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Sisters’ Conference rejects Vatican report as ‘flawed’

By on Friday, 1 June 2012

People demonstrate in support of the Sisters' conference outside Seattle Cathedral

People demonstrate in support of the Sisters' conference outside Seattle Cathedral

The national board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious has said the assessment that led to a Vatican order to reform the organisation “was based on unsubstantiated accusations and the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency.”

“Moreover, the sanctions imposed were disproportionate to the concerns raised and could compromise their [board members'] ability to fulfil their mission,” the board said in a statement. “The report has furthermore caused scandal and pain throughout the Church community and created greater polarisation.”

The board released the statement the morning after it concluded a special meeting in Washington on May 29-31 held to review and plan a response to the report issued to LCWR by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In April the doctrinal congregation had announced a major reform of LCWR to ensure its fidelity to Catholic teaching in areas including abortion, euthanasia, women’s ordination and homosexuality. The congregation cited “serious doctrinal problems which affect many in consecrated life”.

The Vatican appointed Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle to provide “review, guidance and approval, where necessary, of the work” of LCWR.

LCWR’s board members raised concerns about both the content of the doctrinal assessment and the process by which it was prepared.

The board said in its statement, issued on June 1, that LCWR’s president Franciscan Sister Pat Farrell and its executive director Sister Janet Mock would return to Rome on June 12 to meet Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Sartain, “to raise and discuss the board’s concerns”.

  • Benedict Carter

    You, being a dissenter from the Church’s moral teaching, are outside the Church. Catholics are to have nothing to do with apostates or heretics.  

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    Thankfully, the LCWR (the Hippie generation) is old, dying, and attracts no vocations. And the CMSWR (John Paul II generation) is young, Christian, and growing.

    The LCWR’s cause is sterile, while the CMSWR grows with God’s help.

    By the way, all protesters who want to “support the sisters” (as if they were under attack) can barely walk without canes and wheelchairs.I think some of them actually sailed in Noah’s ark.

  • JByrne24

    But this is surely not true.
    Have you ever read the Daily & Sunday Telegraph newspapers?
    They regularly print letters from Ann Farmer, they have frequent articles from the likes of Christina Odone, Charles Moore and so forth (sometimes mentioned by Ms Phillips on this website).
    Their leaders and editorials are always friendly towards Catholicism and other Christian faiths.
    They take the Church’s line on Gay marriage etc.
    They are also high circulation, “serious” newspapers.

  • Benedict Carter

    What’s all this “Brother” stuff? Perhaps Poorcatholic and the others o whom you inflict this term are women, or simply don’t like it?

  • JByrne24

    There you go yet again!
    I am called a “dissenter”, I am “outside the Church”, I am a “heretic” and an “apostate”.

    I would be very sad if I were any of these. My Jesuit Confessor considers I am none of them.(Mind you he isn’t called Benedict Carter, and only has  Doctorates in theology, moral philosophy and physics too (actually).

  • JByrne24

    There you go yet again!I am called a “dissenter”, I am “outside the Church”, I am a “heretic” and an “apostate”.
    I would be very sad if I were any of these. My Jesuit Confessor considers I am none of them.(Mind you he isn’t called Benedict Carter, and only has  Doctorates in theology, moral philosophy and physics too (actually).

  • JByrne24


    There you go yet again!
    I am called a “dissenter”, I am “outside the Church”, I am a “heretic” and an “apostate”.I would be very sad if I were any of these. My Jesuit Confessor considers I am none of them.(Mind you he isn’t called Benedict Carter, and only has  Doctorates in theology and moral philosophy and a B.Sc in physics too.


  • Fides_et_Ratio

    The Sunday Telegraph is one exception, yes. But I didn’t say that every single journalist is anti-Christian. Just that most (>50%) of them are.

    If you vary your TV channels, and your newspaper, it is readily apparent.

    Just compare the media treatment of the March for Life with their treatment of homosexual protests against the Pope.

    Another example: when some ***** artist creates a truly horrible, offensive and blasphemous piece of art, and Christians organize a boycott to the museum, the media says that those Christians are intolerant, lack a sense of humor, and don’t respect free speech. But when someone burns the Koran, and Muslims start _rioting, vandalizing and murdering innocent people_, the media says that the Koran-burner is intolerant and should not have offended Muslim sensitivities.

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    The Church is supposed to follow Christ, not Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci and Herbert Marcuse.

    If you want a “church” that supports abortion and homosexualism, it already exists: it is called The Episcopal Church. Check it out. You”ll love it.

