01 August 2012

Archbishop Carlson to Address LCWR Assembly Next Week

Yes, you read the title of this post correctly.

The St. Louis Review has published this article confirming the address.  The LCWR sisters, as you might expect, are delighted to welcome him.

The article does note that His Grace "understands some local Catholics might be upset that the assembly is being held in St. Louis and perhaps be confused by some of the content to be covered."  With greatest respect to His Grace, the upset experienced by some local Catholics arises precisely because there is no confusion about some of the content to be covered. 

From the full article: 

Recent attention to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is expected to increase as almost 900 women religious will converge upon St. Louis for the organization's annual assembly Aug. 7-11 at the Millennium Hotel Downtown.


Archbishop Robert J. Carlson will deliver the opening greeting at the assembly Tuesday evening, Aug. 7. In an interview with the Review, he said he is fully aware of the recent controversy with the LCWR. In light of the dialogue between the Holy See and the LCWR the archbishop said, "I think it is very important that we don't politicize this, but rather that we do it within the community of the Church."

The archbishop said he understands some local Catholics might be upset that the assembly is being held in St. Louis and perhaps be confused by some of the content to be covered. However, he noted that his "style for 42 years as a priest and 28 years as a bishop has been one of dialogue. I find that an effective way to be a man of the Church and to live out the Gospel."

His presence at the assembly, he said, "would only indicate my love for the Church, and my hope that the concerns of the Holy See — which I support — and the memory of the wonderful religious who have helped me during my earliest days as a child, help to resolve the challenges which exist at this time."


Sister Annmarie Sanders, IHM, associate director of communications, said that the organization was not granting interviews, but she responded to several questions submitted via email. 

In her response, she stated that the LCWR was "pleased that Archbishop Carlson will be present at the opening of the assembly," adding that the LCWR officers have gotten to know the archbishop through his role as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. In that role, he has a certain responsibility for meeting with the groups that represent clergy and religious. [...] __________________

This disappointing news does not require further comment from me.  However, as an observer of the local Catholic media scene, I just have to point out an excerpt from the article that contains one of the most bitterly enjoyable understatements I have yet read.  Barbara Marx Hubbard, a published proponent of the so-called "New Age" heresy, will be delivering the keynote address at this Assembly.  The Review acknowledges this, but describes the situation this way: 

This year's keynote speaker at the assembly will be Barbara Marx Hubbard, an author, speaker and educator who holds a belief in conscious evolution. She will speak on "Mystery Unfolding: Leading in the Evolutionary Now." 

If you have no idea what exactly that means, as I suspect many readers of the Review will not, the article gives the LCWR's party-line attempt to make a silk purse out of this sow's ear of a speaker:  

The LCWR, in its written reply, said that Hubbard was invited to speak "in order to gain some perspective on the context of the world in which women religious are living and ministering. LCWR is interested in hearing Dr. Hubbard's understanding of the rapid shifts occurring in the world today so that the leaders can reflect on the role of and call to women religious in light of what Dr. Hubbard offers." 

Please pray for the Church.


oops said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Please don't be discouraged. God always wins-the truth of it all will eventually be disclosed. Keep up your great work. God Bless.

Trappist Monk

Anonymous said...

The archbishop demonstrates his pastoral expertise by his willingness to meet and listen to the members of LCWR.


Forward-Slash_S said...

Wow, really? What message does THAT send to the faithful? Somewhere between vocally standing up against the HHS mandate in Jeff. City and a nod of recognition to the LCWR's legitimacy by virtue of his presence there, exists a line that His Grace will not cross. I would like to know what that is. Rather than a display of his 'love for the Church', I would pose that it sends an entirely different message.

There are not just a few, but many, who disagree that this action will in any way benefit the Church as it further sows confusion and despair among the faithful.


StGuyFawkes said...

Dear STLCATH readers,

It's easy to be upset by this but really what else can the Archbishop do? At present the heresy problem is being handled by two Vatican congregations and for His Excellency to do anything that would seem to presume the Vatican's ultimate decision, well that would be way, way out of line.

Granted, it's fearsome to see that back in the City State, Cardinal Levada has been exchanged for a German Cardinal who looks much less likely to "engage" the heresy problem vigorously. Still, there is little room for our local ordinary to do anything else, especially if he has a formal role to uphold in the US Bishop's Committee on Clergy which makes him show up for things like this.

