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Monday, April 30, 2012

Noir: Black And White Breakdowns of the 30s


Warner Brothers produced an annual reel of bloopers from the mid 1930s 

R.I.P. Amos Vogel

nosex:

r.i.p., amos vogel

The cineast and scholar Amos Vogel, cofounder of the New York Film Festival and a professor of visual communications at the University of Pennsylvania, died Tuesday, April 24, of kidney failure at his Washington Square Park apartment in Manhattan. Mr. Vogel, who last week celebrated his 91st birthday, had been ill for some time, said his son, Steven.





In a career spanning six decades, Mr. Vogel helped school a generation of leading filmmakers and critics in the possibilities of cinema as a true art form.
“He was audacious, articulate, and a tastemaker,” Philadelphia film critic Carrie Rickey said. “And he had just great, incredibly great, taste.”
Born in 1921 Vienna to Jewish parents, Mr. Vogel arrived in America a penniless teen after escaping the Nazis. “I worked as a newspaper delivery boy, garage attendant, machine-tool worker, poultry-farm helper,” Mr. Vogel wrote in 1993, “until — having learned enough English — I obtained a degree in economics and political science” at the New School of Social Research.
He transformed the New York film scene in 1947 when he founded the legendary film club Cinema 16 with help from his wife, Marcia, and their friend, the avant-garde director Maya Deren. By 1963, it had grown from 200 to 7,000 members. Cinema 16 exposed a new generation of film fans, critics, and aspiring filmmakers to a range of international fare, including the works of John Cassavetes, Stan Brakhage, Roman Polanski, Kenneth Anger, Alain Resnais, and Jacques Rivette.

“He didn’t just screen films,” Adams said. “He very deliberately created a film culture in New York — an educational and cultural environment. He was very conscious of his pedagogical role.”
The filmmaker Paul Cronin, director of the documentary Film as a Subversive Art: Amos Vogel and Cinema 16, said Mr. Vogel knew that to be an effective teacher he would have to challenge audience expectations by showing films rejected as too provocative, pornographic, subversive, or just too strange.





“He asked the audience to think in new ways and feel in new ways,” Cronin said, “and to expose themselves, open themselves up, and engage with radical new images, sounds, noises, voices.”
Mr. Vogel, who had taught courses at Harvard and Columbia Universities and the New School, accepted a permanent position at Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication in 1974. That same year, he published his second book, Film as a Subversive Art. (In 1963, he published a children’s book, How Little Lori Visited Times Square, with illustrations by Maurice Sendak.)
Film as a Subversive Art short-circuits ways we usually classify movies, offering a seminal study of how film can challenge entrenched ideologies of all kinds. He argued that films should not be forbidden simply for showing uncomfortable truths, Rickey said. “Vogel showed that sex and adult experiences that were forbidden in American movies could be shown in healthy and intelligent ways,” she said. Mr. Vogel retired from Penn in 1991.
Michael Chaiken, who programmed a tribute to Mr. Vogel as part of the 2003 Philadelphia Film Festival, said Mr. Vogel’s greatest talent was to juxtapose radically different movies. “Amos would put a science film about ants next to an avant-garde short,” said Chaiken, who was director for film at the International House in University City from 2000 to 2005. Chaiken said Mr. Vogel’s subversive edge was not of any particular ideology; instead, he believed that film and great art existed to strip us of preconceptions and entrenched ideologies. “Subversion for him was the ultimate ideology,” Chaiken said, “that we constantly need to be moving forward and striving for the new. And Amos believed the artist, more than the politician, was capable of revealing certain truths.”

Noir: The Case of Amontillado



File:CaskofAmontillado-Clarke.jpg


The Cask of Amontillado




The Raven (directed by James McTeigue and starring John Cusack) opens this weekend in theaters. The movie is the latest of many attempts to adapt the works of Edgar Allan Poe for the big screen; it depicts a serial killer whose methods are inspired by various Poe stories. Although none of us at The Library of America has seen the movie, we do hope that it attracts new readers to Poe’s fiction and poetry.

One story used in the film is “The Cask of Amontillado,” which is not only one of Poe’s most famous works but also one of the best-known revenge fantasies by any author. What is not as well known is that the story itself was an act of revenge. For several years Poe had been feuding with a former friend, Thomas Dunn English. Their quarrel began when, in 1843, Poe publicly ridiculed English’s poems; things escalated from there. Three years later, Poe sued English for libel for a letter that appeared in a newspaper (Poe won $225 in damages), and English published a novel, 
1844, or, The Power of the S. F., featuring a Poe-like character named Marmaduke Hammerhead—a journalist who “never gets drunk more than five days a week,” becomes famous for publishing “The Black Crow,” grows increasingly crazy as the novel progresses, and ends up in an asylum.

One of Poe’s responses to this malicious portrayal was “The Cask of Amontillado,” pitting the scheming Montresor against his buffoonish nemesis Fortunato. The author Andrew Barger has noted some of the story’s references to English’s novel, to wit: “A chapter of 
1844 takes place in an underground vault” and “English uses the phrase ‘For the love of God’ in 1844 and Poe spits it back to him in this story.” The motto of Poe’s fictional Montresor family is Nemo me impune lacesit(“No one insults me with impunity”); it could just as well serve as a theme for Poe’s own career.

Incidentally, another Poe story that probably included a caricature of Thomas Dunn English (among other writers) is “Hop-Frog,” which we featured previously on 
Story of the Week. In a number of interviews, John Cusack cited this story as his own personal favorite—but he has revealed that you won’t see it in the movie. “I'd have loved it if we’d used ‘Hop-Frog,’ but we couldn’t fit that one in.”

Note: Amontillado is an expensive variety of sherry; a pipe is a cask or barrel used for wine.


The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. . . . If you don't see the full story below, click here (PDF) or click here (Google Docs) to read it—free!