  • Fides_et_Ratio

    Has it occurred to you that maybe your confessor is also an apostate?
    His degrees/diplomas are valuable, but don’t constitute proof of
    Christianity by themselves. For example, plenty of philosophers
    are very educated, but are Marxist fools.

    I trust the Pope and the Catechism more than your confessor, thank you very much.

  • JByrne24

    Well I looked under our bed several times, but found no red apostates.

    I also believe I can spot a good Catholic priest when I get to know him – we have some in the family too.

  • Victor

    John said  “If you’re saying Jesus would accept lesbianism, abortion, radical
    feminism, and 60´s values then it seems to me that Jesus would accept
    just about anything; that being the case, why would he bother to teach
    anyone values at all? any moral behavioral prescription  is pointless if
    any behavior is just as good any another.” I would add that if there is no right or wrong then religion is a waste of time also.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal


  • Jae

    Ultra traditionalists are those who think that they are the only ones who are right with what they think tradition truly says apart from the living and present Apostolic Authority of the Church. Some of these are the Sedes, Conclavists, SSPV and the 20% of SSPX who are closet-Sedes, are you one of them, Mr. Carter?

    Blind of what? Carpet bomb the whole nun group? Or the “bad fruits” of the Council of Florence? Or you are the one with the log in the eye?

  • Jae

    Yuh? Are you just reacting to the irony of those who condemn without prejudice are the ones who are being condemned themselves!

  • Jae

    They already submitted their concerns and everybody knows them. Rome is not against their mission to care for the poor which is actually encouraged by the Church rather, the nuns’ position regarding to women priests, contraception, homosexuality, embryonic stem cell are in direct contradiction to the Teachings of the Church.

    The Church acting as the good Mother of souls, should give these few vocal leaders one last chance to recant and repent from their false idea and disobedience by signing and giving assent to the Magisterium and Catechism of the Catholic Church, if they don’t, then declare them in full schism.

  • Jae

    Good ole Joe, you said right on the mark! Catholics in the time of the great Protestant reformation 500 years ago thought that the crisis in the Church ushered in the end of the world scenario, great numbers of Catholics who were being lead astray, great apostasy, Europe was burning from Protestant rebellion and wars that ensued, losing most part of Europe (the only world people think existed), corrupt church leaders and clergy, sacrament and doctrines being watered down resulted kn fewer catholics, etc, etc. and all that gloom and doom!

    It took the Church almost 2,000 years to spread and evangelize the world to the tune of 435 million Catholics in 1960. After the Council of Vatican II, there are more than 1.2 BILLION Catholics worldwide! Triple the size before the Council IN JUST 50 YEARS! Wonder why? Maybe because of the devilish VII? Or maybe the Holy Spirit had a vacation for 50 years?

  • JabbaPapa

    Same here, especially when that confessor is being presented as supportive of the outright denial of numerous infallible dogmata.

  • Benedict Carter

    While the Church is indefectible, to close one’s eyes to the reality of the destruction is, as I said above, willful blindness. 

    Why is this so difficult for you, sweetjae?

    And the Great Apostasy I submit is in the present, not the past, tense.

  • Benedict Carter

    It’s a certain mark of the destruction of even the most basic Catholic sense in our own days that a person who supports abortion and other radical moral perversions should think himself a Catholic. 

  • teigitur

    The Telegraph is indeed supportive sometimes. The rest are almost always hostile. Most especially the Times, Guardian. Independent. Worst of all is our once great “national broadcaster”. So the Telegraph is the exception that proves the rule.

  • teigitur

    Right on the money again. I will never forget when the BBC reported on the Holy Father at world youth day in Madrid. They only reported on the small protest there. There was not one word of why he was there, or the 2 million young people gathered there from all over the world. It was completely ignored by them. They are by far the worst offenders. I have complained many times, but they just don t care, as long as we pay the money.

  • Benedict Carter

    Ah! Just another of your ad hominem attacks. I see. 

    Your “definition” has no basis in reality for those who think as I do. As to the few dozen sede vacantists out there, you must ask them.

  • Jae

    The first sentence is it’s good you agreed that the Church is indefectible, so the destruction then is brought forth by the modernists agenda and willful, sinful acts of men NOT RELATED in anyway to a valid Council of VII. What part of this sentence that you don’t seem to understand?

