Don’t Blame the Patriarchy


March 28, 2019

By Rita Ferrone

I’ve never been much enamored of the idea of a “women’s supplement” to L’Osservatore Romano. What does that say about the main publication? That it’s a men’s newspaper—and intends to stay that way?

In 2012, out of a desire to promote women, Pope Benedict XVI asked the newspaper’s then-editor Giovanni Maria Vian to make room for Lucetta Scaraffia, a historian and self-identified feminist, to write about women’s issues at L’Osservatore Romano. With Vian’s blessing, she went on to develop the monthly supplement, Donne Chiesa Mondo (Women Church World), which is now distributed in Italian, Spanish, and French (with English online only) and has a print circulation of about 12,000.

Scaraffia and her entire editorial board resigned yesterday in protest over being subjected to “male control” in the form of a new editor who came on board in December to replace Vian, another experienced journalist by the name of Andrea Monda. Tensions emerged as early as January when Monda had the temerity to come to one of Donne Chiesa Mondo’s editorial meetings and make some suggestions. At once, they threatened to quit.

Monda backed off and everyone stayed in place. But then he published some articles by and about women in the main paper, L’Osservatore Romano—articles Scaraffia had not previewed or endorsed. I read a few of them; they were well written and showed no markedly different approach to those found in Donne Chiesa Mondo. But that was perhaps why they were perceived as a threat.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.