Vatican Official to Attend Dissident Nun Conference

LCWR logoMembers of the Leadership Council for Women Religious (LCWR) are upset that the Vatican has sent a representative to attend their annual conference, accusing the Church of putting a “cloud” over their affair.

According to a blog by Father John Zuhlsdorf, Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain is planning to attend the LCWR conference which will take place in mid-August in Orlando.

Sartain is the U.S. archbishop who was given oversight of the group by the Vatican after an investigation resulted in orders for the group to revise its statutes and reform its programs last spring.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Leadership Evolving: Graced, Grounded & Free” and will explore “how the growing awareness of an evolving universe impacts understandings of religious life and leadership.”

In addition to hosting prominent New Age speakers such as Barbara Marx Hubbard at their conferences, the Vatican’s assessment of the group cited themes of radical feminism that were prominent “in some of the programs and presentations sponsored by the LCWR, including theological interpretations that risk distorting faith in Jesus and his loving Father who sent his Son for the salvation of the world.”

The group, which represents the leadership of 80 percent of U.S. religious orders, has also made public statements advocating women’s ordination and protested Church teaching about the pastoral care of homosexual persons.

More than 800 women have signed up to attend this year’s conference.

Because of Sartain’s presence, one former LCWR president said the group was preparing for the assembly with an “ominous feeling.”

“We’re going into this assembly knowing that there’s a cloud over our head and that we are being investigated and they are going to be monitoring us,” said Mercy Sr. Theresa Kane, who served as LCWR president from 1979 to 1980.

She says Sartain is “showing up, and he’s staying for the entire assembly. It’s monitoring. There’s a cloud … and we’re living through it.”

Father Zuhlsdorf’s application for press credentials to cover the event was turned down by the sisters who claimed that he did not “meet the requirements” for a press badge.

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