Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Levada Orders Separate Review of LCWR

(Read this new update after the post below - Why the LCWR is Being Investigated)

NCR reports today that Cardinal William Levada has ordered a doctrinal review of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The review is separate from the previously announced Apostolic Visitation of U.S. Women Religious.

The new review will be conducted by Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo, Ohio. According to NCR, leaders of the LCWR had asked for a meeting with Levada before a review of their organization was announced publicly. That meeting was set for April 22, but the announcement has apparently been advanced by NCR's reception of a copy of Levada's letter ordering the review.

NCR does not print the letter, but summarizes CDF's concerns:

The Vatican assessment has become necessary, according to Levada, because at the 2001 meeting between the women’s leadership conference and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which took place in Rome, the women were invited “to report on the initiatives taken or planned” to promote the reception of three areas of Vatican doctrinal concern: the 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis, the 2000 declaration Dominus Jesus from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and “the problem of homosexuality.”

Ordinatio sacerdotalis, Latin for “On the Ordination to the Priesthood,” was a Vatican document that reasserted that Catholic ordination to the priesthood is reserved for men alone and that the church “has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women.”

Dominus Jesus was a declaration that, in part, insisted that non-Catholic Christians are “in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the church, have the fullness of the means of salvation” and that non-Catholic Christian communities suffer “defects.” It was viewed at the time by some Catholic theologians and leaders of other religions as a major setback in interreligious dialogue.

In a 1986 letter written by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, to the world’s bishops, he wrote: “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”

Regarding the investigation of the women’s leadership conference, Levada informed conference leaders: “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.”

NCR is very slow today for some reason, but their entire report is here.