WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sister Mary Hughes of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an association representing about 80 percent of U.S. Catholic nuns, will discuss her organization's dispute with the Vatican during a National Press Club Luncheon on Aug. 16 . The coalition's national Assembly is taking place now through Aug. 10 in St. Louis. During this gathering, members are debating how to deal with a critical report issued this year by the Vatican, recommending that the nuns' organization be overhauled by bishops -- at the direction of the Holy See.
Sister Mary Hughes, past president of LCWR and Prioress of the Sisters of St. Dominic in Amityville, N.Y., will discuss the Leadership Conference's mission and the results of its national Assembly event. In an interview on PBS last month, Sister Mary said there is a "profound sense of sadness" over the tension with the Vatican, but added that asking questions "does not mean we are against Church teaching."
The Vatican began investigating LCWR over ecclesiastical and doctrinal issues and alleged radical feminism in 2008. The Vatican report released in April said the group was not speaking out strongly enough against abortion, gay marriage and the ordination of women. Many members of LCWR endorsed President Barack Obama's health care reform plan in 2010.
The LCWR umbrella group includes more than 1,500 women leaders representing a large majority of some 56,000 women religious in the United States. The leadership team includes its immediate past president, current president and president-elect.
Established in 1956, the LCWR's stated goal is to "further the mission of the Gospel in today's world."
After the Second Vatican Council and the Vatican II movement, the LCWR and many member orders became more active in secular communities, addressing issues such as poverty, lack of health care, illiteracy and AIDS.
The organization caused a stir in 1979 during Pope John Paul II's visit to the United States, at a televised event at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Sister Theresa Kane, then-president of LCWR, publicly asked the pope to consider allowing women to participate in all the church's ministries, including the all-male priesthood.
The Press Club luncheon will begin promptly at 12:30 p.m. Remarks will begin at 1:00 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session, ending at 2 p.m. Advance reservations should be made through (202) 662-7501 or [email protected]. The cost of luncheon admission is $19 for National Press Club members, $30 for their guests, and $37 for the general public. Tickets must be purchased at time of reservation.
National Press Club Luncheons are webcast live on press.org. Follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #NPCLunch, or on Facebook at (facebook.com/PressClubDC) and Twitter (@PressClubDC). Submit questions for speakers in advance and during the live event by sending them to @QNPCLunch on Twitter. Or email a question in advance, type SISTERS in the subject line and send to [email protected] before 10 a.m. on the day of event.
The Press Club is on the 13th floor, 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. Credentialed press may cover this event.
The National Press Club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists with more than 3,400 members worldwide representing every major news organization. More than 250,000 people visit the Club each year to attend more than 2,000 events. The Club was founded in 1908 and is on the web at press.org.
SOURCE National Press Club