Women Can Be Priests

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2008/01/01 01:01:18 (permalink)
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News central, etc., items of interest...


Our Lady of China 


Dear friends,

On behalf of the Team at www.womenpriests.org, I wish you the very best of love, peace and happiness in this new year.  We journey together...manifesting Christ's presence as we make our way.

with love and blessings,
~Sophie~
post edited by Sophie - 2008/07/28 03:00:02
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    Sophie
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    RE: 2008 news central, etc... 2008/01/01 01:04:09 (permalink)
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    Gathering/Quieting Song Prayer for Peace
    (Based on a Navaho Indian Prayer. Words by David Haas. “Best of David Haas,” Vol. I, GIA Publications, 1995.)
     
    Peace before us, peace behind us, peace under our feet
    Peace within us, peace over us, let all around us be peace.
    Love before us, love behind us, love under our feet.
    Love within us, love over us, let all around us be love.
    Light before us, light behind us, light under our feet.
    Light within us, light over us, let all around us be light.
    Christ before us, Christ behind us, Christ under our feet.
    Christ within us, Christ over us, let all around us be Christ.

    Alleluia, alleluia

    Peace before us, peace behind us, peace under our feet
    Peace within us, peace over us, let all around us be peace.
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    RE: 2008 news central, etc... 2008/01/01 01:12:30 (permalink)
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    Dear friends,

    Welcome to our friends and members!

    To those who are new among us, please be assured ~ we extend a warm welcome to you.  My name is Sophie.  I serve as Moderator and traffic navigator in our dialogues here in the Circles community.  If you have any questions at any time, please do not hesitate to ask.  I check in on the boards every day or two.  Post your question in the thread where it arises and I will respond.  We gather in the spirit of Christian dialogue.  I look forward to hearing your points of view.

    This thread serves as our news central.  Check here for recent updates and other items of interest.  If you are new, I share a little secret that will help you connect with current posts.  On the main forums page, page numbers are listed in each dialogue thread. By clicking on the last number in sequence, you will connect with the most recent page in the thread.

    From time to time, I will provide an overview post in this thread -- sharing information as to where current spots of discussion are ongoing.

    This thread also serves as a posting thread for other news items of interest and historical bits of relevant information.

    Once again ~Welcome~  If you have any questions at any time, please let me know!

    with love and blessings,

    ~Sophie~  
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    News central, etc, items of interest... 2008/01/01 01:15:41 (permalink)
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    Dear God, creator of women in your image,
    born of a woman in the midst of a world half women,
    carried by women to mission fields around the globe,
    made known by women to all the children of the earth,
    give to the women of our time
    the strength to persevere,
    the courage to speak out,
    the faith to believe in you beyond
    all systems and institutions
    so that your face on earth may be seen in all its beauty,
    so that men and women may become whole,
    so that the church may be converted to your will
    in everything and in all ways.
    We call on the holy women
    who went before us,
    channels of Your Word
    in testaments old and new,
    to intercede for us
    so that we might be given the grace
    to become what they have been
    for the honour and glory of God.
    • Pray for us.

    Saint Esther, who pleaded against power 
    for the liberation of the people,
    Saint Judith, who routed the plans of men
    and saved community,
    Saint Deborah, laywoman and judge, who led
    the people of God,
    Saint Elizabeth of Judea, who recognised
    the value of another woman,
    Saint Mary Magdalene, minister of Jesus,
    first evangelist of Christ,
    Saint Scholastica, who taught her brother
    Benedict to honour spirit above the system,
    Saint Hildegard, who suffered interdict
    for the doing of right,
    Saint Joan of Arc, who put no law above
    the law of God,
    Saint Clare of Assisi, who confronted the Pope
     with the image of women as equal,
    Saint Julien of Norwich, who proclaimed for
    all of us the motherhood of God,
    Saint Therese of Lisieux, who knew the call
    to priesthood in herself,
    Saint Catherine of Siena, to whom the Pope
    listened,
    Saint Teresa of Avila, who brought women's gifts
    to reform the Church,
    Saint Edith Stein, who brought fearlessness
    to faith,
    Saint Elizabeth Seton, who broke down the
    boundaries between lay women and
    religious by wedding motherhood and
    religious life,
    Dorothy Day, who led the church to a new
    sense of justice,
    Mary, mother of Jesus,
        who heard the call of God and answered,
    Mary, mother of Jesus,
        who drew strength from the woman Elizabeth,
    Mary, mother of Jesus,
        who underwent hardship bearing Christ,
    Mary, mother of Jesus,
        who ministered at Cana,
    Mary, mother of Jesus,
        who inspirited at Pentecost,
    Mary, mother of Jesus,
        who turned the Spirit of God
    into the body and blood of Jesus, pray for us.
     
    Amen. 
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    RE: News central, etc, items of interest... 2008/01/01 02:15:48 (permalink)
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    On this day January 1 in the year 404: The last known gladiator competition in takes place.


    The Gladiator Mosaic at the Galleria Borghese, showing the
    latter stages of various combats, late Roman period.

    Learn more about this and the times of the early Church (which without question bore a cultural influence on women and their sacramental rites...eg ordination...) see here: RE: The Early Church
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    RE: News central, etc., items of interest... 2008/01/01 02:34:00 (permalink)
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    RE: News central, etc., items of interest... 2008/01/01 02:38:27 (permalink)
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    On this day January 1:
    • in 1808 - The importation of slaves into the United States is banned. 
    • in 1863 - US President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation declaring that slaves in Confederate states were free.
    post edited by Sophie - 2008/01/02 01:11:13
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    RE: News central, etc., items of interest... 2008/01/01 02:51:59 (permalink)
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    Dear friends

    If you are new to womenpriests.org, you might be surprised to notice that the issue of slavery gets a fair bit of press in our dialogue threads. Anticipating that you might be wondering 'why?' and 'what is the connection between slavery and women's ordination?', the answer is this.

    Defenders of the Vatican ban prohibiting women's ordination argue that:
    • the ban has always been part of Church teaching
    • the Vatican does not make mistakes.

