Monday, April 6, 2015

Two More Easter Monday Links: Pope Francis and Vatican on Abuse Crisis, Pope Francis on Women

Brazilian theologian Ivone Gebara to Adital (thanks to Iglesia Descalza)

And two more Easter Monday links I've shared today on Facebook and Twitter, both having to do with Pope Francis and the Vatican and abuse survivors and women:

Here's the SNAP blog commenting on "Arkansas, Chile & Pope Francis":

Oddly enough, two sentences from a Republican politician about discrimination help explain why Pope Francis' latest choice for bishop is generating such distress and dispute. 
Many in the US are wondering why debates over Religious Freedom and Restoration laws, which have quietly passed with little upset in more than 20 states, have suddenly become so heated.    
The mystery was explained succinctly by Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas two days ago: "This is a bill that in ordinary times would not be controversial. But these are not ordinary times." 
Hutchinson was referring to the dramatic and speedy shift in public opinion against discrimination against the LGBT community. (The clearest evidence of this sea change: In 1988, just 11 percent of US citizens backed legalizing same-sex marriage. Now, it’s up to 56 percent, an almost ten percent jump in the last two years.)
Now look abroad and consider the unprecedented protests – literal and figurative – against Bishop Juan Barros Madrid, who was just picked by the pope to head a diocese in Chile. 
I could be dead wrong, but I think the situations are analogous. I suspect journalist John Allen may be right about Francis being at "a tipping" point in the continuing crisis of clergy sexual violence and deceit. 
Some Catholics – in Chile and elsewhere - seem to finally be fed up by church officials who keep concealing abuse while pledging "openness," keep promising reform but delivering cover ups, keep saying "zero tolerance" while tolerating tons of hurtful and immoral behavior by bishops. 
This "emotional whiplash" inflicted on Catholics by their church’s hierarchy takes a toll. Often, that toll is reflected in diminishing church attendance and participation. Sometimes, like in Chile recently, it’s reflected in protests. 

And here's Jennifer Labbadia commenting at Huffington Post on Pope Francis's woman problem:

Why hasn't the church spoken more forcefully against these structural sins? Instead, the Church too often limits "women's issues" to sexual ethics, most notably contraception and abortion. 
There is no better example than last month's Vatican Conference on Women.
At the four day conference, after discussing gender stereotypes ad nauseum, the Vatican shifted gears to the number one issue facing women globally: the morality of plastic surgery. 
At a time where the sexual exploitation of women is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world, where women's access to education remains limited, and where there is a scandalous pay gap between men and women globally, the Catholic Church needs to focus on gender inequality, not the morality of plastic surgery.

I repeat: in key respects, regarding many of the most significant issues that really matter in today's world, the top leaders of the Catholic church are simply an embarrassment. Catholics deserve better. We deserve better pastoral leaders. And what happened in Chile recently should concern us all, since it's a signal that, reform or no reform, the men running things at the top of the church just do not intend to let us have a voice in selecting those leaders, or listening to our voices when our pastoral leaders betray us and their charge to be good shepherds.

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