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N.O. meeting to have major impact on dissident group

Today begins meeting in New Orleans the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in what could be its last annual gathering that continues its straying from Catholicism as an organization affiliated with the Church.

The group lists itself as an organization composed of leaders from various U.S. Catholic religious orders, but one throughout the majority of its history that has placed the social gospel ahead of the Gospels. Examples abound: just recently, one president proclaimed with apparent approval about religious congregations “moving beyond the Church, even beyond Jesus.” Saying some congregations have “grown beyond the bounds of institutional religion,” she described them as “post-Christian” in most respects. Some years before, another defended the actions of a nun who headed an agency that funded abortions, and of another who ran a homosexual ministry in conflict with church teachings. Almost 30 years ago, the president then chided Pope John Paul II on the occasion of his visit to America for not allowing ordination of women as priests.

In 2001, these kinds of activities and statements triggered an inquiry by the body in charge of overseeing propagation of the faith, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Earlier this year, an American administrator was appointed to lead a more formal investigation of the organization. At the same time, a parallel study of all women’s religious organizations is being undertaken out of concerns that fidelity is lacking, i.e. practice and propagation of the faith is being performed improperly by organizations such as the LCWR.

This concern has existed for nearly two decades concerning the LCWR. In 1992, another organization received papal approval to serve as association of women’s religious leaders, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, which has gained rapid favor under the stabilizing influences in the Church of John Paul and Benedict XVI that emphasize the uniqueness of Catholicism and its attention to doctrine rooted in precepts from the next world, as opposed to embracing man-made formulations present in this world that can contradict these. (To fully understand the difference between the two, compare their websites and see which seems concerned with other-worldly matters and which seems consumed with following a political agenda.)

Those who wish to reshape Catholicism away from the verities and into their own erroneous images see this conference as pivotal where either the group loses what they call its distinctiveness or sets itself on an unalterable path that will find apostolic support removed. (It is instructive that the house organ for these dissidents has as one of its writers a former president of the LCWR whose statements and actions during the 2006 conference, to be charitable, were unorthodox). So it will be interesting to see whether this conference actually commences the organization’s internal review and individuals’ soul-searching and reflection that should be a part of any Catholic’s, much less its religious’, daily practice, or goes completely off the rails.

The latter seems more likely, given the president’s statement that the conference presents the opportunity “to be who we are and to speak our truth.” The problem is, their “truth” appears not to be the Truth, and thus this meeting might begin the process of removing this organization from being a distraction to faithful Catholics.

1 comment:

R G Sanders said...

One of the strengths of the Catholic Church is it's adherence to a doctrine that has had backbone. I've always said that those who want to change that doctrine are welcome to find themselves another church to attend.

Those who would seek to change the Church to conform to the "modern world" are really missing out on what a true religion is.