One of Jesuit magazine America’s most popular writers has spoken out in defence of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the organisation whose members represent more than 80% of women religious in the U.S. and which recently received a big thumbs down from the Holy See after a strict doctrinal evaluation showed it had ignored on questioned the teachings of the Catholic Church on the subjects of abortion, homosexuality and divorce. “Catholic sisters are my heroes. In the wake of the Vatican document, my sister friends, some nearing the end of their lives, seemed to need a word of gratitude. The very least I could do was to show some support in a small way.” Fr. James Martin had already published an article in the prestigious New York Jesuit magazine America, expressing his support for Sister Elizabeth Johnson after the nine members of the U.S. Church’s doctrinal commission (led by the Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl) branded the work of the theologian from Fordham university as "seriously inadequate as a presentation of the Catholic understanding of God."
On Twitter, Fr. James Martin drew attention to the fact that millions of Catholics (as well as non Catholics) in the U.S. have expressed a highly positive opinion on the work done by U.S. nuns. The renowned Jesuit explained how Catholic sisters taught him to persevere in his ministry without the benefit of institutional power. He recalled the help the nuns gave to people in their daily lives. Fr. Martin’s public expression of support for the American sisters comes in response to the strong criticisms which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith addressed to the LCWR, accused by the Holy See of a radical feminism that is “incompatible with the Catholic faith.”
Fr. Martin said he supposed that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Vatican were not happy with the support the sisters broadly speaking gave to Obama’s health care reform which included provisions favouring abortion and contraception. According to the Holy See, the LCWR are feminist, non-compliant with the Church’s teachings and the bishops’ authority, gay friendly and too liberal. Upon completion of the “doctrinal assessment” which began in 2008, the Holy See decided that for five years, the Archbishop of Seattle, Peter Sartain, would act as a delegate, to monitor the actions of the LCWR, the association counting more than 1.500 members, who represent 80% of the 57.000 women religious in the U.S. This is because of the “unacceptable” positions taken by the association on issues such as the priestly ordination of women and the pastoral approach to homosexuality; not to mention the “a prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”
Link (here) to The Vatican Insider to read the full article
Go to Fr. Martin's Twitter account (here)