    Hmmm. At first blush, these seem like good points. But the facts actually are these. The Vatican does not always get things 'right' on first strike. There are many instances in Church teachings where, as consciences are illuminated by Christ's light and understanding becomes clear, evolutions have happened in Church teachings so as to bring our faith community into closer communion with Christ's way.

    The subject of slavery provides just one example of such an evolution in teaching. Throughout most of our ecclesiastical history, the Vatican clearly and adamantly taught that slavery was in accord with both divine and natural law. It took the courage and work of abolitionists to bring about a change in teaching and law in both Church and society.

    We know that society in general adapted more quickly than did the Church in condemning the practice of slavery.

    For instance, the British House of Commons passed 'The Abolition of the Slave Trade Act on March 25, 1807. The nation of Cuba banned slavery as early as 1824, and in 1837, the American Elijah Lovejoy continued working for abolition in his country.

    The Vatican on the other hand, was in 1866 still positively endorsing slavery as justifiable in the eyes of God. As a matter of historical record we know:

    1866 AD: The Holy Office in an instruction signed by Pope Pius IX declares: Slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery, and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons … It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given".

    Through an evolution of understanding of Truth, today the Vatican categorically condemns slavery as an offense to human dignity.

    In the same manner -- through an evolution of understanding of Truth -- we are learning that the exclusion of women from priesthood is not of God. It is offensive to human dignity. Exclusion, like slavery, constitutes a serious error on the part of teaching authority.

    Slavery is not the only example where an evolution in understanding has occurred. For more about this, see:



    Because our Church shows its capacity to embrace necessary evolutions in teachings (for example, about slavery) so as to journey more closely with Truth, our Church has the capacity to move forward with teachings about women priests as well! While Truth never changes, to attempt to defend the exclusion of women from Holy Orders on the basis that 'this is the way it always has been' is not on its own a sound position.

    We will learn more as we journey together. If you have any questions at any time, please let me know.

    with love and blessings,

    ~Sophie~
    post edited by Sophie - 2008/01/02 20:47:07
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    RE: News central, etc., items of interest... 2008/01/01 02:52:51 (permalink)
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    A historical chart showing the evolution in Church teachings about slavery....going from condoning slavery right up to today...outright condemnation of slavery! 

    362 AD: The local Council at Gangra in Asia Minor excommunicates anyone encouraging a slave to despise his master or withdraw from his service. (Became part of Church Law from the 13th century).

    354-430 AD: St. Augustine teaches that the institution of slavery derives from God and is beneficial to slaves and masters. (Quoted by many later Popes as proof of "Tradition".)

    650 AD: Pope Martin I condemns people who teach slaves about freedom or who encourage them to escape.

    1089 AD: The Synod of Melfi under Pope Urban II imposed slavery on the wives of priests. (Became part of Church Law from the 13th century).

    1179 AD: The Third Lateran Council imposed slavery on those helping the Saracens.

    1226 AD: The legitimacy of slavery is incorporated in the Corpus Iuris Canonici, promulgated by Pope Gregory IX which remained official law of the Church until 1913. Canon lawyers worked out four just titles for holding slaves: slaves captured in war, persons condemned to slavery for a crime; persons selling themselves into slavery, including a father selling his child; children of a mother who is a slave.

    1224-1274 AD: St.Thomas Aquinas defends slavery as instituted by God in punishment for sin, and justified as being part of the ‘right of nations’ and natural law. Children of a slave mother are rightly slaves even though they have not committed personal sin! (Quoted by many later Popes).

    1435 AD: Pope Eugenius IV condemns the indiscriminate enslavement of natives in the Canary Islands, but does not condemn slavery as such.

    1454 AD: Through the bull Romanus Pontifex, Pope Nicholas V authorises the king of Portugal to enslave all the Saracen and pagan peoples his armies may conquer.

    1493 AD: Pope Alexander VI authorises the King of Spain to enslave non-Christians of the Americas who are at war with Christian powers.

    1537 AD: Pope Paul III condemns the indiscriminate enslavement of Indians in South America. 

    1548 AD: The same Pope Paul III confirms the right of clergy and laity to own slaves.

    1639 AD: Pope Urban VIII denounces the indiscriminate enslavement of Indians in South America, without denying the four ‘just titles’ for owning slaves.

    1741 AD: Pope Benedict XIV condemns the indiscriminate enslavement of natives in Brazil, but does not denounce slavery as such, nor the importation of slaves from Africa.

    1839 AD: Pope Gregory XVI condemns the international negro slave trade, but does not question slavery as such, nor the domestic slave trade.

    1866 AD: The Holy Office in an instruction signed by Pope Pius IX declares: Slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery, and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons … It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given".


    The turn around

    1888 AD: Pope Leo III condemns slavery in more general terms, and supports the anti-slavery movement.

    1918 AD: The new Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope Benedictus XV condemns ‘selling any person as a slave’. (There is no condemnation of ‘owning’ slaves, however).

    1965 AD: The Second Vatican Council defends basic human rights and denounces all violations of human integrity, including slavery (Gaudium et Spes, no 27,29,67).
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    RE: News central, etc., items of interest... 2008/01/01 02:56:06 (permalink)
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    Dear friends,

    On the matter of slavery, we hear the wise words of Cardinal Levada, the Vatican's Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith:



    William Cardinal Levada
    Current Prefect for the
    Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith

    There is a long tradition in the church of accepting the institution of slavery, but in the light of the repeated teachings of modern popes and the Second Vatican Council on the dignity of the human person, church teaching has evolved from acceptance of slavery as part of the human condition to its eventual condemnation.


    Those of us working for the ordination of women generously applaud the Vatican for finally getting it right in endorsing a categorical condemnation of slavery in its modern teachings.  Thanks to the agents for change who courageously worked for abolition, the Vatican  finally saw the light! 

    Please join us now in this campaign as we work towards conversion of the Vatican... encouraging them to see the light that women do have a place as deacons, priests, bishops and even popes within our Church.

