President of LCWR says St. Louis assembly 'like no other we've had'
Published: August 8, 2012
ST. LOUIS (CNS) -- As the Leadership Conference of Women Religious prepared to respond to the Vatican's doctrinal assessment and its calls for the organization's reform, opening speakers at the LCWR assembly in St. Louis emphasized the enormity of the task and the need for prayerful reflection. "This is a very historic moment, a moment of grace," Franciscan Sister Pat Farrell, LCWR's outgoing president, said Aug. 7 at the evening opening session. Sister Farrell and the other LCWR leaders were greeted with a standing ovation from 900 women religious at the Millennium Hotel in St. Louis. She pointed out that the Aug. 7-10 gathering would be "like no other we've ever had" and stressed that the sisters in attendance would gather their "wisdom in response to the doctrinal assessment" and would do it "thoughtfully and deliberately." 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. Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis welcomed the group and spoke highly of the dedication and work of the nation's women religious. He urged the assembly participants to have a prayerful discussion of the assessment of their organization issued April 18 by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The St. Louis gathering is the first time the organization has assembled since the release of the doctrinal assessment, which 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. "I pray that the dialogue between the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and LCWR is not politicized but worked out within a community of faith," he said.
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