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I am writing in response to Gerry Phelan’s article on March 2, entitled “A Time for renewal for Catholics.”

Mr. Phelan describes his vision for a new head of the church who will open up the Vatican; a “people’s pope” who will signal a new direction and allow the Roman Catholics to catch up with the 21st century.

Mr. Phelan expresses his wish for a new pope who will “put the cool in Catholic” and usher out the “old boys’ club.”

I agree fully with this general desire for a shift in the church.

What I was disgusted and appalled by was the author’s deliberate sexism.

His conviction apparently is so strong that he made the point twice that a woman did not belong in this role.

I write this letter to ask a direct question to the author: why? When you call for profound changes for the head of the church, why in the same breath do you so callously discount all women by making such statements?   

I understand that the bottom line is that a woman would not be considered for this role as it stands currently, because women cannot be ordained into priesthood under long-standing Roman Catholic traditions.

What I would like clarification on is why Mr. Phelan does not personally believe that “it’s time for a pope in heels,” when he points out in the article that Roman Catholic policies should be adjusted to account for shifts in our societal beliefs.

As a woman in 2013, I do feel like an equal, and yet I have encountered sexism in all forms and degrees in my relatively young years.  

Reading Mr. Phelan’s jarring statements reinforces to me that we are still not there yet. This is a glaring example of why we need feminism.


Melanie Bickford

Mount Pearl

Geographic location: Vatican

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Recent comments

  • Colin Burke
    March 16, 2013 - 09:04

    Why do all the advocates of "diversity" keep clamoring for the Catholic Church to become exactly like themselves? I guess there's such a thing as "too much diversity" after all?

  • Danny
    March 10, 2013 - 01:28

    Organized religion is the root of all evil

  • Kev
    March 06, 2013 - 22:14

    I don't think she read the same column that I read.

  • Anon
    March 06, 2013 - 17:53

    We don't need feminism. I could care less whether the church lets a woman be the pope or not. The bible doesn't exactly have many equal values with men and women as is.

  • Herb Morrison
    March 06, 2013 - 07:25

    Well said, Ms. Bickford.