Vatican ends controversial three-year oversight of US sisters’ leaders

National Catholic Reporter, By Joshua J. McElwee, April 16

Vatican City – A controversial three-year program of Vatican oversight of the main leadership group of U.S. Catholic sisters has come to a curt and unexpected end, with the sisters and the church’s doctrinal office announcing that the goal of the oversight “has been accomplished.”

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has accepted a final report of the doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, “marking the conclusion” of the oversight, the Vatican announced Thursday.

The lengthy process saw the Vatican issue what the sisters called unsubstantiated sharp critiques of their work and life while appointing Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain to oversee a program of reform for LCWR. Thursday’s news release says the Vatican and the sisters both noted the “spirit of cooperation” of the ordeal.

The end of the mandate, the Vatican release says, came in a meeting Thursday morning between LCWR officers, Sartain, and officials of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation. Sartain and the LCWR officers presented a joint report on the implementation of the mandate, which the doctrinal congregation approved.

NPR: Vatican Ends Battle With U.S. Nuns
NPR: Vatican Ends Scrutiny Of U.S. Nuns

NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli tells our Newscast unit the unexpected announcement is seen as a sign of Pope Francis’ focus on a more merciful church.

…It’s still a patriarchy, after all.

Vatican Radio: Final report on Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Speaking of which:

Conclusion: Our work together in response to the Mandate has borne much fruit, for which we give thanks to God and the gentle guidance of the Holy Spirit. The very fact of such substantive dialogue between bishops and religious has been a blessing to be appreciated and further encouraged. The Commitment of LCWR leadership to its crucial role in service to the mission and membership of the Conference will continue to guide and strengthen LCWR’s witness to the great vocation of Religious Life, to its sure foundation in Christ, and to ecclesial communion.

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