Can the Church Be a Virtuous Hearer of Women?
In 1972, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops attempted to address concerns raised by Vatican II regarding the treatment of women in the Church. The plan was to produce a pastoral letter on “The Role of Women in Society and the Church.” Twenty-two years, hundreds of revised pages, and four drafts later, it produced a disappointing fourteen-page pamphlet, Strengthening the Bonds of Peace. Using this pastoral as a case study, Carlson asks, can the Church be a virtuous hearer of women? The question is meant to determine if there is an injustice being done and stems from the virtue ethics theory of Miranda Fricker. If there is no injustice, then we must look at the issue in a new way. However, if an injustice is being done, Carlson proposes a way to reapproach women through the hermeneutic of lived experience using Fricker's remedy of virtuous hearing.
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