Sisters’ Scrutiny Continues

Sisters’ Scrutiny Continues

Monday’s news included a story that Pope Francis basically gave an affirmation to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in its takeover of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. You can read the details in all sorts of places on the web—I spotted the ABC news story first, then checked with the ever-reliable-for-getting-the-church-facts-right Catholic News Service.

The gist of the story is that Pope Francis affirmed the Congregation’s existing initiative. One person I talked with wondered if this were maybe just the Pope maintaining the status quo until he makes a new appointment with the powerful doctrinal Congregation (CDF). Who knows? The other Congregation involved, kind of after the fact, is the one that oversees priests, sisters and brothers in religious orders. The new head of that Congregation, José Rodríguez Carballo, a Franciscan, seems likely to want an amicable resolution for all.

All of this comes at the end of the recent LCWR meeting with the Holy See. Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., one of three U.S. bishops mandated by the CDF to implement a three-year takeover of LCWR, said, according to Catholic News Service:  “It is important to note that the doctrinal assessment of LCWR does not deal with the faith and life of the 57,000 women religious in the United States” nor is it meant “to call into question the faith and witness of so many dedicated and faithful women religious throughout the country.”

That, by the way, is the point of my recent book from Franciscan Media, Thank You, Sisters: Stories of Women Religious and How They Enrich Our Lives.


About the Author

John Feister is editor in chief of St. Anthony Messenger magazine. He has a B.A. in American Studies from University of Dayton, and master's degrees in Humanities and in Theology from Xavier University. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, and was previously an adviser to the Communications Committee of the U.S. Catholic bishops (2000-2006). His latest book, Thank You, Sisters: Stories of Women Religious and How They Enrich Our Lives is available from the Franciscan Media catalog. He has cauthored four books with Richard Rohr (Franciscan Media), and coauthored, with Charlene Smith, the biography of Thea Bowman (Orbis books).