Outgoing LCWR president Sr. Pat Farrell today urged sisters to respond with gentleness and fearlessness to the Vatican’s mandate. She raised a number of questions, situating the sisters’ response in the prophetic tradition and seeing it in larger terms than just religious life. NCR’s Joshua J. McElwee reports:
Taking the stage to a standing ovation, Farrell said that “some larger movement in the church … has landed on LCWR.”
A key question facing LCWR, she said, is, “What would a prophetic response to the doctrinal assessment look like?”
“I think it would be humble, but not submissive,” she continued. “Rooted in a solid sense of ourselves, but not self-righteous; truthful, but gentle and absolutely fearless.
“It would ask probing questions. Are we being invited to some appropriate pruning and are we open to it? Is this doctrinal process an expression of concern or an attempt to control?
“Concern is based in love and invites unity. Control through fear and intimidation would be an abuse of power.
“Does the institutional legitimacy of canonical recognition empower us to live prophetically? Does it allow us the freedom to question with informed consciences? Does it really welcome feedback in a church that claims to honor the sensus fildeum?”
The wisdom and depth of these questions is inspiring. It’s easy to see why Pat Farrell was honored with standing ovations prior to and just after her remarks. The whole article can be found at this link.