Leadership Conference of Women Religious

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Doctrinal Assessment of LCWR by Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

On March 10, 2009, J Lora Dambroski, OSF, as president of LCWR, received a letter from Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), informing her that CDF decided to initiate a doctrinal assessment of LCWR.

The letter refers back to the 2001 meeting in Rome of the LCWR officers with the CDF staff and notes that LCWR was invited at that time “to report on the initiatives taken or planned by your Conference to promote the reception of the Church's teaching among your member communities, especially on issues such as the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis, the Declaration of this Congregation Dominus Jesus, and the problem of homosexuality.” The letter goes on to state that “Given both the tenor and the doctrinal content of various addresses given at the annual assemblies of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the intervening years, this Dicastery can only conclude that the problems which had motivated its request in 2001 continue to be present.”

The letter states that CDF has decided that “a doctrinal assessment of the activities and initiatives of the LCWR would be helpful” and that this decision was reached in communication with Cardinal Franc Rodé, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

CDF has asked Bishop Leonard P. Blair, Bishop of Toledo, to be its delegate in conducting the assessment, which will have as its principal purpose “to review the work of the LCWR in supporting its membership as communities of faith and witness to Christ in today's Church, and to offer any useful assistance.”

During their regularly scheduled annual consultation with various Vatican offices in Rome, the LCWR officers met with Cardinal Levada on April 22. The officers issued a public statement about the meeting on April 23.