Former president 'grossly misunderstands' Catholic teaching

Jimmy Carter speaks in Coronado, Calif., Feb. 22, 2013. Credit: U.S. Navy/Timothy A. Hazel.

Prominent Catholic laywomen have responded to recent statements by former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, saying he lacks understanding of the Church and of the nature of service.

While talking to various media outlets, Carter has criticized the Church saying its teachings about the priesthood are responsible for the mistreatment of women around the world.

Carter’s “comments about the role of women in the Church show a gross misunderstanding of Catholicism,” commented Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with The Catholic Association, in a March 27 interview with CNA.

"As Pope Francis continues to remind us, it is service to others that is the primary aim of Catholics, not authority or power."

She added that Carter's statements "are insulting to nuns, whose work is just as important as that of priests," and that the conflation of "an all-male priesthood with domestic abuse is disrespectful to the Church and to actual victims of domestic violence."

Carter appeared on The Colbert Report March 26 saying he would join the Church if "a female Catholic priest asks me to join her church”; he has made similar statements in other interviews promoting his latest book.

Earlier this month, Carter said the Church's teaching on the priesthood influences men to "treat (women) as inferiors."

"The fact that the Catholic Church, for instance, prohibits women from serving as priests or even deacons gives a kind of a permission to male people all over the world, that well, if God thinks that women are inferior, I'll treat them as inferiors," he said in a March 22 interview with NPR.

"If she is my wife, I can abuse her with impunity, or if I'm an employer, I can pay female employees less salary.”

Carter has made similar comments discussing women, the priesthood, and Pope Francis on Huffington Post, CNN and other media outlets.

Jennifer Manning, a member of Catholic Voices USA, told CNA that “to say that ‘God thinks that women are inferior’ because women cannot be priests in the Catholic Church is a gross misunderstanding not only of Catholicism, but of God.”

Manning explained that Catholic teaching "does not treat women as 'inferiors.' God created men and women with equal dignity, each in the image and likeness of God."

She said contemporary thinking may not agree with the Church's understanding of the complementary nature or "harmony" of men and women, yet “this symbolism reaches deeply into Catholicism.”

“The Church is the bride of Christ: Christ marries his Church, gives his life for his Church.”

Kathryn Lopez, director of Catholic Voices USA, told CNA the Church has the highest "love, regard, respect, and gratitude for women.”

This love and respect for women is "unmistakable watching Pope Francis, who works with and listens to" women and has also "said on more than one occasion that 'the Virgin Mary is more important than any bishop and any apostle.'"

"This is no small thing," Lopez stressed, "and I pray President Carter might consider talking with some Catholic women who love our faith before attacking it."


Voices

Easter and beyond

Anne Hansen

We move quickly from our major religious holidays each year. It’s not intentional. Life hurries along and as soon as the sun sets on one holiday the next is being touted by merchants looking to sell us whatever the next big day brings. To remain in the spirit of the religious holiday — in this case Easter — takes deliberate intention.

Opportunities with Sisters of St. Joseph

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April 25, 2015

  • Saturday, April 25

    Super Groovy 5K Run/Walk, 8 a.m., Woodley Park, 6350 Woodley Ave, Van Nuys. Sponsored by St. Euphrasia School, this year’s “Super Groovy” theme celebrates the school’s 50th anniversary of its founding in 1964 and serves as a tribute to that nostalgic era of peace and love — the 60’s. At the finish line, all runners and walkers will be puffed with clouds of psychodelic color. Registration $25-$40. For more information, contact Susie Sempelsz, (818) 488-1598. info@knights5k.org.

    5th Annual Car Show, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Junipero Serra High School, 14830 S Van Ness Ave., Gardena. Featuring classics, hot rods, and muscle cars as well as food, music, vendors and raffles. (310) 324-6675. la-serrahs.org.

    Challenge Weekend for Men, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and April 26, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Povorello Retreat House, 1519 Woodworth St., San Fernando. Presented by St. John Eudes and Our Lady of Grace Men’s Fellowships. Men will not board overnight; lunch is provided both days. $90 or donation. Register at knowingweekend.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Fred Perez, (818) 749-5126.

    First Annual Sacred Heart High School Gala, 5 p.m., Los Angeles City College New Student Activities Center, 855 N Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. Proceeds from the event, themed “United to Empower,” will benefit the Comet Scholarship Fund.



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