News Release

Pope’s Visit: Representation of the Catholic Church


Bonavoglia is author of Good Catholic Girls: How Women Are Leading the Fight to Change the Church. She just wrote the piece “Women and the Church — Catholicism’s Original Sin,” which states: “Talking about the Catholic Church without talking about the place of women is like talking about the history of South Africa while ignoring apartheid. It completely denies the realities of the Catholic Church today, which include:
* The exclusion of women from the ranks of cardinals, bishops, priests and deacons — an exclusion that contributes to an attitude of condescension toward women and children, which surely influenced the hierarchy’s condescending response to decades of complaints about clergy child sexual abuse.
* The ban on women presiding at Mass, celebrating Eucharist, hearing confessions, baptizing, and anointing the dying, even as hundreds of thousands of Catholics worldwide go without priests. …”
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Director of the Office of the Americas, Bonpane has written books including Liberation Theology and the Central American Revolution and Common Sense for the Twenty-First Century. He said today: “As a result of the positions taken by Liberation Theologians and in spite of the Vatican’s fear of [their theology], there is a new focus on ‘social sins,’ institutional sins. We might include misery, ignorance, diseaseand war.

“The central point must be that now is the time to put aside sectarian dogmatism and to enter into a new creed: We believe in justice, peace, joy, love, endurance, courage and compassion. These fruits are the stated objectives of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and a host of other traditions.

“In short, keep your figurative ‘Sacred Stories’ but join together in the unification of humanity. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a good basis for this.

“Educated people in the Catholic tradition are apt to love, honor and respect the pope and to relate to him as a 50-year-old son would relate to his 75-year-old father. With a developed conscience they are apt to follow their own lights rather than conform to rigid Papal mandates.

“In short, the central point is to unite theists, nontheists and atheists into a humanism based on love of the one human race and of the planet we call home. The religiosity of nationalism and war is not part of the equation.”

Bonpane was among the signers of a recent letter urging the Pope to protest war during his U.S. visit.

Background: “Two-thirds of the cardinals come from the global North, while two-thirds of the Catholic people live in the South. … Drawing on the most recent edition of the Annuario, the Vatican’s official yearbook, the global Catholic population breaks down as follows: Latin America, 43 percent; Europe, 22 percent; Africa, 14 percent; Asia, 11 percent; North America, 8 percent; and Oceania, 2 percent.”

“As of November 24, 2007, there will be 121 [cardinal] electors from 60 countries: 60 are from Europe, 20 from North America, 17 from South America, 9 from Africa, 13 from Asia and two from Oceania.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167