A group representing leftward-leaning Catholic nuns in America has issued a rebuke to President Trump, urging him to “end all divisive and polarising rhetoric.”
The group, called the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), has distinguished itself over the years for its own “divisive and polarizing rhetoric,” sponsoring initiatives such as Nuns on the Bus, and with members calling for ordination of women to the priesthood and a softer approach to abortion.
In April 2012, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) announced the need to remedy “significant doctrinal problems” associated with the activities and programs of the LCWR “in areas including abortion, euthanasia, women’s ordination and homosexuality.”
The LCWR describes its own mission as being to “influence systemic change, studying significant trends and issues within the church and society, utilizing our corporate voice in solidarity with people who experience any form of violence or oppression, and creating and offering resource materials on religious leadership skills.”
Since the early 1990s, Catholic religious sisters in the United States have been divided into two organizations, the LCWR, which has an older constituency heavily influenced by societal trends from the 1960s and 1970s and known for its social justice outreach, and a younger group, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR) that embraces a more traditional understanding of women’s religious life, such as community prayer, education, service, and the wearing of distinctive religious garb.
In their letter to President Trump, the sisters represented by LCWR declare that America finds itself “caught in a political culture paralyzed by ideological extremism and hyper-partisanship.”
“In the face of these unprecedented challenges, we are outraged and heart-broken when our political leaders appeal to our basest instincts and stoke the fires of fear that threaten to tear the fabric of our nation apart. We cannot, we will not, let the voices of hatred and fear carry the day,” they warn.
“Mr. President, we beseech you to end all divisive and polarising rhetoric,” the sisters declare. “We implore you to never use language that disrespects, dehumanises, or demonises others.”
“We too have to reach deep within ourselves to bring forth the grace and strength that are needed to not give in to the temptation of labeling or judging those who are different from us,” they state.
“We sometimes come up short, but pledge to do better each day because we are aware of the moral authority we, as sisters, bear,” they add. “We ask you, Mr. President, if you would consider a similar examination of the practice of your own moral authority.”
The LCWR recently highlighted what it sees as the major challenges facing the Church and the world in the present day: racism, climate change, and immigration.
At the end of their annual meeting, sisters of LCWR voted unanimously on August 16 “to commit the organization, their congregations and themselves to fight racism, welcome immigrants and help stop climate change for the next three years.”
“We are heartbroken by the myriad ways our one human family and Earth, our common home, suffer from disconnection, indifference, violence and fear in the face of racism, migration and climate crisis,” the resolution declares. “Responding to God who loves all creation into being, we recommit ourselves to create communion and examine root causes of injustice.”