Women are central to the Catholic faith. In the fullness of time, God sent forth his Son born of a woman. That woman, Mary of Nazareth is depicted as the ideal disciple who hears the Word of God and keeps it in her heart. She is the first human being to receive a glorified body. Women were the first witnesses of the resurrection. Catholic history would be impoverished but for women starting religious orders and playing executive roles in hospitals, colleges and universities, mammoth social service agencies. St. John Paul II offered an extended reflection on the “genius of woman.”The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are on record for supporting a growing awareness of women’s dignity and contributions.
So when a cluster of American women’s groups gather and pose as the voice of Universal Womanhood, when they claim to speak for all women, we want to know have if they have considered the experience and contributions of Catholic women. The Detroit Women’s Convention is clueless about the real life experience of any women with whom they disagree. In particular, women formed by the teachings of the Catholic faith are not welcome. On the other hand, “lesbian women of color who seek transsexual surgery” receive a workshop.
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Using people suffering from gender dysphoria as a political football demeans them. But the organizers are from the far left of American politics who largely believe that the end justifies the means. Whatever can be used to upset the existing social order or the assumptions of the past is useful. “Revolution” is among their favorite words. “Reconciliation” is not.
Revolution is preferred to the pursuit of the common good. As Mark Lilla wrote in The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics, groups like this “offer no fresh vision of our country’s shared destiny. Rather they have thrown themselves into the movement of identity politics, losing a sense of what we share as citizens and what binds us as a nation. They practice a pseudo-politics of self regard and an increasingly narrow and exclusionary self-definition.” Pro-life women are rejected; Catholic and evangelical Protestant women are rejected. Women of business or the arts and sciences are rejected. Just look over the identity of the speakers. To seek reconciliation with these differing women’s voices would be a betrayal of their revolutionary mission.
Ironically, some of the greatest women voices of our time would be excluded. Fanie Lou Hamer, the Mississippi civil rights pioneer was a born-again Christian. Mary Wollstonecraft one of the earliest and most intellectually formative feminists was anti-abortion as was Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, the godmothers of first wave feminism. The “Roe” of Roe v. Wade and the “Doe” of Doe v. Bolton wouldn’t be welcomed because both renounced their support for abortion and became followers of Jesus Christ. Dorothy Day, who believed that our salvation depends on serving the poor and the foundress of the Catholic Workers Movement would be excluded because she received an illegal abortion for which she repented. These women’s voices are excluded because the Woman’s Convention doesn’t believe in authentic diversity. They want uniformity of opinion and consider support for abortion to be the sine qua non of modern feminism as Gloria Steinam once told me. For them unity is the enemy of diversity. They don’t believe in e pluribus unum. For them pluribus eats up and destroys unum. That’s revolution. Redefining “woman” in the fragmentary interests of identity politics is their way of controlling the conversation.
We resist their narrow definition of womanhood because the power to define is the power to control. They can’t be allowed to control without a fight. In their America, there is no place for women who want to defend the unborn. Christian women, women of business, women contributors in the arts and sciences, libertarian women, Republican women are all excluded. The vast majority of women speakers at this conference are community organizers, activists, political agents, lawyers. Many were activists in support of Bernie Sanders. In no way are they representative of American women. There are no workshops on building family culture or neonatal care or surviving difficult marriages or even achieving parity in the workplace.
This is identity politics. This is about the grievances of women of color. One workshop is “Confronting White Womanhood” which portrays white women as principally violent supremacists whose networks need to be disrupted. This is an ideologically narrow group that is unrepresentative of America women. We can’t permit their self-serving, social construction of women to replace what the Catholic Church teaches about the nature of woman. For the organizers, there is no “nature” of woman. For them womanhood is socially and politically constructed. We oppose reducing “woman” to her political and social influences. Woman is essential to the story of human history not because she is constructed by society but because she is woman, mother, wife as well as creative social agent. They organizers define “womanhood” in terms of politics and power. We define it in terms of human flourishing and fruitfulness. In Catholic thought, even the virgin is fertile; in modern American culture the most liberated women choose to be sterile. We need to confront this belittling of womanhood.
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The following is a collection of quotes and links from the Women’s Convention website. We present it without comment.
“The Women’s Convention is the beginning of a political groundswell, showing that the rise of the woman IS the rise of the nation.”
Schedule of Topics:
“Women’s Convention programming will also feature tracks from sponsors including Planned Parenthood on reproductive rights, health and advocacy, NRDC Action Fund on protecting the planet and its people, Emily’s List on women running for office, and individual workshops from MomsRising, MoveOn, Our Revolution, Oxfam and the Barbara Lee Foundation.”
Full schedule here.
“Kids aren’t just the future of activism—they’re the present. The Women’s Convention has organized programming and dedicated spaces for young leaders. The Young Leaders Room will be a hub for youth activities during the Women’s Convention. Youth-specific programming has been crafted to address the needs of young activists, ages 13-20.”
Full youth schedule here.
Full speaker list here.
