Know Your New Pope: A Feminist Guide

We know he’s the first pope from Latin America, the first Jesuit pope and the first pope (probably) with only one lung. But where does newly elected Pope Francis stand on the issues feminists care about? The Catholic Church is not just a religious entity but also a political one, and often uses its social and […]

When Catholic Universities Were in Favor of Birth Control

If you weren’t eagerly checking the bishops’ blog for their feelings on your health insurance, you may not have known that January 27 through- February 2 was Catholic Schools Week! I generally don’t participate in the bishops’ weeks (or fortnights), but I think this is an ideal moment to highlight the proud history of advocacy […]

Women Who Want to Wear Pants to Church Outrage Mormon Traditionalists

When a group of Mormon women began promoting “Wear Pants to Church Day” this month as a way to encourage a stronger voice for women in church affairs, they received an abundance of attention, ranging from encouraging support to bitter outrage. Apparently, some people were so threatened by the idea of women wearing pants to […]

Yom Kippur: Feminism Meets Tradition

Tonight at Kol Nidre, which marks the start of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, my husband and I will fight over prayer books, as we do at the start of every service during the Jewish High Holy Days. We own two copies of Gates of Repentance, first published by the Central Conference of […]

Pussy Riot Feminism and the Orthodox Church

The arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of three members of Pussy Riot have been used around the world to highlight the political repression of Putin’s Russia. But for me, the Pussy Riot incident was a sharp reminder of trouble closer to home. The sight of women protestors crossing themselves and prostrating in the traditional manner and […]

Why the Bishops’ “Religious Freedom” Argument Is a Lie

The recent Huffington Post article by Sister Mary Ann Walsh of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) tells us quite a bit about the veracity of its claims that religious freedom is under attack in the United States. Sister Walsh portrays Catholic institutions as just wanting to be able to give away services as acts of charity without […]

The Bishops’ Fortnight–Whose Religious Liberty Are We Talking About?

When members of the Catholic community, armed with placards declaring “Nunsense” in response to the Vatican’s investigation of American nuns, arrived at the office of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in early May, they were met with a protest larger, in a sense, than their own. The bishops had wrapped their entrance sign entirely in black […]

Rush Limbaugh Adds Catholic Nuns to “Feminazi” List

Who isn’t a raging “feminazi” to notorious misogynist Rush Limbaugh? During his June 13 show, the right-wing political “entertainer” griped about how Catholic nuns and the reaction engendered by the Vatican’s recent “doctrinal assessment” of their leadership conference (in other words, its attack on them)—including Nun Justice rallies, a petition and an upcoming nine-state […]

The Bible, Biology and Bigotry

In 1964, when I was 13 years old, my family’s summer vacation consisted of a drive from our home in New York to the apartment my grandparents had just bought in Miami Beach.  That’s right, along with hundreds of other Northerners streaming south for Freedom Summer, my family decided that it might be a fun family event […]

Defund “Immoral Institutions?” Let’s Start with the Catholic Church

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who has problems of his own in his former Milwaukee archdiocese, is leading a procession of lawsuits opposing a national requirement of health insurance companies to cover contraceptives.  The cardinal called it “totalitarian incursions against religious liberty.” His principle argument is that religious institutions should not “… be forced […]

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