Holy See Responds to Statements Regarding Doctrinal Assessment on Women Religious

Reaffirms Confirms Commitment of Congregations to Renew Religious Life

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The Holy See responded to recent media commentary on statements attributed to Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, regarding the handling of the Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

According to an article that appeared on the National Catholic Reporter and several news agencies, Cardinal Braz de Aviz spoke on the doctrinal assessment during a meeting with the Rome-based International Union of Women Superiors General (UISG). The article stated that the Cardinal expressed his disappointment that his office was not consulted prior to the release of the Congregation of Divine Faith’s Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR.

The article stated Cardinal Braz de Aviz’s account of a meeting he had with Cardinal William Levada, the former prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, which he recounted during Saturday’s meeting with the UISG.

“We will obey what the Holy Father wants and what will be decided through you,” Cardinal Braz de Aviz told the sisters he had said to Levada. “But we must say that this material which should be discussed together has not been discussed together.”

“I obeyed, but I had so much pain within me,” the article quotes Cardinal Braz de Aviz as saying.

A Common Committment to Renew Religious Life

The Holy See Press Office released a statement affirming that for some time now, both the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life have collaborated on a “renewed theological vision of Religious Life in the Church.”

“The concern of the Holy See, expressed partially in the Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the United States, is motivated by a desire to support the noble and beautiful vocation of Religious so that the eloquent witness of Religious Life may prosper in the Church to the benefit of future generations,” the statement read.

Regarding the statements attributed to Cardinal Braz de Aviz, the Holy See stated that media commentary on what was said suggested a divergence between both congregations and that “the interpretation of the Cardinal’s remarks is not justified.”

“The Prefects of these two Congregations work closely together according to their specific responsibilities and have collaborated throughout the process of the Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR,” the statement from the Holy See read.

The communique also stated that the current prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Cardinal Braz de Aviz met yesterday and “reaffirmed their common commitment to the renewal of Religious Life” and in particular, “to the Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR and the progra of reform it requires.”

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For the full text of the Holy See’s statement, go to: 


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Junno Arocho Esteves

Newark, New Jersey, USA Bachelor of Science degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.

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