Jan 24, 2017
Last weekend, hundreds of thousands of women gathered for marches and demonstrations across the country, organized to proclaim that "women's rights are human rights."
No Catholic can dispute that claim. Women are created in the image of God, with dignity and beauty, and are deserving of the respect, honor, and appreciation afforded to every human person. And women suffer great injustices and indignities in places around the world, none of which should be tolerable for Christians. The Church should be the first to call for just, honorable, and loving treatment for every woman, at every stage of her life.
But the women's marches organized last week, however well-intentioned, had a troubling approach to their advocacy. The marches tended towards an approach which plagues many movements in contemporary political and social life-they fostered a narrative of opposition, in which men and women are cast as adversaries, each grasping for the reins of power, instead of seeking unity, complementarity, mutual support, respect, and charity. Moreover, the marches seemed to embrace a kind of crudity which robs women of their true identity. There seemed to be a focus on crass slogans and symbols, replacing the beauty of femininity with an unbecoming, hard-edged vulgarity. This vulgarity was, in some cases, a response to intolerable and unacceptable crudities cast at women, most notably by our new president-but it should be clear that both his words and many responses were simply beneath our human dignity.
Finally, the women's marches last week embraced the lie that legal protection for abortion promotes women's dignity. In fact, abortion undermines the rights of women to life, to respect, and to freedom.