Film “Radical Grace” to Premiere at Toronto ‘Hot Docs’ Festival

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!!

Website: www.radicalgracefilm.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/radicalgracefilm
Youtube: https://youtu.be/3FcOpGmbDc0

Image of Bound, Headless Woman is Removed from Vatican Website

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.”

Sincerely,

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
www.cnwe.org

CNWE Responds to e-mail Letter from Cardinal Ravasi

February 11, 2015

Dear Cardinal Ravasi,

Thank you for your email reply dated February 5, 2015 regarding our request to remove the Man Ray image of a bound, headless, limbless woman from the outline document for the “Women’s Cultures” plenary session. In your reply you claim that the image speaks “clearly for one of the central points of our document: many women, alas, are still struggling for freedom (bound with rope), their voices and intellect often unheard (headless), their actions unappreciated (limbless).” At first glance, this could be a powerful image to portray these realities, but our further research suggests otherwise.
The problem is that this understanding of the image is quite the opposite of what the original artist intended and we feel that to ignore the context of the artwork is both irresponsible and offensive to women. The intent of the artist was to depict sadomasochism. Man Ray’s own diaries, among other disturbing entries, describe him “brutally” sexually assaulting his former wife and on another occasion he states: “I pulled out my belt and began lashing her. She fell on her face moaning; I continued striking her back a number of times, then stopped and told her to explain the marks to Luis [her lover].” http://historyofbdsm.com/2014/03/man-ray-lee-miller-and-william-seabrook-bondage/ .
We have to ask once again, does the Pontifical Council for Culture really want to dignify the work of a clearly very violent and misogynist man on a document discussing “Women’s Cultures”? There are many other artworks by women that allow women to speak for themselves that could be used instead.
The bitter irony of using this image has also not been lost on many of us. By excluding women from equal participation in ordained ministry and governance in the Catholic Church, it is the Vatican itself that continues to ‘bind’ women, to ‘silence’ us and to circumscribe what our actions in the world should be (as evidenced also in aspects of the outline document itself). It is time for an all-male Church leadership to take responsibility for its part in oppressing women over centuries in our Church and take concrete steps to recognize women not merely as ‘observers’ or ‘consultors’ but rather as equal disciples of Christ at all levels of participation in our Church.
To date, over 600 women and men around the world find the Man Ray image offensive and they are making ‘their voices and intellect heard’ on the issue. We invite you to read some of their comments on the petition: https://www.change.org/p/cardinal-ravasi-and-council-members-remove-the-disturbing-image-of-a-headless-bound-woman-on-the-outline-document-for-the-pontifical-council-for-culture-s-plenary-assembly-on-women-s-cultures-february-4-7-2015-and-advocate-for-wo

We earnestly invite you to hear the ‘people of God’ and once again we ask you to remove this offensive image from the document.

Sincerely,

C. Holtmann, M. Chown, S. Kindred, D. Wiggins, M. Goss and A. Rowley
National Work Group
Catholic Network for Women’s Equality (CNWE), Canada
www.cnwe.org

Press Release: Problems with the Pontifical Council for Culture’s Preparations for Plenary Assembly

PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR CULTURE’S PREPARATIONS FOR PLENARY ASSEMBLY REFLECT THE PROBLEMS OF AN ALL MALE HIERARCHY

Media inquiries:

Atlantic Canada: Cathy Holtmann, (506) 476-1080, atlantic@cnwe.org

Central Canada: Mary Ellen Chown, (905) 330-1437, central@cnwe.org

Western Canada: Therese Koturbash, (204) 622-7000, western@cnwe.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:

http://www.cultura.va/content/cultura/en/plenarie/2015-women/outline.html)

 

 

Make CNWE Part of Your New Year’s Resolutions

Want to make 2015 a better year? Then consider buying a gift subscription of The Seed Keepers for someone you know. Charges of sexual assault laid against a well-known media personality and reports of harassment that went unaddressed by leaders of the CBC for years serve as a reminder to all Canadians that women’s equality is far from assured in any institution.

For over 30 years, members of CNWE have been working for structural change in the Catholic church and the world.  The Seed Keepers is a great way for pro-change Catholics to learn about the work that is being done across Canada and elsewhere.

Subscribers get three issues per year full of inspirational stories, reports of events, book reviews, information on resources and theological reflections.  A gift subscription is just one way that we all can “reach out” to those who could use a little nudge in order to become more involved in the struggle for gender equality.

A subscription to The Seed Keepers is just $12 and readers can choose to receive the publication in digital or paper format.  To place your order or to get more information email the editor, Virginia Lafond today: virginialafond@gmail.com

Still not sure?  Check out some past issues here: http://www.cnwe.org/cnwe-newsletter/