Power Review

The need for improved relationships and a rebuilding of trust in the church is the message that emerged from a meeting of the International Union of Superiors General, which opened in Rome on May 3. The conference brought together 800 leaders of women’s religious communities worldwide. The head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Religious, Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz of Brazil, spoke of recent tensions with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the United States during a session on May 5 and called for a review of structures of power within the church. “As our Holy Father Pope Francis has said recently, power has to do with service to others; it is not power for power’s sake,” the cardinal said. He told the religious that the Vatican decision in 2012 to place the L.C.W.R. under the control of bishops was made without consultation with his office, a decision that caused him “much pain.” According to The National Catholic Reporter, Cardinal Braz de Aviz told the sisters: “Cardinals can't be mistrustful of each other. This is not the way the church should function.”

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