- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 31, 2004

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican yesterday denounced feminism for trying to blur differences between men and women and threatening the institution of families based on a mother and a father.

The drive for equality, the Vatican said, makes “homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent, in a new model of polymorphous sexuality.”

The concerns, raised in a 37-page document written by one of Pope John Paul II’s closest aides, breaks no new ground, maintaining the church’s ban on female priests, for example. But some observers said they feared how the document may be used.

Professor Paul Lakeland, an authority on the Catholic Church at Fairfield University in Connecticut, said the paper could be used by church conservatives to condemn any form of advocacy for women.

“The irony is that this document is, in some respect, a feminist document,” said Mr. Lakeland, pointing to references to fair treatment of women who work. The pamphlet by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican’s orthodoxy watchdog, was published during a Vatican campaign to protect what it terms the Christian family. Earlier salvos have blasted same-sex “marriage” and appeals to politicians, regardless of their religion, to prevent them from winning legal recognition.

Addressed to bishops worldwide, the document contends that recent approaches to women’s issues are marked by a tendency “to emphasize strongly conditions of subordination in order to give rise to antagonism: women, in order to be themselves, must make themselves the adversaries of men.”

Such an attitude, the document says, “has its most immediate and lethal effects in the structure of the family.”

The document also says that feminism “in order to avoid the dominance of one sex or the other, their differences tend to be denied. … The obscuring of the difference or duality of the sexes has enormous consequences.”

These consequences, it said, included calling “into question the family, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father,” giving homosexual and heterosexual couples an equivalent status.

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