Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On the "Nun Wars," Fresh Blair... and A Word from the "Holy Office"

As the promised follow-up to last week's Fresh Air interview of the LCWR president, Sr Pat Farrell (above left), in the run-up to the body's crucial August assembly in St Louis -- at which the umbrella-group representing a majority of the superiors of the nation's women religious is expected to formally respond to the Vatican's April order for its effective reconstitution -- earlier today the NPR mainstay ran a conversation with Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, the CDF delegate who oversaw the four-year Doctrinal Assessment of the group.

Along with Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Blair now serves as one of two deputies to Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle -- a figure known in church circles for his measured, conciliatory approach -- in guiding the review process born from the original assessment. The trio's mandate for the project can extend as long as five years.

Here, fullaudio of the Ohio prelate's 47-minute chat with Terry Gross....

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On a related note, Rome's supervision of the LCWR reform now falls to the CDF's new head, the German Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller.

In an extensive interview released in today's editions the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the incoming prefect made his first public comments on the inquest since being tapped to head the onetime "Holy Office" in late June.

Referring both to the sisters' group and the other hot-button item on the office's current docket -- the high-stakes, yet currently stalled, reconciliation talks with the traditionalist Society of St Pius X -- Müller said that "for the future of the church, it is important to overcome ideological clashes" with the faith, "wherever they might come from."

"One can't take the three religious vows [of poverty, chastity and obedience] and not take them seriously," Müller said, nor could the SSPX "make reference to the tradition of the church and then accept only some of its parts."

Curiously, much of the new appointee's remarks pertaining to the LCWR question dealt with the church's teaching on a male-only priesthood. Referring to pushes for women's ordination in the general sense, Müller said that while "for the Catholic church it is fully evident that man and woman have the same worth," advocates for a change to the doctrine "ignore an important aspect of priestly ministry.

"To be a priest does not mean to create a position for oneself," he said. "
Priestly ministry can't be considered a sort of position of earthly power, thinking that people are emancipated only once everyone is able to occupy it."

As the prefect reiterated that American religious of both genders "have realized extraordinary things for the church, for education and the formation of youth," he likewise emphasized that "it's important to reinforce a reciprocal trust rather than working [as] one against the others."

Reuters(1); Bayerischer Rundfunk(2)