FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 19, 2012
Media Contact: Kate Conmy (202) 675-1006
Yesterday, the Congregation of Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) launched a crackdown on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella group that represents more than 80 percent of the 57,000 women religious in the United States.
The following is a statement from Erin Saiz Hanna, Executive Director
WASHINGTON, DC - When the Vatican first launched its investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in 2009, we were warned that the outcome could be severe. Yet nothing could brace me for the shock that I would feel actually seeing their document in writing yesterday. This most serious attack on the women who have been the backbone of the Church in this country for centuries has obliterated what little moral credibility the hierarchy once had with the people of God.
Once again, the Roman Catholic hierarchy's bullying has intentionally created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, and has proved that they will stop at nothing to attempt to control the lives of women--threatening justice, charity, and service in their wake.
The CDF (formerly the Office of the Inquisition) accuses the LCWR of "radical feminist themes" and "corporate dissent" as the need for this "call for renewal." Their agenda is very clear: they are declaring war on the right of conscience and the right of women to be agents in their own lives. These fear tactics will not work nor will it distract us from the hierarchy's own corruption and scandal that is devastating our Church.
Having had the privilege of being educated by women religious, there is one thing I am certain of - the power of community. Over the centuries, Catholic sisters have responded to some of our nationʼs most difficult trials and when faced with adversity, women religious have stood courageously together with faith as their shield. I am confident that they will respond to this recent trial with courage and grace.
As the leaders of LCWR process this announcement and take time to discern, the Women's Ordination Conference (WOC) membership will hold them in prayer. WOC affirms and celebrates the prophetic works of women religious. We stand in solidarity with the millions of Catholics in this country who acknowledge women religious as pioneers of social justice, advocates for peace, and women of dignity.
Women's Ordination Conference (WOC), founded in 1975 and based in Washington, D.C., is the is the oldest and largest national organization working for the ordination of women as priests, deacons, and bishops into an inclusive and accountable Roman Catholic Church. WOC also promotes new perspectives on ordination that call for less separation between the clergy and laity.