Feminism causes antagonism between men and normalises homosexuality, according to the latest papal document: a pamphlet Rainbow Sash activist Michael Kelly has called gobbledygook and nonsense.

In a letter to Catholic bishops on The Collaboration Of Men And Women In The Church And In The World, the pope blamed feminism for dissolving the differences between the sexes, therefore making heterosexuality and homosexually virtually equivalent.

This theory of the human person, intended to promote prospects for equality of women through liberation from biological determinism, has in reality inspired ideologies which, for example, call into question the family, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father -¦ in a new model of polymorphous sexuality, the paper read.

While acknowledging the document’s assertion that women should be allowed to work could be important in the Third World, Kelly told Sydney Star Observer the letter’s comments on feminism were trivial and insulting.

The pope’s letter argued that feminism’s emphasis on women’s subordination has only led to further antagonism, making women the adversaries of men.

Kelly was unconvinced. This document is trying to establish through a very convoluted theology and a very questionable use of scripture the idea that men and women are of equal dignity but are -˜complementary’ in the sense that they are distinct and have different roles, Kelly said.

This is very important for the Vatican’s own ideology because it wants to shore up two things: one, its ban on women’s ordination, and two, its ban on any acceptance of gay relationships at all, he said.

Although the announcement was condemned by Sarah Maddison of the Women’s Electoral Lobby, the document was praised by Sex Discrimination commissioner Pru Goward, The Austra-lian reported.

Goward praised the letter’s assertion that women should not be penalised for choosing to raise a family full-time -“ and called on Prime Minister John Howard to introduce paid maternity leave in response.

Goward’s suggestion How-ard might be swayed by papal declarations is not without foundation.

A papal statement issued in August last year called for politicians to oppose people who support gay rights. Two days later a federal government inquiry into marriage was announced.

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