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Sunday
Jun032012

Helen Alvaré Is Leading Catholic Anti-Contraception Voice | Interdependence vs Attachment in Marriage

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

Helen Alvaré is a law professor at George Mason University, an advisor to Pope Benedict XVI’s Pontifical Council for the Laity and a former spokesperson for and current advisor to the US Conference of Bishops.

Professor Alvaré is a fellow at the conservative Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey, where she focuses on issues of “conscience”.  She is one of the “circle of experts” for the National Organization for Marriage’s Ruth Institute, which aims to shape public opinion on college campuses and elsewhere about “marriage as the proper context for sex and childrearing,” writes Sarah Posner, senior editor of Religion Dispatches, for Salon.

The accomplished mother has now positioned herself as the leading female voice against birth control, authoring an open letter to the Obama administration ‘Women Speak for Themselves’.

Vatican Scandal Continues

Pope Benedict’s butler may be under arrest but fresh letters suggest that the scandal is not over.

Three new Vatican documents were sent to ‘La Repubblica’, amidst denials in the Holy See that top clerics are orchestrating multiple informers. AP writes:

“The truth can be found at the top of the hierarchy,” the source said in a letter accompanying the documents, apparently accusing one of Pope Benedict XVI’s personal secretaries, Georg Gaenswein, of allowing secrets to slip out.

The documents reveal deep strife within the Vatican and furor over the Church’s tax problems, child sex scandals and negotiations with hard line traditionalist rebels. A group of cardinals finds Pope Benedict to be weak, continues AP, and they want their man in charge. Besides Mr. Gaenswein, the sources point to Cardinal Bertone as part of the problem.

Interdependence vs Attachment

Psychologist David Schnarch is a pioneer in the movement of redefining intimacy in long-term relationships and reinvesting marriage with passion that often fades. “It’s easy to have hot sex with a stranger,” Schnarch explains to Pam Weintraub, writing for Psychology Today. “But passionate marriage requires that you become an adult.”

Becoming an authentic adult means going against the whole drift of the culture. It specifically means, among other things, soothing your own bad feelings without the help of another, pursuing your own goals, and standing on your own two feet. Most people associate such skills with singlehood. But Schnarch finds that marriage can’t succeed unless we claim our sense of self in the presence of another. The resulting growth turns right around and fuels the marriage, enabling passionate sex. And it pays wide-ranging dividends in domains from friendship to creativity to work.

Schnarch rejects what he sees as our culture’s over-emphasis on attachment, arguing that it reduces marriage to the pursuit of safety, security and compensation for childhood disappointments. Attachment keeps us from growing up, from pursuing essential drives for autonomy and freedom.

Interpendence that is based on mutual maturity, confidence and freedoms to grow is the cement of strong marriages, Schnarch argues. It inspires confidence to meet individual goals and those of others and is based on adult strengths that are flexible and balanced in equilibrium.

DOMA Struck Down

In striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act last week, Boston’s First Circuit United States Court of Appeals didn’t rule in favor of gay marriage. The ruling marked the first time a federal court ruled against the 1996 law, guaranteeing a trip to the Supreme Court. The three-judge panel includes two Republican appointments. Read on at the NY Times

Friday
Jun012012

American Nuns Call Vatican Charges "A Flawed Process" | Ideology Drives Perception of War on Women

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

Sister Claudia Bronsing takes part in a vigil at St. Colman Church in Cleveland, Ohio, in support of Catholic nuns who were criticized by the Vatican. Michael McElroy for the New York Times The Vatican awaits American nuns who will travel to Rome in an effort to open discussions and their defense against charges that American nuns are “radical feminists” and not committed to upholding core Catholic values.

Concluding a week of meetings in Washington, the 21 board members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents about 80 percent of the nation’s dwindling 57,000 nuns, spoke today in strong terms. Sister Pat Farrell, president of the conference helped draft a response to the Vatican calling recent charges based on “unsubstantiated accusations” and a “flawed process”. The sisters added that the charges have caused scandal, pain and polarization in the Roman Catholic Church.

“Even large sectors of the church itself have legitimate concern and want to continue to talk about the place of women in the church, and rightful equality between men and women,” said Sister Farrell, who is a member of the leadership team of the Sisters of St. Francis, of Dubuque, Iowa. “So if that is called radical feminism, then a lot of men and women in the church, far beyond us, are guilty of that.”

The National Catholic Reporter interviewed Franciscan Sister Pat Farrell today. She shares details of this week’s meetings and the desires of American nuns to forge an honest, high-integrity dialogue with Rome. Read also the New York Times.

