Outgoing LCWR president urges sisters to move forward with prayer, hope
Published: August 10, 2012
ST. LOUIS (CNS) -- Franciscan Sister Pat Farrell said her final address as president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious was a much different speech than she initially imagined she would deliver. The 900 women religious she was addressing Aug. 10 -- participants at the annual LCWR assembly in St. Louis -- nodded and laughed in agreement to the obvious reference to the Vatican doctrinal assessment of LCWR released four months ago. The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued the assessment April 18 calling for a reform of the organization, an umbrella group of 1,500 leaders of U.S. women's religious communities representing about 80 percent of the country's 57,000 women religious. Sister Farrell, who told the group they were in the "eye of an ecclesial storm with a spotlight shining on us and a microphone placed at our mouths," said it would be a "mistake to make too much" or too little of the doctrinal assessment. In this middle ground, she urged the sisters not to allow the Vatican document to "consume an inordinate amount of our time and energy or to distract us from our mission." The Vatican 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.
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