Ask yourself what do you REALLY want the Archbishop to do? And if he did it what would be the result? These LCWR sisters have already bruited the idea of canonically de-registering themselves. If the Archbishop was to snub or scold them, and they chose to de-register then the CDF would have to wade into the legal morass of calling up each sister individually for failures to uphold truths "de Fide tenenda" and that would be one long, hard slog.

Obviously, someone in command thinks that the LCWR organization can still be addressed fraternally in Christ.

What we really need to know is what the LCWR leaders said to the Vatican this week. Wasn't this the week when two or three of their reps were supposed to go in and give their response to the formal criticism?

These sisters are going to decide this week whether "to fish or cut bait." What good does it do now to give them reason to run into the woods and dance naked in front of tall bonfires.

Please said...

Mr. Guy, seriously? There is a BIG difference between the Archbishop not publicly condemning the conference and his actually attending this debacle. What's next? Dialoging at planned parenthood?


Hootiecootie said...

Let's go back a couple years ago and ask WWCBD (What would Cardinal Burke do?).

This is a disgrace!

Reminds me of the passage in the bible in Revelations, "So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth."

What kind of a message does this send to EVERYONE out there? It makes Catholics look like we take out of both sides of our mouths which equates to be liars. You can't support something morally corrupt and then proclaim to speak the truth.

Our Lady of Fatima begs us to pray for all of our religious.

Please surprise us Archbishop Carlson and during your time at this conference preach to these erring people about the heresy that they spread. They are not Catholic teachings and are leading many away.

God bless us and Our Lady of Fatima PLEASE intercede for us and the Holy Catholic Church in Her time of need!

Anonymous said...

"...What's next? Dialoging at planned parenthood?" - Please


Now THERE'S a radical concept...

- Thank You

Peggy R said...

While it might seem unlikely that Abp. Carlson would do so, it seemed that LCWR should have a bishop on the schedule to tell them a few things about obedience and fidelity. So, he won't read them the riot act, but let us hope he will offer some criticisms and proper direction to these women, and not too obsequiously.

StGuyFawkes said...

Dear Hello!? and Hootiecootie,

The essence of the CDF's "Doctrinal Assessment" is that the LCWR lacks episcopal supervision.

Some would say "adult supervision."

The problem is that you can't say at once that the LCWR needs to bond more closely with their bishops and then have a local bishop fail to show up when invited.

It's that simple. His Excellency is constrained by the very critique of the CDF.

My point: acting in conformity with the decisions of Rome, for his Excellency to fail to show up upstages the actions of the city state whose government is already on top of the heresy problem in the LCWR. (We hope!)

Moreover, he apparently has a position in the US Conference which requires him to show up at these things.

He has to go.

Basically, it's "game on" between these ladies and the Vatican. The last thing His Excellency wants is to wander onto the field, place an extra player into the controversy and upset Rome's play.

If he does this he gives Srs. Chittister et aliae the opportunity to cry that they are trying to connect but these "out of touch", testosterone driven-- men with the pointy mitres are refusing to listen because they are too busy polishing their rods and staffs.

The Archbishop is demonstrating what it means to be a team player and act in conformity with the motions of Rome. He has to respect Rome's actions and not pre-empt them or presume their outcome.

It is not his style to go rogue and independently condemn.

It is exactly the style of the LCWR to to rogue.

We can't complain that the LCWR is out of communion with us when we refuse communion with them.

The bishops, the bishops the bishops. Let the bishops and their congregations handle this. It is not ours to set up our own little magisterium in the blogosphere.

That's their style, not ours.

Why should the Archbishop shun these women and give them the excuse to run naked into the woods and dance under a full moon?

St. Guy

Anonymous said...

Too soon.

Wait to see what the Archbishop says when he speaks to them. St. Guy has it right; there are important pastoral concerns here that can perhaps more charitably be addressed by speaking to the conference than by lighting oneself in flame in front of the door as the women religious arrive.

It is all fine and dandy (within certain bounds) to be incensed as an anonymous voice on the internet; it is an entirely different thing to be a shepherd charged with (among other things) shepherding the souls of the St. Louis Archdiocese to heaven.

Yes, if Archbishop Carlson is willingly levitated in the air by one of the attendees in a seance, we can all reasonably (and charitably) criticize. But merely announcing that he is speaking is not in and of itself anything close to a heresy.

Proud SLPS Parent

Ken C said...

I agree with SLPS Parent. The test will be in the transcript. Will it be posted? It should be demanded ... and it should be a hard-hitting call for them to return to the Faith.

Anonymous said...

