WASHINGTON, D.C., August 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A senior Vatican prelate has fired a fresh salvo in the Vatican’s effort to reform the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, with a warning that the rogue organization could be shut down if they fail to implement the reforms demanded by the Vatican.
“If it can’t be reformed, then it doesn’t have a right to continue,” Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo in a Thursday interview for The World Over.
“How in the world can these consecrated religious who have professed to follow Christ more closely … be opposed to what the Vicar of Christ is asking? This is a contradiction,” he said.
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) launched the reform of the LCWR in April with a hard-hitting document raising serious doctrinal issues with the group, including its failure to uphold Church teaching on the right to life, homosexuality, and women’s ordination. The organization represents about 80% of America’s 57,000 women religious.
Cardinal William Levada, then-prefect of the CDF, warned in June that the LCWR could be decertified if they fail to implement the reforms.
The group, which has advocated radical feminism for decades, has fought back, framing the reform as a case of a patriarchal Vatican seeking to exercise control over women.
“The question is, ‘Can you be Catholic and have a questioning mind?’ That’s what we’re asking,” Sister Pat Farrell, LCWR’s president, told National Public Radio in July. “This mandate … puts us in a position of being under the control of certain bishops, that is not a dialogue. If anything, it appears to be shutting down dialogue.”
“The teaching and interpretation of the faith can’t remain static and really needs to be reformulated, rethought in light of the world we live in,” she added.
In his World Over interview, Cardinal Burke told Arroyo that the issue is simply a question of the sisters remaining faithful to their vows. “Consecrated religious … are bound to the Vicar of Christ by a very significant bond because they have professed … to follow Christ in an exemplary way and so to be a source of strength and inspiration for the whole People of God,” he explained.
“The question now is for conversion to the true nature of religious life and to accept gratefully and humbly what the Holy Father is asking through his representatives and to reform the organization,” he added.
The prelate also noted that few people realize the Holy See actually founded the LCWR, in 1956. So, he asked, “Why should it not have a right to say ‘look this organization is no longer fulfilling the mission for which we founded it’?”