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IN FRATERNAM MEAM
Saturday, June 25, 2005
CHURCH NOT SPEAKING UP FOR WOMEN
WHY ARE THERE NO CATHOLIC SERMONS, no statements from the national hierarchy, no papal encyclicals about the abuse of women? Judging from teh almost universal silence of Catholic clergy and hierarchy, there must be no serious sins of abuse of women. The clargy and hierarchy denounce serious sins, right?

The basic premise must be that women are fundamentally equal to men, different perhaps in some ways, but equally human and equally endowed with all the ame inalienable rights as Mr. Jefferson said, with which men are endowed. "Neither Jew nor gentile, neither Greek or Roman, neither male or female, but all one in Christ Jesus", as St. Paul said.

Therefore women are not slaves of men, sexual playthings to be used and discarded, inpaid servants to do the work beneath a man's dignity, chattel with not rights who exist at the pleasure of men. Most women formost of human history have been doomed to this subhuman status. In most places in the world today they still are. Do clergy and hierarchy approve of this principled denial of human dignity? If they do not, why are they silent?

Rapes ia a grievious sin, even spousal rape, especially spousal rape. Date rape is a moratl sin. Physical abuse of a spouse is a grievious sin. So is habitual verbal abuse. Incestous abuse of dauighers, sisters and nieces is a mortal sin. Sexual harassment in the workplace or anywhere else is a mortal sin. Vile sexual "locker room" conversation that demeans women is a serious sin. Job discrimination against women like they are sex objects is a serious sin. Sexual exploitation of women is a mortal sin. So too is the practice of the rich and the famous of replacing a loyal;, faithful wife with a new "trophy wife".

Is there a priest anywhere in the world who would argue publicly that any of these behaviours is not a mortal sin? A bishop? a Cardinal? A pope? Then why is there so much silence about them? Surely they are not so naive as to think that such sins are infrequent. Read the survey date, talk to cops, consult with counselors of battered women, if you have any doubts.

Those sins are legion in our civilized Western world. Clergy and hierarchy delight in sweeping denunciations of "sins of the flesh" and "sins againstlife". But one hears very little condemnation of sins against women's flesh, against the bearers of life, sins that are even in this country routine, commonplace, every day. Why not, I wonder.

I will take the right to life people a lot more seriously wnen they also speak out on the full equality of women and the obligation of society and church to protect and defend their full range of buman rights and to protect their full humanity from abuse.

Some men (even, sad to say, priest and bishops) think that they are not really men, unless theu are the "boss", unless they have the right to be in control, to make decisions, to giver orders that women, perhaps after some discussion, must obey. They apparently can't comprehend that unless a woman is an equal partner, she becomes a seond class human, someone on the slippery slope toward chattel slavery.

In other parts of the world the situation is much worse. A daughter is someone her father may dispose of as he sees fir. Young women are forced into marriages they do not want. Teenage children are sold into prostitution -- in some countries for the pleasure of Western "sexual tourists". Girls on the edge of puberty are given in marraige, only to have their bodies torn apart by pregnancies for which they are not yet ready physically. Fathers and brothers have every right to kill a woman who has somehow brought disgrace to their family.

The Catholic Church hardly approves of such behaviour -- which ceased only recently in some deeply Catholic countries. But how can it remain silent as long as it happens anywhere in the world?

Humankind changes slowly. In the West we deny the right of a human person to own another human person, though John Paul II wa the first pope to say that the abuse of women is also intrinsically eveil? I sure hope so.

(from the commentary of Fr. Andrew Greeley e-mail: agreel@aol.com)
posted by infraternam meam @ 3:49 AM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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