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

 

T

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.”

 

MR. FOX’S UNCERTAINTY RESOLVED

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.

 

ORTHODOXY SHOCK

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.

 

UPDATES

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.