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The Vatican’s war on women


The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) received a harsh condemnation from the Vatican after a three-year study into its practices and stances. The critique expresses concerns that women religious have been too tolerant in their views about sexuality, too supportive of universal health care despite its long history within official Catholic social teaching, and too silent in opposition to abortion. As we have watched the U.S. bishops become completely identified with right wing Christian politics in recent years, we now see the Vatican join the current “war on women” that is dominating the presidential race on the Republican side.

But this is not a new war for the Vatican. This is old time religion. The Catholic Church has been a repressive place for women for its entire history. We could easily point to the exclusion of women as priests, a role which presides over the Sacraments which bind the church community to each other and to the divine source of life. Finally, at Vatican II in the 1960s, women were allowed to have more participation in the Catholic liturgy by reading from the Scripture, serving at the altar and providing the Sacrament of the Eucharist to parishioners. Under the current Pope, all reforms of Vatican II are being questioned with the inclusion of women in specific ministerial roles in jeopardy.

But a more telling statistic about the importance of women’s voices in the Catholic Church is found in its official teaching. Despite the hard work of nuns and lay women who are often the heart of local parishes and schools, no single document ever published by the Catholic Church has ever been written by a woman or a group of women. For 2,000 years, each and every teaching of the Catholic Church has been the viewpoint of men. And, more than not, women were not even consultant about the content. This includes church documents written about women and their role in society and the church. And, of course, it includes official teaching on sexuality and motherhood. [More]


Paul Gorrell/Huffington Post



  1. Ignatius the hermit says:

    There have been women Doctors of the Church, but their relationship to the hierarchy has been tenuous, especially Catherine of Siena. The male celibate club has exclusively ruled the Church in modern times. However, up to now the congregations of religious women have governed themselves as abbeys or pontifical associations. The Vatican has decided to bring them to heel. They have been too inventive and open to the Spirit.

  2. Tom Mycals says:

    The place of “the feminine” is a war zone across all the Christian churches. Think with your heart. How would the Jesus of the Gospels resolve this? Look at the women in the Master’s life and tell me where he would stand.

  3. Mary says:

    Mr. Gorrell’s commnents about women not being held in high regard speak to his ignorance. I guess he’s not familiar with the female Doctors of the Church; Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux. Radical feminism and teaching heresy is not acceptable. It’s about time the women of LCWR were held accountable for their actions.

  4. Marilyn Bell says:

    I am a new Catholic having come into the Church through the R.C.I.A. just 2 years ago. I have chosen to be Catholic and to adhere to all the Church’s teachings. Our church does not stand alone in the tradition of not having female ministers, and for good reasons.

  5. Leon says:

    You must be kidding. The Vatican’s response to the weak theology of American nuns and American Catholics as a whole, is long overdue and the current crisis in the Catholic Church is its witness. I’m all for social justice but when it replaces the one, true, catholic faith it is no longer just.

  6. John says:

    Wonder how many people, including Paul, actually read the eight page document (actually six) on the findings and recomendation. There is no war except against those who don’t follow the teachings of the Catholic Church.


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