Reactions to the CDF's assessment of the LCWR are flooding the Catholic blogosphere.
So far, 99% of these reactions have been predictably supportive of either the Left's narrative of Hierarchical Males Oppress the Alternative Spiritualities of Women or the Right's narrative of Holy Mother Church Finally Punishes Naughty Daughters.
There have been a few reactions that hit closer to the truth of the matter.
Tom McDonald makes a point that needs to be repeated like the "Hail Mary":
The LCWR is a toxic organization that has slowly poisoned the church since the 1970s. . .They do not represent the 60,000+ women’s religious of America, but rather a small, elite cadre of left-leaning leaders who openly break with the church. Many orders belong to the LCWR merely out of habit (so to speak), but feel as though they have no voice in the organization. They largely ignore them as a noisy embarrassment.
My own experiences with sisters/nuns in the last 12 yrs. bear this out. Frequently, I've been told by religious women that the LCWR-types run roughshod over their member congregations and cause problems with the clergy and donors. Many lament the decline of their congregations and point directly to the radical feminist agenda of the national leadership as the primary cause. My sense of things is that most sisters just ignore the nonsense and get on with their ministries.
The Always Worthy Anchoress runs her horse outside the track:
People wondering what “side” I am on should know that I distrust any story that runs on the cheap and inefficient fuel of emotionalism; they generally become all about sound, fury and heat and once that happens, the realities become victims to the distortions of agenda. My thoughts are not in tune with either “side". . .I know many “sisters in pantsuits with bad haircuts” who have lived out their lives of faith and service, and their vows, like a poured out libation; their gentleness and generosity of spirit would shame some of their most vociferous critics, should they actually meet up. Often they are besmirched, dismissed and ridiculed as “hippie nuns” (and worse) by people for whom the only good nun is a habited nun.
Again, this lines up perfectly with my own experiences as a religious. Most of the sisters I know are not in habit and most are fiercely dedicated to the Church. We have a saying in the Order, "The habit does not make the friar." There's nothing magical about the habit. Yes, it is a good thing to wear the habit. I wear mine most of the time. On the flip side, the uncritical rejection of the habit by some sisters and their nearly demonic revulsion of those who wear one is scandalous. We cannot assume that the presence/absence of a religious habit tells us much of anything about the person. How many lay people wear crosses and never give a thought to what it represents?
Just to be clear about all this: the LCWR needed to be investigated and it needs to be radically reformed if not outright disbanded. The poison of the LCWR is pervasive and potentially deadly for some in the Church. They have led many astray and need to face the Church's judgment. However, none of us can or should assume that all sisters whose congregations belong to the LCWR have been tainted with their New Agey nonsense. The self-anointed prophetesses of the LCWR are outliers, powerful outliers but nonetheless unrepresentative of the average American religious sister.
Pray for the sisters who labor under the LCWR-types and do NOT add to their burden by loading them up with scorn.___________________
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