I Am a Feminist and I Have a Wish List for Pope Francis

Kathy Schiffer, who writes at Seasons of Grace, published a post today about one feminist’s list of things she’d like to see Pope Francis do.

Kathy does a fine job of critiquing this To Do List — which was written by Angela Bonavoglia — from the viewpoint of a faithful Catholic.

Predictably, there was not one thing on this list that would help, or that even addresses, the real problems that endemic misogyny foists on real woman in the real world.

The list was all about demands that the Catholic Church change its hierarchy, appoint a woman cardinal and, oh yes, do away with the celibate priesthood. There was a call to “leave behind the Virgin Birth,” and the predictable demand that the Church get its head right about abortion and contraception.

The only thing on the list that I agree with is that the Vatican should have women on the panels when it discusses women. That’s what you might call a no-brainer. I’ll go a step further and say that the Church should have women on its advisory panels on most topics. We are, after all, half the human race.

I am aware that virtually all of today’s “official” feminists do not consider me much of a woman, much less a feminist, due to my support for the sanctity of human life. Abortion has become the qualifier for what is a feminist in their minds. This is a tragedy, both for feminism and for the women of the world who are in such desperate need of a movement that will speak for them and to them.

The author of the Pope Francis To Do List left out the two fundamental human rights that are denied women in every corner of this globe. She didn’t mention the basic and absolutely essential right to life for female babies and little girls. She also ignored the human right of all people — including women — to live without fear of being bought, sold, raped, beaten, tortured or murdered.

Think about this for a minute.

Girls right here in America are regularly cautioned not to drink from open containers at parties for fear their drink might be drugged and they will end up gang raped by the men at the party. Girls in college dorms are cautioned about this before going to fraternity parties. These fraternities and their behavior are that well known. But the college administration does nothing about it except to caution the girls to be careful.

Here’s a thought Mr or Ms College President: If you can’t trust a fraternity not to drug and gang rape their guests, maybe you should close the fraternity.

Women all over the world know that they cannot go outside alone in certain areas, that they may not wear certain types of clothes, all for fear of violent attack.

Certain cultures here in America and whole cultures elsewhere tolerate husbands who routinely rape their wives, because she “belongs to him.”

Women are bought and sold like chattel on on-line porn sites, on the streets and byways, and in the offices of medical doctors. Egg harvesters run ads on college campuses to entice young girls to endanger their lives and their future fertility by allowing their bodies to be brutalized by massive doses of hormones, then subjected to totally unnecessary surgeries in order to harvest eggs. Women are used in an international surrogacy industry that leaves many of them, especially in other countries, dead.

Women and children of both sexes are trafficked all over the globe in an international sex trafficking industry. This industry could not exist without men who are willing to buy women and children and use them as if they were things.

Sex tourism is a major contributor to the economies of a number of small countries, including island nations in the Caribbean. Again, this could not happen without customers who come from more affluent places to buy human beings and use them without regard for their humanity.

This leads me to an admission.

I have a wish list for Pope Francis of my own.

It’s the same wish list I’ve had for every pope since I converted to Catholicism. It will be my wish list until I either go home to the Lord, or a pope finally grants it.

I want to see a full-scale Encyclical condemning the wholesale, endemic and historic violence against women that is the shame of the human race. I have written previous popes letters, asking them to do this. I haven’t written Pope Francis about it yet, but I must. I will.

I can not describe what such an encyclical would mean to the women of the world. It is so needed — and so long overdue.

As for the feminist woman and her list of things she wants Pope Francis to do, my advice is for her to stop making her feminism about her grudge fights with the Church and start making it about the needs of women who are faced with virulent, degrading and often fatal misogyny.

UN Report on Child Sex Abuse Demands the Church Change Teachings on Abortion and Homosexuality

The United Nations Committee on the Protection of the Child has issued a report on the Catholic Church and the child sex abuse scandal.

The report goes off the rails. Instead of dealing with the issue of sexual abuse of children in the serious and concentrated manner that it deserves, the committee used the report as an opportunity to demand that the Church change its teaching on abortion and homosexuality.

I have a hard time when I see people using the sexual violation of innocent children as a wedge issue to promote their unrelated agendas. I regard it as callous political opportunism that has nothing at all to do with a genuine concern for the children. I think it violates the victims all over again by ignoring them and their needs and using them as tools to “get at” someone else.