    We appreciate your presence here!  Welcome!  Please explore and enjoy our site.  If you have any questions, let me know.

    with love and blessings,

    ~Sophie~
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    RE: News central, etc., items of interest... 2008/01/01 20:48:52 (permalink)
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    Dear friends,

    An informational note for those among us who are new to our dialogues, with a ps to long time supporters at the end...A note of introduction about the creation and purpose of a new dialogue thread:  Heroic Agents of Change - 2008

    From a practical point of view, work for women's ordination means labouring for cultural change.  In this work, we face plenty of strong resistance to the fact that God calls women to be Catholic priests.  Facing resistance is not an easy part of the journey.  Despite the fact that work for justice is a noble endeavor,  dealing with hostility is an unfortunate piece of baggage that comes with the work. 

    Though many are the tests of determination and committment, sources of inspiration are plentiful, too. We know we are not alone. Many brothers and sisters have travelled parallel journeys before us.  Through the role models they provide, we can learn from and be inspired by them.

    The life of Benazir Bhutto, her assassination, and its aftermath are very much in the news as I write this.  Controversial as she was to some, when she spoke about her work for democracy, she frequently explained that she understood herself to be a 'Daughter of Destiny.'  From the time she was a young child, her father encouraged her feed herself with inspiration by reading the stories of women like Joan of Arc and Indira Gandhi.  Benazir frequently said that besides her faith, stories of strong women served as sources of empowerment for her.

    In that vein, our thread Heroic Agents of Change - 2008 is our gathering place to share the stories of the world's inspiring and heroic agents of change.  Though not necessarily connected to our Catholic faith community in name, through their works for truth and justice, they share a journey with us.

    I encourage to stop in and check out the thread from time to time. Please enjoy.  If you have any questions, as always let me know. 

    ~Sophie~

    ps to old friends and members:  I will soon be retiring the 2007 Heroic Agents of Change   to our archives forum Treasures for keeping. 
    #11
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    RE: News central, etc., items of interest... 2008/01/01 20:50:04 (permalink)
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    an informational note to friends who are new:  words in blue indicate an embedded link that leads to other information
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    RE: News central, etc., items of interest... 2008/01/01 21:14:39 (permalink)
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    Dear friends,

    It inspires me to learn the diversity of places visitors to our website www.womenpriests.org gather from.  Like the early Church, like the present Church -- Circles is an international community.  In recent months, we have been blessed with the presence of members and guests from countries that include:

    Kazakhstan, Senegal, Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Rwanda, Tunisia, Bermuda, Qatar, Algeria, Cameroon, Antigua And Barbuda, Serbia, El Salvador, Guyana, Luxembourg, Latvia, Russia, Malaysia, Sweden, Malta, Oman, Northern Ireland, Turkey, China, Finland, Moldova, Japan, Serbia, Italy, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Egypt, Poland, England, Macedonia, Kuwait, Thailand, Roumania, Portugual, Singapore, Israel, United States of America, Bulgaria, Wales, Jordan, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Taiwan, Slovakia, Zambia, Denmark, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Norway, Morocco, Iran, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Iraq, Greece, India, Czech Republic, Mauritius, Indonesia, Uruguay, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, Austria, Brazil, Mauritania, Argentina, New Zealand, Ukraine, Chile, France, Pakistan, Australia, Togo, Netherlands, Philippines, South Korea, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, South Africa ...and many more...

    We give thanks as we make our journey together manifesting Christ's presence on the Way!

    with love and blessings,
    ~Sophie~
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    RE: News central, etc., items of interest... 2008/01/01 22:34:14 (permalink)
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    Dear friends,

    Once again for those who are new among us, an informational point:  in this thread, we periodically learn about bits of history that are relevant to our work.  One of the aspects we look at is a history of papal succession.  In that vein, given that today, January 1 is the anniversary of the 1431 birth of the man who would become Pope Alexander VI, we visit the story of his life.  ... Be warned, he is not a shining example of ecclesiastical (or any other) leadership.

    With knowledge of our history in mind, we become better prepared to engage in the duty of pressing loyal questions that need to be asked.

    with love and blessings,

    ~Sophie~
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    RE: News central, etc., items of interest... 2008/01/01 22:34:37 (permalink)
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    Born this day January 1 in 1431 - Alexander VI
     
    Pope Alexander VI (1431-1503) born Roderigo Llançol, later Rodrigo Borja (Italian: Borgia) was Pope from 1492 to 1503. He is the most controversial of the secular popes of the Renaissance and one whose surname became a byword for the debased standards of the papacy of that era. He was born at Xativa, Valencia, Spain. His father's surname was Lanzol (Castilian) or Llançol (Catalan). He assumed his mother's family name of Borja on the elevation of his maternal uncle to the papacy as Calixtus III in 1455.


    Pope Alexander VI
     
    Education and election
     
    Borgia studied law at Bologna and after his uncle's election as pope, was created successively bishop, cardinal and vice-chancellor of the church. Nepotistic appointments were characteristic of the age. He served in the Curia under five popes (Calixtus III, Pius II, Paul II, Sixtus IV and Innocent VIII) and acquired much administrative experience, influence and wealth, though not great power.

    On the death of Pope Innocent VIII (1484–1492), the three likely candidates for the Holy See were cardinals Borgia, Ascanio Sforza and Giuliano della Rovere. While there was never substantive proof of simony, the rumour was that Borgia, by his great wealth, succeeded in buying the largest number of votes, including that of Sforza, whom, popular rumour had it, he bribed with four mule-loads of silver. According to some historians, however, Borgia had no need of such an unsubtle exchange - the benefices and offices granted Sforza for his support would be worth considerably more than four mule-loads of silver. John Burchard, the conclave's master of ceremonies and a leading figure of the papal household under several popes, recorded in his diary that the 1492 conclave was a particularly expensive campaign. Della Rovere was bankrolled to the cost of 200,000 gold ducats by the King of France, with another 100,000 supplied by the Republic of Genoa. Borgia was elected on August 11, 1492, assuming the name of Alexander VI. Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici sharply criticized the election and warned of dire things to come:


    Now we are in the power of a wolf, the most rapacious perhaps that this world has ever seen. And if we do not flee, he will inevitably devour us all.


    Nepotism and opposition
     
    At first, Alexander's reign was marked by a strict administration of justice and an orderly method of government, in contrast to the mismanagement of the previous pontificate, as well as by great outward splendour. But it was not long before his passion for endowing his relatives at the church's and his neighbours' expense became manifest. To that end he was ready to commit any crime and to plunge all Italy into war. Alexander VI had four children by his mistress (Vannozza dei Cattani), three sons and a daughter: Giovanni, Cesare, Goffredo and Lucrezia.


    Vannozza dei Cattani
    one of the Pope Alexander VI
    mistresses

    Cesare, while a youth of seventeen and a student at Pisa, was made Archbishop of Valencia, and Giovanni received the dukedom of Gandia, the Borgias' ancestral home in Spain. For the Duke of Gandía and for Goffredo the Pope proposed to carve fiefs out of the papal states and the Kingdom of Naples. Among the fiefs destined for the duke of Gandía were Cerveteri and Anguillara, lately acquired by Virginio Orsini, head of that powerful house. This policy brought Ferdinand I, King of Naples, into conflict with Alexander, who was also opposed by Cardinal della Rovere, whose candidature for the papacy had been backed by Ferdinand. Della Rovere fortified himself in his bishopric of Ostia at the Tiber's mouth as Alexander formed a league against Naples (April 25, 1493) and prepared for war.


    Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of Pope Alexander VI,
     was given an opulent wedding at the Vatican Palace.
    click on image to enlarge.

    Ferdinand allied himself with Florence, Milan and Venice. He also appealed to Spain for help.  But Spain was anxious to be on good terms with the papacy in order to obtain the title to the newly discovered continent of America. Alexander, in the bull Inter Caetera, divided the title between Spain and Portugual along a demarcation line. (This and other related bulls are known collectively as the Bulls of Donation.)

    Alexander VI arranged great marriages for his children. Lucrezia had been promised to the Venetian Don Gasparo da Procida, but on her father's elevation to the papacy the engagement was cancelled and in 1493 she married Giovanni Sforza, lord of Pesaro, the ceremony being celebrated at the Vatican Palace with unparalleled magnificence.

    In spite of the splendours of the Pontifical court, the condition of Rome became every day more deplorable. The city swarmed with Spanish adventurers, assassins, prostitutes and informers; murder and robbery were committed with impunity, and the Pope himself cast aside all show of decorum, living a purely secular life; indulging in the chase, and arranging dancing, stage plays and orgies (culminating in the debaucherous Banquet of Chestnuts of 1501) within the Vatican itself. One of his close companions was Cem, the brother of the Sultan Bayazid II (1481–1512), detained as a hostage. The general outlook in Italy was of the gloomiest and the country was on the eve of foreign invasion.

    French Involvement
     
    Alexander VI made many alliances to secure his position. He sought help from Charles VIII of France, who was allied to Ludovico il Moro Sforza, the de facto ruler of Milan who needed French support to legitimise his regime (1483–1498). As King Ferdinand I of Naples was threatening to come to the aid of the rightful duke Gian Galeazzo — the husband of his granddaughter Isabella — Alexander VI encouraged the French king in his scheme for the conquest of Naples.


    Alexander VI would ally
    with Charles VIII of France
    against the King of Naples.

    But Alexander VI, always ready to seize opportunities to aggrandize his family, then adopted a double policy. Through the intervention of the Spanish ambassador he made peace with Naples in July 1493 and cemented the peace by a marriage between his son Giuffre and Doña Sancha, another granddaughter of Ferdinand I. In order to dominate the College of Cardinals more completely, Alexander, in a move that created much scandal, created twelve new cardinals, among them his own son Cesare, then only eighteen years old, and Alessandro Farnese (later Pope Paul III), the brother of one of the Pope's mistresses, the beautiful Giulia Farnese.


    Giulia Farnese, Raffaello 1505 - another of Pope Alexander VI's mistresses: The affair was widely known among the gossips of the time, and Giulia was referred to as "the Pope's whore" or as "the bride of Christ". Giulia and Lucrezia became close friends. Through her intimacy with the Pope she was able to get her brother Alessandro created Cardinal. This earned him the title of "Cardinal of the skirts" from Pasquino.
     
    When Ferdinand I died in 1494, he was succeeded by his son Alfonso II (1494–1495). Charles VIII of France now advanced formal claims on the kingdom, and Alexander VI authorized him to pass through Rome ostensibly on a crusade against the Turks, without mentioning Naples. But when the French invasion became a reality he was alarmed, recognized Alfonso II as King, and concluded an alliance with him in exchange for various fiefs for his sons (July 1494). A military response to the French threat was set in motion.  A Neapolitan army was to advance through the Romagna and attack Milan, while the fleet was to seize Genoa. But both expeditions were badly conducted and failed, and on September 8, Charles VIII crossed the Alps and joined Lodovico il Moro at Milan. The papal states were in turmoil, and the powerful Colonna faction seized Ostia in the name of France. Charles VIII rapidly advanced southward, and after a short stay in Florence, set out for Rome (November 1494).

    Alexander VI appealed to Ascanio Sforza for help, and even to the Sultan. He tried to collect troops and put Rome in a state of defence, but his position was precarious. When the Orsini offered to admit the French to their castles, Alexander had no choice but to come to terms with Charles, who on December 31 entered Rome with his troops, the cardinals of the French faction, and Giuliano della Rovere. Alexander now feared that the king might depose him for simony and summon a council, but he won over the bishop of Saint-Malo who had much influence over the king, with a cardinal's hat. Alexander VI agreed to send Cesare, as legate, to Naples with the French army, to deliver Cem to Charles VIII and to give him Civitavecchia (January 16, 1495). On January 28, Charles VIII departed for Naples with Cem and Cesare, but the latter slipped away to Spoleto. Napolitan resistance collapsed; Alfonso II fled and abdicated in favour of his son Ferdinand II, who also had to escape, abandoned by all, and the kingdom was conquered with surprising ease.

    The French in retreat
     

    Castel Sant'Angelo is where Pope Alexander VI secluded himself after the death of the Duke of Gandia.
     
    A reaction against Charles VIII soon set in, for all the powers were alarmed at his success, and on March 31, 1495 a so-called Holy League was formed between the pope, the emperor, Venice, Lodovico il Moro and Ferdinand of Spain, ostensibly against the Turks, but in reality to expel the French from Italy. Charles VIII had himself crowned King of Naples May 12 but a few days later began his retreat northward. He encountered the allies at Fornovo and after a drawn battle cut his way through them and was back in France by November.