Noir: R.I.P. Benzion Netanyahu


Benzion Netanyahu, Hawkish Scholar, Dies at 102

Benzion Netanyahu, a scholar of Judaic history who lobbied in the United States for the creation of the Jewish state, wrote a revisionist account of the Spanish Inquisition and became a behind-the-scenes adviser to Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, his son, died on Monday at his home in Jerusalem. He was 102.
The prime minister’s office announced the death.
The elder Mr. Netanyahu’s views were relentlessly hawkish. He argued that Jews inevitably faced discrimination that was racial, not religious, and that compromising with Arabs was futile.
In the 1940s, as the executive director of the New Zionist Organization in the United States, he met with policymakers like General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Secretary of State Dean Acheson. He also wrote hard-hitting full-page advertisements that appeared in The New York Times and other newspapers.
His group, which was part of the right-wing movement known as revisionist Zionism, originally opposed creating the new Israel by dividing Palestine between Jews and Arabs. It wanted a bigger Jewish state, which would have included present-day Jordan.
The partition was ultimately made, but Mr. Netanyahu came to support the smaller state and was instrumental in building American support for it, according to Rafael Medoff, director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in Washington.
Mr. Medoff, in a letter to The Jerusalem Post in 2005, said Mr. Netanyahu had persuaded the Republican Party to call for a Jewish state in its 1944 platform. It was the first time a major American party had done this, and the Democrats followed suit.
As a historian, Mr. Netanyahu reinterpreted the Inquisition in “The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain” (1995). The predominant view had been that Jews were persecuted for secretly practicing their religion after pretending to convert to Roman Catholicism. Mr. Netanyahu, in 1,384 pages, offered evidence that most Jews in Spain had willingly become Catholics and were enthusiastic about their new religion.
Jews were persecuted, he concluded — many of them burned at the stake — for being perceived as an evil race rather than for anything they believed or had done. Jealousy over Jews’ success in the economy and at the royal court only fueled the oppression, he wrote. The book traced what he called “Jew hatred” to ancient Egypt, long before Christianity.
Though praised for its insights, the book was also criticized as having ignored standard sources and interpretations. Not a few reviewers noted that it seemed to look at long-ago cases of anti-Semitism through the rear-view mirror of the Holocaust.
But to Mr. Netanyahu, “Jewish history is a history of holocausts,” as he said in an interview with David Remnick of The New Yorker in 1998. He suggested that Hitler’s genocide was different only in scale.
Mr. Netanyahu believed that Jews remain endangered in the Middle East. A “vast majority of Israeli Arabs would choose to exterminate us if they had the option to do so,” he said in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Maariv in 2009. Arabs, he said, are “an enemy by essence” who cannot compromise and will respond only to force.
Benjamin Netanyahu, while defending his father against accusations of extremism, has insisted that his own views differ from his father’s. And he has dismissed conjectures about his father’s influence on his decision-making as “psychobabble.”
In his New Yorker article, Mr. Remnick wrote that Israelis seemed in the dark about the extent of Benzion Netanyahu’s influence on his son. Benzion Netanyahu, he wrote, was “nearly a legend, a kind of secret.” But, he added, using the younger Netanyahu’s nickname, “To understand Bibi, you have to understand the father.”
Benzion Mileikowsky was born on March 25, 1910, in Warsaw, then part of the Russian empire. His father, Nathan, was a rabbi who toured Europe and America making speeches supporting Zionism. After Nathan took the family to Palestine in 1920, he changed the family name to Netanyahu, which means God-given.
Benzion studied medieval history at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he became involved with the revisionist Zionists, who had split from their mainstream counterparts, believing they were too conciliatory to the British authorities governing Palestine.
The revisionists were led by Vladimir Jabotinsky, whose belief in the necessity of an “iron wall” between Israel and its Arab neighbors has influenced Israeli politics since the 1930s. Jabotinsky is the most popular street name in Israel, and the ruling Likud party traces its roots to his movement.
In 1940, Mr. Netanyahu went to the United States to be secretary to Mr. Jabotinsky, who was seeking to build American support for his militant New Zionists. Mr. Jabotinsky died the same year, and Mr. Netanyahu became executive director, a post he held until 1948.
While in the United States Mr. Netanyahu earned his Ph.D. from Dropsie College of Hebrew and Cognate Learning in Philadelphia (now The Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania). He wrote his dissertation on Isaac Abrabanel (1437-1508), a Jewish scholar and statesman who opposed the banishment of Jews from Spain.
Mr. Netanyahu returned to Jerusalem after Israel declared its independence in 1948. He became editor of the “Encyclopedia Hebraica,” in Hebrew. During the 1950s and ’60s, he and his family lived alternately in Israel and in the United States, where he taught at Dropsie, the University of Denver and Cornell University.
In the 1960s, Mr. Netanyahu edited, in English two more major reference books: the “Encyclopedia Judaica” and “The World History of the Jewish People.”
In addition to Benjamin, who was Israel’s prime minister from 1996 to 1999 and elected again in 2009, Mr. Netanyahu is survived by another son, Iddo, a radiologist and writer. His wife, the former Cela Segal, died in 2000.
Mr. Netanyahu’s eldest son, Jonathan, commanded the spectacular rescue of more than 100 Jewish and Israeli hostages on board an Air France jet at Entebbe Airport in Uganda in 1976. He was the only Israeli soldier killed.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Noir: Ain't Organized Religion Grand or Congregatio Pro Doctrina Fidei



Congregatio 
Pro Doctrina Fidei

Article said: A prominent U.S. Catholic nuns group said Thursday that it was "stunned" that the Vatican reprimanded it for spending too much time on poverty and social-justice concerns and not enough on condemning abortion and gay marriage.


In a stinging report on Wednesday, the Vatican said the Leadership Conference of Women Religious had been "silent on the right to life" and had failed to make the "Biblical view of family life and human sexuality" a central plank in its agenda.


It also reprimanded American nuns for expressing positions on political issues that differed, at times, from views held by U.S. bishops. Public disagreement with the bishops - "who are the church's authentic teachers of faith and morals" - is unacceptable, the report said.


