|Franciscan Sister Ilia Delio gave a superb speech with a lot of food for thought at the annual LCWR convention. Not so much AB Sartain|
The LCWR had their annual meeting this week in Orlando, Florida. I turns out it might have been the best place to hold their meeting as it was attended by the Vatican appointed overseer Archbishop Sartain of Seattle and he did his best to come across as friendly as any Disney character. Unfortunately, sources cited by the National Catholic Reporter indicate his responses to some very pertinent questions were more like Mickey Mouse. It seems no matter how often LCWR leadership ask him for details about their alleged doctrinal indiscretions he has no specifics. The following is an extract from an article by NCR's Joshua McElwee which hi lites some of the responses of LCWR members to Sartain's talk.
.....Before Sartain’s talk Thursday, LCWR leaders hosted an earlier three-hour closed-door meeting with their members. According to several sisters, that meeting was the first opportunity of this year’s assembly for LCWR members to ask the organization’s three presidents how discussions with Sartain over the mandate have been going since April 2012.
Meetings between Sartain and LCWR leaders in the 18 months since publishing of the mandate have taken place outside public scrutiny, and neither Sartain nor the sisters have publicly detailed the number or content of their meetings.
According to knowledgable sources, LCWR members were told Thursday that their leadership had met with Sartain four times over the past year: Once following last year’s LCWR assembly in St. Louis, once in November in Baltimore during the annual U.S. bishops’ meeting, once in May during the group’s annual visit to Rome, and once more this summer.
Each time, the LCWR leaders told their members Thursday, Sartain did not detail the Vatican’s specific concerns with LCWR.
In their first meeting last August, Sartain also reportedly said he had not been sufficiently educated on the renewal of religious life that followed the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Those renewal efforts, which lasted for decades, are widely viewed by women religious as momentous achievements.
In their closed session with members Thursday, the LCWR board also shared a report of its May meeting in Rome with members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Several sisters said they were told that the LCWR’s response to the doctrinal assessment had contained “deficiencies,” but these were not spelled out.
When meeting in the closed-door session with Sartain Thursday, several sisters reportedly asked the archbishop to spell out the alleged deficiencies, but he did not do so.
I'm seriously at a loss as to how the LCWR can respond to allegations which are not spelled out. What are they supposed to do...punt? The fact this has been going on for 18 months is pretty insulting. I almost feel sorry for 'brother' Sartain. He too is being used, but at least in his case, this idiot song and dance might result in further advancement. For the LCWR it has to be engendering further anger and confusion. How do they follow the 'magisterium' with any kind of integrity when said magisterium refuses to act like adults or treat the LCWR as adults. This is the kind of thing defective parents pull on kids because the kids are totally dependent on them and they can get away with it. Members of the LCWR are not dependent on the CDF or a certain subset of American cardinals and I don't honestly don't know why the LCWR keeps putting up with this kind of treatment. It's way past time for the CDF to get specific, but I think this CDF won't get specific because in reality this entire fiasco was a case of Cardinal Levada abusing his office for the sake of certain other American Cardinals---the ones who are in the back pocket of the Republican party. That very party that lost on Obamacare because of the LCWR influenced Catholic Health Care Association. Which would mean this whole thing is not about doctrine, it's about politics. Which would mean that Sartain is stuck with a bogus investigation that can't possibly have any kind of face saving exit strategy. So he gives advice like this:
"Sartain told the sisters their role “is to be thinking with the church and fidelity to the magisterium of the church."
And answers direct questions like this:
"According to one member, common themes in the questions asked of Sartain by LCWR members Thursday included:
• Frustration of the sisters’ congregations on the slowness of receiving information regarding how Sartain’s role at LCWR would continue;
• A feeling that the reputation of U.S. sisters had been unfairly tarnished;
• Sharp disagreement with allegations by Vatican officials that LCWR does not adequately communicate with bishops in Rome.
To the last point, Sartain reportedly said that Vatican officials “going forward hope to have better communication with LCWR.” (An interesting statement since the Vatican has been the one who consistently refused to meet with LCWR leadership in Rome.)
And then he gave this suggestion:
Instead of choosing only one speaker to address its members, Sartain suggested they select respondents as well, including at least one who would put in a positive light the official teachings of the church. (As if members of the LCWR don't know Catholic teachings.)
We may never get an official statement from either AB Sartain or the LCWR since both sides agreed to maintain silence on what transpired during Sartain's talk and the subsequent question and answer session. The LCWR has stated they are thinking of releasing a statement at the end of the weekend, but I doubt it will say a whole lot. Both sides seem willing to keep up this shadow boxing that gets no where. It may be that both sides are waiting for Pope Francis to make a decision on who will lead the CDF, and it could be it's current head, AB Mueller, is not precisely enthusiastic about pursuing this investigation if he's not going to have his job in a few months. But whatever the case, one hopes this refusal to deal with the alleged issues does not keep up for the next three and a half years because no one will save face in that case. Rather both sides will look less than adult.
I can't help but wonder what Cardinal Braz de Aviz thinks of this whole charade given he has publicly stated he did not like the fact his dicastery was kept totally out the CDF loop. I can't imagine he's impressed with how this is playing out because the LCWR has loads of influence on religious women in the global church. I suspect if it was up to him the whole thing would have done and over with a long time ago. Unfortunately for everyone it's not up to him.