While we in New York were celebrating the installation of Archbishop Dolan, and preparing for our Centennial Mass, this news dropped. Rumors had been around for the past few weeks among the secular media. It's the news of the Vatican's investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Not--mind you--the earlier investigation announced of women's religious orders in general, but the LCWR specifically. Here is the first few graphs of the AP story:
...VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican has launched a doctrinal investigation into the leadership of Catholic sisters in the United States, reportedly because they have not sufficiently promoted the Vatican line on homosexuality and other issues.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an association that gathers the leaders of most of the country's women's congregations, said it was informed of the "doctrinal assessment" in a letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's orthodoxy watchdog.
The doctrinal investigation is separate from another Vatican-ordered study looking into the quality of the life in more than 400 U.S. women's religious institutes. That study was launched as the church grapples with the dramatic decline in the number of American nuns and sisters over the past several decades.
In a statement Tuesday, the Leadership Conference said the new doctrinal study would look into its activities and initiatives, but it provided no details....
Let me just say this for now: The Second Vatican Council prompted an amazingly generous response by thousands of women religious, who carefully revisited their original charisms, tirelessly reinvigorated their work with the poor (following the lead of their foundresses) and updated their ways of life--all in concert with the authoritative documents of the Council. In other words, they did what the Church had asked them to do. May this fidelity, as well as the rest of their astonishing contributions to the church, be revealed by Vatican investigators.
James Martin, SJ