Vatican assessment discussed behind closed doors at LCWR assembly
Behind the closed doors women religious representing the majority of U.S. women’s congregations met several times during their Aug. 7-10 annual assembly to discuss their response to the Vatican’s doctrinal assessment of their organization, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has called for reform of LCWR to ensure its fidelity to Catholic teaching in areas including abortion, euthanasia, women’s ordination and homosexuality.
At the meeting’s start, the sisters were reminded of how atypical this year’s gathering would be. They were urged to take a thoughtful and prayerful approach to discerning the Vatican assessment and not to discuss the deliberations with members of the media since the process of discernment would continue to unfold in each day’s executive sessions.
During an Aug. 9 press conference. a reporter asked if an LCWR representative could indicate which way the group was “leaning” in its discussions. The sisters said they would not discuss that either.
“We know well enough to honor the process and not predict” an outcome, said Sister Mary Pellegrino, a Sister of St Joseph from Baden, Pa.
The process of discernment, which one sister described as “muddling through,” is not new to the sisters, they said, but rather is something they are used to doing particularly in their work with other religious communities and lay groups.
Mercy Sister Mary Waskowiak, from Burlingame, Calif., said discerning involves finding the answer to “what we believe is being asked of us” and asking God to help them to the next best step, which she also added, is not always clear.
References to how the sisters were discerning their next steps were clear in the daily prayer sessions where the sisters were continually reminded that they were at a crossroads and should let go of fears and preconceived ideas and trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit. [More]