CNS has the story on those southwestern US bishops whose every-
five-seven-or-so-years meetings in Rome coincided with the CDF crackdown on LCWR. Bishop Kicanas makes nice, and makes the CDF seem nice too:
(The CDF expressed) the profound respect they have for the work our religious women, and I certainly share that. Our religious women in the diocese are doing a phenomenal job in our prisons, in our hospitals, in our schools, in our religious education programs, in our parishes, in our retirement homes. I don’t know what we would do without our religious women.
It was good to hear the congregation for religious be so positive about the work religious women are doing and I hope that the publication of the visitation reports will be beneficial.
The cynics at Commonweal are little-impressed with all this. Alan Mitchell there, leading off for the sisters:
This balanced assessment of The Assessment identifies the problem accurately, confusing a disagreement over public policy with doctrinal dissent. Not only has this resulted in a pastoral disaster, but a PR disaster for CDF and the bishops, as well. Social Media is the New Evangelization and it is firmly on the side of the Sisters. Twitter, Facebook, media support, and a petition at change.org, now with over 31,000 signatures show how much people around the world value the work of Religious Sisters, especially those represented by LCWR.
Instead of looking at these rather fluid situations of culture and faith, I think the CDF and their buddies in the American episcopate indeed have landed in a PR disaster. This blogger will be celebrating the Fortnight of Freedom not with bishops attempting association with authentic martyrs, but with lay people who have suffered at the hands of insufferable hierarchs of their own faith.
I suspect that clergy and religious numbers are dipping over the past forty to sixty-five years because no longer do men and women have to enter the priesthood or religious life to do serious apostolates in the world. In a way, we can blame the everybody’s-a-minister schtick. Why get ordained to a pseudo-eremitic life of celibacy when you can be in charge of lawn-care ministry? Why escape from a machismo-soaked Western culture into a life of service when it can be based from a suburban home instead of a cloister? And really, what do bishops and the curia expect to do about all this? Maybe the cutria counts itself lucky they got an archbishop to head up this “dialogue.”