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Friday, September 14, 2012

Letter of Support for Maryknoll Sisters

Following the April 18, 2012 release of the Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF—formerly known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition), members of the Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers who participate in the bi-weekly discussion group "Common Table" debated at length what, if any, response was merited from our side of the road.

After a few sessions, a draft letter went out to all Society members asking for input. Correction were made. Objections were raised. Some thought this matter was strictly between the CDF and the LCWR, to which the Maryknoll Sisters belong, but since the Maryknollers were not singled out, that it was none of our concern. One said the Sisters were quite capable of defending themselves.

A few sided with the CDF (we are, after all, Maryknollers) and thought any letter of support was misguided. A few thought our letter was too strong; others not strong enough.

Finally, an edited copy was set to Society members to sign if they so wished. Others were encouraged to write and send their own letters in their own words, and several men did this, I am told.

The letter was composed on August 8, the Feast of St. Dominic (patron of the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic) and finally sent with 104 signatures to Sr. Janice McLaughlin, president of the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation on September 8, the Nativity of Mary. (Four more men have since emailed me to add their names, so that brings the total to 108).

Below is the text of the letter and the response by Sister Janice.


Statement in support of the Maryknoll Sisters from Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers

We, members of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, express our unconditional support for and solidarity with the Maryknoll Sisters during this Centenary of their foundation.

For one hundred years we have worked side-by-side with them to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ among the poorest and most vulnerable of God’s people, both here and overseas.

We add our voice to that of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in lauding the Sisters’ unselfish sacrifice, dedication and service to others, especially the less fortunate, marginalized and outcasts of society.

The Sisters’ lives and witness therefore make other aspects of the CDF Assessment all-the-more perplexing, as it casts doubt on their integrity and loyalty to the Church.

In the noblest American tradition of open discussion and honest dialogue, and with solid conviction that our faith can stand the rigors of robust debate, the Sisters do not fear listening to speakers who express differing points of view.

The Sisters risk their safety, health and lives, and willingly forgo privilege, prestige and power, to live the Gospel and follow the laws of Christ in a most pastoral way. The unprecedented outpouring of public support attests to their effectiveness.

We therefore, the undersigned members of the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, are confident all things do indeed work together for good. A just resolution to this controversy, as that between Peter and Paul, will show the world we are all truly Christ’s disciples in our love for one another.

August 8, 2012
Feast of St. Dominic


RE: Letter of Support
McLaughlin, Janice
Sent: September 11, 2012
To: Veneroso, Joe

What a great way to begin the day! I’ve passed on your message to the other members of the team.  We are deeply appreciative of your solidarity and will send our response to all 104 of you soon! The world would be a better place if we all had brothers like you.
Peace and joy,

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