    Ferdinand II was reinstated at Naples soon afterwards, with Spanish help. The expedition, if it produced no material results, demonstrated the foolishness of the so called 'politics of equilibrium' (the Medicean doctrine of preventing one of the Italian principates from overwhelming the rest and uniting them under its hegemony), since it rendered the country unable to defend itself against the powerful nation states, France and Spain, that had forged themselves during the previous century. Alexander VI, following the general tendency of all the princes of the day to crush the great feudatories and establish a centralized despotism, now took advantage of the defeat of the French to break the power of the Orsini and begin building himself an effective power base in the papal states.

    Virginio Orsini, who had been captured by the Spaniards, died a prisoner at Naples, and the Pope confiscated his property; but the rest of the clan still held out, defeating the papal troops sent against them under Guidobaldo, Duke of Urbino and Giovanni Borgia, Duke of Gandia, at Soriano (January 1497). Peace was made through Venetian mediation, the Orsini paying 50,000 ducats in exchange for their confiscated lands, while the Duke of Urbino, whom they had captured, was left by the Pope to pay his own ransom. The Orsini remained very powerful, and Alexander VI could count on none but his 3,000 Spaniards. His only success had been the capture of Ostia and the submission of the Francophile cardinals Colonna and Savelli.

    Then occurred the first of those ugly domestic tragedies for which the house of Borgia remains notorious. On 14 June the Duke of Gandia, lately created Duke of Benevento, disappeared: the next day his corpse was found in the Tiber.

    Alexander, overwhelmed with grief, shut himself up in Castel Sant'Angelo and then declared that the reform of the church would be the sole object of his life henceforth – a resolution he did not keep. Every effort was made to discover the assassin, and suspicion fell on various highly placed people. When the rumour spread that Cesare, the Pope's second son, had done the deed, the inquiries ceased. No conclusive evidence ever came to light about the murder, although Cesare remained the most widely suspected.

    Confiscations and Savonarola
     
    Violent and vengeful, Cesare now became the most powerful man in Rome, and even his father quailed before him. Because Alexander needed funds to carry out his various schemes, he began a series of confiscations, of which one of the victims was his own secretary. The process was a simple one: any cardinal, nobleman or official who was known to be rich would be accused of some offence; imprisonment and perhaps murder followed at once, and then the confiscation of his property. The least opposition to the Borgia was punished with death.


    Because of his invectives against papal corruption, Girolamo Savonarola
    was viewed with hostility by Pope Alexander VI. He was eventually
    arrested and executed on 23 May 1498.
     
    Even in that corrupt age the debased state of the curia was a major scandal. Opponents such as the demagogic monk Girolamo Savonarola, who appealed for a general council to confront the papal abuses, launched invectives against papal corruption. Alexander VI, unable to get the excommunicated Savonarola into his own hands, browbeat the Florentine government into condemning the reformer to death (May 23, 1498). The houses of Colonna and Orsini, after much fighting between themselves, allied against the Pope, who found himself unable to maintain order in his own dominions.

    In these circumstances, Alexander, feeling more than ever that he could only rely on his own kin, turned his thoughts to further family aggrandizement. He had annulled Lucrezia's marriage to Giovanni Sforza — who had responded to the suggestion that he was impotent with the counter-claim that Alexander and Cesare indulged in incestuous relations with Lucrezia — in 1497, and, unable to arrange a union between Cesare and the daughter of King Frederick IV of Naples (who had succeeded Ferdinand II the previous year), he induced Frederick by threats to agree to a marriage between the Duke of Bisceglie, a natural son of Alfonso II, and Lucrezia. Cesare, after resigning his cardinalate, was sent on a mission to France at the end of the year, bearing a bull of divorce for the new French king Louis XII, in exchange for which he obtained the duchy of Valentinois (hence his title of Duca Valentino), a promise of material assistance in his schemes to subjugate the feudal princelings of papal Romagna, and a marriage to a princess of Navarre.

    Alexander VI hoped that Louis XII's help would be more profitable to his house than that of Charles VIII had been. In spite of the remonstrances of Spain and of the Sforza, he allied himself with France in January 1499 and was joined by Venice. By the autumn Louis XII was in Italy expelling Lodovico Sforza from Milan. With French success seemingly assured, the Pope determined to deal drastically with the Romagna, which although nominally under papal rule was divided into a number of practically independent lordships on which Venice, Miilan, and Florence cast hungry eyes. Cesare, empowered by the support of the French, proceeded to attack the turbulent cities one by one in his capacity as nominated gonfaloniere (standard bearer) of the church. But the expulsion of the French from Milan and the return of Lodovico Sforza interrupted his conquests, and he returned to Rome early in 1500.

    Cesare in the North
     

    Cesare Borgia, the son and cardinal-nephew of Alexander VI,
    became the first person to resign the cardinalate on August 17, 1498.
     
    This year was a jubilee year, and crowds of pilgrims flocked to the city from all parts of the world bringing money for the purchase of indulgences, so that Alexander VI was able to furnish Cesare with funds for his enterprise. In the north the pendulum swung back once more in favour of the French, who reoccupied Milan in April, causing the downfall of the Sforza, much to Alexander VI's satisfaction.

    In July the Duke of Bisceglie, whose existence was no longer advantageous, was murdered on Cesare's orders, leaving Lucrezia free to contract another marriage. The Pope, ever in need of money, now created twelve new cardinals, from whom he received 120,000 ducats, and fresh conquests for Cesare were considered. A crusade was talked of, but the real object was central Italy; and so in the autumn, Cesare, backed by France and Venice, set forth with 10,000 men to complete his interrupted business in the Romagna.

