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Friendly overtures to Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) met with mixed response

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/19/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Following Vatican orders of 2012, relations have been somewhat strained

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, or LCWR is comprised of Catholic women religious who are leaders of their orders in the United States. The group represents about 80 percent of the 51,600 women religious in the U.S. However, relations between the groups have been under a cloud of suspicion following a decision in 2012. The issue is orthodoxy and fidelity to the magisterium, the teaching office of the Catholic Church. There have been attempts to improve relations between the two bodies.

LCWR presidents welcome the approximately 750 members to the assembly.

LCWR presidents welcome the approximately 750 members to the assembly.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
8/19/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Leadership Conference of Women Religious. conference, Vatican


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The LCWR Conference met this year Tuesday, August 12 through Saturday, August 16 in Nashville, Tennessee. Nearly 800 of the group's 1,400 members gathered there for their four-day annual conference.

Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, the Vatican-appointed head of the effort to reform the largest leadership organization for U.S. women religious, attended the sisters' annual assembly "as a brother and a friend."

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The conference met under what many would consider a dark cloud as LCWR has been undergoing a Vatican-ordered doctrinal assessment since 2009. Following an investigation in 2012, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ordered LCWR to reform its statutes and appointed Archbishop Sartain to oversee the needed changes.He is a warm, loving and faithful Bishop who is known for his loving heart as well as his fidelity. .

After this assembly, Sartain must approve speakers at the group's events. That is because the conference The opening ceremonies began with a welcoming ceremony, which opened with music, song and interpretive dance. The reason, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious has had dissident speakers at their events in years past.

Sartain thanked the LCWR members for "an extremely warm welcome" and noted that as a native Tennessean, he was able to welcome them to his home state.

"In this place of prayer, in this place of faith ... this place is a fertile ground to talk about our love of the Lord," Sartain said.

LCWR members also heard from a voice perceived by some to be more sympathetic to their cause: Fr. Hank Lemoncelli, who read a message from Cardinal Joăo Braz de Aviz, who has led the Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life since 2011.

Braz de Aviz said the decision last year put LCWR under the control of bishops was made without his knowledge, though his office normally deals with matters of religious life. The move, he said, caused him "much pain."

The message read was a series of questions Braz de Aviz is posing to all consecrated religious around the world during the Year of Consecrated Life, asking each order to examine its priorities and motivations. Though the questions were not directed at LCWR specifically, given the criticism the group has received, they caused murmurs throughout the crowd when Lemoncelli read them.

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