Vatican’s Conference on Women: Torso Tales

The Vatican’s  conference on women has yielded an embarrassment of embarrassments. Winning the Worst-Of Award, trouncing strong contenders such as the bizarre blond-lady video, the “burqa made of flesh,” the “statistics” which prove women don’t want ordination and the #lifeofwomen tag, is this image of a Man Ray sculpture, found on the Outline page for the Women’s Cultures Plenary Assembly.



I called Cardinal Ravasi, the reported responsible party, to ask why. He said that the website design had been outsourced.

“To whom?”

He paused.

“Well,” he said. “First we tried to hire my nephew — he’s an American. Made it big on Wall Street, market crashed, now he’s doing some kind of internet thing. ‘Patrick,’ I said, ‘Could you help us out?’ He said he was too busy. So he suggested someone else, I’m afraid he didn’t do such a good job.”


“It is…a bear…he seemed…businesslike. Patrick said he was ‘amazeballs at this stuff.’ It was a bad mistake.”

“You know, Your Eminence, it’s not really appropriate given that women are depicted this way pretty much everywhere, and the Vatican already has a ‘your torsos must be subdued’ vibe towards women.”

“The bear said it was a commentary on the male gaze. The bear said it was something we could…unpack?”

“Why don’t you just take it down?”

“No one in this entire city-state knows how to do that and the bear isn’t answering my texts.”

I kicked my desk after this conversation and hurt no one but myself.

Later, I think the Cardinal may have subtweeted me an apology of sorts here:

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Which made me feel the eensiest bit better. For a second. @NovusOrdoWatch left the Vatican in the dust.

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Where is La Poucelle when we need her?



Mary Valle lives in Baltimore and is the author of Cancer Doesn't Give a Shit About Your Stupid Attitude: Reflections on Cancer and Catholicism. She blogs on KtB as The Communicant. For more Mary, check out her blog or follow her on Twitter.