Feminists debate – is the church anti-woman?

Feminists slugged out the question: is the Church anti-woman? at the Aquinas Institute for Catholic Thought’s 10th annual Great Debate in Boulder, Colorado, last week.

Dr. Mary Anne Case, a law professor at the University of Chicago, answered in the affirmative, while Erika Bachiochi, a visiting fellow at the University’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, answered in the negative.

Bachiochi argued the church offers “a genuine pro-woman theology which not only safeguards and protects her stance as a feminist, but also enhances her ability to be strong in all aspects of her life”.

Case counter-argued that while Catholic feminism exists, the institutional Catholic Church – ie the Vatican and Magisterium – is overtly anti-woman.

She says the church has let women down. Where the early church and gospels were not anti-woman, the later church has shown itself to be so.

“The problem with the Catholic Church is that all authority flows from ordination. The Magisterium – as it need not be – is composed of men and cardinals,” Dr. Case said.

Bachiochi argued Case’s ideas “reeked of clericalism”.

“I have no less authority than a priest as a baptized Christian,” Bachiochi said.

“A priest has authority to represent Christ in a sacramental way, and I have the authority to represent Christ in every other area of my life,”.

She also noted “Mary, the Mother of God, is heralded by the Catholic Church as the single greatest human that has ever lived.”

“The greatest among us are not the clerics, but the saints,” she said.



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