    The local despots of Romagna were duly dispossessed, and an administration was set up, which, if tyrannical and cruel, was at least orderly and strong, and which aroused the admiration of Machiavelli. On his return to Rome in June 1501 Cesare was created Duke of Romagna. Louis XII, having succeeded in the north, determined to conquer southern Italy as well. He concluded a treaty with Spain for the division of the Neapolitan kingdom, which was ratified by the Pope on 25 June, Frederick being formally deposed. While the French army proceeded to invade Naples, Alexander VI took the opportunity, with the help of the Orsini, to reduce the Colonna to obedience. In his absence on campaign he left Lucrezia as regent, providing the remarkable spectacle of a pope's natural daughter in charge of the Holy See. Shortly afterwards he induced Alfonso d'Este, son of the Duke of Ferrara, to marry Lucrezia, thus establishing her as wife of the heir to one of the most important duchies in Italy (January 1502). At about this time a Borgia of doubtful parentage was born — Giovanni, described in some papal documents as Alexander VI's son and in others as Cesare's.

    As France and Spain were quarrelling over the division of Naples and the Campagna barons were quiet, Cesare set out once more in search of conquests. In June 1502 he seized Camerino and Urbino, the news of whose capture delighted the Pope; but his attempt to draw Florence into an alliance failed. In July, Louis XII of France again invaded Italy and was at once bombarded with complaints from the Borgias' enemies. Alexander VI's diplomacy, however, turned the tide, and Cesare, in exchange for promising to assist the French in the south, was given a free hand in central Italy.

    Last years
     
    A danger now arose in the shape of a conspiracy on the part of the deposed despots, the Orsini, and of some of Cesare's own condottieri. At first the papal troops were defeated and things looked black for the house of Borgia. But a promise of French help quickly forced the confederates to come to terms. Cesare, by an act of treachery, then seized the ringleaders at Senigallia and put Oliverotto da Fermo and Vitellozzo Vitelli to death (December 31, 1502). As soon as Alexander VI heard the news he lured Cardinal Orsini to the Vatican and cast him into a dungeon, where he died. His goods were confiscated, his aged mother turned into the street and many other members of the clan in Rome were arrested, while Giuffre Borgia led an expedition into the Campagna and seized their castles. Thus the two great houses of Orsini and Colonna, who had long fought for predominance in Rome and often flouted the Pope's authority, were subjugated and the Borgias' power increased. Cesare then returned to Rome, where his father asked him to assist Giuffre in reducing the last Orsini strongholds; this for some reason he was unwilling to do, much to Alexander VI's annoyance; but he eventually marched out, captured Ceri and made peace with Giulio Orsini, who surrendered Bracciano.

    Three more high personages fell victim to the Borgias' greed this year: Cardinal Michiel, who was poisoned in April 1503, J. da Santa Croce, who had helped to seize Cardinal Orsini, and Troches or Troccio, Alexander's chamberlain and secretary; all these murders brought immense sums to the Pope. About Cardinal Ferrari's death there is more doubt; he probably died of fever, but Alexander VI immediately confiscated his goods even so. The war between France and Spain for the possession of Naples dragged on, and Alexander VI was forever intriguing, ready to ally himself with whichever power promised the most advantageous terms at any moment. He offered to help Louis XII on condition that Sicily be given to Cesare, and then offered to help Spain in exchange for Siena, Pisa and Bologna.

    Although it is doubtless that Alexander VI liked to eliminate any cardinal and immediately confiscate their property, there is no suffice evidence on the murdering methods. It has been suggested that the family used their favorite poison Cantarella, an arsenic variation, which was offered to their poor victim in a form of drink with an innovative nickname, the 'liquor of succession'. Since raw forms of arsenic, known at that time, were not immediately fatal, Alexander VI must had invented a method for preparation of that substance, for which no information exists. The famous cup of Borgia, a golden cup with a hidden area storing the poison so it could be mixed with the wine, is often mentioned as the family's favorite murdering method, and it has been the base for many legendary and science fiction stories, including Agatha Christie's short story The Apples of Hesperides published in the 1947 collection The Labours of Hercules.

    Death
     

    Pope Pius III succeeded Alexander VI upon his death.
     
    Burchard recorded the events that surrounded the death of the Pope. Cesare was preparing for another expedition in August 1503 when, after he and Alexander had dined with Cardinal Adriano da Corneto on August 6th, they were taken ill with fever. Cesare had eventually recovered, but Alexander VI was too old to have any chance. According to Burchard, Alexander VI's stomach became swollen and turned to liquid, while his face became wine-coloured and his skin began to peel off. Finally his stomach and bowels bled profusely. After more than a week of intestinal bleeding and convulsive fevers, and after accepting last rites and making a confession, the despairing Alexander VI expired on August 18, 1503 at the age of 72.

    His death was followed by scenes of wild disorder, and Cesare, too ill to attend to the business himself, sent Don Michelotto, his chief bravo, to seize the Pope's treasures before the death was publicly announced. When the body was exhibited to the people the next day it was in a shocking state of decomposition. Writing in his Liber Notarum, Burchard elaborates: "The face was very dark, the colour of a dirty rag or a mulberry, and was covered all over with bruise-coloured marks. The nose was swollen; the tongue had bent over in the mouth, completely double, and was pushing out the lips which were, themselves, swollen. The mouth was open and so ghastly that people who saw it said they had never seen anything like it before." It has been suggested that, having taken into account the unusual level of decomposition, Alexander VI was accidentally poisoned to death by his son with Cantarella (which was prepared to eliminate Cardinal Adriano), although some commentaries (including the Encyclopædia Britannica) doubt these stories and attribute Alexander's death to malaria, at that time prevalent in Rome, or to another such pestilence. The ambassador of Ferrara wrote to Duke Ercole that it was no wonder the pope and the duke were sick because nearly everyone in Rome was ill as a consequence of bad air ("per la mala condictione de aere").

    Burchard described how the Pope's mouth foamed like a kettle over a fire and how the body began to swell so much that it became as wide as it was long. The Venetian ambassador reported that Alexander VI's body was "the ugliest, most monstrous and horrible dead body that was ever seen, without any form or likeness of humanity". Finally the body began to release sulphurous gasses from every orifice. Burchard records that he had to jump on the body to jam it into the undersized coffin and covered it with an old carpet, the only surviving furnishing in the room.

