Morning Edition / NPR (3/27/19)
The founder and all-female editorial board of a women’s magazine for the Vatican have quit. They say they were being delegitimized.
The Revolt At The Vatican Shows How The Church Stubbornly Fails Women
‘We are throwing in the towel because we feel surrounded by an atmosphere of distrust and progressive delegitimisation.’
By Tina Beattie
The Guardian (3/27/19)
he editor of the Vatican women’s magazine, Lucetta Scaraffia, has announced that she and her all-female editorial team are to suspend its publication. In a letter to Pope Francis, which she has also made public, Scaraffia explains: “We are throwing in the towel because we feel surrounded by an atmosphere of distrust and progressive delegitimisation.”
The magazine, Donne Chiesa Mondo (Women Church World), is published by the official Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. Scaraffia blames increasing interference and control by the Osservatore’s new editor, Andrea Monda, and says a change in editorial direction has taken away her team’s autonomy.
Last month, Scaraffia called for ‘a complete revision of the Catholic culture and of the training of future priests’
Describing the wide-ranging scope of the magazine, which includes contributors from different faiths as well as historical, biblical and theological perspectives, she wrote: “We often felt like miners who discovered precious metal strands and brought them to light and to the knowledge of all: a true human and universal richness, and in this sense ‘Catholic’.”
Scaraffia has maintained her position as one of the few women with a significant voice in the Vatican by way of a precarious balancing act between speaking out on issues of concern while refraining from challenging church teaching. But in recent years she has become increasingly bold. Last month she wrote a strongly worded article on the sexual abuse of women, including religious sisters, by clergy, referring to “imposed abortions” and “children not recognised by priests”. She called for “a complete revision of the Catholic culture and of the training of future priests”. Soon after that, Pope Francis admitted that clerics had sexually abused and even enslaved nuns.
Scaraffia’s outspokenness has ruffled clerical feathers, but she has also been criticised by liberal Catholics for her conservatism with regard to church teaching on issues such as homosexuality. Some Italian feminists complain that she does not engage sufficiently with the views of women who are not part of her own circle.
Yet she is right when she suggests in her editorial that there is an attitude of divide and rule in the Vatican with regard to women. Men in positions of authority appoint obedient women who can be relied on to undermine those women who seek change and who are willing to speak out.
Monda, though, has rebutted Scaraffia’s claims, saying he is committed to the continued publication of Donna Chiesa Mondo and insisting that at no time did he threaten the editorial freedom of her magazine or attempt to impose clericalism of any kind. …