Many, nor all, but many, women religious in the USA have been feeling under pressure to address their lack of unity with Scripture and Tradition (read: Magisterium) over the last few decades. Of course, let me emphasize, not all women religious, but there are enough that have been living lives that are inconsistent with the charism of their orders, and who have taught their own theology especially on moral matters. Some have set up their own teaching authority over and against that of the Holy See. But this is not a matter of who has the right to make decisions, but it is about how all members of the baptized live in communio with the Jesus Christ and His sacrament, the Church. Their justification may very well be explained that women religious believed they are doing what the Council decreed. Will the US sisters now offer spin on what said and done in Rome today? How will they support the shepherding of Pope Francis? Will the US sisters now reassess their place as members of the Mystical Body of Christ? 

Here is the press release of the Holy See:


Today the Superiors of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met with the Presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in the United States of America. Most Rev. J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop of Seattle and the Holy See’s Delegate for the Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR, also participated in the meeting.

As this was his first opportunity to meet with the Presidency of the LCWR, the Prefect of the Congregation, Most Rev. Gerhard Ludwig Müller, expressed his gratitude for the great contribution of women Religious to the Church in the United States as seen particularly in the many schools, hospitals, and institutions of support for the poor which have been founded and staffed by Religious over the years.

The Prefect then highlighted the teaching of the Second Vatican Council regarding the important mission of Religious to promote a vision of ecclesial communion founded on faith in Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church as faithfully taught through the ages under the guidance of the Magisterium (Cf. Lumen gentium, nn. 43-47). He also emphasized that a Conference of Major Superiors, such as the LCWR, exists in order to promote common efforts among its member Institutes as well as cooperation with the local Conference of Bishops and with individual Bishops. For this reason, such Conferences are constituted by and remain under the direction of the Holy See (Cf. Code of Canon Law, cann. 708-709).

Finally, Archbishop Müller informed the Presidency that he had recently discussed the Doctrinal Assessment with Pope Francis, who reaffirmed the findings of the Assessment and the program of reform for this Conference of Major Superiors.

It is the sincere desire of the Holy See that this meeting may help to promote the integral witness of women Religious, based on a firm foundation of faith and Christian love, so as to preserve and strengthen it for the enrichment of the Church and society for generations to come.

The National Catholic Register has a review article here.