The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a "doctrinal assessment" saying the Holy See was compelled to intervene with the leadership conference to correct "serious doctrinal problems."


The nuns group said in a statement on its Web site: "The presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious was stunned by the conclusions of the doctrinal assessment."


It added the group may give a lengthier response at a later date.


The conference, whose headquarters is in Silver Spring, said its members represented 80 percent of the country's 57,000 Catholic nuns.


Academics who study the church said the Vatican's move was predictable given Pope Benedict XVI's conservative views and efforts by Rome to quell internal dissent and curtail autonomy within its ranks.


"This is more an expression of the church feeling under siege by trends it cannot control within the church, much less within the broader society," University of Notre Dame historian Scott Appleby said.


Those trends include a steady drumbeat of calls to ordain women as priests. The pope has repeated his predecessors' teaching that such a move is not possible.


The Vatican named Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain and two other U.S. bishops to undertake the reforms of the conference's statutes, programs and its application of liturgical texts, a process it said could take up to five years.


I.  Introduction  

 The context in which the current doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference 
of Women Religious in the United States of America is best situated is articulated by Pope John Paul II in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation  Vita consecrata of 1996.  
Commenting on the genius of the charism of religious life in the Church, Pope John Paul says:  “In founders and foundresses we see a constant and lively sense of the Church, which they manifest by their full participation in all aspects of the Church’s life, and in their ready obedience to the Bishops and especially to the Roman Pontiff.  Against this background of love towards Holy Church ‘the pillar and bulwark of truth’ (1 Tim 3:15), we readily understand…the full ecclesial communion which the Saints, founders and foundresses, have shared in diverse and often difficult times  and circumstances.  


They are examples which consecrated persons need constantly to recall if they are to resist the particularly strong centrifugal and disruptive forces at work today.  A distinctive aspect of ecclesial communion is allegiance of mind and heart to the Magisterium of the Bishops, an allegiance which must be lived honestly and clearly testified to before the People of God by all consecrated persons, especially those involved in theological research, teaching, publishing, catechesis and the use of the means of social communication.  


Because consecrated persons have a special place in the Church, their attitude in this regard is of immense importance for the whole People of 
God” (n. 46).   
   
The Holy See acknowledges with gratitude 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.  


Pope John Paul II expressed this gratitude well in his meeting with Religious from the United States in San Francisco on September 17, 1987, when he said: I rejoice because of your deep love of the Church and your generous service to God’s people...The extensive Catholic educational and health care systems, the highly developed network of social services in the Church - none of this would exist today, were it not for your highly motivated dedication and the dedication of those who have gone before you. The spiritual vigor of so many Catholic people testifies to the efforts of generations of religious in this land. The history of the Church in this country is in large measure your history at the service of God’s 
people.  The renewal of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious which is the goal of this doctrinal Assessment is in support of this essential charism of Religious which has been so obvious in the life and growth of the Catholic Church in the United States.   
 While recognizing that this doctrinal Assessment concerns a particular conference of major superiors and therefore does not intend to offer judgment on the faith and life of Women Religious in the member Congregations which belong to that onference, nevertheless the Assessment reveals serious doctrinal problems which affect many in Consecrated Life.  
On the doctrinal level, this crisis is characterized by a diminution of the fundamental Christological center and focus of religious consecration which leads, in turn, to a loss of a “constant and lively sense of the Church” among some Religious.  The current doctrinal Assessment arises out of a sincere concern for the life of faith in some Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.  
It arises as well from a conviction that the work of any conference of major superiors of women Religious can and should be a fruitful means of addressing the contemporary situation and supporting religious life in its most “radical” sense—that is, in the faith in which it is rooted.  
According to Canon Law, conferences of major superiors are an expression of the collaboration between the Holy See, Superiors General, and the local Conferences of Bishops in support of consecrated life.  The overarching concern of the doctrinal Assessment is, therefore, to assist the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the United States in implementing an ecclesiology of communion founded on faith in Jesus Christ and the Church as the essential foundation for its important service to religious Communities and to all those in consecrated life.   
  
