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Feminists meet opposition from top in Catholic, Mormon, Orthodox faiths

Published April 15, 2013 4:55 pm

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Catholic and Mormon feminists are not the only ones to face opposition from all-male leadership in their respective faiths. Russian Orthodox woman do, too.

Last week, Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, called feminism "a very dangerous phenomenon," which could lead to the downfall of the "family and, if you wish, the homeland," according a Reuters report.

"Man turns his sight outward, he should work, make money, while a woman is always focused inwards towards her children, her home," Kirill told a group of Orthodox women. "If this exceptionally important role of a woman is destroyed, everything will be destroyed as a consequence."

Meanwhile, Catholic Pope Francis has given the go-ahead to continue reforming the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella group of American nuns.

Last year, the Vatican committee on doctrine criticized the LCWR "for not speaking out strongly enough against gay marriage, abortion and women's ordination," Religion News Service reported, and for promoting "certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith."

On Monday, Francis "reaffirmed the findings" of the Vatican investigation, RNS said, as well as allowing the "program of reform" for LCWR to go forward.

In Mormondom, writer, scholar and blogger Joanna Brooks is exploring the notion of priesthood: What is it? And do Mormon women already hold it?

"I'm convening a study hall. Let's study on it," Brooks writes at Feminist Mormon Housewives. "I'll bring data. You bring data. We [can] reflect, think, discuss, and learn together."

Earlier this month, a group of devout Latter-day Saints launched a drive to ordain women to the all-male Mormon priesthood. It was met by speeches from LDS leaders emphasizing that men and women have different but equally vital roles.

Peggy Fletcher Stack