Friday, May 11, 2012

The Roman Catholic church's war on women, I: American culture wars in the vatican

First, it was attacks on women's access to contraception--as though any employer has any right to know about my personal health decisions. And, they cover this in the specious claim that their religious freedom requires loss of mine. (Good discussion of that here.)

Then was the slapdown of American nuns , who are the most widely respected representatives of American Catholicism. The reaction has been swift, strong, and dismayed.
American Catholics have not forgotten how long it took bishops to wake up to the sexual-abuse crisis they created. And now they see that the Vatican took just three years to determine that it had no other option but to put 80 percent of U.S. nuns — whose average age is seventy-four — into receivership, an effort led in part by Cardinal Bernard Law. That decision has unified a good deal of Catholics all right — against Rome.
And it's clearly based onAmerican politics:
[I]t turns out that conservative American churchmen living in Rome—including disgraced former Boston Cardinal Bernard Law—were key players in pushing the hostile takeover of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, or LCWR, which they have long viewed with suspicion for emphasizing social justice work over loyalty to the hierarchy and issues like abortion and gay marriage.
yes, that would be the same Cardinal Law who escaped to the Vatican in the wake of the sex abuse scandal in Boston, and remains in Rome in a sort of exile.

But outdoing even this, the latest Roman Catholic hierarchical lunacy is an investigation of the Girl Scouts, of all institutions. Apparently the American RC Bishops think that the girl scouts are a front group for (you guessed it) Planned Parenthood.

You cannot make up this stuff.

As writer Mary Valle notes,
I’m beginning to suspect that the mere notion of girls meeting, gaining skills and becoming competent human beings is a threat. Are Catholic girls no longer being encouraged to follow their own dreams? To speak their minds? To lead others? (Not to mention doing community service, camping and crafts!)

How did we get here? One of the important things about Girl Scouting is bringing different types of people together and learning about each other’s culture. That is: inclusion. Conservative-hatched American Heritage Girls, the new challenger, seems to offer only Godliness and Countryishness. Girl Scouts is international! AHG, not so much. … Bishops: stand down. Stop trying to besmirch things that are wonderful! Stop casting aspersions! You are attacking our girls. Americans! Defend your Girl Scouts. As far as I’m concerned, Girl Scouts is one of the best organizations our country has ever produced. If a line in the sand is being drawn, I know which side I’m on. Scouts.
One final note:
[D]uring a meeting of Vatican personnel in early 2012 to discuss the LCWR assessment, a senior Vatican diplomat warned that launching a crackdown now might be a bad idea in light of domestic American politics, especially an increasingly nasty campaign season featuring rhetoric about a "war on women."

According to sources with knowledge of that meeting, officials of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith replied that such concerns were "exaggerated."
In the wake of the outrage over the treatment of the nuns, and the scorn greeting this latest effort, I wonder if the Vatican still thinks so?

But hang out that welcome banner, 'piskies, because a lot of disaffected Catholics might want to drop by for a sabbatical.....


Grandmère Mimi said...

Bernard Law is without moral credibility, so why would anyone at all attend to what he says? The Vatican and the US bishops seem to be losing their collective mind. Won't someone in their group stand up and speak sanity?

Daniel Weir said...

It's actions like these that are turning me into a feminist.

Pfalz prophet said...

I perceive an opportunity for a Martina Luther to emerge from the RC Church in the USA. It shouldn't be all that difficult to come up with a few theses and a cathedral door to nail them to.

JCF said...

hang out that welcome banner, 'piskies, because a lot of disaffected Catholics might want to drop by for a sabbatical

I hope you're right. My recent banned-from-RC's-blog experience leaves me wary though.

On some level, I have a certain "Que sera', sera'" 'tude towards RCs.

However, where their heirarchy attempts to impose on MY non-RC self, that I get livid! >:-O

dr.primrose said...

Good article on front page of L.A. Times - Gay political donors move from margins to mainstream.

"[T]he gay and lesbian community ranks as one of the most important parts of President Obama's campaign-finance operation. The campaign has hosted a slew of events targeted at gay donors, from intimate dinners to extravagant galas. Wealthy gay business executives and philanthropists fill the ranks of Obama's top bundlers. Twenty-one prominent gay individuals and couples raised a total of at least $7.4 million for the president's reelection through the end of March."