In an editorial entitled "Misguided LCWR Mandate Lumbers Onward," the National Catholic Reporter discusses the latest meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious with their Vatican-appointed watchdog, Archbishop Peter Sartain--a meeting that continues to leave LCWR in the dark about why the Vatican has chosen to savage American religious women. NCR writes:
One inescapable truth is that a group of men, meeting in secret, assessed, judged and found guilty a women's organization. The LCWR tale is anchored in a culture of male clericalism, out of step with contemporary mores. The second-class role of women in the church and an exclusively male authority structure are fundamental starting points for understanding the dynamics of the Vatican/LCWR story.
By almost any contemporary standard founded in human dignity, the process has been unjust, with virtually no allowances for a reasonable defense. Indeed, the process reveals more about the state of our church than anything its findings have revealed about the women.
The process reveals more about the state of our church than anything its findings have revealed about the women: that seems to me correct. And until and unless Pope Francis directly addresses what's going on with this process, I wonder how his new reformist regime for the church can have any real meaning at all--in the real church in which most of us actually live.
The graphic: the Car of Juggernaut, from the Illustrated London Reading Book (1851), available for replication through Wikimedia Commons. As the Wikipedia definition of the term "juggernaut" to which the image is attached notes, "The figurative sense of the English word, with the sense of 'something that demands blind devotion or merciless sacrifice,' was coined in the mid-19th century."