Vatican Reports Open, Cordial Meeting With Nuns' Group

Says It Promotes a Vision of Communion Founded on Faith in Christ

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 12, 2012 ( Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, today met with the president, Sister Pat Farrell OSF, and executive director, Sister Janet Mock CSJ, of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

Archbishop J. Peter Sartain was also present. He has been appointed by the Vatican to oversee a process of review of the LCWR. Several years ago Bishop Sartain was appointed to conduct an examination of the LCWR, a process that finished in April with a doctrinal assessment.

In it the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith expressed the gratitude of the Holy See for “the great contribution of women religious to the Church in the United States.” Nevertheless, the assessment also commented that there are “serious doctrinal problems which affect many in consecrated life.”

Today’s meeting, according to a statement issued by the Vatican, «provided the opportunity for the Congregation and the LCWR officers to discuss the issues and concerns raised by the doctrinal assessment in an atmosphere of openness and cordiality.”

“It was an open meeting and we were able to directly express our concerns to Cardinal Levada and Archbishop Sartain,” said Sister Pat Farrell, in a statement published by the LCWR.

According to the LCWR statement the two leaders will return to the United States to discuss the meeting later this week with the LCWR board. The LCWR will also hold regional meetings and in its August assembly will decide its response to the CDF assessment.

According to Canon Law, a conference of major superiors such as the LCWR is constituted by and remains under the supreme direction of the Holy See in order to promote common efforts among the individual member institutes and cooperation with the Holy See and the local conference of bishops (cf. Code of Canon Law, canons 708-709), the Vatican statement explained.

“The purpose of the doctrinal assessment is to assist the LCWR in this important mission by promoting 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,” the statement concluded.

In an explanation accompanying the publication in April of the doctrinal assessment, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that: “The first step in the implementation of the findings of the doctrinal Assessment consists, therefore, in a personal meeting between the Superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Officers of the LCWR.”

“Such a personal encounter allows for the opportunity to review the document together in a spirit of mutual respect and collaboration, hopefully thereby avoiding possible misunderstandings of the document’s intent and scope,” he explained.

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