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Pope: Prostitution, pornography threaten human dignity of women

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI called for an end to prostitution and pornography, saying the practices denigrate women and represent "a serious lack of humanity."

The pope made the remarks as he welcomed Reinhard Schweppe as Germany's ambassador to the Holy See Nov. 7. The pope's talk focused on the church's role in defending human dignity.

"A relationship that does not take into account the fact that a man and a woman have the same dignity represents a serious lack of humanity," the pope said.

With the "materialistic and hedonistic tendencies" that seem to be gaining space in the West, there is a growing form of discrimination against women, the pope said.

"The moment has come to energetically halt prostitution as well as the widespread distribution of material with an erotic and pornographic content, including through the Internet in particular," he said.

The pope said the Holy See would encourage and assist the Catholic Church in Germany so efforts "against these types of abuse would be more decisive and clearer."

Dominican nun, doctor strives to heal the whole person

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- She enters the exam room clad in the standard physician's uniform: white lab coat, stethoscope, medical chart. But she is also wears the standard Dominican sisters' uniform: white habit, black veil, a long strand of rosary beads hanging from her belt.

As both a sister and a medical doctor, Dominican Sister Mary Diana Dreger embodies the unique intersection of spirituality and science in her medical practice.

"The idea of serving others is what we do as sisters anyway, so there's a nice flow there being in the medical field," she said.

A primary care provider at St. Thomas Family Health Center South in Nashville, Sister Mary Diana continues the legacy of Catholic health care that has been firmly rooted in Middle Tennessee since the Daughters of Charity founded St. Thomas Hospital in 1898.

Voice for women

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Mumbai, India, native Virginia Saldanha, 63, had completed one year of university and four years as a corporate secretary when she got married at age 22. By the time she turned 28, she had three children and had become a widow. “The experience of being a widow was life-changing for me in every way,” Saldanha told NCR in a recent interview. The experience would lead her first to a bachelor’s degree in economics, then to study Catholic catechetics and then theology.

8th Day Center for Justice pressured over women's ordination

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The 8th Day Center for Justice, long a staple of Catholic social justice activism in the Chicago area, is facing pressure from Cardinal Francis George because of a Sept. 18 event that featured a screening of the film “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican” and a talk by Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois.

“Pink Smoke” is a documentary expressing support for women's ordination in the Roman Catholic church. Bourgeois is currently under threat of removal from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers if he does not recant his own support of women's ordination.

NCR has learned that heads of religious orders associated with the center, which is supported by 39 orders of religious men and women, received letters from George several days before the event.

FutureChurch celebrates Feast of St. Mary of Magdala

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- "If we are to build the kingdom of God, we dare not ignore the words of Paul: 'There is no male and female among you.'"

Thereby Ann Klonowski, presider at FutureChurch's 15th annual celebration of the Feast of St. Mary of Magdala, opened the event, which took place Wednesday, July 20, in the aptly chosen town of Independence. This year's program, "Unheard Homilies: Ending the Silencing of Catholic Women," featured three homilists, all female.

Time of ambiguity shadows Maryknollers' assembly

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FIRST PERSON

OSSINING, N.Y. -- I was surprised to see Fr. Roy Bourgeois’ name on the list of Maryknollers attending our annual U.S. regional assembly from May 23 to 27.

More than a month had passed since the superior general of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, Fr. Ed Dougherty, issued the first canonical warning to Roy to recant his position on the ordination of women or face dismissal from our society and laicization by Rome. No one expected Roy, who had been ordered to be silent on this issue by former superiors, to comply now, despite having been excommunicated in 2009 for participating in an attempted ordination of a woman the year before.

Pope removes bishop who expressed openness to ordaining women

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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI has removed Australian Bishop William M. Morris of Toowoomba from office five years after he wrote a pastoral letter indicating he would be open to ordaining women and married men if church rules changed to allow such a possibility.

In an open letter to Catholics in his diocese released May 1, Bishop Morris said the 2006 letter "has been misread and, I believe, deliberately misinterpreted" by a small group within the diocese.

Maryknoll gives Bourgeois notice of removal from order

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Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois, the longtime peace activist and founder of SOA Watch, has received a letter from his order giving him 15 days to “publicly recant” his support of women’s ordination or face dismissal from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.

The letter, which is dated March 18, is signed by Maryknoll Fr. Edward Dougherty, the order’s superior general, and Fr. Edward McGovern, its secretary general, and warns Bourgeois that his dismissal will also be forwarded to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith “with a request for laicization.”

NCR received the letter in a fax from Bourgeois this morning.

Bourgeois, who attended and preached a homily at the ordination of Roman Catholic Womanpriest Janice Sevre-Duszynska in August, 2008, was notified by the same congregation shortly after that event that he had incurred a latae sententiae, or automatic, excommunication for his participation.

Women seek to bridge farming's gender gap

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Lima, Peru -- Latin American women comprise one-fifth of the region´s farmers, but they face inequalities such as obstacles to land ownership, loans and farming supplies, putting a crimp in food production, according to a new report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO.

According to its State of Food and Agriculture 2010-11 report “Women in Agriculture: Closing the Gender Gap for Development,” published on March 7, women farmers work more temporary or seasonal jobs and with lower income compared with their male counterparts.

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April 11-24, 2014

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