#LifeofWomen – A Perplexing New Video Released by the Pontifical Council for Culture

Life of WomenA new video released by the Vatican is raising eyebrows among some conservatives.


The Women’s Consultation Group at the Pontifical Council for Culture has prepared the video, which features an attractive woman who, with a shake of her blonde curls, invites women to submit a photo or a one-minute video of  their “vision” for their role as women.


Critics have called the video “suggestive”–criticizing the sexy model’s false eyelashes and sultry poses.  One website calls the video a “degrading infomercial on modern women.”   A commenter over at the Fisheaters Forums asks,

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this one. What are they doing, and why? If they were serious, why is it at this time of year?  And who IS this woman??

Another site which is often critical of Pope Francis (I didn’t link here) infers from the brief video that the Holy Father is making an “opening” for women priests–although I can’t see that anywhere in the video, which I’ve posted below.

Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid wonders on Twitter:

Patrick Madrid on Twitter

Apparently, the #LifeofWomen video introduces the 2015 Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture, which will be held February 4-7, 2015 in Rome.  This year’s theme, chosen by Cardinal Ravasi, is “Women’s Cultures: Equality and Difference.”  Access to the Plenary Assembly will be limited to the members and consultors of the Pontifical Council; but there will be a Public Opening Event in Rome’s “Teatro Argentina.”  (It is this “Opening” to which the video refers, not the feared “opening” for women priests, as some have alleged.)


The 2015 Plenary Assembly will address the following key areas:  generativity, rights, poor and invisible women, women’s spirituality, equality and reciprocity, power and service, insights and vision, biology,  and women in the Church.  According to the website of the Pontifical Council for Culture, the meeting will consist of four sessions which will address:

1) Between equality and difference: the quest for an equilibrium

2) “Generativity” as a symbolic code

3) The female body: between culture and biology

4) Women and religion: flight or new forms of participation in the life of the Church?


Ladies, your assignment–should you choose to accept it–is to send a photo or video message by January 4 to the Pontifical Council.  If your submission is chosen, it may become part of the presentation at the Public Opening in February.  The Pontifical Council explains:

Please note carefully, you are asked to send a link to your material posted online. Once it has been viewed by one of a circle of women supporters helping the Dicastery, if your material is chosen, you will receive the email address of our technicians to whom you should send the material in the highest definition possible.


Following is the full text of the #LifeofWomen video.  The video itself follows.

At the Pontifical Council for Culture, in the Vatican, they have taken inspiration from Pope Francis’ openness and are reflecting on women’s cultures and the place for women in societies today, between equality and difference.

At what point are we today, as women?

I am sure you have asked yourself many times, who you are, what you do, what you think about your being a woman, your strengths, your difficulties, your body, and your spiritual life. If you want to, you can share your vision.

Why not tell it with a one-minute film, or in a photo. Put your work online with the hashtag #LifeofWomen, and send a link to lifeofwomen2015@gmail.com

It could be chosen to be part of the opening event of a great meeting of cardinals and bishops in Rome in February 2015 and as part of a crowd-sourced film on YouTube.

You have until 4 January to send in your materials.

You are important!

UPDATE: Since this was posted early today, the English language version has been removed by the Vatican. Here for your information is a brief Italian version.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • jenny

    Merry Christmas !!!

    “Life of Women” initiative may be the answer of many girls/ women crying out to God.
    It may help reduce the increasing number of fatherless children and “husband-less” mothers/ wives. It may also help men/ fathers to enjoy their role in the family life.

    Happy New Year 2015 to all of us !

  • patsw

    The video mentioned in English has been “removed by the user”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioA8DCPTjOA&feature=youtu.be

    • kathyschiffer

      Yes, I saw that that had happened. The Italian version is still available. I guess I’ll update and include that one. Thanks!

  • Maxime N. DiGent

    Her eye makeup looks positively painful.

