Abuse Survivors Will Try To Take Pope to Court

International Court Investigate Priest

For eight years, I walked through the doors of my Catholic elementary school under the words “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” I haven’t thought about my grade school, Patronage of St. Joseph, in a very, very long time. But as I listened the other night to Barbara Blaine, founder and president of […]

Warren Jeffs’ Conviction Exposes the Coercion of Polygamy


In a courtroom in San Angelo, Texas, in August 2011, Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) leader Warren Jeffs defended himself against the charge of sexual assault on the basis of religious freedom. It was an outrageous defense given that the women and children of his FLDS have no freedom whatsoever, religious or otherwise. Their minds have been coerced, cajoled and controlled since the moment of birth.

Catholic Church Takes Action to Stop Sexual Abuse–Or Do They?


The Catholic Church has been accused in the past of dragging their feet on predatory priests. Now, they’re taking steps to show us they’re serious. The U.S. Catholic Church has plunked down $2 million to do the largest study to date on child sexual abuse by clergy. Their primary finding, released yesterday, was that the […]

Song of Bernadette: An Irish-Catholic Mother’s Tale

Irish girl

The 20th century Ireland of my mother’s childhood was marked with class distinction, the stigma attached to poorness inescapable. The Catholic Church influenced everything. Irish children attended Catholic schools where nuns, priests and brothers often stifled potential and crushed dreams.  There was much these children had to overcome. My mother was born a lefty, but […]

Easter Sunday Paradox: Father Roy Must Recant, But Pedophile Priests Go Free


Joining the now-excommunicated women who have stepped forward to be ordained as Roman Catholic priests, the latest victim of the Church’s strong-armed resistance towards women’s equality is internationally beloved Father Roy Bourgeois. The Church hierarchy, in its treatment of Bourgeois, is showing that it considers any advocacy of women’s ordination to be much, much worse […]

Seder Time: An Orange, A Tambourine … Guacamole?

seder orange

This was originally posted last Passover, March 29, 2010, on the Ms. Blog. Unlike most religious events that require attendance at a synagogue, church or mosque, the Passover Seder–which was celebrated last night, and will be celebrated again tonight, by Jews around the world–remains at home, around a dinner table. That fact alone has always […]

Click! My Church Is Against Battered Women’s Shelters?!

Phyllis-schlafly-2007-03 cc

“We’ve got to stop those feminists from setting up a battered women’s shelter!” So proclaimed my piano teacher in numerous post-lesson conversations with my mom. When she wasn’t grumbling about shelters she was remarking on how lovely Phyllis Schlafly’s bouffant looked alongside those long-haired feminists. I didn’t get it. “Why doesn’t she want shelters?” I […]

Click! My Catholic School Report Card

Report Card.

At St. Charles School in the mid 1960s, Father Foley, our parish pastor, came into our classroom to hand out the report cards. He said the same thing every year: You know, children, I look at these report cards Sister prepared so carefully for you, and the very first thing I look at is what? […]

Another Feminist Purim Shpiel*


Purim is one of the more obscure Jewish holidays. Celebrated around March, it commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from a genocidal plot, as recorded in the biblical Book of Esther (Megilla). The Megilla begins with a party thrown by the Persian king Ahasuerus, the public disobedience of his wife Vashti, and her subsequent banishment. […]

The Whole Megillah*

esther and mordechai

Today, in Jewish synagogues all over the world, thousands of little girls will parade around in princess dresses or sparkling harem pants and declare themselves to be Queen Esther, a great beauty who married a King and saved her people. But far fewer will play Queen Vashti, who refused to answer to the King’s beck […]