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Catholic Activist Speaks in Estero Saturday

Progressive Catholic writer and activist Marian Ronan, PhD., comes to Fort Myers this weekend for a lecture on the contentious relationship between nuns and church authority. 

The New York Theological Seminary research professor of Catholic Studies began monitoring and writing about the relationship between catholic sisters and church leaders back in 2009 when the Vatican announced an investigation into the Leadership Conference of Women Religious which represents more than 80% of nuns in the U.S.  Ronan is critical of what she calls the church’s emphasis on sexual teaching above other issues such as poverty. 

She praises Pope Francis’s moves to put a greater emphasis on social justice, but says the Pope’s latest Apostolic Exhortation gives her little hope the church’s position on women will change anytime soon.  “If you look at sections 102 and 103 in his recent exhortation, he really has not changed the church’s position on women at all,” said Ronan.

“He’s sort of inconsistent in a sense.  Because of course, women make up a majority of the poor in the world, so if you want them to remain in a passive position, you aren’t entirely for doing away with poverty.”

Ronan has authored several books on Catholicism, women’s issues and spirituality including her most recent collection of essays “Sister Trouble:  The Vatican, the Bishops, and the Nuns.”  She speaks Jan. 11 at 2:00 p.m. at the Lamb of God Church at 19691Cypress View Drive, in Estero.