Thinking Anglicans

the washing machine and what it doesn't mean

According to the official Vatican newspaper, the washing machine has done more to liberate women than anything else in the 20th century. One has to ask where the Vatican gets the information on which to base this kind of conclusion. This is particularly necessary in the light of the public admission that a failure to read the news meant that the Pope committed a major blunder in readmitting to communion someone who denied the Holocaust, Richard Williamson. At least the Pope responded on this occasion to the worldwide outrage which his action had caused.

No such response has come from the Roman Catholic Church to the story that a nine year old girl has been excommunicated. The Brazilian child had been abused for years by her stepfather. She went to hospital to investigate a pain and was found to be four months pregnant, carrying twins. Fearing for her life, doctors gave her an abortion. The response of Cardinal Giovanni Batista Re, who heads the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, was that the twins had a right to life and that the mother and those involved in the abortion should be excommunicated. The Church said nothing about the man who raped the girl.

Punishing a nine year old child in this way when she needs all the love and support the Church can give is barbaric. Brazilian authorities, in a country which only allows abortion in exceptional circumstances, had made the reasonable judgement that this case was one in which the mother’s life was the prime concern: it is likely that neither mother nor the unborn children would have survived if the pregnancy had gone much further. But the Church gives the impression that the men in charge will not engage seriously with women’s issues. They imagine that they want washing machines, rather than protection from unwanted pregnancy. They ignore the fact that many people in the world still do not have access to safe water for drinking or washing, and that it is generally supposed that women will be responsible for fetching the water from a contaminated source when there isn’t a clean piped supply. For such people there are many more things that could make life easier than having a washing machine. It is only when there is a power supply and piped water that the machine is usable at all. But the availability of safe contraception requires no great infrastructure to be in place before it can benefit every woman on the planet who needs it. Protection from unwanted pregnancy and from AIDS are part of a woman’s right to life. In a world where men still take advantage of women physically and emotionally it is wrong that the Church seeks to deny them any defence. Rape is a moment’s madness for the man, but can have lifelong consequences for the woman. Requiring women to live with the consequences of being violated is wrong. The support that they need after such an attack should include the ‘morning after’ pill or other means of ensuring that the woman is not required to bear the child of the man who raped her.

Unfortunately in the Roman Catholic Church the fact that the rules are made only by unmarried men means that issues are never examined from a woman’s point of view. It has been necessary for people to formulate a deliberate feminist theology just to attempt the redress centuries of imbalance. If, in the light of the controversy of Richard Williamson the Vatican is seriously interested in looking at the internet to discover world opinion, it might be helpful if some serious attention were paid to women’s issues. It would be good to start with examining why a nine year old child can be excommunicated rather than supported by the Church after being raped.

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JCF
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JCF

Correction: the raped nine year-old was not excommunicated (as the RCC authorities assured us, they are “merciful”, and don’t excommunicate children. Sentence them to death-by-involuntary-pregnancy? Eh.)

Everything else you say stands, Tom.

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“According to the official Vatican newspaper, the washing machine has done more to liberate women than anything else in the 20th century” –
– Tom Ambrose –

How true this statement is! Certainly, more has been done by the washing machine than by the Roman Catholic Church – for women during the past century. How brave of the Vatican newspaper to admit to this shocking statistic.

Erp
Guest
Erp

The washing machine probably helped lower class women in the developed world (the upper and middle class often had others to wash) but it isn’t number 1. Effective contraception is possibly number 1 but the Vatican can’t admit that. If they aren’t restricting it to inventions, education for women would be number 1. I gather that in Brazil the morning after pill is legal and often readily available. Contraception such as birth control pills and condoms are also readily available (and sometimes provided for free by the government). The Catholic Church openly opposes all of this and threatens excommunication for… Read more »

Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

I think rape is rarely a ‘moment of madness’ sadly it is usually an expression of a deeply held anger and hostility to women and a desire to commit violence against them.

Tim
Guest

Sometimes we don’t appreciate how empowered and liberated we are *not* to be in the RCC. How exactly do they get the credence that excommunication is a big thing in the first place?

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

Thank you, Rosemary Hannah. Rape isn’t a “moment of madness”, it isn’t lust, it is a violent act, often carried out with intent. It is an act of power and control. The child indeed wasn’t excommunicated. But the doctor was. The father, who is alleged to have sexually abused the child since she was 6, wasn’t excommunicated either, because abortion is worse than rape. I’m not making this up: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/03/11/brazil.rape.abortion/ This reminds me of news stories about Nigerian (is it the water?) Muslim clerics who condemn a pregnant woman to death by stoning for being raped because she has shown… Read more »

Joseph Anderson
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Joseph Anderson

The content of this article is embarrassing. On a web site which explicitly chooses to be called “Thinking” Anglicans, the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of basic Catholic thought is not what the thinking Anglicans I know would want to be associated with. To accurately represent one’s opponent is surely one of the basics of Thinking analysis. Even a rudimentary understanding of Catholic Canon Law would know that consequences of the tragedy of abortion cannot be applied to nine-year-old children (CIC 1983 1323). In a spirited debate about truth, both Catholics and Anglicans deserve better than this muddled presentation. To paraphrase a… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

What do you expect out of a group of power-mongering unmarried men who run around in dresses?

Meanwhile they obsess about stem cells, same-sex marriage and how to welcome back a liar of crimes against humanity. No wonder their parishes are closing in droves in my city. So sad, a once magnificent organization is now taken over by oblivious aged extremists.

David Oxley
Guest
David Oxley

Joseph Anderson: Yes, the article was incorrect about the little girl being excommunicated, but other facts of the case seem to be confirmed. And the very first comment put the matter straight. In what way does the corrected article misunderstand or misrepresent RC teaching? I agree with you, the article is indeed embarrassing, but perhaps not for the same reasons you see… it does seem that child abuse counts for very little in curial eyes…

Tim
Guest

So Joseph, how do you justify misjudging the innocent and completely ignoring the crime with your canons?

counterlight
Guest

I’ll tell you what liberated women; THE RIGHT TO VOTE!

The one thing that the Princes of the Church fear most is accountability to their subjects.

Mindful of JCF’s correction above — no, she was not excommunicated, but everyone else including her mother was — the description of this response from the church as “barbaric” remains accurate.

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

Has this article been revised? I see nothing at this writing that states the little girl was excommunicated – only the mother and medical personnel involved. The closest it gets is the sentence stating that “punishing a nine year old child in this way when she needs all the love and support the Church can give is barbaric.” Joseph Anderson, do you think the only support the Church needs to provide to this little girl is exempting her from excommunication? I’m sure she’s thinking…”Mommy and the doctors saved my life, but I didn’t get excommunicated, so everything is okay.” Let’s… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
Guest

Glad to hear the girl was not excommunicated. Beautiful sentiment in this article. The single best thing that could be done to liberate women is to be part of the inititiatives to stop violence against women (and men, GLBTs, and children for that matter too). It is one of the great tragedies that Jesus asked the Daughter of Zion not be be afraid because he was going to be the gentle messiah of scriptures, yet nearly every covenant and promises to women and other vulnerables has been ignored or violated by Christians, often with the specific intent of “protecting” or… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Tim wrote: “Sometimes we don’t appreciate how empowered and liberated we are *not* to be in the RCC. How exactly do they get the credence that excommunication is a big thing in the first place?”

Because we don’t do such any longer?

In the 1st Millennium Excommunication and Penance by stages (outside the church door, inside it, and so on until the Altar) had regained Fellowship and Communion as it’s Goal…

in the 2nd Millennium the Roman church transmogrified this into a Social/Ecclesiastic Punishmemt/Instrument of Power!

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Good for Joseph Anderson..balance at last..against this worse than Paisleyite bile.

Contraception actually enslaves women, and is leading to the collapse of all major western nations. Only immigration is sustaining the west and in Holland that is mainly from Muslim countries. Hence the Liberal crisis…where liberals like Gert Wilders have become out and out “racists”.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Even a rudimentary understanding of Catholic Canon Law would know that consequences of the tragedy of abortion cannot be applied to nine-year-old children (CIC 1983 1323).” J. Anderson – Nor, apparently, can it be applied to the man who impregnated the young girl either. I don’t see how any thinking person – of whatever religious views – could ever penalise those who sought to free this young girl from the after-effects of rape – and let the oppressor carry on as usual, with no sanctions from the Church they all belonged to. I would think those who ‘suffered’ the sanctions… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

R I Williams’ comment about contraception enslaving women seems out of place at the very least coming from a celibate man. I have certainly never heard a woman say any such thing and even those RC women I know who do not use contraception (not many to tell the truth)try hard to figure out their days of fertility and not.