II.  The doctrinal Assessment 
The decision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) to undertake a 
doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) was 
communicated to the LCWR Presidency during their meeting with Cardinal William Levada in Rome on April 8, 2008.  At that meeting, three major areas of concern were given as motivating the CDF’s decision to initiate the Assessment: 

o Addresses at the LCWR Assemblies. 
  
Addresses given during LCWR annual Assemblies manifest problematic statements and serious theological, even doctrinal errors.  The Cardinal offered as an example specific passages of Sr. Laurie Brink’s address about some Religious “moving beyond the Church” or even beyond Jesus.  This is a challenge not only to core Catholic beliefs; such a rejection of faith is also a serious source of scandal and is incompatible with religious life.  Such unacceptable positions routinely go unchallenged by the LCWR, which should provide resources for member Congregations to foster an ecclesial vision of religious life, thus helping to correct an erroneous vision of the Catholic faith as an important exercise of charity.  
Some might see in Sr. Brink’s analysis a phenomenological snapshot of religious life today.  But Pastors of the Church should also see in it a cry for help.
   
o Policies of Corporate Dissent. 


 The Cardinal spoke of this issue in reference to letters the CDF received from “Leadership Teams” of various Congregations, among them LCWR Officers, protesting the Holy See’s actions regarding the question of women’s ordination and of a correct pastoral approach to ministry to homosexual persons, e.g. letters about New Ways Ministry’s conferences.  The terms of the letters suggest that these sisters collectively take a position not in agreement with the Church’s teaching on human sexuality.  It is a serious matter when these Leadership Teams are not providing effective leadership and example to their communities, but place themselves outside the Church’s teaching.   


o Radical Feminism. 


 The Cardinal noted a prevalence of certain radical feminist 
themes incompatible with the Catholic faith in some of the programs and presentations sponsored by the LCWR, including theological interpretations that risk distorting faith in Jesus and his loving Father who sent his Son for the salvation of the world.  
Moreover, some commentaries on “patriarchy” distort the way in which Jesus has structured sacramental life in the Church; others even undermine the revealed doctrines of the Holy Trinity, the divinity of Christ, and the inspiration of Sacred Scripture.     
   
Subsequently, in a letter dated February 18, 2009, the CDF confirmed its decision to undertake a doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR and named Most Rev. Leonard Blair, Bishop of Toledo, as the CDF’s Delegate for the Assessment.  This decision was further discussed with the LCWR Presidency during their visit to the CDF on April 22, 2009.   During that meeting, Cardinal Levada confirmed that the doctrinal Assessment comes as a result of several years of examination of the doctrinal content of statements from the LCWR and of 
their annual conferences.  The Assessment’s primary concern is the doctrine of the faith that has been revealed by God in Jesus Christ, presented in written form in the divinely inspired Scriptures, and handed on in the Apostolic Tradition under the guidance of the Church’s Magisterium.  It is this Apostolic teaching, so richly and fully taught by the Second Vatican 
Council, that should underlie the work of a conference of major superiors of Religious which, by its nature, has a canonical relationship to the Holy See and many of whose members are of Pontifical right.   
Most Rev. Leonard Blair communicated a set of doctrinal Observations to the LCWR in a letter dated May 11, 2009, and subsequently met with the Presidency on May 27, 2009.  The LCWR Presidency responded to the  Observations  in a letter dated October 20, 2009.  Based on this response, and on subsequent  correspondence between the Presidency of the LCWR and the Delegate, Bishop Blair submitted his findings to the CDF on December 22, 2009.   
On June 25, 2010, Bishop Blair presented further documentation on the content of the LCWR’s Mentoring Leadership Manual  and also on the organizations associated with the LCWR, namely  Network and  The Resource Center for Religious Institutes.      
The documentation reveals that, while there has been a great deal of work on the part of LCWR promoting issues of social justice in harmony with the Church’s social doctrine, it is silent on the right to life from conception to natural death, a question that is part of the lively public debate about abortion and euthanasia in the United States.  Further, issues of crucial 
importance to the life of Church and society, such as the Church’s Biblical view of family life and human sexuality, are not part of the LCWR agenda in a way that promotes Church teaching.  Moreover, occasional public statements by the LCWR that disagree with or challenge positions taken by the Bishops, who are the Church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals, are not compatible with its purpose. 


