With the publication of one paragraph by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, it appears that the Catholic left’s honeymoon with Pope Francis may have hit a dead end. The paragraph reads:
…Archbishop Müller informed the Presidency that he had recently discussed the Doctrinal Assessment with Pope Francis, who reaffirmed the findings of the Assessment and the program of reform for this Conference of Major Superiors.
What’s this? Pope Francis is going to continue the process initiated by Pope Benedict XVI that is intended to curtail the doctrinal and liturgical errors propounded by the leadership of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)? Wasn’t this new pope—the pope of the people and the poor—supposed to be on the side of those who are oppressed and marginalized by all of those unjust social, political, and yes, religious structures that benefit the few?
According to a communique by the Holy See, there was a meeting earlier today including the Superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Presidency of the LCWR, and the Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop of Seattle and the Holy See’s Delegate for the Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR. According to the communique, the CDF Prefect, the Most Rev. Gerhard Ludwig Müller, first expressed “his gratitude for the great contribution of women Religious to the Church in the United States as seen particularly in the many schools, hospitals, and institutions of support for the poor which have been founded and staffed by Religious over the years.” Cardinal Müller then
…highlighted the teaching of the Second Vatican Council regarding the important mission of Religious to promote a vision of ecclesial communion founded on faith in Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church as faithfully taught through the ages under the guidance of the Magisterium (Cf. Lumen gentium, nn. 43-47). He also emphasized that a Conference of Major Superiors, such as the LCWR, exists in order to promote common efforts among its member Institutes as well as cooperation with the local Conference of Bishops and with individual Bishops. For this reason, such Conferences are constituted by and remain under the direction of the Holy See (Cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 708-709).
It was after this little lecture that Cardinal Müller shot the missle across the LCWR’s port bow.
The Catholic left will not be happy and their minions in the mainstream media will surely fire back. In fact, it’s already happening. Hard questions are being raised about Pope Francis’ record in Argentina. According to John Allen, these questions include:
- Bergoglio’s response to two priests accused of sexual abuse, where critics have suggested he dropped the ball;
- why Argentina’s conference of Catholic bishops did not finish a set of sex abuse guidelines while he served as president;
- his relationship with Argentina’s military dictatorship as a Jesuit provincial during the 1970s;
- Bergoglio’s attitude toward liberation theology; and
- confusion over where he stood on the question of civil unions during a contentious national debate on gay marriage in 2009 and 2010.
Read Allen’s findings here.
Just a few short weeks ago upon his election as Pope, the LCWR issued the following statement:
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) offers its congratulations and heartfelt prayer to Pope Francis as he assumes the papacy at this critical time for the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio demonstrated great dedication to the mission of the Church during his leadership in Argentina. As he serves in the papacy, we trust that his many gifts will continue to be spent on behalf of the universal church, and most especially for people who live in poverty in all parts of the world.
As a conference of leaders of orders of Catholic sisters in the United States, we welcome Pope Francis’s spiritual leadership and look forward to working with him in carrying forward the Gospel message.
The honeymoon isn’t over…it’s likely hit a dead end. Will the Catholic left characterize Pope Francis—who told the clergy of Rome on Holy Thursday to be with their sheep and to smell like their sheep—as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”?
To read the communique, click on the following link:
To read John Allen’s article in NCROnline, click on the following link:
To read the LCWR statement, click on the following link: