Nun tells Catholics Pope Francis gives her hope

By The Rainbow

Pope Francis represents a “paradigm shift” that may help the Catholic Church realize one of the Second Vatican Council's visions: to fully involve lay people - particularly women - in the life of the church, a leading nun said Sunday.

Sister Florence Deacon, who is in the presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, was the guest speaker for this year's Aquinas Lecture at St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center. The church serves the University of Utah community.

Deacon declined to weigh in on the ordination of women as priests, telling one questioner: “I'm not here to talk about that.”

And she told another that she wouldn't discuss specifics of the ongoing Vatican-ordered scrutiny of the LCWR by three American bishops.

But she spoke at length about why Pope Francis gives her hope.

The pope, she said, is preaching and writing about many of the same issues that have come to the fore since the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in 2012, issued its doctrinal assessment of the LCWR and mandated that it report to Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle and two others.

The LCWR's members are the leaders of religious orders that represent 80 percent of the 57,000 American nuns.

“We have begun to see this moment in our history in a much wider context,” she said. “It has become increasingly clear the mandate … was not just about us but it reflected larger questions of the church.”

Catholics throughout the world are questioning the implementation of Second Vatican Council reforms 50 years later, debating the ecclesiastical roles of lay people and of nuns, and raising questions about obedience, faithful dissent, and authority, she said.

“After just 10 months in office, Pope Francis has addressed many of these issues,” she said.

The Salt Lake Tribune