Sister Pat Farrell, the president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) was on Terry Gross’ Fresh Air on NPR today. You can listen to the podcast here. Sister Farrell addresses many of the questions and concerns the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith’s Assessment of the LCWR. This is definitely worth a listen.
What strikes me is that Farrell speaks as a woman who became a part of a religious congregation as the changes of Vatican II were being implemented. She was part of the process of renewal, as a newly professed woman. (This is what she talks about towards the end of the interview.) A great deal of pain and emotion comes through her quiet yet firm voice. She also is quite adept in dodging Terry Gross’ attempts to make her say something “radical” and inflammatory. This does not mean the Farrell does not answer questions in a straight forward manner. For those who have read correspondence and other papers written prior to Vatican II by women religious, you will observe a certain deferential tone in their words. There is a manner to writing styles that feeds the “good sisters” identity. This was not the reality of women religious’ lives and identities, but more often their mode of negotiating with male hierarchy. Vatican II changed all that. There is nothing unfriendly and hostile in Sister Pat Farrell’s words on Fresh Air today, just direct. No one can be left with any dobut that the LCWR is hurt, bothered, and frustrated the CDF’s Assessment.
You can read more about recent developments and other stories on today’s SisterNews posting.