaders of the conference that starting in August, they must have their annual conference programs approved by a Vatican-appointed overseer before the conference agendas and speakers are finalized.
Müller also told the women religious that their choice of conference speakers and the printed material they make available to their membership cause him to question if LCWR has “the ability truly to sentire cum Ecclesia (feel with the church).”
“This concern is even deeper than the Doctrinal Assessment’s criticism of the LCWR for not providing a counter-point during presentations and Assemblies when speakers diverge from Church teaching,” Müller said. “The Assessment is concerned with positive errors of doctrine seen in the light of the LCWR’s responsibility to support a vision of religious life in harmony with that of the Church and to promote a solid doctrinal basis for religious life.”
A copy of Müller’s address to the LCWR leadership has been posted to the Vatican website. It is dated April 30, when the leadership team was in Rome for its annual visit to the Vatican.