Vatican to investigate US Catholic Sisters for not being “homophobic” enough

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lcwrUnhappy with the “tenor and  doctrinal content of addresses given at annual assemblies,” former San Francisco Archbishop William Levada,  now head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF),  has initiated an investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the largest women’s religious leadership organization in the country.

From the National Catholic Reporter

The Vatican assessment has become necessary, according to Levada, because at the 2001 meeting between the women’s leadership conference and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which took place in Rome, the women were invited “to report on the initiatives taken or planned” to promote the reception of three areas of Vatican doctrinal concern: the 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis, the 2000 declaration Dominus Jesusfrom the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and “the problem of homosexuality.”

In a 1986 letter written by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, to the world’s bishops, he wrote: “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”

I’m glad at least that they can look at my disorder objectively.

The LCWR has long been at odds with Vatican over their more open and modern attitudes toward gays and lesbians. Back in 1999 they expressed sadness over the termination—by the CDF no less—of gay-supportive services provided by the New Ways Ministry in Maryland.

We respectfully acknowledge those congregations’ longstanding support of their members’ efforts to educate and challenge society to recognize the human rights and pastoral needs of persons who are lesbian or gay. Sister Gramick and Father Nugent, in the course of their long ministry, have consistently affirmed the essential dignity of each human being and have worked to change attitudes that, unchecked, have led to derision and physical violence against lesbian and gay people.

We regret the suffering and sense of alienation experienced now by those who have found ministry a reflection of God’s love for them in the ministry of Sister Gramick and Father Nugent.  We applaud the SSND (School Sisters of Notre Dame) decision to establish a fund that will support an individual in pastoral ministry to those who are lesbian and gay as an authentic expression of the congregation’s  charism.

The current Executive Director of LCWR Sister Jane Burke, helped establish that fund. Later in 2002 LCWR issued a letter to the New Ways Ministry …

In the spirit of lived eucharistic communion, we members of the national board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious wish to express our gratitude to you and your staff for your compassionate presence in ministry to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in the Church.  We recall the words of our bishops in their pastoral letter, “Always Our Children,” affirming that all are children of one God.

I applaud LCWR for moving their faith into the 21st century, and hope they and their ideals can survive until a more inclusive and sympathetic Pope becomes head of the Catholic Church. In response to the investigation LCWR has issued the following statement:

“At this time, LCWR knows neither the process nor timeline for completion of this assessment. As more information is made available to LCWR, the conference will take the appropriate steps to prepare for its participation in the assessment. LCWR faces this process with confidence, believing that the conference has remained faithful to its mission of service to leaders of congregations of women religious as they seek to further the mission of Christ in today’s world.”

Prefect William Levada should be wary of what closet doors he chooses to open, as he has a host of skeletions hiding in his own closet.

Post by ILO on 04/17/09 at 1:38 am