Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Let the Clean-Up Begin

Back in 2008 the Vatican finally said "BASTA!!!!!!" to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) & their promotion of heresy over authentic Catholic teaching. Today, the  Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) released their  doctrinal assessment of what is going on with the LCWR. As expected, it strongly criticized positions espoused at LCWR annual assemblies & in its literature as well as the absence of support from LCWR for Church teaching on pro-life issues, women’s ordination & homosexuality.
The assessment said that the documentation “reveals that, while there has been a great deal of work on the part of LCWR promoting issues of social justice in harmony with the Church’s social doctrine, it is silent on the right to life from conception to natural death, a question that is part of the lively public debate about abortion and euthanasia in the United States.
The CDF report went on to say, “issues of crucial importance in the life of the Church and society, such as the Church’s Biblical view of family life and human sexuality, are not part of the LCWR agenda in a way that promotes Church teaching. Moreover, occasional public statements by the LCWR that disagree with or challenge positions taken by the Bishops, who are the Church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals, are not compatible with its purpose.”

The CDF also said, “The Assessment reveals serious doctrinal problems which affect many in Consecrated life,” calling it a crisis “characterized by a diminution of the fundamental Christological center and focus of religious consecration.”
According to the USCCB news release, the CDF said Pope Benedict XVI approved CDF’s taking action January 14, 2011, two days after a regular session of the CDF decided that “the current doctrinal and pastoral situation of LCWR is grave and a matter of serious concern, also given the influence the LCWR exercises on religious Congregations in other parts of the world.” CDF also recommend that after the Apostolic Visitation of Religious Communities of Women in the United States, the final report of which was submitted to the Holy See in December 2011, “The Holy See should intervene, with the prudent steps necessary to effect reform of the LCWR.” It also said CDF would “examine the various forms of canonical intervention for the resolution of the problematic aspects present in the LCWR.”

In a statement, the Prefect of the CDF Cardinal William Levada pointed out that that the assessment is “aimed at fostering a patient and collaborative renewal of this conference of major superiors in order to provide a stronger doctrinal foundation for its many laudable initiatives and activities.” To work towards implimenting this initiative to clean things up, the Vatican announced that it has appointed Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle as its Archbishop Delegate. Also, Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo & Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield were named to assist in this effort.
The mandate for the Delegate includes: Revision of LCWR statutes, Review of LCWR plans and programs, including its General Assemblies, Creation of programs for LCWR member congregations in initial and on-going formation, Review LCWR’s application of liturgical norms and texts, & Review of LCWR affiliation with Network and the Resources Center for Religious Life.
FYI, In November 2011 Archbishop Sartain was elected Secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). He begins his three-year term in November 2012. His position also makes him chairman of the USCCB Committee on Priorities & Plans. Recently Archbishop Sartain issued a letter mobilizing parishes in the fight to repeal Washington's marriage equality law. Unfortunately he has met with resistance from several parishes.
Last year Bishop Blair banned parishes and parochial schools from raising funds for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. He also banned a New Ways Ministry workshop on gay & lesbian ministry at the Sisters of St. Francis campus in Tiffin. New Ways does not support Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
Bishop Paprocki  condemned Blagojevich's executive order in 2005 requiring all pharmacists in the state to dispense prescription contraceptives in  his presence, saying, "I am dismayed that our secular society has reached the point that individuals are being required by law to violate their personal religious beliefs in order to accommodate the selfish demands of special interest groups." In November 2008, Paprocki spoke out against the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). He said "It could mean discontinuing obstetrics in our hospitals, and we may need to consider taking the drastic step of closing our Catholic hospitals entirely. It would not be sufficient to withdraw our sponsorship or to sell them to someone who would perform abortions. That would be a morally unacceptable cooperation in evil."
Overall, it looks like the Vatican has made some pretty good choices to head this effort to clean things up.
Archbishop Sartain had the following to say about his new role, “I am honored that the CDF has entrusted this important and sensitive work to me, because the ministry of religious sisters, especially here in the United States, is deeply respected and paramount to the mission of the Church. Just as the LCWR can be a vital resource in many ways for its members, I hope to be of service to them and to the Holy See as we face areas of concern to all.”

Given the negative reaction by those who support the LCWR's promotion of dissidence & heresy, it looks like the Vatican has made a good choice in Archbishop Sartain.  Sr. Joan Chittister, a prime example of what is wrong in the LCWR, said that she was deeply distraught at news of Sartain’s appointment & the order for LCWR to revise itself. She went on to defend all that she & the LCWR are doing that is clearly wrong & that the Vatican has rightly criticized. Probably her most laughable statement was here claim that women religious have been trying since Vatican II “to help the church avoid that kind of darkness and control … they have been a gift to the church in their leadership [1 Cor 11:5] and their love and their continuing fidelity." (emphasis mine) Fidelity, is she serious. The LCWR fought the visitation & the investigation from the get go because they knew it would uncover their lack of fidelity as well as their bringing darkness & confusion into the Church to cover up the light of God's truth that the Catholic Church has upheld for 2000 years.
& of course, the official dissident paper of record, the NonCatholic Reporter, has had its anything but charitable say about the news. The article opens with "The Vatican investigation into U.S. women religious, which began in 2009, is finally bearing its first toxic fruit." Well, in a sense they are right, the fruit of the investigation is toxic, to what the NonCR & LCWR among others have done for the past 50 years in trying to destroy the Catholic Church. But the fruit is life giving for those searching for the truth.
Then the NonCR makes this statement. "Their greatest concern about LCWR's programming? You guessed it: They're not explicitly anti-gay and anti-women's ordination." What gets me is they follow up with the complete list of concerns from the CDF statement that undermines the NonCR's claim this is their greatest concern. It also shows how the NonCR has twisted the statement since nowhere in the CDF statment  are the terms gay or women's ordination used. It just says the LCWR fails to promote Catholic Church teaching. In addition, there are a whole long list of things the statement mentions, like abortion & euthanasia, that the NonCR fails to point out are primary concerns.
As of this writing, the LCWR have yet to release a statement. When they do, you can be sure it won't be filled with warmth & sincerity. They will have to make it look like they are willing to make an effort to dialog while making it clear they don't see any real concerns.
Some of thiese dissident orders are of "Pontifical right". That means that, except for getting permission from the local Bishop to open a convent, they are directly supervised & obedient to the Holy See in general & the Pope in particular. (emphasis mine). The others are of "Diocesan right". That means they answer primarily to their order, but also to the bishop of the diocese in which they operate. Either way, they have to be obedient to the authority over them. Up to recently they have been too often allowed to get away with this diobedience. But it looks like it is now time to pay the piper.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. There will be those who support the ongoing dissent of the LCWR. But it is also clear that the Vatican is not going to allow them to continue claiming to be Catholic if they won't clean their act up & reform. I suspect that a good number will refuse to go along. & when they are told to vacate the premisies of their convents, you can be sure they will fight it, especially in the courts. 1 of those battles will likely be across the river at Sinsinawa Mound, home of the infamous abortion clinic escort, Sr. Donna & her fellow dissident Dominicans. They were founded by Venerable Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli OP, who has got to be turning in his grave at how they have betrayed the Catholic Church & what he stood for as well. Hopefully, the bad will be removed, & some good Dominicans brought in to keep the place going as Fr. Mazzuchelli wanted it to.

