While criticizing the Vatican's move to reform the U.S. Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in light of doctrinal problems, a Fordham University theology professor proclaimed on PBS Newshour: "Let me just say, as a scholar -- as a scholar of religion and a theologian, Church teaching does change."
The news broke on Wednesday, April 18, that the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith appointed Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle to lead the review of the LCWR when the findings of a Church assessment of the women's religious group were made public. One of the main points made by the Church was that serious theological and doctrinal errors occurred during the LCWR's recent conferences.
Yesterday, April 19, Fordham theologian Jeannie Hill Fletcher noted, during PBS Newshour, that the nuns under scrutiny are in colleges and universities, among other places. Fletcher said that a problem she has with the document issued by the Vatican is that it "seems to be trying to tell Women Religious to stop exploring the dynamics of the faith and simply take the tradition as it's been handed to them."
Fletcher said during the interview: "Let me just say, as a scholar -- as a scholar of religion and a theologian, Church teaching does change."
Fortunately, there was a representative of a faithful Catholic college also present on air to stand up for Church teachings. The chairman of the board of Christendom College, Donna Bethell, went head to head with Fletcher during the segment and defended the Vatican's decision regarding the LCWR.
Bethell was quick to point out that there are some doctrines of the church which are definitely not open to debate.
She explained the reason behind the Vatican's assessment of the nuns. She pointed out that the document issued by the Church underscores the importance for consecrated persons to be faithful to the teachings of the Church.
...[I]t's one thing to actually contradict the Church, but it wasn't just their job to avoid contradicting their Church. It's their job to present the fullness of the Catholic faith and to help their members to understand it and to live it. And that's where they had been found short.
The same might be said for some theology professors from Catholic universities.
You can go over to PBS and read the full transcript
of the interview.
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