I was in St. Louis from August 7-10 for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious meeting staffing our FutureChurch exhibit table. It was a prayerful, if at times intense experience as many of you know from following my posts on FutureChurch's Facebook page.
LCWR president Sr.Pat Farrell was quoted in the New York Timesasking to be recognized as "equal in the church" "and her final address noted that "You can crush some of the flowers but you can't hold back the springtime."
The final LCWR statement voiced their "expectation that open and honest dialogue may lead not only to increasing understanding between the church leadership and women religious, but also to creating more possibilities for the laity, and particularly for women, to have a voice in the church."
Biblical scholar, Sr. Sandra Schneiders' presentation had some powerful things to say about the nature of Church: "God raised the executed Jesus from the dead and restored him to his followers, whom he then empowered to continue to be his saving presence in the world, warning them that they would face the same fate he had if they remained faithful to his "scandalous" message of God's all-inclusive, law-relativizing love. This is the nature and mission of the community called Church, the Body of Christ in this world."
The Nun Justice Project organized "Sister City" vigils in 40 cities over the week, and created this moving solidarity video documenting the overwhelming outpouring of support from Catholics everywhere. MAKE SURE TO VIEW it below! You won't be sorry!
|We Are All Nuns|
Thank you for your powerful support. Together we helped create significant leverage to advance the mutuality and climate of dialogue for which we all long in the Church. The Nun Justice Project will continue to respond as this saga unfolds .
Chris Schenk CSJ
"... wherever necessary, undertake with vigor the task of renewal and reform." (Second Vatican Council: Unitatis Redintegratio, 4)
View other photos photos and videos of Sister City vigils here
If you haven't already please record your pledge to direct or redirect a financial contribution to support the sisters, and write to church officials about how US sisters are being treated.
Catholic Response Throughout the month of May and June, vigils in support of U.S. Sisters were held across the country in over 50 cities. The Conference of Major Superiors of Men , six individual religious orders of priests and brothers , the new Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, and the international peace movement Pax Christi, have passed resolutions supporting LCWR. Currently, United States Congress has 176 cosponsors on a resolution honoring Catholic sisters. The outpouring of support has attracted extraordinary media attention. From Public Radio's Diane Rehm Show to Comedy Central's The Colbert Report to local TV footage and national Associated Press coverage, Catholics everywhere are expressing their dismay at how the Vatican was treating women religious.
More Background On April 18, 2012 the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) launched a crackdown on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella group that represents more than 80 percent of the 57,000 women religious in the United States. The Vatican harshly criticized LCWR for alleged doctrinal irregularities and organization was placed under the oversight of three bishops and ordered to revise its statutes, programs, speakers, liturgical practices and justice affiliations.
On June 1, LCWR officials issued a statement saying the Vatican critique was based on unsubstantiated accusations that arose from a "flawed process" and had caused "scandal and pain throughout the church." On June 12, LCWR leadership travelled to Rome hoping for clarification, but the meeting was characterized as a "dialogue of the deaf" by the outgoing prefect of the CDF, Cardinal William Levada. LCWR has been consulting with regional groups and will consider its response at the organization's annual meeting August 7-11.