Religion confronting women's human rights. The case of roman catholicism
Forfatter(e): Børresen, Kari Elisabeth
This summary article is based on my research, undertaken since 1961, concerning formative Christian anthropology. Conflicts between normative religion and women’s rights are already well analysed concerning Islam , but rather unexplored concerning traditional Christianity. Here the case of Roman Catholicism is highly significant, since the Catholic Church is, according to 2001 Vatican statistics, the world’s largest branch of Christianity, comprising 17.3 % of the global population or 1.050 billion human beings.
The Roman Catholic Church has a privileged status at the United Nations and has been able to wield a corresponding international influence. Since 1964, the non-territorial administrative body of the Catholic Church, the so-called Holy See, enjoys the status of a Non-Member State Permanent Observer . Representing the pope’s spiritual and temporal government through his Roman Curia, the Holy See participates in UN conferences with full voting rights, whereas other religious entities can only operate as non-governmental organizations. In consequence, the Holy See has become a leading actor on the international stage opposing women’s human right to control their own fertility .
Acting in accord with Muslim states against female reproductive autonomy at the UN conferences on Human Rights (Vienna 1993), Population (Cairo 1994) and Women (Beijing 1995), the Holy See has invoked a corresponding androcentric sexology, also advocated by so-called evangelical Protestantism . Reproductive autonomy is an indispensable condition for women’s socio-cultural equivalence with men, and therefore a fundamental human right . In order to clarify the rationale of this retrograde alliance, it is essential to analyse traditional Christian doctrine. Contemporary Catholic theology and anthropology are still based on androcentric paradigms, formulated from the Graeco-Roman Late Antiquity through the European Middle Ages. It follows that institutional Roman Catholicism refuses women’s right to reproductive autonomy (Humanae vitae 1968) and negates women’s cultic capability (Ordinatio sacerdotalis 1994).
Publisert i: Lindholm, Tore, W. Cole Durham Jr. og Bahia G. Tahzib-Lie (red.): Facilitating freedom of religion or belief: a deskbook
Utgiver: Martinus Nijhoff publishers / Brill academic
Sider: S. 545-560