It's kind of amusing to watch you all assign this a level of importance that doesn't really exist. Oh to have your lives!

Hootiecootie said...

I do hear and understand what you are saying. When then Archbishop Burke declined to go to the fund raiser where Cheryl Crowe was performing and clearly stated why it spoke volumes to all that heard it.

There are ways to politely decline speaking without giving scandal if people are worried about the "dialogue" between the Vatican and this group. The reason for NOT speaking at it though is because it has NOT been resolved. People would be up in ARMS if the Archbishop was doing the same thing at a SSPX convention.

So, it says to the population basically the more bizarre and outrages the problems the more the church officials will tolerate your behavior.

But in the end, what is the difference here and the scandal that has been caused with the Obama/Notre Dame affair and on and on?

Maybe this is a Trojan Horse attack but I would be surprised. Very surprised.

Anonymous said...

Prelate or not, it is an abomination. Period. To try to find the good in it is to be part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Hootie - That is exactly what I was thinking. You nailed it.

StGuyFawkes said...

Hootie/PBR et alios,

The Catholic Church is an organization with rules and procedures and canon laws. Each of it's members takes up different roles. Within the hierarchy there is an even greater differentiation of roles.

It is not Archbishop Carlson's role to determine the status or stature of the LCWR. It is the role of prelates much more highly placed than he.

For him to prejudice an ongoing investigation would be the ABOMINATION. He can't presume what hasn't been disposed of yet.

He has to go to the LCWR meeting.

I've had this problem in every traditionalist group of which I've ever been a member. There are always a few members who think they themselves constitute the magisterium. Respect your Archbishop and let him be the Archbishop and stop second guessing him.

This is very different than the Sheryl Crowe controversy. There was no ongoing investigation of Sheryl Crowe and no congregation in the Vatican already dealing with Sheryl Crowe. It was an entirely local issue.

The LCWR is national and since the city state jumped in it is now international.

It's been kicked upstairs. Why can't anyone get this? It's an insult to the CDF if anyone acts while they are deciding what to do.

This is basic organizational logic. Haven't any of you guys ever been in the military or worked in a corporation?

I'm done. I'm repeating myself.

St. Guy

Anonymous said...

He has spent 42 years as a priest and a bishop in dialogue. What has been achieved?

Anonymous said...

The best part of this post is the picture of Fr. Kleba grinning in the background with his little stuffed puppy. I'm surprised St. Guy did not pick up on this. (Although I did appreciate St. Guy's proper use of the nominative feminine plural "et aliae" to describe St. Chittister and her cohorts.)


Forward-Slash_S said...

@Hootiecootie. Precisely. The only thing I would say though is that if The Archbishop did address a SSPX convention, we would know that he did so to a group who is in union with the Holy Father and the Church, though it would be so much different as you say ... the rabid dingbats would come out of woodwork condemning it.


thetimman said...

"He has to go to the LCWR meeting."-- St. Guy

No, he doesn't, as you know well.

Or can you point to the canon that requires a local ordinary to attend a meeting of this or any other organization that happens to be in town?

I'll wait.

StGuyFawkes said...


I can't point to a canon which forces His Excellency's to attend, but the logic of the CDF's "Doctrinal Assessment", and the structural relationship between the LCWR and the Vatican, underscores that the goal of the CDF is stronger episcopal oversight and supervision of the LCWR.

You can't argue for adult supervision and then leave the playground to the drug dealers.

It's better for him to be there than not. Although I do understand that there is a problem of scandal.

Nonetheless, it's much more in keeping with Rome's aim for him to show up than not. The problem of scandal in his presence can be addressed "ad hoc" both in what he says and what he reports in his newspaper, "The St. Louis Review."

Let's cut him a little slack.

There is an organizational and procedural issue here: the LCWR haven't been dissolved or disbanded yet. For him to shun them -- and let's be clear that's what we are suggesting -- presumes upon the final decision of the Cardinal who now runs the CDF.

Sure there are all kinds of ways he could beg off which would give joy to our cause but isn't engagement a better tactic for the while, especially since these ladies are constantly talking about the failure of the bishops to "dialogue?"

Why give the LCWR a showcase example of a refusal to "dialogue?"

They have already made the proposal to canonically disband an agenda item for this conference.

Don't you think somebody from the USCCB needs to get into that room with them before they make that decision?

As I have said, if the LCWR disbands the CDF will have no choice but to wade into the bloody waters of drawing up individual excommunications. That's a lot of work and trouble, although it might be the best path ultimately.

