If you are not Catholic you may not have heard of the latest antics out of the Vatican, this time in the form of a reprimand of the LCRW (Leadership Conference of Religious Women). The LCRW is an organization originally set-up by the Vatican to help American sisters to live out their mission in the Church. Last week the Vatican issued a statement saying that they had completed a review of the organization and decided that the group was out of alignment with some key teachings of the Church. They want the American sisters (read American laity too) to tow the line more when it comes to areas such as contraception, human sexuality, and abortion, to name a few.
What have the sisters been doing instead? They have been working…working with the poor and marginalized in our society. To my mind, and that of very many American Catholics with first-hand experience of these religious women, they have been the face of a compassionate Christ who meets us each where we are, rather than beat us over the head with our weaknesses, lay burdens on us that are too much to bear, or constantly shame and rebuke us. So very many of them are the very embodiment of love in a world that is desperate for it.
I can take myself to a place of anger and despair and wish with all my might, as I have for most of my adult life, that we had a different hierarchy. Today, however, once again I see the example of the women religious, this time in the form of the LCRW’s formal statement quoted here below, and I am humbled. Its as if the Holy Spirit herself is flowing all through those words and they bring me to tears. In the midst of what is probably grief, sorrow, and even, anger they open themselves and allow the Holy Spirit to flow in and through them. For the first time in a long time, I am proud to be Catholic as I stand in solidarity with these women. Please join me in prayer and in the shared trust in a benevolent, loving God that these leaders exhibit. Let us pray for Love to win and for a good outcome to their meeting at the end of May.
“The national board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will meet May 29 – June 1, 2012 to begin its discussion of the conclusions of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s doctrinal assessment and the implementation plan put forth by that Vatican office. The board will conduct its meeting in an atmosphere of prayer, contemplation and dialogue and will develop a plan to involve LCWR membership in similar processes. The conference plans to move slowly, not rushing to judgment. We will engage in dialogue where possible and be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit. We ask your prayer for us and for the Church in this critical time.”
Pat Farrell, OSF – LCWR President
Florence Deacon, OSF — LCWR President-Elect
Mary Hughes, OP – LCWR Past-President