Pounding the Table | Ann Carey | Web Exclusive for Catholic World Report
The LCWR leadership continues to voice opposition to Vatican investigations into their activities, claiming to be “misunderstood” by Rome.
It is reported that some law professors give this advice to future lawyers: argue the facts when the facts are on your side, argue the law when the law is on your side, but when neither the facts nor the law are on your side, pound the table.
The latter tactic seems to have been adopted by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)—the largest leadership organization of Catholic sisters in this country—in reacting to both the Vatican’s ongoing doctrinal assessment of the group’s activities and the apostolic visitation of communities of women religious. In an August 17 press release, the LCWR did not argue the facts or the law; rather, the statement attacked the methodology of the inquiries, saying they “lacked full disclosure about the motivation and funding sources.” The LCWR also expressed displeasure that the visitation teams’ reports will not be disclosed to the orders visited.
As reported in “Post-Christian Sisters” (CWR, July 2009), the LCWR was caught by surprise on January 30 by the announcement of the Vatican’s apostolic visitation of women religious in the US and by the February 20 letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announcing the doctrinal assessment of the LCWR. Consequently, the organization’s leadership had little to say on the topic at first. An April 23 public statement from LCWR officers stressed the solidarity of LCWR members, expressed “disappointment” over media reports that some US bishops may have requested the doctrinal assessment, and fell back on the group’s favored way of dealing with criticism: keep the critics talking until they back down.