US order’s superior summoned to Rome over concerns

The superior of a US order of Catholic sisters has been summoned to the Vatican to discuss “areas of concern”.

The Vatican’s congregation for religious life issued the requirement to the Sisters of Loretto.

The order will be asked to explain alleged “ambiguity” in its adherence to Church teaching and its way of living religious life.

Loretto sisters’ president Sr Pearl McGivney announced her summoning to Rome in a short June 1 letter to her order’s members.

The Vatican congregation has made use of material gathered during an apostolic visitation to various US religious communities of apostolic life, started in 2008.

This inquiry concluded with a 2014 report on the state of religious life in the US.

Sr McGivney wrote that she has been asked to visit the Vatican on October 18 to discuss five “areas of concern” identified by the congregation for religious life.

Among these are “a certain ambiguity regarding the congregation’s adherence to some areas of Church doctrine and morality”.

Also of concern to the Vatican is the sisters’ “policy regarding members of the community who are known to hold positions of dissent from the Church’s moral teaching or approved liturgical practice”.

A further issue for the Vatican is the Loretto sisters’ way of allowing laypeople to join the community as “co-members”.

Sr McGivney said her order was one of about 90 in the US that was personally visited in 2010 as part of the apostolic visitation.

She said that during that inquiry, four members of other congregations interviewed about 90 Loretto sisters.

“The visitors seemed warm and genuinely interested in our lives,” stated the president.

“They did not inquire about these ‘areas of concern’ with our elected leadership during this visitation, and we had no expectation that six years later we would find ourselves being asked to come to Rome to address any outstanding issues.”

Yet, Sr McGivney added: “We are glad to accept this opportunity for conversation.”


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