Latin American universities offer courses with Catholic lens on feminism

Members of the pro-life groups And Then There Were None and New Wave Feminists stand in front of a truck of supplies for migrants in need in this 2019 photo in Texas. In late July, Catholic universities in Latin America concluded a two-week online course that studied the role of women and feminism through the lens of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church. CNS photo/courtesy Abby’s ministry.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Catholic universities in Latin America concluded a two-week online course that studied the role of women and feminism through the lens of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church.

The July 11-25 course, “Women in Public Life: Feminism and Catholic Identity in the 21st Century,” was sponsored by the Latin American Academy of Catholic Leaders, a network of Latin American educational institutions in seven countries based in Santiago, Chile.

The academy’s website said its mission “is to form leaders from a Catholic perspective, rooted in the faith of the church, to transform the social, political and economic world in the light of the church’s social doctrine.”

The inaugural session of the online course featured a doctoral thesis on Mary as “icon of women in the church” presented by Father Alexandre Awi Mello, secretary of the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life.

Among the guest professors invited to teach during the course were Flaminia Giovanelli, former undersecretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; Marta Rodriguez, former head of the women’s section of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life; Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami; and Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes of Mexico City.

The objective of the course was to analyze “the philosophical and historical roots of feminism and the view of the social thought of the church” as well as study the “contribution of women in the church and in public life,” the course website stated.

“The approach to the theme is made from an evangelical point of view that discerns the positive and negative aspects of the different feminisms, the recognition of legitimate denunciations of unjust situations that violate human dignity, as well as the danger of ideological exploitation that has sometimes occurred,” the website said.