|Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller|
The CDF prefect said that the LCWR considered one of “the more contentious aspects” of the mandate to be the need for speakers and presenters at major programs to be cleared by the apostolic delegate overseeing the reform, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle. This aspect, he said, was not a “sanction,” but, rather, “a point of dialogue and discernment” designed to avoid speakers using an LCWR forum “to advance positions at odds with the teaching of the Church.” It also was meant to help the LCWR leaders anticipate issues of concern to the Holy See. “It saddens me to learn that you have decided to give the Outstanding Leadership Award during this year’s assembly to a theologian criticized by the bishops of the United States because of the gravity of the doctrinal errors in that theologian’s writings,” Cardinal Müller said, referring to the LCWR 2014 award going to Sister of St. Joseph Elizabeth Johnson. “This is a decision that will be seen as a rather open provocation against the Holy See and the 'Doctrinal Assessment,'” the cardinal continued. “Not only that, but it further alienates the LCWR from the [United States] bishops as well.” Had Archbishop Sartain been involved in the conversation about choosing an honoree, “he would have added an important element to the discernment,” the cardinal said. “The decision taken by the LCWR during the ongoing implementation of the 'Doctrinal Assessment' is indeed regrettable and demonstrates clearly the necessity of the mandate’s provision that speakers and presenters at major programs will be subject to approval by the delegate,” Cardinal Gerhard Müller said.