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Entries in Vatican (30)


Vatican Confirms That Reform of American Nuns Will Proceed Under Archbishop Gerhard Mueller

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Was I prescient today? Hardly. It’s just that Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz says that fashion designers are a little like Catholic nuns, grinding away in the trenches and not leading glamorous lives. Elbaz seems pretty off the mark, but we so love him that he’s forgiven. 

That quote led me to circle back with an exceptional interview given by Sister Simone Campbell to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour after the ordination of Pope Francis. 

Sister Simone’s interview was followed by this one on 60 Minutes with Sister Pat Farrell, previous head of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and Bob Simon.

The headlines are working their way around the world with news that Pope Francis has spoken. The Inquisition of American nuns will continue. This news doesn’t come as a surprise, although it dashes the hope of American nuns like Sister Simone and Sister Pat Farrell, who will be forced now to speak aggressively against birth control, abortion and women priests in the future. 

AOC writing on crackdown of American nuns.

Vatican Crackdown Continues

Pope Francis has affirmed that the investigation of American nuns will continue, dimming the hopes of American nuns that a Jesuit pope with shared values on the poor might take a different approach than Pope Benedict. 

The Vatican imposed an overhaul of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious after deciding that the American nuns were taking positions that undermined Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality. The sisters were accused of embracing “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

While praising the nuns’ humanitarian work, investigators accused the of ignoring critical social issues.

Archbishop Gerhard Mueller, who is in charge of implementing the crackdown on American nuns, met today — Monday — with officials of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, informing them that the reorganization and reforms will be implemented. 

Catholic Culture reports: In his remarks at the meeting, Archbishop Müller reminded the LCWR leaders that their group exists to promote cooperation among the individual orders and with the hierarchy. “For this reason,” he said, groups like the LCWR “are constituted by and remain under the direction of the Holy See.”

All bets are off in what the sisters will do next. They have vowed not to compromise their group’s mission. Exactly what that mission is remains to be seen. 

History of Vatican Conflict

August 11, 2012

Barbara Marx Hubbard was the featured speaker at this week’s Missouri meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The main focus of the meeting was drafting a response to the Vatican’s claims that American nuns are “radical feminists” out of step with the church’s teaching. Of course, the members of LCWR don’t see themselves in this light.

June 11, 2012

Both sides in the discord between American nuns and the Vatican described yesterday’s talks in Rome as open and cordial. But the Vatican wasted no time in reiterating that it expects the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) to change its way to energetically promote church doctrine “as Faithfully taught through the ages”, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The Vatican charges that the LCWR has been “silent” on those issues that are most important to the church leadership: abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality and the ordination of women.

April 20, 2012

The sisters were reprimanded for making public policy statements that “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.” The disagreements have been acute over President Obama’s healthcare legislation and most recently the contraception mandate compromise.

January 23, 2012

Investigation of American Nuns

It’s noteworthy that on Jan. 4, Cardinal Franc Rode resigned as head of the Vatican’s ‘cabinet office’, the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, that deals with religious orders, including nuns worldwide. 

Writing for Huffington PostAmerican nun Maureen Fiedler says that Cardinal Franc Rode is an arch-conservative with an archaic view of religious life that resonates with the 18th century, rather than the 21st.


Will Hillary Clinton's Women's Agenda Survive? | Allyson Schwartz PA Governor's Race Heats Up | Caroline Kennedy to Japan

‘Tendance Brute’ starring Agnes Nabuurs by Maria Burns. Interview writes:

Tendance Brute, the new digital short by Swiss-born, New York-based filmmaker Maria Burns, begins in the dark. Hands creep into the frame and a model appears, Agnes Nabuurs. She is beautiful, certainly, but also fierce and feral looking, as if a cat had metamorphosed into human form and is exploring its newfound long limbs. As the film progresses, Nabuurs’ outfits become more developed and á la mode, but she does not lose her wildness. Instead, the extremity of her look—the horned shoulders, her spike-soled boots, artfully unkempt hair, kohl-rimmed eyes, and, later, her elaborate headpiece—make her seem even more alien. An exploration of fashion’s constant search for an abnormal beauty.  

French Roast News

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Writing for The Daily Beast, Kathleen Parker asks: Will Clinton’s Agenda Survive?

