The following comes from an April 16 Catholic News Agency article by Elise Harris:
In a joint report marking the conclusion of a multi-year mandate for reform, members of the LCWR have agreed to corrections called for by the Vatican, and said they will continue on the path of dialogue.
“We are pleased at the completion of the mandate, which involved long and challenging exchanges of our understandings of and perspectives on critical matters of Religious Life and its practice,” Sr. Sharon Holland, IHM, President of LCWR, said in an April 16 press release.
Officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle and officers of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) met at the Vatican April 16.
Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said in the press release that “the Congregation is confident that LCWR has made clear its mission to support its member institutes by fostering a vision of religious life that is centered on the person of Jesus Christ and is rooted in the Tradition of the Church.”
This vision, he said, “makes religious women and men radical witnesses to the Gospel, and, therefore, is essential for the flourishing of religious life in the Church.”
Archbishop Sartain, who in 2012 was charged with leading their reform, presented a joint report with members of the LCWR on the implementation of the congregation’s Doctrinal Assessment and Mandate, which was issued in April 2012.
The joint report outlines the process in which the implementation of the mandate has been carried out. With the congregation’s acceptance of the joint report, the Vatican’s doctrinal assessment of the LCWR has come to a close.
In April 2012, the Vatican released the findings of a four year doctrinal assessment of the women’s conference, which found a state of doctrinal crisis within the organization, and raised concerns of dissent from Church teaching on topics including homosexuality, the sacramental priesthood and the divinity of Christ.
Among the assessment’s key findings were serious theological and doctrinal errors in presentations at the conference’s recent annual assemblies. Some presentations depicted a vision of religious life incompatible with the Catholic faith, or attempted to justify dissent from Church doctrine and showed “scant regard for the role of the Magisterium,” the assessment found.
At the same time the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith assigned Archbishop Sartain to oversee the conference’s reform, and he was given a mandate of up to five years to help the LCWR review and revise their statues, formation materials, presentations, events and links with affiliated organizations.
A key topic the report addressed was the mandate’s call for a careful review of the LCWR’s publications and programs to ensure that they are faithful to Church teachings.
The choice of assembly topics and speakers – which has been one of the most contested points of the LCWR’s reform mandate – was also addressed in the report.
In order to stay faithful to their mission and service in the Church, the selection of discussion topics and speakers will be carried out in “a prayerful, thoughtful and discerning manner,” according to the report.
In 2012, the same year the original assessment was released, the conference hosted philosopher Barbara Marx Hubbard, an author and promoter of “Conscious Evolution” as the keynote speaker for their annual general assembly.
Since then the concept – which Cardinal Müller cautioned opposes Christian revelation – has been featured heavily in LCWR materials.