Two options for the LCWR

From a CNA/EWTN News piece, quoting Ann Carey:

Carey said that after Vatican II, members of many religious orders began to live in apartments and find their own jobs, separate from a corporate apostolate such as teaching or care for the sick.

In addition, they threw off the “loyalty and faithfulness to the Church” as well as the “deference to the hierarchy” that had previously characterized religious life.

The changes were so drastic that they caused some women to leave the LCWR, Carey said. These women formed another group, which eventually became an alternative superiors’ conference known as the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious.

This more traditional group, which requires its members to adhere to the essentials of religious life as understood by the Church, is attracting the bulk of young vocations today, she noted.

If the conference is to undergo a true renewal, Carey said, its members must re-examine the Church’s understanding of religious life and make a firm commitment to live as “representatives of the Church,” in union with the local bishop.

She emphasized that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is not trying to return to the pre-Vatican II days but is instead promoting an “accurate interpretation of those documents” and the life they portray.

Carey said it will be “very interesting to watch” as the situation progresses. While she does not know what will happen, she said there are ultimately only two possible outcomes.

It is possible that the LCWR will cooperate with the Vatican’s reform efforts and see that they have gotten away from Church teaching, she explained.

However, she is unsure whether that will happen, because some of the group’s members are “very convicted that what they’re doing is the right thing.”

The other option is for the conference to relinquish its canonical status and simply continue as a professional group, which Carey believes will cause them to “lose a lot of their members.”

Read the entire piece. My guess is that the LCWR will double down and try, for a while, to win a public relations battle, benefiting from the mostly positive spin in the media. But, eventually, the LCWR will most likely lose its canonical status and try to continue on as a sort of alternative, non-official “conference”. It is very hard to see the LCWR full cooperating, especially since its identity and agenda, from its founding forty years ago, have been almost unremittingly contrary to Church authority and in opposition to many key Church teachings. 

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About Carl E. Olson 1227 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.