All of the documentation from the doctrinal Assessment including the LCWR 
responses was presented to the Ordinary Session of the Cardinal and Bishop Members of the 
CDF on January 12, 2011.  The decision of that Ordinary Session was:  
1)  The current doctrinal and pastoral situation of the LCWR is grave and a matter of serious concern, also given the influence the LCWR exercises on religious Congregations in other parts of the world;
2)  After the currently-ongoing Visitation of religious communities of women in the United States is brought to a conclusion, the Holy See should intervene with the prudent steps necessary to effect a reform of the LCWR;    
3)  The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will examine the various forms of canonical intervention available for the resolution of the problematic aspects present in the LCWR.    
The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in an Audience granted to the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, on January 14, 2011, approved the decisions of the Ordinary Session of the Congregation, and ordered their implementation.  This action by the Holy Father should be understood in virtue of the mandate given by the Lord to Simon Peter as the rock on which He founded his Church (cf. Luke 22:32): “I have prayed for you, Peter, that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned to me, you must strengthen the faith of your brothers and sisters.”  
This Scripture passage has long been applied to the role of the Successors of Peter as Head of the Apostolic College of Bishops; it also applies to the role of the Pope as Chief Shepherd and Pastor of the Universal Church.  Not least among the flock to whom the Pope’s pastoral concern is directed 
are women Religious of apostolic life, who through the past several centuries have been so instrumental in building up the faith and life of the Holy Church of God, and witnessing to God’s love for humanity in so many charitable and apostolic works.   
 Since the Final Report of the Apostolic Visitation of women Religious in the United States has now been submitted to the Holy See (in December, 2011), the CDF turns to the implementation of the above-mentioned decisions approved by the Holy Father as an extension of his pastoral outreach to the Church in the United States.  For the purpose of this implementation, and in consultation with the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL) and the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has decided to execute the mandate to assist in the necessary reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious through the appointment of a Archbishop Delegate, who will – with the assistance of a group of advisors (bishops, priests, and women Religious) – proceed to work with the leadership of the LCWR to achieve the goals necessary to address the problems outlined in this statement.  The mandate given to the Delegate provides the structure and flexibility for the delicate work of such 
implementation.   
The moment for such a common effort seems all the more opportune in view of an implementation of the recommendations of the recent Apostolic Visitation of women Religious in the United States, and in view of this year’s 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, whose theological vision and practical recommendations for Consecrated Life can serve as a providential template for review and renewal of religious life 
in the United States, and of the mandate of Church law for the work of this conference of major superiors to which the large majority  of congregations of women Religious in the United States belong. 