    Such was Alexander VI's unpopularity that the priests of St. Peter's Basilica refused to accept the body for burial until forced to do so by papal staff. Only four prelates attended the Requiem Mass. Alexander's successor on the Throne of St. Peter, Francesco Todeschini-Piccolomini, who assumed the name of Pope Pius III (1503), forbade the saying of a Mass for the repose of Alexander VI's soul, saying, "It is blasphemous to pray for the damned". After a short stay, the body was removed from the crypts of St. Peter's and installed in a less well-known church, the Spanish national church of Santa Maria in Monserrato degli Spagnoli.
     
    Legacy
     
    Alexander gave away the temporal estates of the papacy to his children as though they belonged to him. The secularization of the church was carried to a pitch never before dreamed of, and it was clear to all Italy that he regarded the papacy as an instrument of worldly schemes with no thought of its religious aspect. During his pontificate the church was brought to its lowest level of degradation. The condition of his subjects was deplorable, and if Cesare's rule in Romagna was an improvement on that of the local tyrants, the people of Rome have seldom been more oppressed than under the Borgia.

    Alexander VI has become almost a mythical character, and countless legends and traditions are attached to his name. Alexander was not the only figure responsible for the general unrest in Italy or for the foreign invasions, but he was ever ready to profit by them. Even if the stories of his murders (including the rumor that his first murder was at the age of 12), poisonings and immoralities are not all true, there is no doubt that his greed for money and his essentially vicious nature led him to commit a great number of crimes. For many of his misdeeds his son Cesare was as guilty as his father as well.

    The one pleasing aspect of his life is his patronage of the arts, and in his days a new architectural era was initiated in Rome with the coming of Bramante. Raphael, Michelangelo and Pinturicchio all worked for him, and a curious contrast, characteristic of the age, is afforded by the fact that a family so steeped in vice and crime could take pleasure in the most exquisite works of art.
     


    The administration Pope Alexander VI created
    to replace the despots of Romagna drew theadmiration of political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. 
    Alexander VI, allegedly a marrano according to papal rival Giuliano della Rovere, distinguished himself by his relatively benign treatment of Jews. After the 1492 expulsion of Jews from Spain, some 9,000 famished Iberian Jews arrived at the borders of the Papal States. Alexander welcomed them into Rome, declaring that they were "permitted to lead their life, free from interference from Christians, to continue in their own rites, to gain wealth, and to enjoy many other privileges." He similarly allowed the immigration of Jews expelled from Portugal in 1497 and from Provence in 1498.
     
    It has been noted that the crimes of Alexander VI are similar in nature to those of other Renaissance princes, with the one exception being his position in the Church. As De Maistre said in his work Du Pape, "The latter are forgiven nothing, because everything is expected from them, wherefore the vices lightly passed over in a Louis XIV become most offensive and scandalous in an Alexander VI."

    Mistresses and family
     

    Giovanni de Candia Borgia, 2nd Duke of Gandia.
    Son of Pope Alexander VI
    Click on image to enlarge.
     
    Of Alexander's many mistresses the one for whom his passion lasted longest was a certain Vannozza (Giovanna) dei Cattani, born in 1442, and wife of three successive husbands. The connection began in 1470, and she bore him four children whom he openly acknowledged as his own: Giovanni, afterwards duke of Gandia (born 1474), Cesare (born 1476), Lucrezia (born 1480), and Goffredo or Giuffre (born 1481 or 1482). His other children – Girolamo, Isabella and Pier Luigi – were of uncertain parentage. Before his elevation to the papacy Cardinal Borgia's passion for Vannozza somewhat diminished, and she subsequently led a very retired life. Her place in his affections was filled by the beautiful Giulia Farnese (Giulia Bella), wife of an Orsini, but his love for his children by Vannozza remained as strong as ever and proved, indeed, the determining factor of his whole career. He lavished vast sums on them and loaded them with every honour. The atmosphere of Alexander's household is typified by the fact that his daughter Lucrezia lived with his mistress Giulia, who bore him a daughter, Laura, in 1492.
     
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Alexander_VI
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    RE: News central, etc., items of interest... 2008/01/02 00:08:17 (permalink)
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    CHARITY: A nun gives humanitarian relief, distributed by the Iraqi National Intelligence Service, to destitute people at a Catholic church in Baghdad, Iraq, December 30, 2007. (CNS/Reuters)
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    RE: News central, etc., items of interest... 2008/01/02 00:10:33 (permalink)
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    Vatican agency names church workers who died for others in 2007
    By Cindy Wooden
    Catholic News Service
    December 31, 2007

    VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- From the war-torn lands of Iraq and Sri Lanka to violence-ridden neighborhoods around the world, at least 20 Catholic Church workers were murdered or sacrificed their lives for others in 2007, the Vatican's Fides agency said.

    Each year, Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, publishes a list of pastoral workers who died violently. The 2007 list was released Dec. 29. The Fides report included a priest whose death was found most likely to be self-induced and accidental.  While Fides does not refer to the missionaries as martyrs -- technically a term reserved for those the church formally recognizes as having given their lives for the faith -- it said it was important to remember their sacrifices and to recognize that "each one of them, in a different way, contributed to the growth of the church in various parts of the world."

    The list included Father Ragheed Aziz Ganni and three subdeacons who were shot outside a church in Mosul, Iraq, in June; and Father Nicholaspillai Packiyaranjith, a diocesan priest who worked with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Mannar, Sri Lanka, and was killed in September when a roadside bomb exploded as he was driving to a refugee camp.

    Fides also highlighted the case of Sister Anne Thole, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family, who died in April trying to rescue three patients trapped in a fire in an AIDS clinic in Ratschitz, South Africa.

    The Fides' list included 14 priests, the three Iraqi subdeacons, a Marist brother, Sister Thole and a seminarian from the Society of St. Paul. Besides the four killed in Iraq, two died in Mexico, three died in the Philippines, two died in Colombia, two in Spain, two in South Africa and one each in Brazil, Guatemala, Kenya, Rwanda and Sri Lanka. 

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0707419.htm
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    RE: News central, etc., items of interest... 2008/01/02 00:15:08 (permalink)
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    Sister Anne Thole's story
     
    Nun perishes saving Aids patients from fire
    by Greg Arde
    The Mercury
    April 3, 2007
    South Africa
     
    In what has been described as an act of martyrdom, a 35-year-old nun working at an Aids hospice outside Dundee died at the weekend trying to rescue patients from a fire. Sister Anne Thole, had worked at the Roman Catholic Church's Maria Ratschitz Mission, tending to Aids patients. The fire had broken out in a thatched-roof building on Saturday night, apparently ignited by a patient's cigarette, according to Irmingard Thalmeier.

