CNWE members from Toronto, Peterborough and Sudbury came out last night for the world premiere of ‘Radical Grace’, a fantastic documentary about Simone Campbell, Christine Schenk and Jean Hughes, three women religious who tell their stories of working for justice, health care and women’s full participation in the church while under the shadow of the Vatican’s investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) for among other spurious claims, their ‘radical feminism’. The Vatican has just recently announced the end of their oversight of LCWR – two years early. Read more about the film here and plan to attend one of the screenings on Thursday April 30 at 4:30 and Friday May 1 at 3:30 at TIFF. Tickets at www.hotdocs.ca
In celebration of International Women’s Day 2015, the Vatican hosted a panel discussion. The panel was moderated by Deborah Rose-Milavec, the executive director of Future Church and included theologians Dr. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala of India and Dr. Tina Beattie of the UK, former diplomat Ulla Gudmonsson of Sweden and journalist Gudrun Sailer.
For a full transcript of the discussion click here.
If you live in, or are visiting the GTA at the end of April, this opportunity to see a terrific film is too good to miss!
The film documents the work of Sister Simone Campbell (Nuns on the Bus campaign for health care and member of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)), Sister Christine Schenk (Former Executive Director of Future Church and now columnist at National Catholic Reporter) and the late Sister Jean Hughes, a community worker counseling the formerly incarcerated on the West Side of Chicago.
There are 3 show times and they will all be at the TIFF Bell Lightbox theatre. The film is 80 minutes long with a Q and A after the movie.
Tuesday April 28 at 9:15 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox Theatre 1
Thursday April 30 at 4:30 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox Theatre 2
Friday May 1 at 3:30 pm TIFF Bell Lightbox Theatre 1
Get your tickets before they are all gone! You can order easily online by clicking here .
Many of us have followed the issue of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in the United States and the way they have been subjected to investigation and critique by the Vatican and ongoing patriarchal ‘supervision’.
Now is a time to show our solidarity for these courageous women!!
Let family and friends who live in the GTA know about this exciting world premiere! Here is all the info you need to get really excited!!
The following letter was sent by CNWE NWG on March 10 to the Pontifical Council for Culture:
Dear Cardinal Ravasi and members of the Pontifical Council for Culture,
We wish to acknowledge the removal of ‘Venus Restored’ by Man Ray from the website version of the Outline Document for the “Women’s Cultures” plenary session. We are hopeful that this action is in response to the numerous women and men around the world who found the image inappropriate and offensive.
We remain ever hopeful that the conversations generated by the Plenary Session and especially by the ‘Voices of Faith’ gathering at the Vatican this past weekend will be catalysts for change in our Church. We share ‘Voices of Faith’ participant Dr. Astrid Gajiwala’s dream for our Church: “I dream of a church where men and women would participate equally in all decision-making so that they both would contribute to the policies, the structures, the teaching, and the practice of the church. And both would engage in ministry.”
Cathy Holtmann, Mary Ellen Chown, Shirley Kindred, Denise Wiggins, Maire Goss and Anna Rowley
National Work Group
Catholic Network for Women’s Equality (CNWE), Canada
PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR CULTURE’S PREPARATIONS FOR PLENARY ASSEMBLY REFLECT THE PROBLEMS OF AN ALL MALE HIERARCHY
Atlantic Canada: Cathy Holtmann, (506) 476-1080, firstname.lastname@example.org
Central Canada: Mary Ellen Chown, (905) 330-1437, email@example.com
Western Canada: Therese Koturbash, (204) 622-7000, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Pontifical Council for Culture is hosting a plenary assembly on the theme of “Women’s Cultures” February 4-7, 2015 in Rome. In preparation, the Council produced a video requesting input from women and published a working document and accompanying image for discussion. The serious flaws in these initiatives reflect the problem of an all-male hierarchy attempting to speak for and about women, while being representatives of an institution that excludes them.
The Council video featured an actress inviting women to send in short clips responding to questions such as: “Who are you?” “What are your strengths, difficulties?” What do you think about “your body?” “your spiritual life?” The English version of the video was removed in response to wide critique of its patronizing questions and format. The irony is that canvassing women would not be necessary if the membership of the Pontifical Council reflected the diversity of Catholic women in the church. The video concludes by telling Catholic women, “You, yes you are important!” – a further irony considering Catholic Church leadership does not consider women important enough to participate equally.
Aspects of the working document point to poverty and violence as global realities for women, but the discussion fails to acknowledge how Catholic Church leadership through centuries of patriarchy and sexism have contributed to these problems. The document states, “In the very discrimination and stereotypes tied to roles, violence against women sinks its roots even deeper”. Yet Catholic Church leadership discriminates against the full participation of women and holds fast to stereotypes of women in its teaching. The document asks why husbands abuse their wives and why women stay in abusive marriages but does not question what role the Catholic Church plays in instilling guilt over ‘failed marriages’ and urging forgiveness at the expense of women’s safety. The possibility of women priests is dismissed in the document with the unsubstantiated claim that “according to statistics, it is not something that women want.”
The image that accompanies the document on the Pontifical Council for Culture website is “Venus Restored” by Man Ray (1936). It depicts the naked torso of a headless woman, bound tightly with rope. Given that Man Ray objectified and sexually assaulted women and was a devotee of the Marquis de Sade, this image has no place at any gathering that supports women,
We call on the Pontifical Council for Culture to remove the image of ‘Venus Restored’ from its website. We urge the Council to ‘walk the talk’ of respecting the dignity of women by advocating for women’s equal participation at all levels of Church ministry and leadership. Anything less means that the male hierarchy of the Church corroborates in ‘tightening the bonds’ that oppress women globally.
(Pontifical Council for Culture outline document and image: