Cardinal Gerhard Müller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, recently (April 30th) addressed the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) about their implementation of the mandate for reform following the Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
Here are a few of his remarks:
One of the more contentious aspects of the Mandate—though one that has not yet been put into force—is the provision that speakers and presenters at major programs will be subject to approval by the Delegate. (This year the LCWR is giving its “Outstanding Leadership Award” to Elizabeth A. Johnson whose 2011 book was criticized by the US Bishops for its “misrepresentations, ambiguities, and errors that bear upon the faith of the Catholic Church as found in Sacred Scripture, and as it is authentically taught by the Church’s universal magisterium…”)
“…the last thing in the world the Congregation would want to do is call into question the eloquent, even prophetic witness of so many faithful religious women. And yet, the issues raised in the Assessment are so central and so foundational, there is no other way of discussing them except as constituting a movement away from the ecclesial center of faith in Christ Jesus the Lord.
The Cardinal then touched on “Conscious Evolution” which he said had been incorported into some religious institutes:
The fundamental theses of Conscious Evolution are opposed to Christian Revelation and, when taken unreflectively, lead almost necessarily to fundamental errors regarding the omnipotence of God, the Incarnation of Christ, the reality of Original Sin, the necessity of salvation and the definitive nature of the salvific action of Christ in the Paschal Mystery.
I am worried that the uncritical acceptance of things such as Conscious Evolution seemingly without any awareness that it offers a vision of God, the cosmos, and the human person divergent from or opposed to Revelation evidences that a de facto movement beyond the Church and sound Christian faith has already occurred.
Conscious Evolution does not offer anything which will nourish religious life as a privileged and prophetic witness rooted in Christ revealing divine love to a wounded world. It does not present the treasure beyond price for which new generations of young women will leave all to follow Christ. The Gospel does! Selfless service to the poor and marginalized in the name of Jesus Christ does!
Lord, we pray that all may be one in You. Founders and foundresses, please intercede for your religious communitites, that as vines they may always be part of the true Branch, who is Jesus Christ.
(Click here to go to The Catholic World Report website for Carl E. Olson’s analysis of His Emminence’s direct and pointed remarks. And to The National Catholic Register‘s article by Ann Carey, author of Sisters in Crisis: The Tragic Unraveling of Women’s Religious Institutes and Sisters in Crisis Revisited: From Unraveling to Reform and Renewal.