Former president 'grossly misunderstands' Catholic teaching

Jimmy Carter speaks in Coronado, Calif., Feb. 22, 2013. Credit: U.S. Navy/Timothy A. Hazel.

Prominent Catholic laywomen have responded to recent statements by former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, saying he lacks understanding of the Church and of the nature of service.

While talking to various media outlets, Carter has criticized the Church saying its teachings about the priesthood are responsible for the mistreatment of women around the world.

Carter’s “comments about the role of women in the Church show a gross misunderstanding of Catholicism,” commented Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with The Catholic Association, in a March 27 interview with CNA.

"As Pope Francis continues to remind us, it is service to others that is the primary aim of Catholics, not authority or power."

She added that Carter's statements "are insulting to nuns, whose work is just as important as that of priests," and that the conflation of "an all-male priesthood with domestic abuse is disrespectful to the Church and to actual victims of domestic violence."

Carter appeared on The Colbert Report March 26 saying he would join the Church if "a female Catholic priest asks me to join her church”; he has made similar statements in other interviews promoting his latest book.

Earlier this month, Carter said the Church's teaching on the priesthood influences men to "treat (women) as inferiors."

"The fact that the Catholic Church, for instance, prohibits women from serving as priests or even deacons gives a kind of a permission to male people all over the world, that well, if God thinks that women are inferior, I'll treat them as inferiors," he said in a March 22 interview with NPR.

"If she is my wife, I can abuse her with impunity, or if I'm an employer, I can pay female employees less salary.”

Carter has made similar comments discussing women, the priesthood, and Pope Francis on Huffington Post, CNN and other media outlets.

Jennifer Manning, a member of Catholic Voices USA, told CNA that “to say that ‘God thinks that women are inferior’ because women cannot be priests in the Catholic Church is a gross misunderstanding not only of Catholicism, but of God.”

Manning explained that Catholic teaching "does not treat women as 'inferiors.' God created men and women with equal dignity, each in the image and likeness of God."

She said contemporary thinking may not agree with the Church's understanding of the complementary nature or "harmony" of men and women, yet “this symbolism reaches deeply into Catholicism.”

“The Church is the bride of Christ: Christ marries his Church, gives his life for his Church.”

Kathryn Lopez, director of Catholic Voices USA, told CNA the Church has the highest "love, regard, respect, and gratitude for women.”

This love and respect for women is "unmistakable watching Pope Francis, who works with and listens to" women and has also "said on more than one occasion that 'the Virgin Mary is more important than any bishop and any apostle.'"

"This is no small thing," Lopez stressed, "and I pray President Carter might consider talking with some Catholic women who love our faith before attacking it."


Voices

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

Events

February 2016
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February 14, 2016

  • Sunday, February 14

    Mother Cabrini Library and Chapel Open House, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., 3801 Scott Road, Burbank. The event is hosted by the Los Angeles Region.

     

    Italian Catholic Club of SCV Valentine's Day Dinner Dance, 7 p.m., Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Parish Hall), 23233 Lyons Ave., Newhall. Come enjoy a delicious gourmet buffet dinner and dance the night away to the music of Linda Pippin. Wear your favorite red dress, shirt and/or tie. All adults (single or married) are welcome. Tickets are $35 each (prepaid), or $45 at the door. Please call Anna Riggs at (661) 645-7877 to reserve your spot by Feb. 10.

     

    Stations of the Cross, 2 p.m. Calvary Cemetery, 4201 Whittier Boulevard, East Los Angeles. Continuing each Sunday of Lent. For more info, please call Calvary Cemetery: 323-261-3106.

     

    Year of Mercy Mass and Pilgrimage in The Shrine of St. John Paul II, 3 p.m., Our Lady of the Bright Mount Church, 3424 W. Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles.  Mass celebrated in English with Fr. John Paul Gonzalez of Christ the King Church.  Mass will be followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and confession, with Divine Mercy Chaplet.  The closing prayer will be a blessing and veneration of the 1st class relic of St. John Paul II.  

    South Bay Catholic Co-ed Adult Softball League Pre-Season Practice Games, McMaster Park, 3624 Artesia Blvd., Torrance.  Must RSVP to Fred Lawler (League Commissioner) at (310) 504-0271 or fredlawler@hotmail.com.

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