Post-Christian Sisters | By Ann Carey | A Special Report | Catholic World Report
The Vatican's investigation of women religious in the US was a long time coming.
The unprecedented decision by the Vatican to undertake an apostolic visitation to assess the quality of religious life in orders of sisters in the United States came as a big surprise to many people when it was announced in January. That surprise was doubled with the news two months later that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) will be conducting a doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which represents most of the leaders of US women religious.
But people who have been closely watching the deterioration of many of the women’s religious orders in this country were not at all surprised that the Vatican initiated these assessments. Indeed, many sisters themselves have asked and prayed for Vatican attention to the condition of women’s religious communities. Certainly there is concern that the numbers of sisters are plunging and ecclesial properties are being converted to secular use, but even more critical problems are evident: many sisters no longer work in apostolates related to the Church and no longer live or pray in community, and sometimes sisters even openly dissent from Church teaching on matters such as women’s ordination, homosexuality, centrality of the Eucharist, and the hierarchal nature of the Church.
Likewise, the LCWR has had a stormy relationship with the Vatican for the past 40 years, and the LCWR has been very clear about its determination to “transform” religious life as well as the Church itself.
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