“Let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.”

These critical words uttered by then First Lady Hillary Clinton brought international women’s rights into the public dialogue. 

Now that Hillary Clinton has left the State Department, many worry around the world — what will the US policy be on women? 

“It’s a totally open question,” says Dee Dee Myers, former press secretary for President Bill Clinton and the author of Why Women Should Rule the World. “Under Hillary, everyone knew that the global women’s issue was a strategic priority, an organizing principle. She was completely committed. How do you re-create that?”

New Secretary of State John Kerry has no strong history on women’s issues. In fact, before Hillary, DC’s state department was rather clueless about the importance of empowering women worldwide as a primary deterrent to terrorism and global insecurities. It was former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who backed Hillary on this issue. 

The good news is President Obama’s decision to make permanent the Office of Global Women’s Issues and the women’s-ambassador-at-large position, which Hillary created. The sad news is that Melanne Verveer, the first ambassador left her position to run the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. 

The newly appointed ambassador, Cathy Russell, is Jill Biden’s former chief of staff, “an unexpected choice to some veterans in the field.” In March 2012, Hillary issued a directive advising American embassies and posts of the “strategic imperative” of advancing women’s equality: “The department is focusing across all of our work to reduce disparities and proactively promote gender equality.”

The question is: will Kerry care? And will President Obama — or Michelle — stand tough if he doesn’t.

Allyson Schwartz for PA Gov

Anne’s friend Liz Forrest was candid in her lead-in to today’s Philadelphia Inquirer story Allyson Schwarta’s political baggage worries some Democrats. 

“People always ask, ‘Will she play outside Philadelphia? Is she too liberal?’ ” Forrest said Thursday night during the monthly dinner meeting of the Pike County Democratic Committee. “Who cares? Philadelphia and Pittsburgh produce enough votes to win it.”

Forrest cites Schwartz’s “money and political chops” to send Republican governor, close-your-eyes ultrasound Jim Corbett packing.

Her great liability? The five-term congresswoman in not only prochoice, but she founded a Philadelphia women’s health cllinc — the Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center in 1975. It provided prenatal, care, a birthing center and other health services including abortion. It’s alleged in some circles that Schwartz hasn’t sufficiently promoted other women candidates in PA politics. Why support her in return, say the women?

She’s an established fiscal moderate, lessening her appeal to some progressive Democrats. Keystone Politics writes today Is Allyson Schwartz Too Conservative To Be the Nominee for Governor? 

That’s not our issue at AOC, where we are already on record committed to electing Alysson Schwartz as the first woman governor of the state. PA ranks about 46th in the country in electing women to political office. 

Most polls show Schwartz ahead of the pack in a state that went for Obama with a 16-point gender gap with women. The state was very energized in 2012, electing Kathleen Kane as the first woman attorney general. Kane wasn’t supported by the state Democratic party boys either, but the Clinton machine stepped in to help her. 

For Emily’s List, Schwartz, an established political figure with a strong record as a fund-raiser, represents a prime opportunity to pick up a governorship in big state.

MSNBC writes that former Pennsylvania Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies, who represented parts of Schwartz’s district in the 1990′s, is eager to see a woman fill one of the Pennsylvania’s top jobs. “Kathleen Kane and Catherine Baker Knoll proved that women can run just as well as men in Pennsylvania,” Margolies said.  “I want more women at the table.”

Lynn Yeakel, the founder and co-chair of Vision 2020, a national initiative for women’s social and economic equality, based at Drexel University, was the last female statewide nominee in Pennsylvania to run at the national level, and only the second woman in Pennsylvania’s history to become the nominee for the U.S. Senate.  In 1992 she came up short in her challenge to incumbent U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter. “If anyone can do this, Allyson can,” Yeakel said.  “She’s a very tough campaigner.”

Just In

1) PA Democratic Senator Bob Casey today publicly announced his support for same-sex marriage. Previously, the devout Catholic Casey — who voted against America’s women in supporting the Blunt Amendment slamming President Obama’s contraception mandate —was one of nine Democratic senators not in support of same-same marriage.

The second-term Democrat had previously backed civil unions and LGBTrights legislation, including the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He also co-sponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, but he had not voiced support for full marriage rights.

