Bishop BlairThis week on the  public radio show Fresh Air, Terry Gross interviewed Bishop Leonard Blair regarding the doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Ms. Gross talked with him about the criticism of LCWR by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Last week on Fresh Air, LCWR president Sister Pat Farrell, OSF, was interviewed about the assessment.

One of the things I was most struck by was the difference in the tone of the remarks by Bishop Blair and by Sister Farrell. I pray that true dialogue can occur and that it will be a source of healing in our church.

Here are some excerpts from Bishop Blair’s comments during the interview. These and other excerpts are on the Fresh Air website:

On the dialogue that the LCWR would like to have with the Vatican

“If by dialogue, they mean that the doctrines of the church are negotiable, and that the bishops represent one position and the LCWR represents another position and somehow we find a middle ground about basic church teaching on faith and morals, then no, I don’t think that’s the dialogue the Holy See would envision. But if it’s a dialogue about how to have the LCWR really educate and help the sisters appreciate and accept church teaching and to implement it in their discussions, and try to heal some of the questions or concerns they have about these issues, that would be the dialogue.”

On contraception

“We do recognize the validity of natural family planning but not artificial contraception. And admittedly, that involves more of a personal investment as a couple or individual, but that would be based on the moral grounds of what church teaches about marriage and human sexuality.”

On the ordination of women

“The church doesn’t say that the ordination of women is not possible because somehow women are unfit to carry out functions of the priest, but because on the level of sacramental signs, it’s not the choice that our Lord made when it comes to those who act in his very person, as the church’s bridegroom. And you can say that sounds like a lot of poetry or you know, how do we know that’s true, but if you’re a Catholic, this is part of our sacraments and practice for two millennia, and it’s not just an arbitrary decision of male oppression over women.”