In January, he testified before a Washington state senate committee against a bill to recognize “gay marriage” in the state. When the legislation passed, he encouraged parishes in the archdiocese to collect signatures in favor of a referendum to repeal it.
He also served as the homilist at the 2011 Red Mass for public officials in Washington D.C., where he spoke about Christian service.
Archbishop Sartain will now be responsible for working with LCWR leadership to revise the conference’s statutes and create new formation programs for its members.
He will also be in charge of approving the group’s programs and presentations, as well as the ways in which it applies liturgical norms and texts, ensuring that proper priority is placed on the Eucharist.
In addition, he will review the conference’s connections with affiliated groups, such as Network and the Resources Center for Religious Life.
In working to implement these reform efforts, the archbishop will be aided by an advisory group of clergy, experts and women religious, as well as Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield and Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo, Ohio, who was responsible for conducting the assessment of the LCWR.
Both a canon lawyer and a civil lawyer, Bishop Paprocki is the former chairman and a current member of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance.
A staunch defender of Church teaching on life and marriage, the bishop has spoken out against Illinois’ Catholic governor Pat Quinn for his decision to support same-sex civil unions, which ultimately forced the diocese to shut down its adoption and foster care programs.
He also criticized Quinn for presenting a “Pro-Choice Leadership Award” to an abortion advocacy group in Nov. 2011.
Bishop Blair, a member of the bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, has also worked to defend the Church’s teaching on marriage.
In 2009, he banned a workshop offered by gay advocacy group New Ways Ministry because the organization failed to present authentic Church teaching on homosexuality.
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Archbishop Sartain expressed a deep respect for the work of religious women in America, whose ministry is “paramount to the mission of the Church.”
“Just as the LCWR can be a vital resource in many ways for its members,” he said, “I hope to be of service to them and to the Holy See as we face areas of concern to all.”