Former LCWR President Responds to Visitation Report

Cardinal Braz de Aviz speaks with Sister Holland at conclusion of Vatican press conference for release of final report of Vatican-ordered investigation of U.S. communities of women religious, Dec. 16 (Paul Haring, CNS photo).

Sister Mary Ann Zollmann, former president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, awoke at four this morning to watch on cable the announcement of the Vatican's long-awaited report stemming from the six-year apostolic visitation.

Zollmann says she was heartened first of all by the collegial tone of the press conference, in which representatives of women's leadership groups in the church were invited to be present and take questions from the media about the contents of the report.

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She also says appreciates the call for further dialogue and a seeming openness on the part of Rome to further discuss the role of women in the church.

The conciliatory tone of the report should inspire women religious to take more seriously its findings, Zollmann says. She predicts her own order, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, will "prayerfully" consider the report's recommendations.

Zollmann also says she believes women religious affected the ultimate outcome of the report by responding fully, honestly, and in a collaborative fashion to the Vatican inquiry, offering Rome a model for consensus building.

Here is the complete audio of my conversation with Sister Mary Ann.

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