The past two years have been rough on the relationship between American nuns and the Church. In 2012, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released its "Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious," an eight-page report that criticized aspects of the assemblies, addresses, and newsletters of the country's largest organization of nuns. Among other things, it pointed to "significant doctrinal and moral content ... which often contradict or ignore magisterial teaching." The sisters were instructed to withdraw or revise several publications, review their statutes, and reframe their discussions of Catholic doctrine.
Last week, the cardinal in charge of leading these reforms addressed the leaders of the LCWR in Rome, and he didn't have a lot of praise for the group's progress.
"I apologize if this seems blunt, but what I must say is too important to dress up in flowery language," Gerhard Ludwig Müller said.
For the last several years, the Congregation has been following with increasing concern a focalizing of attention within the LCWR around the concept of Conscious Evolution. Since Barbara Marx Hubbard addressed the Assembly on this topic two years ago, every issue of your newsletter has discussed Conscious Evolution in some way. Issues of [your publication] Occasional Papers have been devoted to it. We have even seen some religious Institutes modify their directional statements to incorporate concepts and undeveloped terms from Conscious Evolution.The fundamental theses of Conscious Evolution are opposed to Christian Revelation and, when taken unreflectively, lead almost necessarily to fundamental errors...
To be clear, "conscious evolution" is a non-Christian concept developed by author and public speaker Barbara Marx Hubbard, whom Müller mentioned in his comments. In large part, the philosophy seems to focus on mindful interaction with the environment. It's described on Hubbard’s website as "an effort to discover the inherent design of life itself, which can be seen as the process of one intelligence, striving to know itself through our many eyes, and to set the stage for a future of immense co-creativity." The site features colorful clip art of planets illuminated by sunbeams and an endorsement from Deepak Chopra.