Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, who conducted the Vatican's doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, appeared on NPR's "Fresh Air," in the second part of the program's look at the LCWR. Here is the full interview with Terry Gross, in which Bishop Blair stated his belief that the LCWR is "promoting unilaterally new understandings, a new kind of theology, that is not in accordance with the faith of the church." The full interview is here on NPR's site . Other excerpts follow.
On the LCWR not taking a hard-line stance on abortion
"I recall something that Pope John Paul II said: He said that all other human rights are false and illusory. If the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and condition of all personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination ... to relativize or say, well the right to life of an unborn child is a preoccupation with fetuses or [it is] relative in its importance, I cannot agree with that, and I don't think that represents the church's teaching and the focus of our energies in trying to deal with this great moral issue."
On the dialogue that the LCWR would like to have with the Vatican
"If by dialogue, they mean that the doctrines of the church are negotiable, and that the bishops represent one position and the LCWR represents another position and somehow we find a middle ground about basic church teaching on faith and morals, then no, I don't think that's the dialogue the Holy See would envision. But if it's a dialogue about how to have the LCWR really educate and help the sisters appreciate and accept church teaching and to implement it in their discussions, and try to heal some of the questions or concerns they have about these issues, that would be the dialogue."
On the importance of women in the church
"It's very important for me to say that the history of religious women in the United States is absolutely outstanding, and that one of the most disconcerting things about recent reports is to suggest that somehow that the bishops or the Holy See are not grateful or supportive for the work of religious women. They have done tremendous work in our country and throughout the world. If anything, part of our concern is precisely for their diminished numbers and their aging population. ... We hope there would be revitalization of religious life for women."