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Gabriele is an international speaker and author who focuses on the sexual revolution and its redefinition of social norms. She’s the author of The Global Sexual Revolution: Destruction of Freedom in the Name of Freedom. Click Here to listen to her conversation with Al.Gabriele’s book is available here.Sue Ellen Browder Sue Ellen is a freelance writer whose years of writing for Cosmopolitan, New Woman, Woman’s Day and other magazines have given her a unique understanding of how the women’s movement unfolded in the media. She’s the author of Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement. Click Here to listen to her conversation with Al and here for another interview about her book.Sue Ellen’s book is available here.Dr. Jennifer Roeback Morse Dr. Morse is the founder of the Ruth Institute, an organization devoted to helping children of divorce and other victims of the sexual revolution. Her work has drawn the ire of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which includes the Ruth Institute on its list of “hate groups.” She is the author of many books on love, marriage and sexuality, which can be found here.
Jennifer has joined Al many times to discuss a variety of topics. Click here for their discussion about being targeted by the SPLC and here for a shorter interview about the work of the Ruth Institute. Jennifer’s website can be found here.
Ann is the author of Gosnell: The Untold Story of a Killer. In this gripping book she uncovers a story that was largely ignored by the media – the decades-long career of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who is currently serving three life sentences for the murder of four people, including three babies.
Abby has always cared deeply about helping women. When she was in college that drive led her to Planned Parenthood, where she eventually became an Employee of the Year. Everything changed when she assisted with an ultrasound-guided abortion. She now devotes her life to teaching about abortion issues and is especially focused on helping current abortion workers find new life outside the industry. You can listen to her interview here.
Her books are available here
Dr. Meg Meeker
Dr. Meeker is the author of many books on parenting and families. She’s Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and serves on the Advisory Board of the Medical Institute. Among her many areas of expertise is the epidemic of teen sex and the rise of STDs. She is a frequent guest on Ave Maria Radio; click here for latest discussion with Al.
Teresa has more than 30 years of experience in TV, radio and print news, including 20 years with secular news media in the Detroit area. She’s the host of Catholic Connection, which airs every day across the nation. Click here to listen to her discussion with Al about the Women’s Conference.
Teresa’s books can be found here.
Dr. Monica Miller
Dr. Miller is the Director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and the author of many books on abortion and theology. She has joined us on the program many times to discuss abortion and the work of Planned Parenthood.
Her books are available here.
Romans 8:15-17 reads “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” It’s the theme of the 2017 Catholic Women’s Conference in Lansing, which will explore authentic Catholic womanhood with outstanding speakers, worship time and fellowship.
Abortion harms women. Bad products are recalled every day: the Ford Pinto, faulty tires, dangerous prescription pills, contaminated lettuce. If a product is found to pose even a modest risk to those who use it, you can bet it will soon be pulled from the market. . . .
Unless that product is abortion.
Every abortion kills an unborn child. But more, abortion harms women risking the health and well-being of those who all too often are conned or coerced into making this terrible choice. If it were any other product, abortion would have been removed from the market long ago.
In Recall Abortion, author Janet Morana exposes the myriad ways abortion exploits women, and calls for a national recall of this deadly procedure. She documents the way abortion risks and degrades women’s health. And she exposes the false promises and lies by which it is pushed and sold.
WINE: Women In the New Evangelization is about empowering women to work within their God-given gifts as women to nurture, heal and build up the body of Christ.
Through much prayer, the women who have come together from around the country to form WINE, came to understand that whereas the Lord said to St. Francis, “Rebuild my Church,” for such a time as this, the Lord is calling to women, asking us to work in the beauty of our natural gifts as women, and is saying to us, “Heal my body.”
We are called to build the kingdom of God by using those special gifts and charisms He has given to us for that exact purpose, and right now, the body of Christ is battered, bruised and broken, and the Lord is asking you to help heal His body. Will you? He is asking you to nurture His body. Will you? He is asking you to build up His body by working in your gifts—gifts given to you for such a time as this!
Endow began when three women – Betsy Considine, Marilyn Coors and Terry Polakavic – encountered the teachings of St. Pope John Paul II on the nature of women and the new feminism. The more they learned, the more it called them to a truer and more authentic way of living and leading as women in the world endowed with unique gifts and their own particular genius.
Despite their growing inspiration, they became troubled. Why wasn’t this being taught to women?
And that’s where Endow began.
Rachel’s Vineyard weekends for healing after abortion are offered throughout the year in locations across the United States and Canada, with additional sites around the world. Rachel’s Vineyard is a ministry of Priests for Life
The program is an opportunity to examine your abortion experience, identify the ways that the loss has impacted you in the past and present, and helps to acknowledge any unresolved feelings that many individuals struggle with after abortion. Because of the emotional numbness and secrecy that often surrounds an abortion experience, conflicting emotions both during and after the event may remain unresolved. These buried feelings can surface later and may be symptoms of post abortion trauma.
Married couples, mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings of aborted children, as well as persons who have been involved in the abortion industry have come to Rachel’s Vineyard in search of peace and inner healing. The weekend is a lot of work but yields a fruitful harvest for all who are willing to labor there.
Women of Grace is a Catholic apostolate whose mission is to transform the world one woman at a time by affirming women in their dignity and vocation as daughters of God and in their gift of authentic femininity through ongoing spiritual formation.