Upon receiving the LCWR Outstanding Leadership Award, Pinkerton explained that the callings of the two groups "are so very intertwined as to be inseparable."
"I have never doubted that for me Network was a natural progression from LCWR," she said. "In truth, we two entities are inextricably linked."
She added that the LCWR has always been part of Network's board, "helping to set its direction."
Carey said that the Network bus tour is "illustrative" of what has been happening with the women's leadership conference for several decades.
On April 18, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith revealed the findings a four-year doctrinal assessment of the conference, which discovered "serious doctrinal problems" and a need for reform.
It cited letters from LCWR officers as well as presentations sponsored by the conference which exhibited "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith" and dissent from Church teaching on topics including the sacramental male priesthood and homosexuality.
The assessment also found that while the group adamantly promotes social justice issues, it largely ignores matters of life, marriage and sexuality, which have played a large role in recent public debates.
Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle has been mandated to work with LCWR leadership to guide renewal efforts.
The archbishop will help the conference revise its statues and review its formation materials, speakers, presentations and affiliation with other organizations, as well as the application of liturgical norms and texts in its gatherings.
LCWR leaders said that they were "stunned" by the assessment and accused the Vatican of making "unsubstantiated accusations."
They also argued that "the sanctions imposed were disproportionate to the concerns raised" and could compromise the sisters' "ability to fulfill their mission."
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However, Carey noted that the LCWR's mission was redefined when the group re-wrote its statutes four decades ago. She asserted the group has no reason to be stunned because it has been disagreeing with the Vatican over doctrine and religious life for 40 years.
"They've been alluding to it for years in their own materials," she said. "They're just trying to play the victim."