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Vatican Document Angers, Amuses Women


Women have reacted with anger and amusement to a Vatican ddocument on feminism, with some saying the Catholic Church is run by men who live in a time warp and want to keep women in their place.

The document, issued Saturday, said modern feminism’s fight for power and gender equality was undermining the traditional concept of family and creating a climate where gay marriages are seen as acceptable.

Frances Kissling, president of the U.S.-based Catholics for a Free Choice, said she thought she had “passed through a time warp” when she read the paper.

“I thought for sure I was in the 1960s and Archie Bunker had been appointed theologian to the Pope,” she said, referring to the character in the U.S. TV series whose bigoted views included opposition to any form of women’s rights.

The Vatican document, “On the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World,” said women should be respected and have equal rights in the workplace, but differences between the sexes must be recognized and exalted.

The document, which restated Catholic Church positions, including the ban on female priests, said many women felt they had to be “adversaries of men” in order to be themselves.

It criticized feminism’s attempt to erase gender differences, saying it had inspired ideologies questioning the traditional family structure of a mother and a father and making homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent.

“Such observations could only be made by men who have no significant relationships with women and no knowledge of the enormous positive changes the women’s rights movement has meant for both men and women,” Kissling said.

Emma Bonino, a member of the European Parliament, said the Vatican was writing about a world that no longer exists.

“This letter could easily have been written by an imam of al-Azhar,” she said referring to Sunni Islam’s most respected institution of religious learning in Cairo. “To be fair to the Catholic Church, no religion is a great friend of women,” she told a newspaper.

“They pay you a lot of compliments but when push comes to shove they ask you to stay in your place: wife, nurse, mother and grandmother.”

Some women suggested the Vatican is taking a patronizing attitude it would not take toward men.

This article courtesy of Reuters.

Catholics for Choice