Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Sisters in Crisis: The Tragic Unraveling of Women's Religious Communities

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Sisters in Crisis: The Tragic Unraveling of Women's Religious Communities

Article excerpt

Sisters in Crisis: The Tragic Unraveling of Women's Religious Communities. By Ann Carey. (Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Press. 1996. Pp. 367. $19.95.)

Sisters in Crisis has already evoked strong responses from various points of view. It was predictably unacceptable to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which issued a press release and circulated a critique among its members. Yet many of the book's numerous footnotes refer to the LCWR records. As in so much contemporary Catholic controversy, the argument is not about facts. It represents a profound difference of opinion about what constitutes good news.

Ann Carey's convictions are shared by many American Catholics: that the widespread transfer of the services of Sisters out of education and health care is unfortunate for the Church and society; that religious congregations should be unconditionally obedient to the Holy See and the New Code of Canon Law; that the drastic decline in religious vocations is at least partly due to the secularization of religious life, and that much of its leadership is in denial of this clear reality.

The leadership and much of the membership of the groups involved operate from very different convictions: that concern for the survival of religious congregations should not preoccupy their leaders; that the diversification of services which has replaced the traditional commitment of most to education and health care represents a growth and development, not loss of direction; that what Sisters share is a contemplative attitude toward life that demands a constant reevaluation of work and lifestyle to adapt to the needs of the times."

The debate is not really about what is in religious life but about what should be. Ann Carey believes that present practice falls short of what should be. The LCWR appears to equate what should be with what is. Ann Carey, however does agree that some changes made since the Council were long overdue, and no doubt the LCWR sees room for improvement. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.