It was dispiriting, reading this report. The children this report is talking about have been subjected to the life-destroying cruelty of sexual abuse by a trusted adult. It breaks my heart to see other adults, who are supposed to be their advocates, misuse their suffering to score points for their own private agendas.

The focus of this report should have been the children and how to help and protect them.

Here is a video summarizing the report.

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Woody Allen and Polanski: The Rich and Shameless Display Hypocrisy About Child Sexual Abuse

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Nobody hates pedophiles more than the Rich and Shameless.

At least, they hate pedophiles when the pedophile is a priest.

Pedophile priests should be — and are — burned at the stake of public opinion, and their pedophile-enabling bishops along with them. That’s the verdict of the R&S set.

However, when the pedophile is a powerful director of successful films — who might conceivably be of benefit to their careers — we are reminded of the cinema “art,” these directors provide. As for the unimportant girl-child, well, she can’t give anybody a job or produce their play or anything of value. So what’s the beef? Put away the stake, douse the flames and quit the word processor. There will be no public hating today.

Here’s how the Rich and Shameless appear to regard these things:

Catholic priest caught with child pornography on his computer:

R&S: Burn/behead/draw-and-quarter him. At the least, send him, his bishop and the bishop’s dog to a maximum security prison for life.

Powerful director rapes a teen-aged girl:

R&S: It wasn’t rape rape. Let’s sign a petition protesting the police-state arrest of this great artist.

Powerful director, at age 56, has an affair with and marries a girl he has raised as his daughter, and is accused by her sister of having raped her when she was seven:

R&S: This is just a bitter woman (the girls mother) who is trying to get this fine man, who, by the way, is a “great artist.” His “personal life” should not interfere with the professional respect he receives for his “art.”  

Does anybody but me detect a wee bit of hypocrisy here?

I have no problem with sending pedophile priests to jail. I am as disgusted with the bishops who hid them and allowed them to continue in their abuse of children as anyone on this planet.

The difference between me and the Rich and Shameless is that I feel this way because of the children. I am not interested in using the sexual abuse of children as a leitmotif to try to define and destroy the Catholic Church. I also do not excuse priests who do this because they’re on “my” team. So far as I’m concerned, it’s all about the children.

These people, that I’m calling “Rich and Shameless” for lack of a better way to describe them, excoriate Catholic priests who sexually abuse children without mercy or limit. They extend this excoriation to the Church as a whole, drubbing all priests and bishops with the same filthy brush.

Then they turn around and deny and defend powerful members of their own community from well-founded accusations of egregious sexual abuse of children. They use specious denials, personal testimonies, accusations and claims of some sort of non-existent moral high ground to excuse who they want excused from whatever they do. It gets so ridiculous that they inevitably end up skewering themselves with their own dissimulations.

I don’t think that people who do this care about the sexual abuse of children. I think they use it when the sexual abuse fits their other objectives as a means of attacking people and causes they don’t like. I think they then turn around and dismiss it, to quote Shakespeare, as much ado about nothing when the accused is one of their own, even when the accusations against their own stink like an open sewer.

Their outrage over pedophile priests looks like a pose and a sham. Their reactions to pedophiles, both charged and credibly accused, who are also powerful directors, are exhibits a and b, pointing to that conclusion.

Consecrated Life and the Search for Happiness

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Looking for a Faithful Catholic University? There’s a Guide for That!

Looking for a faithful Catholic university? The Cardinal Newman Society has a guide for that.

I am pleased to say that Oklahoma’s St Gregory University is on the list.

The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College lists a variety of schools, with different educational emphasis and approaches. From my viewpoint, the major problem with all these schools is that they cost more than most Catholic young people can afford. This certainly is not unique to Catholic higher education.

One criterium that I personally hold is whether or not the school has joined the lawsuits against the HHS Mandate. At least one of these universities is a late-comer to the party on that. So far as I’m concerned, that would be an important factor in deciding where to put my tuition dollars. 

For now, remember that it’s important to read the guide carefully and use it as what it calls itself — a guide — to find a school that fits your goals and needs.

To order a copy of the guide, go here.

