On the eve of the Vatican's doctrinal investigation in 2009, Sister Sandra M. Schneiders published a letter to her Leadership Conference associates in which she sounded loaded for bear. Declaring that her community and others had "birthed a new form of religious life," she referred to the Vatican's attempt at assessment as "a hostile move" and one that would do "violence" to all that newness.
Not all sisters have been as combative. Two years earlier, in a thoughtful presentation that some believe spurred the investigation, then-Leadership Conference president Sister Laurie Brink had acknowledged that while many sisters walked unevenly with Rome, some had moved "beyond the church, even beyond Jesus." She called that a post-Christian mind-set that might ethically require those who held it to leave the church.
That assessment by Sister Brink was quoted in the Congregation's findings, but the document says nothing ill of Sister Brink. Rather, it worries that post-Christian mind-sets too often "go unchallenged" by the Leadership Conference—that it is falling down on the job of bringing Christian witness to its own members.
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