Re: "Women need influence, Vatican tells UN" (WCR, March 12).
Comments made by Dianne Willman (attaché at the Holy See's permanent observer mission to the UN) to the UN Commission on the Status of Women are cause for some serious reflection.
Speaking on behalf of Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the Vatican's UN nuncio, Willman stated, "Women around the world . . . should be allowed to influence decisions that affect the lives of families."
She continued: "Improving the lives of women will assist families, the communities in which they live and society as a whole. . . . Poverty and hunger are largely caused by unfair social and political systems that perpetuate inequality and deprive women of legal rights and a voice in decisions that affect them."
Willman's comments have a familiar ring. Is it not the Vatican run by men only, which refuses to allow women any influence on issues such as contraception, women becoming priests and any number of issues that affect them, their families, communities and society as a whole?
As an example: does it occur to no one at the Vatican that having another child, which a family financially can ill afford, might also contribute to poverty etc.?
Perhaps the Vatican needs to consider practising what it preaches. When might we expect the Vatican to bestow some rights for women instead of just more responsibilities.
I do not disagree with anything Dianne Willman said. I just find it disingenuous that such comments would come from a representative of the Vatican, when Catholic women of the world continue to be told what they will do or not do - no appeal, no recourse, end of story.
As for the collective wisdom of the Vatican in sending a woman to deliver this message to the UN, I do not know whether I should laugh, cry or just be very, very annoyed.