From the Cardinal Newman Society:

The Cardinal Newman Society recommends for your consideration all of the colleges and universities in this Guide, because of their commitment to providing a faithful Catholic education. The Newman Guide is a great first step in your college search, but no guide can identify the college that is the best fit for a particular student.

All of the fine institutions recommended in this Guide are unique, each with have their own special charism, approach to education, and campus culture. For instance, some of the colleges immerse students in every aspect of faithful Catholic life “from the classroom to the dorm room,” as we like to say. The students at these colleges tend to be mostly or entirely Catholic and motivated by their faith.

On the other hand, some of the other colleges, while fully and faithfully Catholic, serve a more diverse group of students. At these institutions the Catholic culture will tend to be less intense or overt. This is typically more apparent in student activities and dorm life than in the classroom.

Also, many of the Newman Guide colleges are liberal arts institutions, while several others offer a wide variety of majors. Some have extensive athletics and club activities; others favor a quiet atmosphere for contemplation and study. Some have a strong core curriculum that may run through all four years of an undergraduate program, while others offer students a choice of electives and encourage specialization. Some allow opposite sex visitation in dorms, while others do not. In general, one type of institution may not be better than the other. But one type may be better for your unique needs.

Pope Francis: Follow God Even When You Disagree


“Loving Christ without the Church is an absurd dichotomy.”

These are strong words from Pope Francis. He goes on to say that we should be like King David who followed God, even when he disagreed.

So, we should.

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Papal Organist: Witness to History

A real, live person provides the organ music at Papal ceremonies, and he has stories to tell.

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Pope Denounces Mafia for Murder of Three-Year-Old Child

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What kind of people kill a 3-year-old child to as part of an execution of his grandfather?

Evidently, the mafia in Italy.

This isn’t the movie mafia of the Corleones and the Sopranos who have a “code” and love bambinos. These are cold-blooded killers who kill a baby in a car seat.

Pope Francis denounced this act. It’s interesting that there are people in high places who feel the Holy Father is already “being watched” by the mafia because of  his work to reform corruption. I considered whether or not to talk about that. But my experience has been that the light of day is the best disinfectant, and the best preventative.

From the Irish Times:

Pope Francis has bitterly denounced the Calabrian Mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta, following the killing of a three-year-old boy caught up in a Mafia “execution” in Cassano allo Jonio in Calabria last week.

Speaking at his Sunday Angelus, the Pope called on the faithful to pray for Coco Campolongo, burned to death as he sat in a baby seat in his grandfather’s car.

“This ferocity against such a small child seems unprecedented in the annals of organised crime,” said the Pontiff. “Let us pray with Coco, who is surely now in heaven with Jesus, for the people who committed this crime so that they might repent and be converted to the Lord”

Little Coco had the misfortune to be sitting in his baby seat in the back of a Fiat Punto car when mafia killers shot his grandfather, 52-year Giuseppe Iannicelli along with his 27-year-old Moroccan partner, Ibtisssan Tous. Police believe that the car was then immediately burnt in the remote rural zone where it was later discovered by a hunter out for a Sunday shoot.

When investigators examined the car, they found three bodies with Coco’s grandfather shut in the boot, whilst the Moroccan woman was still in the front passenger seat and the child was still in his baby-seat. Police point to a 50 cent coin left on the roof of the burnt-out car as an ‘Ndrangheta “signature”.

Pope Francis Tasks Notre Dame to be “Uncompromising” In Its Catholic Identity

The Holy Father’s remarks to Notre Dame strike to the core mission of all Catholic Universities. I hope that they are listening.

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Our Pop Pope: What Does It Mean?

What does it mean when the Holy Father is Man of the Year for both Time Magazine and the nation’s number one gay publication?

What, pray tell, is the significance of a pope on the cover of Rolling Stone?

Two Things:

1. The Catholic Church is not irrelevant.

2. The Pope is showing us how to evangelize through love.

This adulation from the press won’t go on forever, of course. Sooner or later the media will figure out just how tough and immovable Jorge Bergoglio is when it comes to the Church and her teachings.

I think we should just roll with it and enjoy our Pop Pope’s popularity while it lasts.

And, in what is probably the most sincere of the bunch, the Holy Father has achieved super hero status in graffiti land.


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