THE UGLY FACE OF FEMINIST WRATH: Foul-Mouthed, Topless Protesters Drench Archbishop With Water (UPDATED)

Ah, woman.  So soft, so demure, so loving, so radiant.

The graceful Hollywood beauty Audrey Hepburn said of womankind, “The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode, but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.”

But then there’s this:

Early in April, topless activists from the Kiev-based feminist group FEMEN invaded a lecture on blasphemy by Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, and doused him with water.  Archbishop Léonard, speaking at the Université libre de Bruxelles, did not react—instead praying quietly and averting his eyes until the demonstrators were brought under control.  Before leaving the room, he kissed an image of the Virgin Mary.

Since his installation as archbishop in February 2010, Archbishop Léonard has been an outspoken advocate on issues such as homosexuality and the relationship to HIV/AIDS.  In late 2010, he was hit in the face with a cherry pie by a protestor during a Mass at Brussels’ Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula.

FEMEN, which was founded in 2008, has protested in support of issues including abortion and gay marriage, and opposing Islamism and sharia law.  Their radical viewpoints frequently bring them into conflict with religion.

  • In November 2011, after Pope Benedict’s Sunday Angelus message in St. Peter’s Square, a FEMEN activist stripped to the waist and waved a banner “Freedom for Women” before being apprehended by Italian police.
  • FEMEN protestor at the Cathedral of St. Sophia

    In April 2012, five FEMEN activists protested Ukrainian legislation that would halt abortions, by staging a pro-abortion demonstration in the belfry of Kiev’s Saint Sophia Cathedral and ringing the church bells.

  • In July 2012, a topless FEMEN activist attacked Kirill I, the Patriarch of Moscow, while he was visiting the Ukraine.  The protester had the words “Kill Kirill” painted on her back and screamed “Get Out!” to the Orthodox Christian leader.
  • The 2012 Summer Olympics in London were marred by a topless protest by members of FEMEN, who were protesting “bloody islamist regimes”, which they accuse the International Olympic Committee of supporting.
  • On August 17, 2012, FEMEN activists cut down a crucifix near Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the main public square in Kiev, to demonstrate their support for the offensive female punk-rock group Pussy Riot.  The cross had been erected in 2005 as a memorial to the victims of Stalinist repression.  The protest drew backlash, and a new Christian cross has been erected at the site.

The Atlantic has published an article showcasing FEMEN’s April 4 “topless jihad” protests around the world, demanding the release of Amina Tyler, a young Tunisian woman.  Amina ignited a storm by posting topless photos of herself on the internet in March with the words “F**k Your Morals” painted across her chest.  In another photo, she was shown smoking a cigarette with her bare chest painted in Arabic script reading, “My body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour.”

I’m including the link to The Atlantic’s photo story, but am not re-posting here because of extensive nudity, profanity and blasphemy.


UPDATE:  The Catholic bishops of Belgium have issued a statement expressing “solidarity with our colleague.”  The bishops’ statement denounced “the attitude of a few persons… in total contradiction with the theme of the debate and with the manner in which the Catholic Church hopes for dialogue”.   Democratic debate on social questions, they noted, is not possible unless it allows everyone to expound his ideas with mutual respect and freedom of expression.

  • Pam

    Instead of clutching at your pearls, maybe you should try to focus on the injustice that FEMEN is trying desperately to bring to light.

    • Kathy Schiffer

      Pam, really? Pearls?

      FEMEN’s tactics are abhorrent. I disagree with their support of abortion (speaking of “injustice”) and LGBT “rights” and their anti-religion stance. Even if I agreed with those positions, though, I would consider these ladies crude and crass. Can they possibly hope to change society’s perspective with their bad behavior?

      • Elizabeth

        CLUTCH YOUR PEARLS, Kathy! That is the ONLY hope for these…uh… females(?)… who feel the need to “share” their agenda with everyone. If we don’t agree with their agenda… if we don’t WANT their behavior around us, or our children (and few DO)… they rev their lack of civility up a bit, and let ‘er rip! Can you think of ANYONE you would treat with such disrespect? Anyone you would speak to in this manner?? The lowest low life of the earth? Nope… me neither. Too many folks are confusing rudeness, intolerance, bad manners, and being a low class citizen with bringing something to LIGHT. The only thing they brought to light is how much more ignorant and primitive they really are… above what anyone suspected.

        • Guest

          I like your use of the word primitive. If womankind is supposed to be the civilizing influence in the world then these women are really scary for our future. But then isn’t radical feminism mostly about being just another one of the boys because being a woman is inferior? There is no one who believes more fervently that men are superior to women than the feminists trying to be more rough and uncouth and more butch than the boys.

        • Ebeth

          Exactly, Elizabeth!! Agreed!

      • Ebeth

        Perfect answer, Kathy!! Thanks for bringing this sad group to our attention so that we may pray for them!

    • marye

      So this is what “feminism” has come to. Foul-mouthed female protesters with male fans who ogle them while claiming to be their supporters. Sad.

    • msmischief

      If FEMEN was so desperate, they wouldn’t make it harder by dragging our focus back to them with their ME, ME, ME tactics.

  • Steve

    If the far-left’s whole card is to be more civil and tolerant than us bigots, then these guys are being a pretty bad example of that. Not that I’m a fan of the right, either.

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  • Guest

    I think the femens are less like a protest movement using a shock strategy to get noticed and more like exhibitionists using a protest message to get noticed.

  • Kathy Schiffer

    I was respectful of my readers’ sensitivities when I decided NOT to show the more scandalous photos I’ve seen. (The FEMEN Facebook page boasts of their activities.) If you have the stomach for it, though, go ahead and click that link I included in my original article.

    • jp

      Thank you for your kind consideration of those who stumbled upon this ’15 minutes of fame’ gone wild. Their sad attempt to deliver whatever their beef is has absolutely nothing to say to a normal woman like me.

      • Marcia Brown Castro

        Nor me! How could anyone listen to what these so called women have to say when their vulgar actions speak louder than anything they could possibly have to say!

  • Anna Winters

    It sounds like Archbishop Léonard is irritating the devil! Good work!! These women are very crass! I was one of the first female field medics in the U.S. army. You don’t have to lose your femininity or be disgusting and crass to do anything you choose to do. Women are powerful in their own right! No wonder women are no longer respected in the world! These women are our enemy! I certainly don’t want them to be my spokesperson! Maybe they should roll up their sleeves and actually DO something; instead of making public spectacles of themselves!!

  • Olivia

    I am a teen who is very devoted to, and fully believes in, every aspect of my Catholic faith. That being said, I also believe that God created women with a special capacity to serve, to be caring, kind, gentle, understanding, to be mothers to the world. It saddens me to see our beauty and feminitity so disfigured and marred by so called “feminism” and the push for “equal rights”. God created us as the most beautiful creatures on the planet. No, I’m not being prideful but stating a fact. There’s an entire book in the Bible dedicated to us. Song of Solomon. He created us with the ability to hold life with-in us. We are such amazing creatures yet we are not satisifed with oursleves as God made us. It makes me even more determined to be feminine, not feministic.

    • Imperious Dakar

      Since I can’t think of a place where a male perspective should be more welcome than a Catholic blog condemning Feminism I feel I should add this:

      If women act like doormats we (men) will abuse women.
      History has shown that the more (relatively unregulated) power one group has over another for an extended period of time, the greater the chances that horrible abuse will occur. Honor Killings, Female Genital Mutilation, and similar practices happen in environments where women have little to no authority, respect, or power.

      I admit that FEMEN’s tactics are somewhat crude and vulgar.
      But many of things that they are saying need to be said.

      • msmischief

        As if anyone is listening! Have you ever seen an article that concentrated on what they had to say? Of course not. Furthermore, the most likely explanation is not that they use their antics to say that but that they say that to justify their antics,

        Someone who had something to say would not have been at such pains to distract from the message.

  • Yae

    Women are said to be the “apple of God’s eye.” Did He not take a simple woman, from all eternity, and make her His own mother? Is she not the example to look up to and imitate when it comes to feminine beauty and decorum? As I read the article about these so-called “women” protesting topless and using vulgarity and blasphemy to “try and get their point across,” I felt nothing for them or their so-called cause. They are making themselves irrelevant and foolish looking in the eyes of the world.
    If one wants to debate the issues they hold dear, present yourself in such a way as to reflect your dignity, your intelligence, your worth. Do not throw away who you are by engaging in the type of behavior these poor creatures engage in. What is so sad is the fact that they dare to blaspheme the good Lord who made them and loves them despite themselves. How sad…

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  • Imperious Dakar

    Thank you for highlighting how many Feminists ARE willing to point out murderous Muslim Misogyny.

    Far too many prominent Christians and even atheists in the West seem unwilling to call out countries like Tunisia or Saudi Arabia on their violent sexism towards women.

  • Imperious Dakar

    P.S. The kind of woman that seems to be idealized at the beginning of the article, would almost certainly timidly submit to the kind of men who oppress women in the Muslim world.

    Beauty is not the same as strength of character or will.

  • And again

    What a bunch of whores.

    Imagine what a shame to be father to these bltches.