Bishop Leonard Blair got some radio and CNS time this week, chatting about the LCWR:
If by dialogue they mean that the doctrines of the church are negotiable and the bishops represent one position and the LCWR presents another position, and somehow we find a middle ground about basic church teaching on faith and morals, then no, I don’t think that is the kind of dialogue that the Holy See would envision.
But if it’s a dialogue about how to have the LCWR really educate and help the sisters to appreciate and accept church teaching and to implement it in their discussions and try to hear some of the questions or concerns they have about these issues, then that would be the dialogue.
I’m not sure the LCWR and the CDF are quite on the same page. The LCWR has disputed the claims made against it. It would seem that before Bishop Blair can even be sure what the dialogue is about he should listen to his own flock first and suspend belief on the CDF’s claims here.
However, if this is about the occasional wayward sould who escorts women for abortions, that’s an argument built on the same lines as those who marginalize the episcopal witness for the moral mismanagement of cardinals such as Bernard Law and Anthony Bevilacqua. The ordination of women is not a matter of morality, nor faith in God. It is an administrative tradition, well-packed in history and especially metaphor. Permitting oneself to be swayed by the mewlings of sex addicts and declining to protect the innocent is under a direct condemnation of the Lord. Bishop Blair is correct that such a scandal does not remove the resposibility of the bishops to teach and serve in Christ’s name. Another model for serving, addressed to the apostles directly should be well-considered here.
This is a beef over administration. I can’t see the American sisters submitting to lies, if the bishops insist on turning this into a catechism lesson. Jesus didn’t found canonically-approved membership organizations. While helpful to facilitate communication, they don’t appear necessary to the tradition. Especially when the communication has been tarnished by gossip, innuendo, and misunderstanding. Many otherwise good bishops believed the lies of predator clergy. Raising the issue of their handling of sex abuse is definitely apt here. Are theu so sure they haven’t been hoodwinked again?