The Holy Spirit is working overtime these days! On February 26, this website exposed a dissident, aging organization that claims to speak for American nuns: the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). Its member communities include many with so little Catholic identity that some of their members even have made headlines by verbally attacking bishops, espousing radical forms of feminism such as bizarre goddess rituals, providing Planned Parenthood with abortion mill volunteers, praising gay marriage and serving as the Obama Administration’s fifth column within the Church in its attack on First Amendment religious freedom. But besides exposing the LCWR, our article also praised the remarkable growth of the other American “nun organization”, the Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR). Through many of the CMSWR’s 100 or so holy, faithful, communities of American women religious, a renaissance of American Catholicism has been steadily taking place below the radar as large numbers of young, intelligent, personable women have been quietly dedicating their lives to God. The CMSWR is personified by holy young women like Harvard University’s 2010 valedictorian Mary Anne Marks who has now become Sister Maria Veritas, OP of the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
This gospel readiness to go beyond self, leaving everything to follow the Lord, stands in marked contrast to the Carl Rogers psychological distortions, still evident more than forty-five years after he served as the catalyst for the falsehoods still followed among dissident nuns even today, in their navel-gazing, misguided quest for “self fulfillment”.
As the Apostolic Visitation’s report so correctly noted, such non-Christian distortions were evident, for example, in the 2007 LCWR keynote assembly address by Sister Laurie Brink, a sister in an LCWR Dominican community — one that follows a heterodox theology unlike the gospel clarity evident among the Ann Arbor Dominicans. For example, though a supposedly accomplished biblical scholar, Sister Brink must not have been content with gospel truth as she instead chose to propose to the assembly four alternative options for religious life, one of them being described as a “sojourner” – a nun who rejects Christianity itself by moving “beyond the Church” and “beyond Jesus.”
So we were delighted yesterday when the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued its report about the LCWR that calls for decisive action against LCWR heterodoxy. The statement pointed out that LCWR extremism sometimes even entails a rejection of “core Catholic beliefs” and “a serious source of scandal” that “is incompatible with religious life.” But most importantly, we see the Vatican response as paving the way for a new renaissance of genuine Catholicism in which religious sisters resume their historic role by serving as the very corporal soul of American Catholicism.
The ongoing investigation of the LCWR for the past three years has not made the LCWR any less heterodox or accepting of their bishops. There is considerable evidence that the very opposite is true.
Here, for your convenience, is our prior article that was posted on February 26. It was written after some LCWR leaders confronted the stand by bishops on the Obama Administration’s HHS mandate:
Some “gurus” say they foresee the coming of a Catholic Church gender war – nuns against their bishops! They were gloating last Friday: Catholic Nuns File Brief Supporting Affordable Care Act (Think Progress). The reason: the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is at it again, this time by supporting the Obama Administration in its declared war on religious liberty as well as by continuing to smile on approvingly as many in member communities “express themselves” by opposing the Church on issues ranging from abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia and, most especially, by opposing the Catholic Church’s bishops with obvious delight. In case you don’t know who the LCWR is,
it is a group of mostly octogenarian nuns, most of whom long ago cast off their religious habits (except, maybe, for fund-raising photos). Radical feminists abound at LCWR. Some say liberation theology and the politics of class warfare do, too. Journalist Donna Steichen even documented goddess worship and wicca practices among some influential LCWR members. In any event, the timing of their latest action shows an intent to diss the united front of their bishops against the Obama mandate. And the LCWR, long ago, turned its attention away from the destruction of Catholic education to bigger nemeses — like bishops, Catholic life-and-family values and the U.S. Constitution.
OK, so what are the real Catholic nuns saying about all this? You know who I mean – the young, faithful and growing communities … like those Dominicans in Ann Arbor, the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist, who captivated Oprah and her TV audience twice. These are young, brilliant, faithful, holy and witty women… exemplified by Harvard’s 2010 valedictorian Mary Anne Franks: now Sister Maria Veritas, OP. By the way, check out her Harvard valedictory speech — in Latin!– here): Harvard Valedictorian Joins Convent.
It’s one of the best kept secrets in the Catholic Church that there are more than 100 similar communities of holy, faithful, intelligent and committed women — many of them with average member ages in the thirties. They include Mother Teresa’s selfless Missionaries of Charity in the South Bronx, the classy yet never prideful Sisters of Life, Father Benedict Groeschel’s holy and joyous Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal and many more.
None of these thriving communities are members of the LCWR, of course. ALL of them belong, instead, to the dynamic and inspiring Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR). So what is the CMSWR saying about the bishops’ response to the Obama Administration on behalf of religious liberty, freedom of conscience and Catholic faith? Check them at http://cmswr.org ) and their response calling for a national novena of prayer and fasting: “We beg God for the preservation of our great and beautiful country…. The CMSWR invites you to join with us in a novena of prayer and fasting, asking Mary, Patroness of the United States of America, to implore God’s loving mercy on us at this critical time. The novena will begin March 25 and end April 2, 2012….”
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