III.  Implementation: Conclusions of Doctrinal Assessment and Mandate 


 1)   Principal Findings of the Doctrinal Assessment


LCWR General Assemblies, Addresses, and Occasional Papers 

 One of the principal means by which the LCWR promotes its particular vision of religious life is through the annual Assemblies it sponsors.  During the Assessment process, Bishop Blair, in his letter of May 11, 2009, presented the LCWR Presidency with a study and doctrinal evaluation of keynote addresses, presidential addresses, and Leadership Award addresses over a 10 year period.  This study found that the talks, while not scholarly 
theological discourses per se, do have significant doctrinal and moral content and implications which often contradict or ignore magisterial teaching.   
In its response, the Presidency of the LCWR maintained that it does not knowingly invite speakers who take a stand against a teaching of the Church “when it has been declared as authoritative teaching.”  Further, the Presidency maintains that the assertions made by speakers are their own and do not imply intent on the part of the LCWR.  Given the facts examined, however, this response is inadequate.  The Second Vatican Council clearly 
indicates that an authentic teaching of the Church calls for the religious submission of intellect and will, and is not limited to defined dogmas or ex cathedra statements (cf. Lumen gentium, 25).  For example, the LCWR publicly expressed in 1977 its refusal to assent to the teaching of Inter insigniores on the reservation of priestly ordination to men.  This public refusal has never been corrected.  Beyond this, the CDF understands that speakers at 
conferences or general assemblies do not submit their texts for prior review by the LCWR Presidency.  But, as the Assessment demonstrated, the sum of those talks over the years is a matter of serious concern.   
Several of the addresses at LCWR conferences present a vision or description of religious life that does not conform to the faith and practice of the Church.  Since the LCWR leadership has offered no clarification about such statements, some might infer that such positions are endorsed by them.  As an entity approved by the Holy See for the coordination and support of religious Communities in the United States, LCWR also has a positive responsibility for the promotion of the faith and for providing its member Communities and 
the wider Catholic public with clear and persuasive positions in support of the Church’s vision of religious life. 
Some speakers claim that dissent from the doctrine of the Church is justified as an exercise of the prophetic office.   But this is based upon a mistaken understanding of the dynamic of prophecy in the Church: it justifies dissent by positing the possibility of divergence between the Church’s magisterium and a “legitimate” theological intuition of some of the faithful.  “Prophecy,” as a methodological principle, is here directed  at  the 
Magisterium and the Church’s pastors, whereas true prophecy is a grace which accompanies the exercise of the responsibilities of the Christian life and ministries within the Church, regulated and verified by the Church’s faith and teaching office.  Some of the addresses at LCWR-sponsored events perpetuate a distorted ecclesiological vision, and have scant regard 
for the role of the Magisterium as the guarantor of the authentic interpretation of the Church’s faith.



 The analysis of the General Assemblies, Presidential Addresses, and  Occasional Papers reveals, therefore, a two-fold problem.  The first consists in positive error (i.e. doctrinally problematic statements or formal  refutation of Church teaching found in talks given at LCWR-sponsored conferences or General Assemblies).  The second level of the problem concerns the silence and inaction of the LCWR in the face of such error, given its 
responsibility to support a vision of religious life in harmony with that of the Church and to promote a solid doctrinal basis for religious life.  With this Assessment, the CDF intends to assist the LCWR in placing its activity into a wider context of religious life in the universal Church in order to foster a vision of consecrated life consistent with the Church’s teaching.  In this wider context, the CDF notes the absence of initiatives by the LCWR aimed at promoting the reception of the Church’s teaching, especially on difficult issues such as Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis and Church teaching about homosexuality.   
The Role of the LCWR in the Doctrinal Formation of Religious Superiors and Formators. The program for new Superiors and Formators of member Communities and other resources provided to these Communities is an area in which the LCWR exercises an influence.  The doctrinal Assessment found that many of the materials prepared by the LCWR for these purposes (Occasional Papers, Systems Thinking Handbook) do not have a sufficient doctrinal foundation.  These materials recommend strategies for dialogue, for example when 
sisters disagree about basic matters of Catholic faith or moral practice, but it is not clear whether this dialogue is directed towards reception of Church teaching.  As a case in point, the Systems Thinking Handbook presents a situation in which sisters differ over whether the Eucharist should be at the center of a special community celebration since the celebration of 
Mass requires an ordained priest, something which some sisters find “objectionable.”  
According to the  Systems Thinking Handbook this difficulty is rooted in differences at the level of belief, but also in different cognitive models (the “Western mind” as opposed to an “Organic mental model”).  These models, rather than the teaching of the Church, are offered as tools for the resolution of the controversy of whether or not to celebrate Mass.  Thus the 
Systems Thinking Handbook presents a neutral model of Congregational leadership that does not give due attention to the responsibility which Superiors are called to exercise, namely, leading sisters into a greater appreciation or integration of the truth of the Catholic faith.   
The Final Report of the Apostolic Visitation of Religious Communities of Women in the United States (July, 2011) found that the formation programs among several communities that belong to the LCWR did not have significant doctrinal content but rather were oriented toward professional formation regarding particular issues of ministerial concern to the Institute.  Other programs reportedly stressed  their own charism and history, and/or the 
Church’s social teaching or social justice in general, with little attention to basic Catholic doctrine, such as that contained in the authoritative text of the  Catechism of the Catholic Church. While these formation programs were not directly the object of this doctrinal Assessment, it may nevertheless be concluded  that confusion about the Church’s authentic doctrine of the faith is reinforced, rather than corrected, by the lack of doctrinal content in the 
resources provided by the LCWR for Superiors and Formators.  The doctrinal confusion which has undermined solid catechesis over the years demonstrates the need for sound doctrinal formation—both initial and ongoing—for women Religious and novices just as it does for priests and seminarians, and for laity in ministry and apostolic life.  In this way, we can hope that the secularized contemporary culture, with its negative impact on the very 
identity of Religious as Christians and members of the Church, on their religious practice and common life, and on their authentic Christian spirituality, moral life, and liturgical practice, 
can be more readily overcome.   