Pluralist
Guest

Who cares where the population is produced: there is still too much of it. The greater the level of education, the greater the level of education, the greater the level of contraception is all to the good, and if the West needs more population then let it import – and let the development of the world be such that it can reduce population growth elsewhere. The stress ought to be on becoming more economically and ecologically efficient, not spreading the place with babies.

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest

Hence the Liberal crisis…where liberals like Gert Wilders have become out and out “racists”.

Could you unpack this for me RIW? Along with your suggestion that contraception enslaves women?

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest

Actually, we should be honoured to have “RIW” among us. Not many sites can boast such a sock puppet. How IS the view over St Peter’s Square this afternoon, Mr Ratzinger??;-)

(Apologies are offered – but it is a bit tedious getting the Official Vatican Line on everything!)

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“Contraception actually enslaves women, and is leading to the collapse of all major western nations.”

If men could become pregnant, we would not read tripe like this.

One of the MDGs is improving women’s health and reducing infant mortality [I think i’ve got that right – if not, someone quote that part for me] and one way to do that through improving diet and sensible family planning.

Joseph Anderson
Guest
Joseph Anderson

The responses to my comment have confirmed my original impression, that the title of the web site is simply misleading. There is nothing Thinking about the content that is being provided. Rather, there are ad hominum arguments and on-going, sloppy statements like the one above: “So Joseph, how do you justify misjudging the innocent and completely ignoring the crime with your canons?” This comment shows a most basic misunderstanding of Canon Law in the life of the Church, the protections it offers to those within the Church and the way its disciplines are enacted to aid us as individuals in… Read more »

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

Robert Ian Williams – I have to repeat, Joseph Anderson misread this article; the excommunicated parties were clearly named, and the 9-year old child was not included on that list. His reference to [CIC 1323, 1983] tells us why the child was spared excommunication, but is irrelevant information because no one called that question. Kindly tell us how contraception enslaves women, and as a “Thinking” Anglican, citing documents such as Pope Paul VI’s opinion in [Humanae Vitae 17, 1968]I would find insufficient substantiation of your claim. For now,I think I’ll avoid your economic theory about the collapse of Western civilization,… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

All Chtistians until 1930 taught that the prime purpose of sex was procreation, and that sexual pleasure.. (like taste to eating ) was a secondary bonus. 1930 Lambeth reversed that, and all Christians outside the barque of Peter eventually followed suit. What do we see the sexual revolution.. women reduced to the playthings of men and a cancerous anti-life agenda. The door for the gay agenda was also opened…for if sex can be rendered sterile, what is wrong with gay sex? Children are not an economic liablity , but true wealth, and the gift of the Lord. The true strength… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Joseph Anderson

Well, this is an Anglican website, so of course we’re not all fluent in Roman Canon law.
Maybe instead of slinking off in a sulk and not answering any of the questions people asked, you could tell us where and how the Roman Catholic church has followed its Canons, and where, in addition to that, it has shown the compassion and mercy one would expect from it.

I’d like to learn.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

So, RIW Where do I fit in? I’m not reduced to a men’s plaything, I chose my husband very carefully. I’m now living with a woman – you’re right, there’s nothing wrong with it. We’re bringing up my children, so although “sterile”, we have between us 4 children and 2 grandchildren. Some of us adopt the kids no straight couple wants. “Sterility” can be useful. “Children are not an economic liablity , but true wealth, and the gift of the Lord. The true strength of the poor, not their weakness.” That’s dogma, not what you observe in real life. Make… Read more »

Joan_of_Quark
Guest

They say the old ones are the best.. and there goes the parade of cliches, sentiment and apple pie… “Motherhood” with a capital M – check. “Career women are bitter” – check. (Readers with external plumbing – any of you been described as “career men” lately? Thought not.) Women reduced to playthings of men by the sexual revolution – check. Sure, motherhood is a great vocation IF it happens to be your calling, whether by itself or in combination with other things – personally I am Larkin-compliant (as in “get out as early as you can and don’t have any… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest

