LCWR conference in St. Louis to review Vatican's doctrinal assessment
Published: August 3, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- When more than 900 women religious attend the annual gathering of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious Aug. 7-10 in St. Louis, it will be "business as usual and not business as usual," according to the group's president. Franciscan Sister Pat Farrell emphasized that the meeting will have its routine education, business matters and the "opportunity to share ideas with one another," but it also will include executive sessions devoted to discussing the Vatican's doctrinal assessment of LCWR and its calls for the organization's reform. "We don't want the assessment to take over our agenda," Sister Farrell told reporters Aug. 2 in a telephone press briefing. But she also noted that the sisters intend to review the document in depth and discern their response to it. The gathering will be the first time the organization has assembled since the doctrinal assessment was issued April 18 by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. LCWR's members are the 1,500 leaders of U.S. women's communities representing about 80 percent of the country's 57,000 women's religious congregation. The assessment said reform was needed to ensure LCWR's fidelity to Catholic teaching in areas that include abortion, euthanasia, women's ordination and homosexuality. The organization's canonical status is granted by the Vatican. When the assessment was first announced, LCWR's leaders said they were "stunned" and "taken by surprise." But a Vatican spokesman disputed the suggestion the sisters had been taken entirely by surprise by the assessment, and LCWR revised its initial statement to say, "We were taken by surprise by the gravity of the mandate."
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