Pacem In Terris 41: Women

Even in the nascent days of the women’s movement, Pope John had his eye on the development. Good thing too:

41. Secondly, the part that women are now playing in political life is everywhere evident. This is a development that is perhaps of swifter growth among Christian nations, but it is also happening extensively, if more slowly, among nations that are heirs to different traditions and imbued with a different culture. Women are gaining an increasing awareness of their natural dignity. Far from being content with a purely passive role or allowing themselves to be regarded as a kind of instrument, they are demanding both in domestic and in public life the rights and duties which belong to them as human persons.

More was and is needed in the Church that being watchful of this development. More also needed than tacking the label “radical feminism” onto everything that seems to threaten the status quo. Discernment needs to be applied, and the question tackled seriously. Just as the forces that pushed back against the labor movement have succeeded to some degree, women have been nudged aside, too.

Just as the labor movement has been tarnished by corruption, the women’s movement hasn’t completely escaped obstacles of its own making. The often-addictive attachment to abortion rights comes to mind. But it still doesn’t detract from the overall need to address the very real issues women bring to the society at large, and to the institutional Church in particular.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Pacem In Terris 41: Women

  1. John McGrath says:

    Meanwhile the Vatican tells us that the media have wrongly reported remarks of Cardinal Braz de Aviz and that he’s fully behind the investigation of the sisters. He’ll probably be ordered to deliver the suppression news to them. Of course he won’t resign.

    No one is going to clean up the contempt for the truth, and for women, in the Vatican. Words are deceptive, deeds more revealing.

  2. Todd says:

    As for some elements of the Vatican: neo-conservative Catholicism is fast becoming a spent husk.

  3. Jimmy Mac says:

    “Meanwhile the Vatican tells us that the media have wrongly reported remarks of Cardinal Braz de Aviz and that he’s fully behind the investigation of the sisters.” —-

    Vaticanese relies on secrecy and obfuscation to try to avoid culpability and change. The chief rules are:

    1. For starters, do not apologize, do not explain.

    2. Divert attention: talk about something else even in answer to direct questions.

    3. Speak in generalizations rather than specifics if you can get away with it.
    4. When necessary to speak affirmatively, speak ambiguously so later you can say you didn’t mean what everyone took you to mean.

    5. Say that words have unusual meanings in Canon Law and the bishops understand that if the New York Times doesn’t.

    6, Say the CDF has the matter under advisement and that the CDF really isn’t the Inquisition anymore.

    7. When the Vatican’s position is obviously subject to criticism, suggest in darkly worded tones that the opposition’s position leads to unnamed but inevitably immoral consequences.

    8. When you have been forced to reverse your position, begin your reversal with the phrase, “As the Vatican said earlier . . . : or in extremis, “As the Church has always taught.”

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