2)   The Mandate for Implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment 


 In the universal law of the Church (Code of Canon Law [C.I.C.] for the Latin 
Church), Canons 708 and 709 address the establishment and work of conferences of major superiors: 
Can. 708: Major superiors can be associated usefully in conferences or councils so that by common efforts they work to achieve more fully the purpose of the individual institutes, always without prejudice to their autonomy, character, and proper spirit, or to transact common affairs, or to establish appropriate coordination and cooperation with the 
conferences of bishops and also with individual bishops. 
 Can. 709: Conferences of major superiors are to have their own statutes approved by the Holy See, by which alone they can be erected even as a juridic person and under whose supreme direction they remain. 
In the light of these canons, and in view of the findings of the doctrinal Assessment, 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 as they “work to achieve more fully the purpose of the individual institutes.”   
Therefore in order to implement a process of review and conformity to the teachings and discipline of the Church, the Holy See, through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will appoint an Archbishop Delegate, assisted by two Bishops, for review, guidance and approval, where necessary, of the work of the LCWR.  The Delegate will report to the 
CDF, which will inform and consult with the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and the Congregation for Bishops. 
The mandate of the Delegate is to include the following: 
1) To revise LCWR Statutes to ensure greater clarity about the scope of the mission and responsibilities of this conference of major superiors.  The revised Statutes will be submitted to the Holy See for approval by the CICLSAL. 
2) To review LCWR plans and programs, including General Assemblies and 
publications, to ensure that the scope of the LCWR’s mission is fulfilled in accord with Church teachings and discipline.  In particular: 
-  Systems Thinking Handbook will be withdrawn from circulation pending 
revision 
  - LCWR programs for (future) Superiors and Formators will be reformed 
  - Speakers/presenters at major programs will be subject to approval by  
Delegate 
3) To create new LCWR programs for member Congregations for the development of initial and ongoing formation material that provides a deepened understanding of the Church’s doctrine of the faith. 
4) To review and offer guidance in the application of liturgical norms and texts.  For example: 

-The Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours will have a place of priority in     
LCWR events and programs. 
5) To review LCWR links with affiliated organizations, e.g. Network and Resource Center for Religious Life. 
The mandate of the Delegate will be for a period of up to five years, as deemed necessary.  In order to ensure the necessary liaison with the USCCB (in view of Can. 708), the Conference of Bishops will be asked to establish a formal link (e.g. a committee structure) with the Delegate and Assistant Delegate Bishops.  In order to facilitate the achievement of these goals, the Delegate is authorized to form an Advisory Team (clergy, women Religious, 
and experts) to assist in the work of implementation. 
It will be the task of the Archbishop Delegate to work collaboratively with the officers of the LCWR to achieve the goals outlined in this document, and to report on the progress of this work to the Holy See.  Such reports will be reviewed with the Delegate at regular interdicasterial meetings of the CDF and the CICLSAL.  In this way, the Holy See hopes to offer an important contribution to the future of religious life in the Church in the United 
States.   







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