Vatican appointed apostolic visitator to US women religious congragations Mother Mary Clare Millea has sent major superiors letters that indicates the effort will involve an examination of "the soundness of doctrine held and taught" by the women.
When the study was first announced it was explained that it was intended to examine "the quality of life" of US women religious, with an eye to finding out why vocations have dropped over the years, according to the National Catholic Reporter.
Initially, some women religious expressed confusion and scepticism concerning the purpose of the investigation and questioned its intent.
Mother Millea, superior general of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the apostolic visitator charged by the Vatican with directing the study, sent a letter dated July 28 to the heads of women religious congregations, along with an Instrumentum Laboris, or "working paper".
The paper outlined the next phases of the investigation, including the thrust of a questionnaire that the religious heads are to fill out and return to Millea.
The paper also explained in greater detail the focus of the apostolic visitation, the news report added.
The first phase of the investigation that included interviews with the religious superiors concluded July 31. The next phase involves the heads of the orders to filling out and returning questionnaires relating to the life and operation of the orders. Phase three involves visitations to selected congregations.
The areas of concern identified in the questionnaire include identity; governance; vocation promotion; admission and formation policies; spiritual life and common life; mission and ministry; and finances.
The Instumentum Laboris states: "The Apostolic Visitation will focus on the fundamentals of the religious vocation, including consecration by profession of the evangelical counsels through public vow within a particular religious institute wherein members exercise some external apostolic work(s). Particular attention will be given to the significant witness of the vowed commitment given by women religious within the heritage of each institute's charism and in fidelity to the Church's teachings and to the renewal indicated by Vatican Council II and post-conciliar documents. It will examine, for example, promotion and retention of vocations; initial and ongoing formation; the concrete living out of the evangelical counsels; common life and religious houses; the structures and practical application of internal governance; the soundness of doctrine held and taught by the religious; the nature and variety of apostolic works; and the overall administration of temporal goods."
FULL STORY @
Women religious study to include 'soundness of doctrine' (National Catholic Reporter)
Working paper outlines information being sought from religious orders (Catholic News Service)
Mother Mary Clare Millea's letter to the women religious congregation heads.
Full text of the Instumentum Laboris and appendices