THIS week Poland became the 26th country to sign the Council of Europe’s convention on preventing violence against women – and the Catholic Church is furious.
According to this report, the Church believes that the move would:
Promote non-stereotypical gender roles such as homosexuality and transsexualism.
Polish Catholic bishops added in a statement that :
Religion, tradition and culture should not been seen as the root of violence against women.
Oh, but it should!
According to this report, although matters have improved in Poland over the last few years:
Violence against women remains to a large degree hidden and surrounded by taboos, underpinned by a strong tradition of shame and guilt in the case of disclosure, especially in small villages and towns. It incorporates powerful stereotypes about women and men’s traditional roles in family life, and expectations about the appropriate or acceptable response to ‘inappropriate’ behavior by women.
Polish folklore still contains such folk sayings as ‘a husband who does not beat his wife, does not love her’, and ‘if a husband does not beat his wife her liver rots’.
Women victims have imprinted in their minds all the stereotypes about women and men’s social roles, as well as a number of myths, such as children needing the father, even if he is abusive.
The Catholic Church perpetuates the conservative model of the family and traditional gender roles. Its influence in this field cannot be overestimated. The Church teaching on indissolubility of marriage combined with powerful social myths and stereotypes, in view of serious legal and institutional deficiencies in the family violence intervention system, make a decision to leave an abusive relationship very difficult.
The Polish’s government’s Equal Rights Commissioner Agnieszka Kozlowska-Rajewicz signed the document on Poland’s behalf in Strasbourg.
The convention requires signatory countries to provide an around-the-clock hotline for victims of violence, a website with information about where women can find help, and to set up shelters and support centers.
Poland will also have to conduct special courses for boys and men as well as a public information campaign to counter violence against women.
The bishops also complained:
Linking the justified principle of counteracting violence with an attempt at dangerous interference in the educational system and the values espoused by millions of parents in Poland is a very disturbing signal.
More madness from Ireland, where folk are ditching religion faster than any other Western country.
In a Christmas attempt at damage control, the Church of Ireland primate of all-Ireland, Archbishop Richard Clarke, warned the flock that when people disengage from superstition, they lose confidence in themselves and those around them.
There can be surely little doubt that when people stop connecting with their religious faith – their sense that they are in the hands of a God who loves them – they may easily then start to lose faith in themselves, and hence lose faith also in those around them, and so become angry, embittered and fearful.
Meanwhile, the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland used his Christmas message to attack Government plans to liberalise the country’s abortion laws in the wake of the Savita Halappanavar scandal.
Cardinal Sean Brady urged everyone who believed in the right to life, to put their views in writing to politicians.
Cardinal Brady said in his Christmas message that he hoped:
That everyone who believes that the right to life is fundamental will make their voice heard in a reasonable, but forthright way to their representatives, reminding them that the right to life is conferred on human beings not by the powerful ones of this world but by the Creator.
Liam Gibson, the Northern Ireland spokesman for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children and a long-time observer of the religious situation of Ireland blames the religious downturn in Ireland on the activity of the Irish Church.
[It has] focused on social justice issues to the detriment of the spiritual and eternal aspects of the Gospel.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn and Agent Cormac (Irish report)