After the Vatican made its announcement about the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR ) last week, many Catholics expressed a desire to learn more about the doctrinal assessment and reflect on its meaning in light of theology, which Saint Anselm described as “faith seeking understanding.”
To assist in this, we highlighted a few areas for consideration, based on a study guide that Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC, developed for the novices with whom she works. Sister Regina is a Catholic sister in the congregation of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. She has taught at Saint Louis University and Aquinas Institute of Theology and works with new members of religious communities and with people who are in RCIA in her parish. The study guide also includes questions from Sister Amy Hereford, CSJ, a Sister of Saint Joseph and an attorney canonist.
Downloadable and printable PDFs of this reflection guide as well as of the doctrinal assessment are available at the end of this post.
The Bigger Picture
1. What are the various centers of authority in the Catholic Church?
2. Name some of the many theologies that are operative in the Catholic Church today. How would you describe the theology at work in your life? in the Church? in LCWR?
3. What do you see as the place of religious life in today’s Church? In today’s world? How might others in the Church see the place of religious?
4. Discuss the notion of human dignity and human rights in this process.
The Assessment Itself
(pp. 1-2) The Introduction situates the assessment in the background of Vita Consecrata, an expression of gratitude for years of service to the Church and for the charism of religious life. It also mentions that the investigation of LCWR does not mean judgment on the life and faith of individual women religious.
(pp. 2-3) This section outlines the chronological setting for the assessment including the three major areas of concern that surfaced in the April 8, 2008, meeting with LCWR and Cardinal Levada: LCWR assembly addresses, policies of corporate dissent, and radical feminism.
(pp. 3-4) Documentation presented to the ordinary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF)
(p. 5) Principal Findings of the Doctrinal Assessment
(p. 6) The Role of the LCWR in the Doctrinal Formation of Religious Superiors and Formators
(p. 7) The Mandate for Implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment
(p. 8 ) Conclusion
We invite you to download this post to use for further personal reflection or in a discussion group.
April 25, 2012 at 10:00 am
Thank you for posting these excellent tools. What a pity the CDF doesn’t appear to have grasped the necessity of taking a text as a whole and not lifting a sentence out of context. Their treatment of Sr Laurie Brink’s writing leaves much to be desired.