Archbishop Carlson is supporting the CDF by being at the conference. That's the way I see it.

Although, to keep our priorities straight let's admit while supporting the CDF he is, oh dear, disappointing members of St. Louis Catholic.

I just can't fault him for preferring the role of supporting the CDF to the role of supporting us.

Although if "we are Church" and "we are the people of God" -- as they say down on Boyle Street -- then I suppose I should be shocked at his scandalous choice of a Vatican congregation over a Traditionalist blog. What is the man thinking? Where are his priorities?

By the way, Christophe, I noticed the picture of Fr. Kleba and the puppy.

St. Guy

Hootiecootie said...

There is that word again.


What is there to talk about?

THIS GROUP openly SUPPORTS ABORTION, CONTRACEPTION, GAY MARRIAGE, on and on. There is nothing else to talk about!

They support women priests, new age mediation, and work with mother earth and seem to have forgotten the Blessed Mother.

Where is MY opportunity to DIALOGUE about this? This appears to be my only forum to DIALOGUE.

People will say, "Well, the Archbishop went. It must be okay."

If I have a child that is living an immoral life, it will infect my other children. The answer: change your ways or leave. It sends a clear message to others in the household and to the person getting the boot. They might come around, they might stay away for years, or they may never change. You still love them and pray they make it. You do this BECAUSE YOU LOVE THEM and do not want to see them (BRACE YOURSELF FOLKS)go to hell. (the traditional Catholics still believe in that place too.)

Hand out the excommunications!

PLEASE! But really they should have been given years ago.

They sound like my children, "Your not listening to me!"

"No, your right I am not listening to you, YOU ARE WRONG and are erring in GRAVE matters. There is NOTHING else left to say."

That is exactly why so many "good" sisters and religious have spoken openly AGAINST THIS GROUP and ran in the opposite direction of them. It is like a disease and they don't want to catch it. I don't see them running to the conference in support of the DIALOGUE process.

This is why so many conservative people have left the church and fled to Protestant churches that take a stand on these issues. Obviously, they forgot about the Eucharist and many other CATHOLIC issues but that is a whole different subject.

And I don't mind saying either, THE VATICAN should have sent some sort of DIALOGUE to Missouri condemning the whole thing until it is cleared up. It isn't like a letter has to travel overseas anymore.

This is the same as giving communion to Pro-Choice politicians "who are still in good standing with the church". Where are those excommunications? There has been a DIALOGUE about ALL of that and guess what they should refuse to give them communion.

What is going on here in STL next week is NOT an isolated incident. At first people did trust the bishops and that the correct outcome would happen. I, for one, am tired of the people that do speak out against the bishops and priests all the time seem to get their way and spread error.

We were all being polite giving them time. I am standing up with the hierarchy. I want to let them know, "HEY, I WANT YOU TO KNOW I SUPPORT YOUR DECISION TO UPHOLD CATHOLIC DOCTRINE AND MORAL LAW!"

These are God's laws not mans.

I went to high school with these sisters. I know what they teach. That has been MANY years ago now. How much more time should we give them to talk things over?


And for the record, I am not a "traditional" Catholic.

I am a Catholic.

Anonymous said...

Where is the U C L X when you need him/her?


latinmassgirl said...


You are tryiing too hard to explain yourself, and you are failing because you are wrong. He is not going there to dialogue, but to show kindness and understanding. The church has already failed with the understanding thing. It is time to be real shepherds and LEAD the flock. We are just sick of namby-pamby, I love yous. Leave that to Barney. We want to go to heaven, not hell.

Kathy said...

"Anyone who is so “progressive”* as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him; for whoever greets him shares in his evil works.
2 John 1:9-11

Anonymous said...

Hootie, I couldn't agree more. Archbishop Carlson's decision to attend serves the Church and Her faithful a grave injustice. How are we supposed to defend the teachings of the Church to our laughing friends when they question us on abortion, contraceptives, etc.. when our bishops go out of their way to support these heretical groups. Their actions speak louder than their words. The time for dialogue has long passed. At some point discipline is in order and needed. It is time for the bishops to stand up for the teachings of the Church and the Holy Father and defend Mother Church to the death if necessary.

Oh, and I too am not a "Traditional" Catholic, I am Catholic.


StGuyFawkes said...

Dear Latin Mass Girl et alios,

I agree that I am straining to explain my position, and I may be wrong. However, I find it disturbing that few of us seem to grasp that Archbishop Carlson's may be motivated, in part by reasons of organizational coherance.