    The last sentence is of course I knew very well that you were referring to the present about the Great apostasy and blame the current Magisterium and VII Council for it, THAT IS the reason why I compared your position to what had happened in the past, particularly the great upheaval, apostasy and rebellion in the Church by former catholics, who founded the Reformation 500 years ago today, that blaming the Church’s teaching as the culprit of apostasy is baseless, nowhere found in Scripture and Tradition of the Church.

  • Jae

    Mr. Carter I didn’t say you are an ultra traditionalist, hopefully not To become one. Anyways the same could be said of the other side, ultra liberal, who interprets the Teaching of the Church apart from the Authority of the Church.

  • teigitur

    Your contributions here are witty and to the point. A breath of fresh air.

  • teigitur

    ” Jesuit Confessor?” Now why I am I not surprised.

  • Jae

    I totally agree with you, Fides and so sorry JBarnes but the diplomas, degree, PhDs do not necessarily mean one is going to be faithful to the Church’s teachings or being orthodox. No relation whatsoever.

  • Jae

    Right on the dot, Mr. Carter.

  • Jae

    You are the man, nicely put however these protesters would not be in Noah’s ark in the first place, they are most probably be the ones who laughed at Noah.

  • Benny C

    Your apparent blindness to the irony of your reply is stunning.

  • Fides_et_Ratio

     Thank you.

  • Sean

    I think BC sums it up nicely. This guy appears to operate in a world view more appropriate to a time before Christ, he comments in the Telegraph and I think has done an awful lot to make people think Christianity is aligned with a mean spirit and judgemental attitudes. If Benedict Carter is correct in his espousal of what true Catholicism is, then I want nothing to do with it.

  • Sean

    Your Christianity is overwhelming, I bet though you support the disabled, I mean the ones who agree with you. Very sad.

  • LEFTY048


  • Patrick_Hadley

    If Fr Poovathinkal really has eyesight problems then, according to the RNIB, he will find text in block capitals much more difficult to read than conventionally written material. I suspect that he just likes to shout so that his comments stand out. It is a bit like someone writing letters in green ink. 

  • JByrne24

    QUOTE:  “If Benedict Carter is correct in his espousal of what true Catholicism is, then I want nothing to do with it.”

    Nor would I Sean.
    This is the great danger of people like BC on Catholic websites such as this and in the press: the great damage that can be caused to the Church,
    That is also the reason why their statements need so urgently to be challenged and dismembered to the best of our abilities.

  • Jae

    Bravo, this is what we are saying about the proper interpretation of VII, both the left and the right (mostly the left) have distorted the valid Teachings of the Council Fathers. Geesh, can we please let the living Authority of the Church which Christ bestowed and let her do the job…..let’s stop pretending because it’s not our job.

  • JabbaPapa

    Ben is not an ultra-traditionalist — I’ve had this out with him in the past (at some length), and he is traditionally orthodox in nearly all of his views.

  • JByrne24

    It’s also the case that many open-minded people, viewing Benedict Carter-like “announcements” and “pronouncements”, might say to themselves something such as: “well Richard Dawkins said they were like this, he’s spot on; and the late Christopher Hitchens too! – He really hits the proverbial nail on its proverbial head – Bye-bye for good Catholic Church”.

    This real danger is why people really must take the time and trouble to say what so desperately needs saying.

    PS: I suggest you google “Rorate Caeli” blogspot.

  • JabbaPapa

    It’s apalling that someone like yourself, who has publicly denied numerous infallible Church teachings, and continues to do so in a clearly deliberate manner and on a daily basis, and has attacked Catholic morality itself even (!!!), should preach openly against any Catholics who denounce your blatant heterodoxy for what it is.

    You are in a state of open rebellion against the Church, and you are unfit to accuse others of “causing damage” to her — when in fact you are the one openly militating towards the destruction of her teachings.

  • Isaac

    A truly open-minded person (with some sense) would distinguish between the truth/falsehood of propositions and the attractiveness/unattractiveness of the people pronouncing them. 

    Or should I go around saying “Look, these mathematicians are so obnoxious. Bye bye 2+2=4!”?

  • Judy

     “These disgraces should be Canonically suppressed and the individuals thrown out onto the street.”
    Would Jesus have done this???…. I don’t think so….

    These are the women who feed our hungry, help our poor, visit/dr our sick, visit our prisoners, all those who have no one, teach us to love Christ.  They show their faith, hope and love to the Jesus they serve in all their actions. In this day and age what does it matter if they don’t wear a habit, or for that matter a priest a clerical collar? It is what they do that says it all. Habit or collar doesn’t make the wearer a better person in the eyes of God.