RIW’s take on sex seems to owe more to Theodore of Tarsus than Gregory the Great (he said gnomically). (I think he may be technically incorrect about his ‘barque of Peter’ comment, too, insofar as I believe the Orthodox often are dubious about contraception.) But, dear Joey, you have only asserted, have you not, rather than explained? Why was the use of contraception (common among Christian marrieds since the 1930s’ say) so slow to cause the catastrophic breakdown of society? My Significant Other managed to stay at home with our three into the 1990’s – surely it is more to… Read more »

Joseph Anderson
Guest
Joseph Anderson

Erika, Thank you for your response. I think the place to start would be the contrast between mercy/compassion and canons found in so many of the comments. The actions of the canons, the limits placed on what those actions can be, the spiritual goals of those actions, and the “rights and privileges” of individual believers enumerated so often in the canons show that such a supposed contrast is fatally flawed. There are a number of good web resources available by Catholic canon lawyers, but I think I would ask you to search for them, rather than mention them here, so… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

‘The Church allows ..?” = certain ministers alone.

We are all the Church – not fodder to be condescended to.

Maybe this patronizing attitude of RC ministers is what leads to so many RCs turning to me for ministry of one kind or another.But I am well prepeared with an extensive collection of prayer books and prayers ! I imagine many other ministers and others, find themselves being asked to fill the void left by the ‘offical church’.

I meet a lot of faithful people this way, and am honoured.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

I know it seems tough and its radical, but the Catholic teaching, may be hard (and I may be a poor advocate of it ).. remember the words in Scripture.. “this is a hard saying”…but the Catholic Church is only faithfully witnessing to the truth that was once delivered to the Saints.

The Eastern Orthodox churches sadly have also caved in on contraception. Many catholics are in a state of rebellion..look at Spain, next to the lowest birth rate in Europe. However the abuse by individual Catholics does not disprove the doctrine.

rick allen
Guest

“Does the RCC excommunicate all convicted murderers of adults?” I don’t think so. But please understand, excommunication isn’t some sort of ultimate punishment, the big “church death penalty.” Regardless of what you read in the papers and see in movies, that’s not what it’s for. It’s supposed to be medicinal. I think the case of abortion gets special treatment because, increasingly, despite the Council’s characterization of it as an “abominable crime,” more and more people seem to accept it as of no moral consequence whatsoever. As to murder and rape, there is this from the Catechism: “Mortal sin is a… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

By the way excommunication is really an act of love…its warning the subject that they stand in peril of their souls.”

Where do I apply ? !

‘Such condescension !” as Mr Collins might have ventured to remark.

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

Robert Anderson, you can cite any number of Roman Catholic canons. But, to excommunicate the pregnant girl’s mother and the doctors because of blind adherence to rules, without regard to notions of mercy or compassion, is appalling. To not excommunicate the man who caused this pregnancy, is appalling. To not excommunicate the girl herself “solely” because she’s too young by canonical standards, is appalling. The girl is 9 years old! To disregard the consequences of carrying the twin fetuses to full-term pregnancy on a 9 year old who does not have a fully-developed reproductive system, a full-sized uterus, a full-sized… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Joseph Anderson wrote: “Since I presume no one forced you to take a Thinking Anglican position on Catholic matters, I would assume you would want a much better and more worthy representation of what Anglicans are capable of, including much more homework about the ideas you find objectionable.”

We are wrong, we didn’t do our homework, and somehow we’re disqualified anyway ;=)

Mr Anderson, I don’t thank you for your answer to Erika.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“1930 Lambeth reversed that, and all Christians outside the barque of Peter eventually followed suit.” – Robert I Williams – (re sex & Vatican) Robert’s reference to the ‘barque of Peter’ is quite apposite in this instance, seeing that the barque has sprung a leak that may well lead to its foundering. The number of ‘practising’ Roman Catholics who also practise contraception must, by now, outstrip the number of married adults who do not. How does this help in the difficult area of Papal Edicts which are so difficult to live up to that the majority of those to whom… Read more »

Lister Tonge
Guest
Lister Tonge

The idea that excommunication is really an act of love reminds me of the justification offered for burning at the stake as a punishment for heresy.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Ron , there have been a lot of persons in history predicting the swift demise of the Catholic Church.

Our Lord does make tough demands , but he also provides his grace to help us through.

