At the National Catholic Reporter, John Allen spoke with Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, immediately following the cardinal’s meeting yesterday with the head and executive director of the LCWR.
From Allen’s article:
Levada said he believes the breach between Rome and the LCWR can be repaired.
“I believe it can work,” he said. “That’s my hope and prayer.”
At the same time, Levada described the risk of a “dialogue of the deaf,” saying the Vatican has been in talks with LCWR for four years, but along the way the group has made choices that, in Levada’s eyes, signal it’s not taking their concerns to heart.
Levada also speculated about what might happen should the LCWR not adopt the changes the Vatican, and its delegate to the LCWR, Archbishop Peter Sartain, recommend.
Levada said while church officials cannot force LCWR to change course, if things come to an impasse, they can withdraw official recognition.
“What we can do, and what we’d have to do, is to say to them, ‘We will substitute a functioning group for yours,’ ” he said.
Levada said he doesn’t yet know what such a “functioning group” might look like, except it should be a conference “that would focus on the priorities of religious life, the life of holiness, which is the fundamental call of all of us in the church.”
While there is already a rival umbrella group in the United States known as the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, broadly seen as a more traditional alternative to LCWR, Levada said “it could very well be” that a new group would have to be created to absorb the official role of LCWR. He stressed he hopes things don’t come to that.
“We would like to see an effective and strong LCWR,” he said.
Levada also acknowledged that the Vatican cannot block the LCWR on its own from withdrawing from the official orbit and re-incorporating under civil law, but said that should the group make that choice, “the Holy See isn’t going to give patronage to it.”
Read all of Allen’s article here.