Related reading: Catholic child abuse cover-up case heads to jury CNN

Jurors began deliberating today in Philadelphia in the “landmark trial of Monsignor William Lynn, the highest-ranking cleric charged with endangering children by allegedly helping cover up sexual abuse.”

On trial besides Lynn is Rev. James Brennan, who is charged with the attempted rape of a 14-year-old. Both Brennan and Lynn claim that they are innocent.

Women’s Pay Growth

Forbes reports that a new analysis from PayScale confirms that today’s full-time American female college grads initially earn a median of $31,900 and male college grads earn a median of $40,800. From ages 22 to 30 their salaries growth similarly in percentage terms.

At age 30, women’s earnings growth slows substantially. “By age 39, college-educated women working full-time stop getting raises and see their salaries peak at about $60,000. Their male peers, on the other hand, continue seeing wage increases through age 48, when they earn a median of $95,000 a year.”

For plausible reasons why, read on at Forbes.

Conservative Women Say “No War on Women”

A new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation says that three in 10 women (31 percent overall believe that there is currently a “wide-scale effort to limit women’s reproductive health choices and services, such as abortion, family planning, and contraception” in America.

Nevertheless, 42 percent of women polled reported that they took some action in the past six months in reaction to a news or feature item in the media.

This includes attempting to influence a friend or family member’s opinion (23 percent), donating money to a non-profit working on reproductive health issues (15 percent), and contacting an elected official (14 percent).

Six in 10 women voters say the economy is the top election issue and concern.

Writing for The Washington Post, Suzi Parker points out that the real dividing line is ideology.

Nearly half of liberal women (49 percent) said there was a war on women’s health with only 18 percent of conservative women thinking the same.

Wednesday
May302012

US Child Poverty Rate | French President Hollande's Gender Parity Cabinet | Women's Strike Force in VA Hits Home

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Global spending cuts are certain to impact child poverty rates, putting children’s future health, education and employment prospects at risk, the UN’s children’s charity UNICEF warns.

Poverty rates are determined by whether a child lacks two or more of a list of 14 basic items such as three meals a day, a quiet place to do homework, educational books at home, or an Internet connection. The highest rates of deprivation are found in countries that include Romania, Bulgaria and Portugal (with more than 70%, 50% and 27% respectively), though even some richer countries, such as France and Italy, have deprivation rates above 10%. The Nordic countries have the least deprivation among children, all with rates below 3%.

The second measure scrutinized in Report Card 1/0 looks at relative poverty, examining the percentage of children living below their national “poverty line” – defined as 50 per cent of median disposable household income.

The combined analysis results in a lineup of countries in which the United States ranks second from last among developed countries with a child poverty rate of 23.1%.

The top five positions in the league table are occupied by Iceland, Finland, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Norway (with Slovenia and Denmark close behind). All of these countries have relative child poverty rates below 7%. Read on at UNICEF

More reading from AOC

Status vs Money | A Third Look At Happiness, Gender Equality & Taxes

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Women’s Strike Force Soars

“Our organization is not even three months old, yet activists across Virginia are clamoring to get involved and help raise money,” the group’s director, Rebecca Gellar, boasted recently. “In our first two weeks, we raised a breathtaking $100,000.” According to public documents, that includes $20,000 from a single donor in Charlottesville — as well as four-figure contributions from as far afield as Massachusetts and California.

Anne’s ‘Operation Spittin’ Out the Pitts’ is watching the new VA-based Women’s Strike Force, a political PAC formed after VA infamous vaginal ultrasound bill probed the private parts and public conscience of a few too many American women.

WSF is gaining such momentum that the Richmond Daily saw a need to write a critical op ed piece, deriding a PAC that would form around the single issue of women’s reproductive health.

Related Reading:

Ronald Regan, The Silent Scream and the Slow Rise of Fetal Pain The Daily Beast

Anti-Sex Ed Curriculum Makes the List: Don’t Blame Obama, Blame the System RH Reality Check

Republican Rep. tries to save Planned Parenthood Politico

Conservative bishops court the disdain of Catholic Women LATimes

Gender Parity in Hollande Ministers

VOA News writes that France’s newly-elected president Francois Hollande has ushered in the country’s first gender-balanced cabinet. Olivia Cattan, journalist and founder of the feminist organization ‘Paroles de Femmes’ or ‘Words of Women’ advises Hollande on women’s issues. A new ministry of women’s rights is headed by 34-year-old Najat Vallaud Belkacem.

“It’s a fantastic gesture for Mr. Hollande. It’s like a page has been turned. It’s the first parity government in France. He’s really turned a page in terms of French feminism,” Cattan said.