Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Equal, not identical

A Catholic News Service piece from Dec. 18 records some of the discussion at a Dec. 15 Rome conference on "Feminism and the Catholic Church."

The event included comments from Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard law professor and the president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences -- not a bad résumé. Overall, a good and needed reflection on the continuing need of reformation on the part of the institutional Church.


Unless the Catholic Church can show the world concrete models of male-female cooperation in positions of responsibility and decision-making, the church will continue to struggle against charges that it is chauvinistic, said Mary Ann Glendon.

The Harvard law professor and president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences said church teaching that women and men are equal, but not identical, is a healthy corrective to the feminism of the late 20th century, which, she said, promoted a "unisex society."

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She said changes in the right direction can be seen in parishes and dioceses where "more and more priests, inspired by recent popes and comfortable with women" are relying on their talents and working with them for the benefit of the community.

She and [Lucetta] Scaraffia [a professor at Rome's La Sapienza University] argued that in any social institution directives from the top are essential, but lasting change flows from the grass roots up.

"The problem with the church today is the lack of women in positions of responsibility at the Vatican," Scaraffia said. "This must change and I believe it will," she added, saying her argument "has nothing to do with the question of women priests."

For the next 30 days, get the whole story on our Criterion Web site.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

No bias here at all

When I saw this story today I couldn't help but post it to give props to my old Newman Center:

Newman Center at University of Illinois to expand

Here is an excerpt:

The new facility will address both an increasing demand for housing at Newman Hall -- a 300-bed residence hall built in 1929 that has a waiting list of nearly 200 -- and a lack of program space for outreach to the nearly 12,000 Catholic students at the University of Illinois.

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At a Nov. 21 press conference announcing the planned expansion, Bishop Jenky called St. John's "the premier Newman Center in America." It is staffed by six full-time priests and three women religious, and has a full-time lay staff of 55. In addition to the residence hall, it includes St. John's Catholic Chapel as well as the Institute of Catholic Thought.

"This project has statewide impact and a national scope because of the demographics of students at the University of Illinois," said Bishop Jenky, which he called "one of the world's best-known secular universities."

The 127,000-square-foot brick structure will have two wings, one six stories tall and the other three stories tall. Resident rooms will be a combination of suites, double bedrooms and single rooms configured in the latest style of college residential living, including private baths and commons areas.

The facility also will include a 300-seat cafeteria, a Newman Club, where nonresidents as well as residents can gather for study and relaxation, a fitness center, and various meeting rooms.