Reframing Social Justice, Feminism and Abortion: Isn't It Time We Combated the Bishops' Opposition to Reproductive Rights on Our Terms?
Farrell, Susan A., Conscience
I BECAME A FEMINIST BECAUSE or Roman Catholic social justice teachings. Born and raised Catholic, I found feminism totally compatible with what I had learned from my parents and my church. As reaffirmed in Cardinal Ratzinger's latest "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and the World," I believe that women and men are equal and made in the image of God. Supporting equality. and human dignity, for me, means supporting feminism. This is not the feminism characterized by Ratzinger, but the feminism that seeks to liberate women and men from any form of oppression. This to me is the essence of social justice--human liberation leading to the authentic advancement of all humankind.
The Roman Catholic church and the American bishops are well-known and respected for their statements on social justice issues. From papal encyclicals to bishops' letters, the church has long proclaimed the importance of social justice. The pope and the American bishops are publicly on record opposing the war in Iraq, the death penalty, poverty and racism. They proclaim their support for civil rights and equality. The American bishops are very much part of the Roman Catholic church's social justice tradition. In many ways, they support the American value of justice for all, but with one exception: reproductive justice.
I support reproductive justice for women and men because of Catholic teachings. I remain a Roman Catholic despite the hierarchy's attempts to ignore or disavow these teachings when it comes to women's lives. But I'm tired of fighting for reproductive justice using the same old arguments that the bishops have used for the past 30 years or more. I don't want to play on their terms anymore. While I don't want to repeat all their hoary old arguments, a brief review will illustrate a new way to frame the procreative issues.
The US bishops and their Committee for Pro-life Activities say that they work "to teach respect for all human life from conception to natural death, and organize for its protection." But they don't seem to do this consistently. Women consistently are forgotten and remain undefended in this church. This is particularly true for poor women and women with AIDS.
Those who do attempt to work on behalf of women in the field of reproductive justice are maligned and condemned; harsh words issue from the bishops …
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Publication information: Article title: Reframing Social Justice, Feminism and Abortion: Isn't It Time We Combated the Bishops' Opposition to Reproductive Rights on Our Terms?. Contributors: Farrell, Susan A. - Author. Magazine title: Conscience. Volume: 26. Issue: 1 Publication date: Spring 2005. Page number: 42+. © 2008 Catholics for a Free Choice. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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