Thinking Anglicans is under excellent moderation, and it will in no way become a web site for bipgoted liberals like Stand Firm and Virtue online have become sites for bigoted retrogrades.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“The number of ‘practising’ Roman Catholics who also practise contraception must, by now, outstrip the number of married adults who do not.”

It was reliably reported when the previous Pope visited Baltimore, that the local RC church had to really serach for a ‘representative’ large RC family to present to the Pope. Most RC families I know have roughly the same # of children as non-RCs.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“I know it seems tough and its radical, but the Catholic teaching, may be hard (and I may be a poor advocate of it ).. remember the words in Scripture.. “this is a hard saying”…but the Catholic Church is only faithfully witnessing to the truth that was once delivered to the Saints.” Behold the Popoid tendency to misquote Scripture: that “hard saying” from the Gospel of John was about the Real Presence of Christ in the eucharist, NOT all the toxic (and ahistoric) Kool-Aid in the Popoid li(n)e re sex! However, RIW, I don’t doubt that, as the full depths… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest

RIW: “natural family planning can also be a sin, if followed with a contraceptive spirit and agenda.” AT my advanced age, I can imagine myself doing a theological reflection on whether I’m about to do beastly things ‘with a contraceptive spirit’ and having reached a conclusion, being unable to remember what it was I was thinking of doing in the first place! Given that the notice sheet for our local RC church today carried advice about natural family planning, I have this image in my mind of a member of the faithful carefully making a tally of days and then… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest

how many more problems are being generated by the pronouncement against divorce,

Fr Holything up the road took great delight this morning in telling us (yes, I defected for the day, but it’s OK RIW, I respected the prohibition on receiving the sacrament) how he’d overturned the conscience-made decision of a couple in his congregation, divorcees who married one another 20 years ago, and excommunicated them, telling them that it was not the business of the people of God to try and interpret God’s law as taught by the Church.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Vatican 2 anyone?

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

RIW: the need for sustainability will mean that population control will become an absolute must in future years. I would certainly think one child policies will be imposed within my lifetime. If countries fail to do this, they will suffer the consequences.

Tim
Guest

Joseph Anderson wrote: on-going, sloppy statements like the one above: “So Joseph, how do you justify misjudging the innocent and completely ignoring the crime with your canons?” This comment shows a most basic misunderstanding of Canon Law in the life of the Church, … Really? That was not a comment, it was a valid question that you should answer instead of sidling around with an unwillingness so much as to link at a canon on a website. Joseph also writes: What I found was an embarrassingly naïve, amateurish and bewildering combination of thoughts on washing machines, abortion, excommunication and a… Read more »

rick allen
Guest

“Vatican 2 anyone?” Vatican 2: “Since Holy Scripture must be read and interpreted in the sacred spirit in which it was written, no less serious attention must be given to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture if the meaning of the sacred texts is to be correctly worked out. The living tradition of the whole Church must be taken into account along with the harmony which exists between elements of the faith. It is the task of exegetes to work according to these rules toward a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture, so… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Thinking Anglicans is under excellent moderation, and it will in no way become a web site for bipgoted (sic) liberals like Stand Firm and Virtue online” – Robert I Williams – Nice try, Robert, but I don’t think the moderators on ‘Thinking Anglicans’ are going to be taken in by your intended flattery here. Several of us on this site have challenged your propensity to advocate the ‘truly Catholic’ as in the R.C. response to human problems, and have seen very little honest response to our enquiry about: divorce, versus annulment; contraception, versus the recognition of a need for population… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Rick Allen wrote: “As to murder and rape, there is this from the Catechism: “Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back.” Is that serious enough for you?”” Not the same, not comparable at all. We are discussing… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

NfP is a sin when it is used for non serious issues..like trying to get into a smaller dress size for a wedding or putting luxury first. It is obly to be used for serious reasons, generally related to health.

Merseymike ..in fact the population crisis of the future is the opposite of what you claim. For instance in China there ar now 40 million more men than women.

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest

Hm…, so if natural family planning (aka ‘contraception’ if one is to parse the Latin) is permissible on ‘serious health grounds’, wherein lies the problem with rubber thingies and HIV? Or isn’t HIV a serious health issue?

Hasn’t the Vatican heard of ‘double effect’?

Genuinely baffled of Barton

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

So what, RIW? World population needs to be reduced and this will cause difficulties with regard to people’s learned expectations. But it still has to be done, and it will happen.