  • Ce Gzz

    Look who’s behind that council and you will have the answers. Not surprised! and as a Bolivian Catholic woman I truly dislike this “openness” which may lead to several crashes. I will prepare MY statement to remind them that I came back to this Church not for openness, I have plenty of that in the world, but because this was the only Church that really respected me and through scripture, tradition and doctrine showed me how much value my life has for God.

    • agadofive.leti

      I agree.

  • Marie Martinez

    I watched the italian video and saw nothing sultry or suggestive. Don’t even know where that came from. I don’t understand the criticism at all. Maybe it’s not great quality but it’s not suggestive or sultry. Do we really need to nit pick so?

    • Ce Gzz

      Google who is Fr. Pablo D’ors and what is his position. He is a consultant and part of this council. I really don’t need that kind of man hurting more the Church.

      • emilioant

        Thank you for the article. My comments were made specifically regarding the criticisms about the style of the video that appeared in the above editorial. The fact that so much attention has been given to this woman’s appearance has raised a question in my mind: what is a woman supposed to look like if she is going to talk about faith? We don’t see much of the woman’s body at all and she seems to be dressed modestly in a sweater and trousers, and her makeup seems really quite simple. So how is a laywoman of faith supposed to appear?

        Regarding your own concerns, I can appreciate them. At the same time, the questions to which the Council is asking Catholic women to respond are the same questions that women in the Church have had to consider for centuries, St. Teresa of Avila and St. Catherine of Siena, to name two.

        • Ce Gzz

          Not sure about you, but that woman (and I have italian female friends) looks nothing like modesty, more so when she does all those gestures. For real I don’t wear fake eye-lashes. Yes I do play with my hair every now and then, but not to the extent where it will be a provocation or invitation to flirt with me. I’ve met beautiful catholic women who don’t need all that flaky make up or over use of gesturs to express their feminine genius.

          I never read any text where St. Teresa of Avila, Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Therese of Lisieux, Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Saint St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cros or any other wonderful woman in the Church complaining about “not being heard”. All of them actually taught me to be OBEDIENT and enjoy the dignity of a woman that God gave me inside His Church. Complete this with the continuous study of the Theology of the Body and you may understand why I find these video and invitation ridiculous!

          Actually if a woman were so concerned in becoming a saint, these modern problems of “equality” or “difference” wouldn’t be a concern. Right now my biggest concern is why I can’t find a real good priest who has time and interest in guiding me, who is not so much involved in parties and dinners or thinking how to make another Liturgical mistake next Sunday!

          To ask one by one will only lead to what Pablo D’Ors wants to have in his hands: petitions to become priestess and the apology to mix yoga/zen into Catholic religion, just for starters. May God have mercy on us.

          • As You Like It

            Ce Gzz: why don’t you check out the SSPX (Society of St. Pius X)? Their priests respect the sort of womanly role you describe, stick to traditional rather than innovative liturgy, and definitely do have the interest and make the time to guide each and every one of their parishioners. And don’t worry, they won’t ask you to be a priestess. 🙂

          • Ce Gzz

            I would but here in Bolivia there is no SSPX or similar. So I have to endure the novus ordo circus for a while, until there is a chance to find a contemplative order that celebrates the Latin Mass.

  • agadofive.leti

    I wonder if the women appointed to review the videos sent in, will be unbiased. Or, will they only choose the videos that explain their agendas?

    • As You Like It

      My thought precisely.

  • emilioant

    I have to agree with Marie Martinez. I don’t find a problem with it, especially given that it is made in Italy for Italian viewers, and the woman is styled like the average Italian woman, and the commercial is similar to the average Italian commercial advertising normal products and services. The fact that we are spending more time talking about the woman’s looks than the message illustrates the need for further dialogue, not only regarding women, but also regarding the various cultures that call the Church “Mother” and “Home”…

  • aliceirene

    Is this video for real? I can’t believe the all-male hierarchy could be this clueless.