“After much deliberation and after reviewing the legal, public policy and civil rights questions presented, I support marriage equality for same-sex couples and believe that DOMA should be repealed,” Casey said in the release. “If two people of the same sex fall in love and want to marry, why would our government stand in their way?”

2) Connecticut legislators announced today a bipartisan agreement on gun control, initiatives they called “the most far-reaching gun-legislation in the country.”

Writes the New York Times: “It would require new state-issued eligibility certificates for the purchase of any rifle, shotgun or ammunition; mandate that offenders convicted of any of more than 40 weapons offenses register with the state; require universal background checks for the sale of all firearms; and substantially expand the state’s existing ban on assault weapons.”

The legislation bans the future sale of high-capacity magazines of more than 10 bullets. All assault weapons — past and future — must be registered. 

Although negotiations became protracted in a Democratic-controlled state, it’s hoped now that the bipartisan agreement could become a model for other states. 

3) The Washington Post writes that Caroline Kennedy is set to be ambassador to Japan. Kennedy was a key early supporter of President Obama. 

4) Catholic women are hoping for stronger roles for women in the Francis papacy, writes NPR

A group of American women pilgrims visited the many inscriptions and images on tombstones, frescoes and mosaics showing images of early Catholic women in roles of leadership, holding roles identical to men as prophets, priests and deacons. 

“Certainly in the first two centuries, we see women — at least parts of the early communities — holding co-equal roles with men,” says Sister Chris Shenk, executive director of the Catholic group FutureChurch, which organized the pilgrimage.

Related: The Death of Jesus and the Rise of the Christian Persecution Myth The Daily Beast


Mostly Men Write Our Serious Reading | Neuro-politics Is A Hot Topic | US Seeks A Liberal Pope

1. Journalism seems to be a man’s world. According to a new VIDA study, women continue to write a minority of articles in prestigious publications, consistent with results from other years.  

The study found that the London Review of Books published 34 pieces that carried female bylines, compared to 161 pieces with male byelines. Harper’s published 17 articles written by women, compared to 76 articles written by men. The New Yorker published 160 articles with female bylines, compared to 445 articles with male bylines. The New York Review of Books published 36 stories by women and 121 stories written by men. via Huff Po

2. Neuro-politics is a hot topic, as increasing evidence indicates that genes and brain chemistry significantly influence one’s political perspective. The Democratic amygdala can be distinguished from a Republican’s in a recent brain scan study. The Republican brain is more driven by fear and reward, with Democrats having a more generous-spirited, emotional connectivity — a conclusion affirmed by linguist and cognitive scientist George Lakoff who says the “Republicans’ attachment to a rigid concept of paternalistic discipline and enforced obedience to an idealized authority” is no accident. 

Writing for Salon, Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg trace neuro-politics back to Thomas Jefferson.

3. ‘Queen-bee syndrome’ alive and well, writes the Wall Street Journal.  A 2011 survey of working women by the American Management Association found that 95 percent of them believed they had been undermined by another woman at some point in their careers. 

The syndrome is a live and well with the rise of the alpha women, writes psychologist Peggy Drexler. With all the talk about the need for women to mentor other women, something may be rotten in Denmark when the focus is the professional sisterhood.

Madeleine Albright said famous: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” If so, is it possible there may not be enough room for all the alpha ladies. 

4. As the College of Cardinals prepares to select a new pope, US Catholics are united in a strong preference for a younger man with hew ideas. 66% of Catholics polled by CBS seek a pope with more liberal teachings on issues like birth control, ordaining women and permitting priests to marry. 

Time for a reality check, however. The Vatican, Iran and other religious states are resisting efforts at the UN to demand tougher global standards to prevent violence against women and children.

The Vatican seeks to eliminate language stating that religious custom can’t be used as an excuse for being violent towards women and girls. 

5. American researchers have found a potential benefit of a molecule in green tea: preventing the misfolding of specific proteins in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Simultaneously, British researchers believe that natural chemicals found in green tea and red wine prevent clumps of protein to latch on to brain cells, causing them to die.  

After identifying the process which allows harmful protein clumps to start brain degeneration, the researchers were able to interrupt this pathway, using the purified extracts of EGCG from green tea and resveratrol from red wine.  The discovery will help the development of new drugs to treat the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease. via Science Daily