    It is somewhat laughable that the Church is going to celebrate the 50 anniversary of the opening of Vatican II with a year of faith, when they are trying so hard to put the genie back into the bottle.

    Oh, and Mr Carter would you please show us concrete examples of this…”They don’t pray, they’ve broken their vows, some of them are even
    Wiccans —- that’s black magic aka demonism/Satanism. Pagans
    masquerading as nuns.”


  • Honeybadger

    These ‘Sister Trendies’ are only moaning and whingeing because the Vatican is spoiling their fun.

    I pray this forest of deadwood will be ditched.

  • Jae

    However Ben is a borderline ultra traditionalist, yes he holds the teachings of Sacred Tradition but being faithful to Sacred Tradition is to give assent and obedience to the living (meaning current) Magisterium of the Church. One can be conservative but if he doesn’t listen to the Church and pope then he is just another Protestant. We are not talking about mere opinions of the popes (actually 5 already) but a valid promulgation of the Church through the Council of VII solemnly declared teaching to the Universal Church.

    Why would anyone listen to an opinion be that from bishop or priests (ultra traditional or modernist) than the Ordinary Magisterium which VII falls under?

  • liulan991

  • JabbaPapa

    However Ben is a borderline ultra traditionalist

    I’ve had a great number of discussions with Ben, and that assessment is in my considered opinion an inaccurate one.

    He has a great deal of sympathy for the SSPX position certainly, but but that does not mean that his general and particular positions in relation to the Tradition are anything other than orthodox, notwithstanding the sort of occasional mistakes that any of us can make from time to time.

    Orthodoxy comprises a traditional group as well as a liberal group — the extremist ultra-traditionalists and liberal modernists OTOH are those who adopt doctrinal positions that are incompatible with orthodoxy.

    Orthodox traditionalists and orthodox liberals may be at odds with each other concerning certain topics of discussion and Catholic thinking — but this is a part of the ordinary vitality of the Church, and it always has been.

    The situation presently though is that the number of extremist liberals has grown so stunningly large that there is a widespread movement of rebellion against Catholic teachings by people calling themselves “catholics” — so that the traditionalists who denounce these gross abuses can falsely appear to be extremists themselves, particularly given the past mistakes of the SSPX leaders themselves, and the extremely unhelpful attitudes by the Roman Curia towards SSPX in the 1970s and 1980s especially.

    All of these things — their sheer numbers, past mistakes by SSPX leadership, the presence of an extremist fringe within SSPX, mistakes by teh Curia towards the Society — greatly encourage the extremist liberals to depict even the most orthodox of SSPX sympathisers as some sort of “extremists”. The propaganda supporting this straightforward lie is very widespread, and very seductive in nature to anyone with any sort of sympathy with any part of the liberal positions.

    The mainstream positions, both doctrinal and pastoral, of SSPX are perfectly licit within the framework of Catholic orthodoxy.

    FWIW, some of the opinions of SSPX concerning Vatican II are inaccurate — but an extremely large number of the opinions of the extremist liberals concerning Vatican II are in GROSS contradiction with the teachings of the Council !!!

    SSPX is far closer to the mainstream Catholic orthodoxy and the actual teachings of Vatican II than *any* of these extremist liberal reformers can even dream of being, unless they can possibly learn otherwise.

  • Jae

    Jabba, I agree with most of what you have said except two:

    Firstly, our friend Ben here believes in the idea that Rome and VII are wrong with Tradition that have ushered in the “destruction” of the Church. Also believes in the novel idea of “superiority” of one Rite over others. Furthermore, in a partial withdrawal of obedience to the current Magisterium, Council and Catechism.

    Secondly, what mistakes of the Curia towards the SSPX are you talking about? Isn’t it that the illegal ordinations by Ab Lefebvre incurred automatic excommunication according to Canon Laws?

  • Balds50

    Peter Sartain is right.Excerpts of the report I read are fair.The ladies can “like it or lump it” Most of the women religious in the USA don’t even wear the veil anymore.Most are more feminist than catholic!

  • Balds50

    I think the webmaster must edit the comments. Some are just plain out of topic! We are talking about NUNS here and some comments have gone on to talk of SSPX etc and I can hardly see the connection.

    The same was apparent in the article on the Irish scandal and the cardinal being involved. Some even posted detailed comments about the history of the Irish church.OK some of that is important to provide context and to sketch the external environment and the control of the church on various sections of society! But most is irrelevant! Proper editing please so that people stick to the issues and post according to the subject matter of the article! After all we want to get to the nuts and bolts. We are not doing our doctorate on church history!