Sources: In hard-hitting document Vatican launches clean-up of feminist nuns in United States
NCFishwrap reacts to the LCWR’s news
Vatican Names Archbishop Sartain To Lead Renewal Of LCWR

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  • At 18/4/12 7:30 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Praise God! However, I agree that I do not think the majority will go along with this reform. This will certainly be interesting as things come to a head.

    In some ways I can't fully blame the sisters, as they were cheered on by many bishops and allowed to "do their thing" for so many years. Disobedient nuns were given key positions within diocesan offices, universities, hospitals, seminaries and so forth. They went absolutely unchallenged and unchecked for too many years. The fault, in many cases lies with the bishop.

    My prayer is that many of them will convert back to the faith, but the current picture is very grim.

  • At 19/4/12 12:35 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    My hope and prayer is that these women will repent and be converted, however too many of them are so far gone, truly believing they are prophets, as they have declared themselves for years at the LCWR annual conferences. Like the Pharisees, they have created their own legal fictions like, “responsible dissent,” to assuage their consciences.

    In some ways I can’t fully blame the sisters. They were encouraged by many bishops and priests over the last 45 years to continue down this path. And rather disciplined or taken to task, they were elevated to important positions within diocesan offices, hospitals, universities, seminaries and so forth. I find it hard to believe the heads of the LCWR are “shocked” at this news, but perhaps they truly are, after decades of being rewarded for disobedience.

    Nonetheless, it will be an interesting showdown. Who will be left standing when this is all said and done?

    -Ryan J Hilliard

  • At 18/6/12 10:49 AM , Blogger Catholic Mission said...

    In their protests supporters of the LCWR Sisters have been saying that Vatican Council II has changed every thing.They mean Vatican Council II contradicts the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and so they are into all New Age teachings and even deny the Creed.

    One of the posters of an LCWR supporter says Vatican Council II cannot be changed.They interpret Vatican Council II with an irrational argument. In their religious formation they were taught that those saved in invincible ignorance and the baptism of desire are explicit exceptions to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.Explicit, known to us ? This is irrational.

    They do not realize that Vatican Council II no where says that those saved in invincible ignorance etc are known to us and so they are explicit exceptions.

    So how can those saved in invincible ignorance, a good conscience,seeds of the Word, imperfect communion with the church etc and who are unknown to us, be an exception to the traditional interpretation of the dogma, which they reject?

    Vatican Council II is a traditional Council if the 'exceptions' are considered implicit and not explicit.

    It's ecclesiology is exclusive ecclesiocentrism. Ad Gentes 7 says there is exclusive salvation in only the Catholic Church and all need Catholic Faith and the baptism of water for salvation (to avoid Hell).AG 7 indicates all New Agers and Protestants need Catholic Faith (which includes the baptism of water) to avoid Hell.This is the message of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    The Sisters are rejecting Vatican Council II (AG 7). Then they assume LG 16 is explicit and not implicit. So they deny AG 7 and the defined dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    They reject an ex cathedra teaching (Cantate Domino, Council of Florence on extra ecclesiam nulla salus) and are not excommunicated like the OMI priest Fr.Tissa Balasuriya who denied the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady.

    Can the LCWR sisters affirm the literal interpretation of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus, along with implicit baptism of desire and invincible ignorance ?

    Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Vatican has not asked them to acknowledge Vatican Council II in accord with the dogma on exclusive salvation in only the Catholic Church.

    The dogma is in agreement with the Catechism of the Catholic Church as long as it is understood that the baptism of desire etc is always implicit for us and explicit for God.

    The LCWR sisters are rejecting the Letter of the Holy Office 1949 issued during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII which referred to 'the dogma', 'the infallible statement'.

    In principle there can be non Catholics saved in (implicit to us) invincible ignorance and the baptism of desire. De facto, in reality, in the present times there are no known exceptions to everyone needing to convert into the Church for salvation.

    The LCWR needs to clarify its doctrinal position on the thrice defined dogma and Vatican Council II.

    There are religious sisters in Worcester,USA who affirm the literal interpretation of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and reject explicitly known baptism of desire and invincible ignorance.They affirm Vatican Council II according to Tradition.-Lionel Andrades


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