Rome loves the Sisters! When you love someone, you show concern. And, recently, the Vatican expressed some concerns about the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), a group that represents a lot of Sisters.
That expression of concern contained high praise for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and even higher esteem for all the nuns in America. The concord between the Holy See (which asked for and initiated the Leadership Conference of Women Religious half-a-century ago) is strong enough for both sides to ask tough questions.
But the concern is real: the Holy See loves the Sisters so much they want them as strong, faithful, and influential as possible, and legitimately worries about features threatening their very identity as “daughters of the Church,” to borrow Elizabeth Ann Seton’s favorite description of her sisters.
Some say that Rome is too soft, and should have suppressed the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, because it is heretical; one letter even called them “Unitarians”!
The other extreme claims that the stuffy, oppressive, sexist Vatican is scared of these independent, free-thinking women, and should leave them alone.
But such caricatures hardly help. All that helps is humility in both partners, and a profession of faith that, in the end, it’s not about one side or the other, not about the grievances of the Leadership Conference for Women Religious or the worries of the Vatican, but it’s all about Jesus and His Church.
If the Sisters can survive the battlefields of the Civil War, they’ll survive the dramatic changes of the last five decades, and the current examination by Rome.
And what is never in question is our love and gratitude for the Sisters!