    Thalmeier is a medical doctor and nun who started the hospice, 30km from Dundee, beneath the Hlatikulu Mountain. She said five of the eight patients had been evacuated, but three men had perished in the flames along with Thole.

    Thole had worked at the hospice since 2005 and had come from Nkandla. "She was a lovely, intelligent and unselfish person," said Thalmeier. "We managed to get five of the patients out. We were trying to get back into the building when somebody called us and we were distracted, but Sister Anne went in. The fumes became too much and the roof collapsed," she said.

    Retired Bishop Michael Rowland, who lives 500m from the hospice, said: "It was very dramatic. I was woken by a caller saying the hospice was on fire. By the time I got there, the building was blazing and we tried to put it out with garden hoses, but the wooden staircase and thatch were a column of fire."

    Rowland said: "Sister Anne was so brave. She gave her life for the patients. She exuded tremendous joy and had a great love of her vocation. She played the guitar well, and ran the choir and sang. All the novices loved her."

    http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20070403040457392C219935
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    RE: News central, etc., items of interest... 2008/01/02 00:29:42 (permalink)
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    Dear friends,
     
    Recently, the Vatican announced its intention to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Pope John Paul II's September 30, 1988 Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem -- his Encyclical on ‘the Dignity and Vocation of Women’. If you are new to Circles, you might not know about our new forum that serves as host facility for our www.womenpriests.org  "Online Congress on 'Mulieris Dignitatem' -- Equal Dignity of Men and Women in Creation." 

    The purpose of the Congress is to provide information, academic material and create space for dialogue about the encyclical.
    It is our hope that our on-line parallel Congress will ensure that the faithful, journalists, and reporters have an opportunity to hear 'the other side' -- balancing perspectives about the document.  We have divided the encyclical into six sections which we have identified as meriting (sp?) separate examination and discussion. I will serve as Moderator.  Although some threads in the Congress might overlap with topics that are already running, our intention is to create special focus that parallels celebratory activities that will be running in Rome during 2008.

    In each section, we will provide a separate page listing readings on our website.  And we will include reviews by a variety  of well-known theologians commenting on each section of the encyclical. Much more to follow!  I will keep you posted!
     
    You can easily link into the Congress by clicking here: http://www.womenpriests.org/circles/tt.asp?forumid=22.  The Congress topic listings are also available on our Forum main page (available here: http://www.womenpriests.org/circles/default.asp)
     
    If you have any questions, please let me know.
     
    with love and blessings,
     
    ~Sophie~
    post edited by Sophie - 2008/01/02 02:09:51
    #19
    Sophie
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    RE: News central, etc., items of interest... 2008/01/02 00:59:37 (permalink)
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    Dear friends,

    The story of Sister Anne Thole's courage brings to mind a current discussion in our Congress.

    Mulieris Dignitatem raises many questions about John Paul II's comprehension of women in the real world.  His mother died when he was very young.  He grew up without sisters in Poland in the very early twentieth century. In his encyclical, he expresses his view that a woman's vocation lies either in motherhood or virginity.  He identifies no parallel limitations for men. Did his own 'real life' experience limit his understanding of women's capacities and gifts? In 'real life,' is it true that women's vocations are expressed in either motherhood or virginity? JPII writes:

    The woman's motherhood in the period between the baby's conception and birth is a biophysiological and psychological process which is better understood in our days than in the past and is the subject of many detailed studies. Scientific analysis fully confirms that the very physical constitution of women is naturally disposed to motherhood - conception, pregnancy and giving birth - which is a consequence of the marriage union with the man. At the same time, this also corresponds to the psychophysical structure of women. What the different branches of science have to say on this subject is important and useful, provided that it is not limited to an exclusively biophysiological interpretation of women and motherhood. (Mulieris Dignitatem § 18)

    A question was raised in our Congress about what JPII meant when he referred to the “psychophysical structure of women”?   Our enquirer asked 'how is it different from the psychophysical structure of men?'  The story of Sister Anne Thole's courage brings that discussion to mind. In the Congress we learned that the 'scientific analysis' referred to goes mainly back to a Dutch psychologist, F.J.J. Buytendijk who wrote a book De Vrouw [="Woman"], (published by Aula, Utrecht 1961) and which was eagerly picked up by such conservative theologians as Louis Bouyer and Hans Urs von Balthasar -- favourites of John Paul II who was influenced by them. Buytendijk claims that a man's psychology is centered on his chest, and a woman's on her womb. In short, his view (pp 162 - 163 in the book) can be summarised as follows:

    MAN - CHEST
    • chest considered as the massive and central bodiness of a man
    • man speaks from the chest (courage related to Coeur-heart), only if
      courage fails emotion sinks to the stomach
    • expanded chest: symbol of deed, aggression, creation (vegetative part suppressed)
    • arms symbol of power and muscle
    • male sickness: heart failure, angina pectoris, etc.

    WOMAN - WOMB
    • womb consired as the massive and central bodiness of woman ('woman is a full-grown ovary')
    • woman speaks and thinks from the womb
    • womb experienced as a space of life, continuation, reproduction that a woman undergoes passively
    • breast (upward expansion of the womb) expression of softness,
      motherliness, youthfulness
    • female sicknesses: digestion, gallstones

    When we study Buytendijk's analysis, we understand why it is called "psychophysical". It goes without saying that his 'analysis' is considered VERY questionable and based on the presumptions of his time.

    In light of Sister Anne Thole's demonstrated courage, what do you think?  Is courage, as Buytendijk contends, a feature that distinguishes men from women?  Can men and women be sorted out and pigeon holed into neat categories as to giftedness and capacities?  I encourage you to join us in dialogue about this in our Congress thread, Women as Mothers You can pick up on point by clicking here: RE: Women as Mothers .  I look forward to hearing your viewpoints.
     
    If you have any questions, please let me know.
     
    with love and blessings,
     
    ~Sophie~
    post edited by Sophie - 2008/01/02 02:10:56
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