Register Radio: New Age Influence at the LCWR Assembly

Father Mitch Pacwa and Ann Carey

LCWR gathers around keynote speaker Barbara Marx Hubbard.
LCWR gathers around keynote speaker Barbara Marx Hubbard. (photo: Lisa Johnston for CNA)

Today on Register Radio, it was a very special show devoted to last week's St. Louis assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. In our first half, EWTN's Father Mitch Pacwa, SJ, provided some insight into who Barbara Marx Hubbard is. Hubbard was the LCWR's keynote speaker.

"She says that there is a hierarchy of voices that speaks to her," explained Father Pacwa, who is an expert on the New Age movement. "The highest of those voices is what she describes as her 'Christ-self.'"

"She has a very different Christ than what we have in the Gospels, in Sacred Tradition, and what the Magisterium teaches," said Father Pacwa. "Her Christ is an alternative to what the Catholic Church teaches. She considers us to be closed-minded."

"For her to address the LCWR sisters when the Vatican is trying to draw the sisters back to the faith and the way of life and discipline of the Church, the LCWR's approach has been a New Age approach for some decades," added Father Pacwa. "As they follow that, they do not gain any vocations. Their medium age is 74 and I would estimate that not 2% of their vocations are below the age of 50. They are not life-giving, yet they see [Barbara Marx Hubbard] as giving a vision of a life-giving future. The Pope and the rest of the Church are saying, 'No, this is not the authentic Jesus Christ of the Gospels. You should not be following a false Christ or any other voice.'"

In our second half, Register correspondent Ann Carey, who covered the LCWR assembly spoke about the gathering. "Barbara Marx Hubbard cherry picked from the Catholic faith and the New Testament in her keynote address," said Carey. "At one point she said that after reading the New Testment, she realized that if we were to use a higher way of thinking, we too would be like Christ and even performing miracles. She was pretty far out there."

Asked about the LCWR's response to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's doctrinal assessment, Carey said that their decision was to continue dialogue.

"They seem to think that if they can keep the other side talking, one never has to come to a conclusion," said Carey, paralleling the situation with the LCWR to that of the Society of St. Pius the X.

Carey added that there's a stark difference between the LCWR's mission today and it's stated purpose when it was first organized in 1956. "Originally, their purpose was to promote the spiritual welfare of Sisters and closer cooperation with the hierarchy of the Church," said Carey. "The Vatican founded the group and can decide if a group within the Church retains canonical status. Retaining canonical status means keeping close ties with the hierarchy and remaining faithful to the Church. The LCWR thinks that they have their own authority because they are the ones living the life."

As always, to learn more listen to today's show at 2 p.m. EASTERN Friday on any EWTN Radio affiliate or Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. The program re-airs at 7 p.m. EASTERN on Saturday and 11 a.m. EASTERN on Sunday, and is also available on the Register Radio web page, and via podcast.