Vatican says its congregations do collaborate

Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz

Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz

May 20, 2013

Two days after the head of the Vatican office overseeing religious life said he had not been consulted by the Vatican’s doctrinal office about a controversial investigation of American nuns, the two bodies affirmed their “common commitment” to reform of the U.S.-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

Brazilian Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, told an international gathering of sisters May 5 that his office had not been consulted about the doctrinal congregation’s investigation of the LCWR.

He expressed hopes for “a dialogue, something which did not take place previously.”

In newspaper reports, a video of the cardinal’s homily and a video interview, Braz de Aviz was not quoted as disagreeing with the doctrinal congregation’s decision that the LCWR’s statutes must be revised.

He did, however, say the way the process was handled personally caused him pain.

The statement released by the Vatican press office May 7 was in line with standard Vatican practice when differences between Vatican officials become public.

It said Archbishop Gerhard Muller, the doctrinal prefect, and Braz de Aviz met May 6 and agreed that the media’s interpretation of the cardinal’s remarks was “not justified.”

However, the following day, Braz de Aviz repeated his call for dialogue among the Vatican congregations. He told reporters May 8 that he had not seen the previous day’s Vatican statement.

He said the only problem he had seen with the most comprehensive news report on his remarks – in the National Catholic Reporter – concerned what he had said about the exercise of authority.