April 15, 2013

No Hope & Change for LCWR Under Pope Francis

Archbishop Gerhard Muller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ·  Meierhofer, 2006; middot; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Arch­bishop Ger­hard Muller, Pre­fect of the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Doc­trine of the Faith · Meier­hofer, 2006 · Cre­ative Com­mons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported



WO DAYS AFTER THE ELECTION OF POPE FRANCIS, Thomas C. Fox of the National So-Called Catholic Reporter (NSCCR) high­lighted an “upcom­ing seg­ment” of 60 Min­utes that CBS described in the fol­low­ing manner:

One of the press­ing prob­lems newly elected Pope Fran­cis may want to address is the dis­il­lu­sion­ment among Amer­i­can nuns. Many were shocked last year when the group that rep­re­sents most of them was rep­ri­manded by the Vat­i­can, which says that the nuns’ lib­eral ideas were under­min­ing the Church.

Van­ity act­ing on igno­rance at the NSCCR

Accord­ing to Mr. Fox, the 60 Min­utes seg­ment “comes at a time of con­sid­er­able uncer­tainty in the church.” He goes on to spec­u­late that “With­out a CDF pre­fect, the author­ity of Seat­tle Arch­bishop Peter Sar­tain, who offi­cially serves as the Vat­i­can ‘arch­bishop del­e­gate’ for LCWR[,] is in ques­tion, at the very least.”



SARTAIN IT IS, HOWEVER, that the LCWR (and Mr. Fox of the NSCCR) can be “uncer­tain” no longer. On his Patheos blog, Dea­con Greg Kan­dra pro­vides a state­ment from the Vat­i­can regard­ing a meet­ing between the CDF, the LCWR, and Abp. Sar­tain him­self. Accord­ing to the state­ment (with my emphases), CDF pre­fect Ger­hard Muller

high­lighted the teach­ing of the Sec­ond Vat­i­can Coun­cil regard­ing the impor­tant mis­sion of Reli­gious to pro­mote a vision of eccle­sial com­mu­nion founded on faith in Jesus Christ and the teach­ings of the Church as faith­fully taught through the ages under the guid­ance of the Mag­is­terium (cf. Lumen Gen­tium nn. 43–47). … For this rea­son, [reli­gious] Con­fer­ences are con­sti­tuted by and remain under the direc­tion of the Holy See (cf. Code of Canon Law, cann. 708–709).


Finally, Arch­bishop Muller informed the Pres­i­dency [of the LCWR] that he had recently dis­cussed the Doc­tri­nal Assess­ment with Pope Fran­cis, who reaf­firmed the find­ings of the Assess­ment and the pro­gram of reform for his Con­fer­ence of Major Superiors.

I would add that the Vat­i­can state­ment could as eas­ily have cited the fol­low­ing from Pope John Paul II’s apos­tolic exhor­ta­tion Vita Con­se­crata:

A dis­tinc­tive aspect of eccle­sial com­mu­nion is alle­giance of mind and heart to the Mag­is­terium of the Bish­ops, an alle­giance which must be lived hon­estly and clearly tes­ti­fied to before the Peo­ple of God by all con­se­crated per­sons, espe­cially those involved in the­o­log­i­cal research, teach­ing, pub­lish­ing, cat­e­ch­esis[,] and the use of the means of social communication.

It seems to me a self-evident obser­va­tion, how­ever lost it may be on some (includ­ing those at the NSCCR), that a fun­da­men­tal char­ac­ter of any reli­gion is the prop­a­ga­tion of truth claims. Doc­trine mat­ters. With­out that, you may be any num­ber of things, but you’re not Catholic. And it is not good to have the laity in the pews con­fused about these points, which is why John Paul II was so at pains to point out the need for hon­estly liv­ing the teach­ings of the Church, giv­ing them “alle­giance of mind and heart,” and clearly tes­ti­fy­ing to them so that their truth and their beauty may be known by all.



I’M NOT SURE WHY IT IS that the LCWR is said to have been “shocked”—shocked, I say!—by the Doc­tri­nal Assess­ment of the CDF. The Catholic Church has made no mys­tery about her teach­ing on the issues in ques­tion, in par­tic­u­lar abor­tion and con­tra­cep­tion. Per­haps the shock can be explained by say­ing that there have (with­out ques­tion) been dis­ci­pli­nary prob­lems within the Church for some time, and it could be that the LCWR thought they could go on in their heresy indefinitely.

Let them be “uncer­tain” on this point no longer. The CDF made its assess­ment under Pope Bene­dict, and Fran­cis is not going to change that. His reaf­fir­ma­tion makes that as clear as day.

God bless Pope Francis.



Update: Fr. Z also dis­cusses here and here.

Update 2: The off-the-left-cliff-wing Squawk­ing Points Memo is out­raged, as Nicole Win­field dusts off the alarmist descrip­tion of the doc­tri­nal assess­ment as a “crack­down.” Some­how I sus­pected it wouldn’t be long before the pro­gres­sives turned on Pope Francis.

Update 3: The LCWR issued their own terse state­ment here.

Update 4: The shocked lib­eral despon­dency con­tin­ues. Cathy Lynn Gross­man at USA Today mourns that the “hon­ey­moon between progressive[s] … and Pope Fran­cis … may have ended” by the pope’s will­ing­ness to reaf­firm the “sting­ing rebuke of most U.S. nuns.” [N.B., the LCWR is far from “most U.S. nuns,” but good luck con­vinc­ing these peo­ple of that.] Ms. Gross­man goes on to use all the stan­dard buzz-phrases: the “con­tro­ver­sial report” that was “a scan­dal” [the LCWR is the scan­dal, Ms. Gross­man]; the need for “mis­sion integrity” in the LCWR [for what?]; the “polit­i­cal cen­sure” [yawn]. Expect this kind of bewail­ing and breast-beating (though not in repen­tance) among the far-left to continue.