In response to the Vatican's investigation of women's religious congregations in the United States and of the Leadership Conference for Women Religious, the main organizing body of women's religious congregations in this country, the USCCB has announced the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith beginning of a reform of the LCWR in a press release, which includes link to the CDF's "Assessment." The main areas of concern were (a) the LCWR's assemblies and conferences, (b) "policies of "corporate dissent" and (c) "radical feminism." The CDF also mandates a five-year period of oversight for the LCWR. From the USCCB's press release today:
WASHINGTON—The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has called for reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and named Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle as its Archbishop Delegate for the initiative.
Bishop Leonard Blair and Bishop Thomas John Paprocki also were also named to assist in this effort. The CDF outlined the call in a “Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious” (http://www.usccb.org/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=55544), released April 18. The document outlines findings of the 2008 CDF-initiated doctrinal assessment of LCWR, conducted by Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio, which included his findings and an LCWR response submitted at the end of 2009, as well as a subsequent report from Bishop Blair in 2010. A statement by Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is also available at http://www.usccb.org/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=55673
The 2010 report included “documentation on the content of LCWR’s Mentoring Leadership Manual and also on the organizations associated with the LCWR, namelyNetwork andthe Resource Center for Religious Institutes,”CDF said. Network is a social justice lobby founded by nuns. The Resource Center provides religious orders with legal and financial advice.
The Archbishop Delegate’s role is to provide “review, guidance and approval, where necessary, of the work of the LCWR,” the CDF document said.
A portion of the CDF's "Doctinal Assessment":
While recognizing that this doctrinal Assessment concerns a particular conference of major superiors and therefore does not intend to offer judgment on the faith and life of Women Religious in the member Congregations which belong to that conference, nevertheless the Assessment reveals serious doctrinal problems which affect many in Consecrated Life. On the doctrinal level, this crisis is characterized by a diminution of the fundamental Christological center and focus of religious consecration which leads, in turn, to a loss of a “constant and lively sense of the Church” among some Religious. The current doctrinal Assessment arises out of a sincere concern for the life of faith in some Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. It arises as well from a conviction that the work of any conference of major superiors of women Religious can and should be a fruitful means of addressing the contemporary situation and supporting religious life in its most “radical” sense—that is, in the faith in which it is rooted. According to Canon Law, conferences of major superiors are an expression of the collaboration between the Holy See, Superiors General, and the local Conferences of Bishops in support of consecrated life. The overarching concern of the doctrinal Assessment is, therefore, to assist the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the United States in implementing an ecclesiology of communion founded on faith in Jesus Christ and the Church as the essential foundation for its important service to religious Communities and to all those in consecrated life.