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Monday
Jun042012

Independent Voters Surge | Major Polarization on Safety Nets & Environment | Sister Margaret A. Farley Denounced

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

A new report from Pew Research Center says that almost four in ten Americans — 38 percent — currently identify themselves as independents. This number is up significantly from the 32 percent of Americans who considered themselves independents in 2008.

32 percent of poll responders considered themselves Democrats and 24 percent say they are Republicans. As Pew reveals, partisan polarization has surged in the Bush, Obama years. Even among independents, there is polarization.

Two areas in which Republican support for government policies has plummeted is in support for safety nets and also environmental action.

Paycheck Fairness Act

The Senate is scheduled to vote tomorrow on passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act. The bill is doomed after the House voted not to consider it last week, and it’s expected to fail in the Senate. The bill would require companies to justify the wages they pay men and women, and show that differences in pay for the same work with similar tenure are not due to gender. 

The Hill reports that “Republicans and many business groups are opposed to the bill, in large part because it threatens penalties for different wage scales that might be legitimate and have nothing to do with the gender of the employee.”

Bad Sister Farley

An American nun who taught Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School, is a past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and an award-winning scholar was denounced today by the Vatican’s doctrinal office.

At issue is Sister Margaret A. Farley’s book ‘Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics’, reports the NYTimes

I can only clarify that the book was not intended to be an expression of current official Catholic teaching, nor was it aimed specifically against this teaching. It is of a different genre altogether.”

The book, she said, offers “contemporary interpretations” of justice and fairness in human sexual relations, moving away from a “taboo morality” and drawing on “present-day scientific, philosophical, theological, and biblical resources.”

In 2011, the doctrine committee of the United Stated bishops condemned ‘Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God,’ by Fordham University professor of theology Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson.

In her book, Sister Farley wrote positively about female masturbation, saying that it “usually does not raise any moral questions at all.” Wrong!

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.