Bishop defends Vatican critique of LCWR
CWN – July 25, 2012
In an interview with National Public Radio, the bishop who conducted a Vatican-ordered apostolic visitation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) explained the Holy See’s demand for a reform of the group.
Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio, said that the LCWR is “promoting unilaterally new understandings—a new kind of theology—that is not in accordance with the faith of the Church.”
National Public Radio interviewed Bishop Blair after having first hosted Sister Patricia Farrell, the president of the LCWR, who had called for a new dialogue with the Vatican on Church teachings. “If by dialogue, they mean that the doctrines of the Church are negotiable,” said Bishop Blair, “then No, I don’t think that’s the dialogue the Holy See would envision.”
Bishop Blair countered the arguments of Sister Farrell on abortion and contraception, noting that the Church teachings on each topic are clear and well known. Regarding the ordination of women—a topic on which Sister Farrell had not spoken directly—the bishop said: “The Church doesn’t say that the ordination of women is not possible because somehow women are unfit to carry out the functions of the priest, but because on the level of sacramental signs, it’s not the choice that our Lord made.”
The bishop stressed that criticism of the LCWR should not be interpreted as a complaint against the many fine women religious working in the US. “If anything,” he said, “part of our concern is precisely for their diminished numbers and their aging population.”
Additional sources for this story: Bishop Explains Vatican’s Criticism Of U.S. Nuns (NPR) www.npr.org/2012/07/25/157356092/bishop-explains-vaticans-criticism-of-u-s-nuns