There are two Vatican congregations working on these women. Is it possible that the Archbishop trusts them to get this job done?

Has it occured to you that there may be more going on in this than we know?

Why does everyone assume his motive must be laxity?

I'm out.

St. Guy

Anonymous said...

Note that Archbishop Sartain, appointed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to oversee the LCWR review, asked to attend the meeting but was rejected by the good sisters.

According to Fr. Zuhlsdorf's blog: "Archbishop Sartain offered to come to the assembly, but he was told his presence 'would not be helpful,'" according to the LCWR president.


So Archbishop Carlson is welcome, but the Vatican-appointed overseer of the visitation is not. Hmmm ...


Anonymous said...

I should have added, "So much for dialogue."

- Christophe

StGuyFawkes said...


The Archb. Sartain rebuff is disgusting, although I must say would he really want to be there considering what's likely to get said.

I've never thought these gals really were ever interested in "dialogue" other than to enter into a kind of "negotiation" whereby they assert themselves as a parallel magisterium.

My sole point is that Archb. Carlson is not playing the same role as Archb. Sartain and as host, so to speak, he may just have to be there to watch these gals "drink the Kool Aid" and feel sorry for themselves.

I'd be willing to bet that they make some futile gesture and either canonically disband, or publish some kind of manifesto which they can use on their bus trips.

These nuns on the bus remind me of an old country western lyric: "....thank God and Greyhound, she's gone...."

St. Guy

Anonymous said...

Ladies and gentlemen,
Given the ultimately eternal stakes that moral matters hold, I understand the passion here, but let's keep in mind:

1) With regard to confusing the faithful, if you were to ask Catholics in the pews of most parishes tomorrow "Do you think that Archbishop Carlson's attendance at the LCWR meeting causes confusion?", probably 90%+ of them would respond "What's the LCWR?" In other words, I suspect that most Catholics, including church-going ones, don't follow this enough to actually be influenced by it either way.
2) Furthermore, while "Archbishop Will Give Opening Address at Meeting of Women Religious" does not make much of a news story (lacks the kind of tension and drama that sells newsprint), headlines like "Archbishop Snubs Meeting of Women Religious" or "Church Issues Excommunication of Religious Sisters" do, and quite frankly, would make them martyrs. And who knows how many fence-sitters might say, "Well, if they're going to kick out the sisters that taught me and work at my local food pantry, then I'm with the sisters." Let's give the Archbishop some room for prudential judgment here.
3) Can we please recognize the fact that, despite the far-flung theology and social doctrine of some LCWR members, that these women have still given up the chance to make money in the world, the chance to have a family, and the chance to even pick where they are going to live so as to serve others on behalf of Christ? Of course things like support of abortion are grievously wrong - heck, they even feed the very poverty that these religious are seeking to ease - but believe it or not, those few that do so arrived there sincerely. Obviously "sincerely" is not synonomous with "correctly", but to read our commentary, you would think these women made a vow to Satan in childhood to become a sister for the sole purpose of overturning the Church from the inside. To be honest, in remembering and serving the needy (which Christ extolled repeatedly, reducing not a bit His preaching on morality), a lot of these sisters probably put us to shame.

It is easy for us to invoke excommunications from the comfortable anonymity of the internet, but the Archbishop, by virtue of the public nature of his office, has to conduct a delicate balancing act of not losing souls by being too soft or too hard.

Bryan Kirchoff

Anonymous said...

Mr. Kirchoff, give me a break. You just used a lot of words to say nothing. PBR

Anonymous said...

This comment from The Review sums it up: "The women of LCWR are NOT the wonderful, self sacrificing, dedicated, obedient consecrated women who taught me all through school.

No sir, these are jean and jewellery wearing women whose opinions are more important than Church teachings. These are women who live in their own apartments, who have abandoned community life and community prayer. These are the women who have for the most part have abandoned their foundresses vision and charism.

I do not see the difference between these women and any other career women who are pursuing their careers.

Sad but true. The sooner they disassociate from the Church the less scandal they will continue to cause."


LMG said...

The imorality that these "sisters' expouse only perpetuates poverty. Abortion is SATAN. Yes, they are in Satan's camp and are working for him - don't be fooled by their "good works". The Freemasons do good works too, don't they?

You can work at a food pantry all day, ask for more government handouts, tell them how "compassionate" you are, but that is not helping them to take care of themselves is it? They aren't teaching people that the most important thing is God, not drugs, or alcohol, promiscuous sex, then just killing the outcome - a human life.