The sociologist Bradley Wilcox has helpfully characterized the kind of authority practiced by devout Christian men “soft patriarchy”.
Not too long ago, I realized that it is a bit difficult to find actual books written defending the morality of abortion. For the most part, if one wants book-length arguments to counter those made from the pro-life side, one needs to look elsewhere. Where? Well, not to books focusing on the identity of the unborn and the rights, or lack thereof, belonging to them – but rather focusing on women’s rights, over and against their oppressors. There are more far more books like these (for example see here and here)
And thank God for that most progressive Pope Francis – ever speaking so sensitively and intelligently to the pressing issues of our day! (sarcasm). Well, note this from a recent Catholic News story on Francis, who was addressing all the Vatican diplomats the other day:
Popes normally use talks to diplomats to survey crises and conflicts around the globe and urge the pursuit of peace, which is what Pope Francis for the most part did. In such a context, references to anything other than geopolitics are bound to stand out.
More specifically, Pope Francis’ mention of abortion came in the middle of a paragraph about threats to human dignity such as hunger and human trafficking — both issues about which the pope has spoken more often, as consistent with the priority he has set on helping the world’s poor. The appearance of abortion in that company suggests the defense of unborn life is at the heart of Pope Francis’ agenda.
Is this Pope Francis speaking or one of those barbaric right-wingers posing as a “compassionate” conservative”? Surely the good Pope – who shows such great sensitivity to persons everywhere – will realize that he should not have spoken of routine abortions in the same breath as sex trafficking (and the use of children in war for example)? Surely he will realize the “violence” words like these themselves cause!
As Wendi Wright said on Issues ETC, this does seem to upset the media template that has been thusfar established for Pope Francis. It will be interesting to see what happens here in the near future – for now, some are interpreting this as Francis “bowing to pressure from conservatives” (see here and note the picture : ) )
Long live the soft patriarchy. Long live complementarity. Long live the defenders to the weakest and most helpless among us.
Lord – may your good soft patriarchy not be so soft that it rolls over in the face of that which is evil.