Justice For Women

In the Church. In the World.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

As a Christian, As a Feminist

Anne Lamott speaks out to a room full of Catholics about her abortion, Jim Wallis smooths it over, and an old lady gives her a big fist-pump of support (as I would have had I been in the room).

Click and be inspired.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Women's eNews: Two Catholic Campuses Hush The Vagina Monologues

Women's eNews does a great job on this issue, with interviews with the organizers from Providence College and University of Notre Dame (the latter I think is a case of a new president giving his bishop what he wants).

I suggest contacting the presidents of these colleges to let them know how very disappointed we are in them . . . and if you happen to be an alum, threaten to keep your donation this year . . .

Friday, February 10, 2006

Keeping an Eye on CNS

And their math skills. While the website says 32 Catholic colleges are hosting The Vagina Monologues, I counted 22 on their list.

But the swell news is that 2 more colleges have been added since my last V-Day rant. :)

News Notes From CFFC

In Catholic Circles, Spring 2006 from the newsjournal Conscience.

Of particular interest (to me anyway):

Catholic School Fires Pregnant Teacher
"A pregnant Catholic schoolteacher in Brooklyn, NY, has been fired by a Catholic school because she is unmarried. A spokesperson for the Diocese of Brooklyn said that it supported the decision by the Saint Rose of Lima school to fire Michelle McCusker because the teachers’ handbook stated that 'a teacher can not violate the tenets of Catholic morality.'

Speaking at a rally in support of McCusker, CFFC board member Eileen Moran said, 'I am appalled by the unjust, unethical treatment she has received. This action violates the church’s own teaching on the rights of workers to be treated justly and with respect. St. Rose and the Brooklyn diocese behaved abysmally and hypocritically in its firing of Ms. McCusker. To me, Ms. McCusker exemplifies the best of Catholicism. She chose teaching, a career of service over material gain and she now shows she has the courage to challenge injustice not only on her own behalf but on behalf of other pregnant women.'

The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a wrongful dismissal complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and McCusker has also filed suit against the school."

(aside: when's the next time CFFC and Feminists for Life are going to be agreeingon something? :) )

Canadian Priest Suspended for Supporting Women’s Ordination
"The Rev. Edward Cachia, who served at St. Michael’s parish in Cobourg, Ontario, has been suspended for suggesting that the ordination of nine women on a tour boat on the St. Lawrence River was 'the beginning of a new and awesome change in the life of the church.' Bishop Nicola De Angelis issued the order to Cachia, stating that he 'can no longer be relied upon to celebrate the Eucharist within the Church as Christ intended.'"

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

20 Colleges Remain on the CNS Protest List, PC Pres Misses the Mark

And hurrah for these twenty brave colleges.


CNS takes plenty of credit for the nine that have been removed from the list, even when no event was ever planned. But I digress.

The real GOOD news is that Catholic colleges that are not backing down are receiving community support. St Kate's event in St Paul (scheduled for this week) sold out before I could buy tickets! Saint Mary's College of California has also been added!

The BAD news, and the big story, is Providence College's president cancelling what has become an annual event at the school. It's especially dubious with a tagline like, "Transform Society, Transform Yourself." Rev Brian Shanley's statement does a swell job of towing the CNS line, and while he references the paperback version of the book, I truly wonder if he's ever even opened it. If he did, he would see that CNS's descriptions of the monologues are downright false at worse and miss the point at best. He also seems to lack the ability to comprehend metaphor (see the "new bible" remark).

But my real contention with Rev. Shanley's statment is the passage that follows: "Any depiction of female sexuality that neglects its unitive and procreative dimensions diminishes its complexity, its mystery, and its dignity." This makes me really think that he's never opened the book or seen the play that he is banning from the PC campus. Let's all think about The Vagina Monologues for a minute, and the monologues that even talk about sex . . . unitive? Check. Procreative? Check. Neither is neglected. And all this "mystery" around sexuality is what leads to unintended pregnancy, sexual abuse and violence (because there is no vocabulary for it), shame, and 70-something year old women having never experienced and orgasm. And dignity? (Warning: rant follows) What authority does the Catholic Church have to talk about what constitutes the "dignity" of women when the Church continues to refuse women's call to the priesthood and women's ability to determine if, when, and how many children they will have. It's ludicrus. And I say this as a Catholic. Seriously.

One more thing for Rev. Shanley: as much as we'd all like to believe you are truly advocating for women's "dignity" and an end to sexual and physical violence, your week long effort in April is missing one very important part of the V-Day movement - FUNDRAISING. I cannot emphasize the importance of this aspect of the V-Day movement enough. Through performances of The Vagina Monologues, local organizations which provide services to women experiencing violence receive cash donations. What Providence service provider will got without this year? Without systemic change and cash flow (both of which are lacking from Rev. Shanley's Project SAVE week proposal) violence against women will continue and there will be no place for survivors to turn.

The Vagina Monologues isn't always polite, correct, or Catholic. But neither are women's experiences, whether they attend a Catholic college or not.

Here's V-Day's response to Rev. Shanley. Much more eloquent and less rage-induced than mine.

But I don't want anyone who reads this to think that all Catholic male priest presidents of colleges are bad. Because they aren't (especially Jesuit ones). So here's a statement from Rev. Kevin Wildes of Loyola New Orleans. It's quite good.

So in short: YAY Benedictines, CSJs, and Jesuits. BOO CNS, Shanley, and anyone else who thinks censoring women is a moral action.