In 2008 they launched a full investigation into the activities of the American sisters. Their report was released, in April 2012, and it was basically a "cease and desist" order. The cardinals declared themselves to be the sole voice of the church on faith and morals. Like many men, the cardinals think they are in charge. Yeah ... well, good luck with that.
It was no doubt the good sisters' support of President Obama's health care reform act, despite the opposition of the Vatican to many of its provisions--especially those requiring religious employers to provide free contraception--that was the final straw for the Vatican. The report noted that "it is clear that greater emphasis needs to be placed both on the relationship of the LCWR with the Conference of Bishops, and on the need to provide a sound doctrinal foundation in the faith of the Church." In other words, shut up and get in line.
Shocked by the harsh tone of the report, the sisters, speaking through the Leadership Conference for Women Religious (LCWR), responded to the report with a resounding "Really?" They did allow as how they would "proceed with discussion with the Vatican 'for as long as possible' but will reconsider if the sisters are 'forced to compromise the integrity of [their] mission.'"
A quote by Sister Pat Farrell, outgoing head of the LCWR is what caught my eye. As a desiderata, this will do until a better one comes along.
... be humble, but not submissive ... (Be) rooted in a solid sense of ourselves, but not self-righteous; truthful, but gentle and absolutely fearless. ... Concern is based in love and invites unity. Control through fear and intimidation would be an abuse of power.No matter where you end up, this is not a bad place to begin. The good sisters will keep on fighting the good fight. And for that I say, thank God.