Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Notre Dame students organize conference on the "new feminism"

Today's Catholic, the newspaper of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, recently ran this article about the Edith Stein Project, a conference recently held at the University of Notre Dame.

The conference was named after the 20th century German philosopher who, after converting to Catholicism from Judaism, became a Carmelite nun and took the name Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She later died at Aushwitz and was canonized by Pope John Paul II.

According to conference organizers, its purpose was to promote a "'new feminism', rooted in the Catholic understanding of feminity which was especially promoted by Pope John Paul II, that "is not an attempt to return women to 'restrictive' feminine roles or to make women more masculine, but rather [but] is a promotion of a vision of women as equal in dignity to men and complementary to men."

An interesting aspect of the conference was that it was initiated by three women students at Notre Dame:

The results of the conference, according to David Solomon, a Notre Dame philosophy professor and director of the university’s Center for Ethics and Culture, were outstanding. In remarks at the conference banquet, Solomon recounted how the three Notre Dame students approached the Center for Ethics and Culture with their idea for the conference. It was an idea the center also had been contemplating, Solomon said, so the center threw its support behind the students, as did several other Notre Dame entities, several individuals, and the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

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