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Canada Aug 1, 2017

Cardinal Lacroix warns of feminism’s pitfalls

By Deborah Gyapong

Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec, seen here at Salt and Light Television's 15th anniversary celebrations in May,  said it is a "big mistake" for women to embrace feminism. He was speaking at the Ontario Catholic Women's League convention July 10. (Michael Swan / CCN)

OTTAWA (CCN)—It is a “big mistake” for women to embrace a feminism that says achieving equality with men comes “only when they erase, minimize, or reject their femininity and motherhood,” said Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec.

Speaking to 250 delegates at the Ontario Catholic Women’s League convention July 10 in Thunder Bay, Ont., Lacroix cautioned them to not become “submerged by the socially distorted and ideological tsunamis that come our way.”

In a talk that ranged from Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia to the challenges of feminism and gender theory, Lacroix, the Primate of Canada, encouraged the women to forge a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and learn to follow Him in this “beautiful but sometimes crazy world we live in.”

“He will guide us and help us face the challenges of today’s world as authentic Christians,” he said.

He said Catholic women face a number of cultural and spiritual challenges, including a feminism that discredits femininity and motherhood.

“The Church, of course, thinks differently,” Lacroix said. “She celebrates femininity and motherhood, and insists that women have dignity and value, regardless of their looks, power, status or wealth.”

The cardinal warned that there is a brand of feminism that is rooted in a desire for autonomy and independence.

“What the world is constantly repeating is that women are free and have the right to decide without anyone telling them what they have to do,” Lacroix said. “They are masters of their own lives. They need not have any other references but themselves.”

That is not only “a big mistake for women, but for all of us,” he said.

Amoris Laetitia offers four pastoral aids to help couples and families, Lacroix said. These are: welcoming and listening, accompanying, discerning and integrating.

“Life is not black and white,” he said. “If we want to be helpful and assist our brothers and sisters who are experiencing trials and difficulties, we need to make them feel welcomed and to take the time to listen to them attentively and with respect. We do not need to have all the answers to do that.”

He called the art of accompaniment one of the weakest aspects in pastoral ministry.

“We are so busy trying to cover all the bases, with limited human resources, that we can forget how important it is to take the time to accompany, to walk with our people,” he said.

When it comes to discerning, “no easy recipes exist,” he said. “Every person, every situation requires and deserves a good discernment process. And that takes time.”