Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum novarum and Pope Pius XI’s encyclical Quadragesimo anno are considered the foundational documents of modern Catholic Social Teachings (CST). Catholic progressives and traditionalists both look to Rerum novarum and Quadragesimo anno as blueprints for a fairer, more human, and more Catholic social order (conservotrads tend to ignore CST to worship at the altar of the invisible hand).
As readers of this blog probably know, Thomistic philosophy is the foundation of Catholic theology and moral philosophy. If anyone wants to know why the Catholic church thinks a certain way on this or that issue, they have to reckon with the Thomistic elephant in the room. Upon reading about the Thomistic notion of justice, I thought about how Aquinas’ definition of the term tends to miss the mark, especially when the interests of women are involved.
Several weeks ago, I wrote about the problem of sexually active priests in general and the ongoing situation of former EWTN friar/personality David Stone. In that post, I stated my belief that consensual relationships between priests and adults were abusive by definition, not just because of the power deferential but also because of the secrecy and lies that such a relationship requires. I recently finished “Celibacy In Crisis” by A.W. Richard Sipe, a former Catholic priest now turned psychologist, and I now realize that my previous assessment of priestly sexual relationships was too kind.
(Given the controversies about feminism that have been cropping up again and again in atheist circles, I think that this unpublished essay that I wrote last year would be apropos)
(Note: This expands upon a response I originally left at Bilgrimage.)
There’s been a lot of discussion on the Catholic blogosphere on the subject of morality clauses being used against lay employees at Catholic institutions, especially if said employees are heterosexual females or some combination of LGBT. While all employees at Catholic institutions are theoretically held to the same standard of conduct, the only types of sins that these clauses seem concerned about are those of a sexual nature; to my knowledge, no one at a Catholic school or university has been sacked for gluttony or inhospitality, for example. Female employees are disproportionately targeted by these measures, since they literally carrying around the evidence of their perceived “sin” if they get pregnant out of wedlock or through IVF. LGBT employees of either sex are also vulnerable, should they chose to be open about their sexual or gender identity. In many cases, however, the school community has been sympathetic to the “sinners” point of view, leading to showdowns between the hierarchy in charge of enforcing adherence to faith and morals and the community that the school is supposed to serve.
After I finished yesterday’s post on the curiously woman-free plenary assembly on “women’s cultures” (see https://extraecclesiamestlibertas.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/womens-culture-as-defined-by-men/) I thought some more about the second theme of the conference, “‘Generativity’ as a symbolic code,” and decided that this section deserved its own post.
The Vatican’s Council on Culture has started its discussion on “the woman question” today. No actual women were invited to the meeting entitled “Women’s Cultures: Equality and Difference,” which probably explains why this questionable image is being used to advertise it on the Pontifical Council for Culture’s website: