and approval to Sr. Theresa Kane, the
nun who dared to speak out to the Pope
and challenge him to not turn his back on
all the women who looked to him, as
their spiritual leader, for justice.
A reaction not sponsored directly by
St. Joan's was held at St. Anne's folk
Mass. Janet Giannoni, liturgy coordinator in that parish and a member of St.
Joan's, organized a liturgy of reconciliation. "The purpose," she said, "was to
foster sensitivity in the parishoners to the
feelings evoked by the visit and to effect
healing in those who felt alienation either
from the Pope and the Church or from
those who felt alienated." Diversity of
views is both important and desirable
but inevitably leads to the pain of conflict, she feels, and such liturgies do a
tremendous amount of good towards
staunching the wounds. "Without the
relief afforded to me from planning and
participating in such a Mass," Giannoni
said, "I would still be seething with un-
channeled anger and pain." Devlin feels
the folk Mass liturgy and the support of
the St. Joan's community have enabled
her to calm the hostility within herself and
to use her anger for renewed activity for
A few others, like me, are too tired
and disgusted to bother with the whole
struggle any longer. Any overtures made
now, for me, are too little, too late. But
my opinion is the exception; I am truly
amazed at the hope that continues to
flourish, albeit with much irony, for my
Lynn Jansen is a journalism student of
St. Thomas University, working on her
second degree. She has five children,
ages three to 14. She has always considered herself a professional home-
maker, and has been active in Republican
politics for many years. She came to feminism about five years ago, and expresses
her feminism through her work with the
St. Joan's Alliance.
Background on various papal-related beliefs held by Catholics: A dogma is an officially defined credo one must adhere to if one is to call oneself a Catholic. The
Pope alone defines dogma, although he relies these days to a greater extent than in
the past on the counsels of the cardinals, archbishops, bishops and theologians.
Such dogmatic pronouncements are said to be ex cathedra, literally from the chair
of St. Peter. The Pope is believed to be Christ's Vicar, or representative, on earth
and to rule from an unbroken elected line traceable directly back to St. Peter.
None of John Paul's statements on the ordination of women, birth control or
homosexuality was delivered ex cathedra.
Only those dogmas dictated ex cathedra fall under the realm of papal infallibility. When the Pope rules on an article of faith then (and importantly, only then)
is he said to be speaking infallibly; that is, that there cannot be any possibility of
error because he is believed to be speaking for God. It is interesting to note that
not only did Pope John Paul II not speak ex cathedra on his recent trips (no Catholic expected him to) but that even the divisive issue of birth control has never been
dogmatically promulgated ex cathedra. These and other current issues are ruled on
through encyclicals, or letters to the faithful from the popes, or, even less important in weight by pronouncements. Dogmatically defined or not, these rulings-
written and spoken— are received with the greatest seriousness, second only to
dogmas, by most Catholics and obviously greatly affect all Catholics, even those
who choose to differ with them. One may disagree with the teachings in encyclicals and pronouncements and still adhere to one's Catholicism; it simply makes
one's life as a Catholic a little more difficult. - L.J.
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