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
"I believe it can work," he said. "That's my hope
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
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
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."
all of Allen’s article here