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Feminism Letter Invites “Dialogue” (an editorial)

Even though the Vatican’s recent letter on “Collaboration between Women and Men’ was widely viewed by the media as an “attack” on feminists, the document was not all bad news for women. For the first time women’s subjugation is linked with original sin. This is progress when one considers that several years ago Vatican officials balked when U.S. Bishops linked sexism with sin. The document affirms that women have a place in the world of work while also honoring women's work in the home.

However, the Vatican letter on could have benefited from “collaboration” with women leaders and theologians. As it stands it is another in a long line of documents in which women arediscussed and reflected upon by men in the Church without any opportunity to speak for themselves. In the final analysis, this is not a letter about collaboration so much as a statement by male church leaders intent on reinforcing women’s second-class status.

More hopefully, the letter sees itself as a “starting point for further examination,” and an “impetus for dialogue.” Such“ dialogue” can’t come fast enough. I have only one question. When will women be invited into the conversation?

Chris Schenk csj

Fall 2004



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