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Delegates upbeat after Sisters' leaders meet overseer bishop

Hopes for a positive end to the discord between the Vatican and the LCWR suddenly look a lot more feasible.

  • Maria Teresa Pontara Pederiva
  • United States
  • August 17, 2012
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It is going to be a long road - no one has any illusions to the contrary - but the first meeting between the sisters of the LCWR and the Bishop of Seattle, Peter J. Sartain, has brought a ray of hope for a positive solution. (The LWCR has been placed under doctrinal assessment by the Vatican , and Bishop Sartain is president of the commission to investigate the doctrinal assessment that was conducted by former Prefect Cardinal Levada.)

In the statement issued after their annual conference in St. Louis last Friday, the nuns asked for a frank and sincere dialogue, essentially saying "let's talk about it", but as equals, since we are all equal in the light of baptism, and that the voice of the laity - women especially - is not yet sufficiently heard in the Church.

“I believe the philosophical underpinnings of the way we’ve organized reality no longer hold,” said outgoing President Sr. Pat Farrell in her closing address to the conference. “The human family is not served by individualism, patriarchy, a scarcity mentality, or competition. The world is outgrowing the dualistic constructs of superior/inferior, win/lose, good/bad, and domination/submission. Breaking through in their place are equality, communion, collaboration, synchronicity, expansiveness, abundance, wholeness, mutuality, intuitive knowing, and love.

"This shift, while painful, is good news! It heralds a hopeful future for our Church and our world. As a natural part of evolutionary advance, it in no way negates or undervalues what went before. Nor is there reason to be fearful of the cataclysmic movements of change swirling around us. We only need to recognize the movement, step into the flow, and be carried by it. Indeed, all creation is groaning in one great act of giving birth,” referring to the famous statement by St. Paul.

With the echo of these thoughts resounding, the nuns of the LCWR Council, currently led by the Franciscan Florence Deacon, met with Msgr. Sartain.

Their terse statement of August 13 said that the members of the Council had openly expressed their concerns about the contents of the CDF report and its reflections on religious life today. The bishop "listened carefully", but not only that: he asked for the board's help in learning more about the "experience and understandings of [the] religious life" of the more than 57,000 member nuns, as well as the training of major superiors carried out by the LCWR.

Full Story: USA: Positive beginning for dialogue between nuns and bishop

Source: Vatican Insider/La Stampa

See also: Nuns group: We are not leaving the church
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