What's eating Catholic women?

This story appears in the LCWR feature series. View the full series.

Two years ago, when Cardinal Gerhard Müller criticized the Leadership Conference of Women Religious for promoting radical feminist themes, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith offered a stark reminder that feminism has no place in the Roman Catholic church.

In his most recent interview in L'Osservatore Romano (the Vatican's "semi-official" newspaper), Müller further indicates that any suggestion of misogyny on the part of the hierarchy is a claim best answered with a punch line.

Sadly, it's a comedic lesson Müller likely learned from his boss, the pope.

Back in July, when journalist Franca Giansoldati asked Pope Francis whether the pontiff's tropes about the "church as a woman" and the "the church as a feminine word" were misogynistic, he responded with a joke about women as Adam's rib. The pope then went on a roll of sorts, making another zinger about priests coming under the authority of female housekeepers.

Now Müller is taking his turn as the court jester. In his interview Monday (featured, by the way, in a special pullout section on "Women Church" in L'Osservatore Romano), when asked about the doctrinal congregation's ongoing "reform" of LCWR, the cardinal insists, "We are not misogynists."

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