Joanna Moorhead; 20/4/10
How, asked a friend the other day, can you still be a Catholic? You call yourself a feminist – but look at this organisation you’re part of: it has to be one of the most outrageously sexist institutions on the planet. Not only do women have no equality, there’s not even a real movement towards genuine equality. Women in your church have no voice, no influence and no political clout whatsoever. He was, of course, right: with each day that goes by, it seems to get harder to defend my decision to hang on as a churchgoing Catholic. For the last 20 years I’ve tried, through my work as a journalist both inside and outside the church, to argue for a greater and more equal role for women. Over the same period, women’s rights as an issue seems to have all but disappeared – partly because there hasn’t been enough will at the top (the present pope did say in 2007 that there should be more women in positions of power – but we’re still waiting); and partly because, set against almost any other institution you could name, its stance on women seems more out of date and out of touch than ever.
The Guardian; The Sun Herald; 25/4/10; See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/apr/20/catholic-church-women-power
Stand up to the Vatican
How refreshing to read that the leaders of Britain’s Labour, Conservative and Liberal parties have publicly repudiated the Pope’s position on questions of public policy such as contraception, embryonic cell research, fertility treatment, gay equality and use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV (“British leaders join forces against Pope”, 24/4). In Australia the church is leading the campaign against recognition of same-sex couples. Tony Abbott was recently publicly rebuked for saying “gay relationships should be celebrated, acknowledged and recognised”. The church has also lobbied NSW Premier Kristina Keneally against the introduction of secular ethics courses into NSW schools. The separation of church and state needs to be reaffirmed by leaders of all parties.
John Challis, Elizabeth Bay, NSW
See: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/stand-up-to-the-vatican/story-fn558imw-1225858132470; British leaders join forces against Pope; http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/british-leaders-join-forces-against-pope-benedict-xvi/story-e6frg6so-1225857615621; Priests must protect kids: Pope; FRANCES D’EMILIO; 26/5/10;April 26, 2010; http://news.theage.com.au/breaking-news-world/priests-must-protect-kids-pope-20100426-tlwq.html;