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Come again?

The Tablet, a liberal Catholic weekly magazine published in the UK, recently described the Vatican's appointment of Mary Ann Glendon to be head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences as "a welcome appointment." The new post makes her, according to the Boston Globe, "the highest-ranking female adviser in the Catholic church." She was also the first woman to lead a delegation of the Holy See, at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. She has previously served on the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, and as a consultant to the Pontifical Council on the Family. She is on the US President's Council on Bioethics and the editorial board of the conservative Catholic journal, First Things. Glendon refused, however to serve on the US bishop's National Review Board that is investigating the sexual abuse scandal citing her fear that "the bishops may not have informed themselves adequately concerning whether the members of this important board understand and accept the Church's basic teachings on ecclesiology, the role of the laity, and human sexuality" and complaining that the Board's existence made it possible that "the bishops will be held accountable to lay people...."

The Tablet's support for Glendon is surprising, as she is a frequent spokesperson for the Vatican party line on feminism (she's against it), gay rights and obviously most reproductive health measures.

Glendon's understanding of feminism is certainly one-sided. She described 1970s feminism as "an anomaly ... a puzzling combination of two things that don't ordinarily go together: anger against men and promiscuity; man-hating and man-chasing." And she turned most people's understanding of reality on its head when she described the Catholic church as "one of the world's most energetic champions of the freedom and dignity of women."

Glendon has been one of the leading legal experts for gay-marriage opponents in the Massachusetts legislature.

At the UN conference on women, Glendon unequivocally condemned the use of condoms, even to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. A delegation statement that she presented noted, "The Holy See in no way endorses contraception or the use of condoms, either as a family planning measure or in HIV/AIDS prevention programs."

It appears that the Catholic League had second thoughts about its press release on the Deal Hudson scandal, which demeaned the troubled young woman who Hudson sexually abused. (See full story above.) League president Bill Donohue described the abuse as a "sexual harassment charge against Deal Hudson-one that was made almost a decade ago by a drunken female he met in a bar." Shortly after it came out, the League's release suddenly disappeared from its website without comment. At press time, its whereabouts is unknown. As Charlotte Hays put it on Beliefnet.com, "One thing you've got to say about the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights: It'll never be known as the Catholic League for Chivalry toward Women."
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Title Annotation:In Catholic Circles; Mary Ann Glendon
Publication:Conscience
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 22, 2004
Words:486
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