The speaker at this year’s Endow (Education on the Nature and Dignity of Women) gala Feb. 8 in Denver will be Kathryn Jean Lopez. Lopez serves as editor-at-large of the widely read National Review Online, is a nationally syndicated columnist, frequent radio and TV guest, and director at Catholic Voices USA. In a recent conversation with the Denver Catholic Register, Lopez discussed the feminine genius of women as well as a message Pope Emeritus Benedict passed on to her to share with the world.
Q: How did you become involved with Endow?
A: I’ve been an admirer from afar. Church teaching and reality is a celebration of women, who, along with men, bring unique, complimentary gifts to the world. The Church sees clearly and Catholics need to know this and teach this and witness to it—demonstrate to the world what makes glorious sense, this great gift from God! Endow helps women with this in a culture of, as the song of last summer put it: “Blurred Lines.”
Q: I understand you will be speaking on a personal “defining moment” at the Endow gala. Without giving it away, what can guests expect from your talk?
A: I can’t give it away (but) I can say this: I simply want to convey thanksgiving and the only thing I have to give: God’s love. We may forget and fight against it, but it’s everything. As the encyclical Pope Benedict and Pope Francis gave us puts it (“Lumen Fidei”): Faith illuminates everything. If I can do anything to help make that a little more palpable, a little more accessible, or just simply be grateful, maybe we’ll have Thanksgiving in February!
Q: Endow studies reach women of all ages, in all stages of life and faith: How do women benefit from education that encourages them to live out their authentic feminine genius?
A: It’s so countercultural. Women equipped with … (Endow’s) practical guides written by loving sisters and mothers make it work in a world where we’re conditioned so often to compete with men, and are expected to adapt to a way of life that wants us to be more like them. Think about the fact that our government now mandates … abortion drugs, contraception and sterilization … under “Preventative Services” in the health care law regulation. Fertility is a disease to be suppressed? It should be treasured as a most creative gift!
Q: Pope Francis has called for a deeper theology of women, a concept long embraced by Endow: What do you think this will look like? Why is this important to the Church?
A: I think we have a lot of it in front of us: Mary, the Mother of God and her “yes”! Jesus told Mary Magdalene to go and tell what she saw! Jesus Christ treasured women. Mothers. Sisters. We have such tremendous saints and good women—martyrs and doctors of the Church. Let’s do a better job of telling their stories, of getting to know them and asking for their intercessory help.
Q: Tell me about the message Pope Emeritus Benedict presented to you in Rome in 2012?
A: At the opening Mass of the Year of Faith—50 years after the opening of the Second Vatican Council—he handed me a message meant for every women throughout the world. That’s what the message itself said. (It) was the message of Paul VI at the closing of the council. It’s powerful stuff … and bottom line, reads: “the hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of woman is being achieved in its fullness, the hour in which woman acquires in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women impregnated with the spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid mankind in not falling.” Drink that one in. No small task! And no small respect for women there! It goes on: “Women of the entire universe, whether Christian or non-believing, you to whom life is entrusted at this grave moment in history, it is for you to save the peace of the world.” Can we share this with our sisters, uplifting our brothers and fathers and husbands, with the very witness of our lives?
Q: What would you like to add?
A: One of the great privileges of my life is to have a media platform and the opportunity to hear from women, who are so encouraged when they see other women loving God, living in gratitude. I love to tell their stories. We all have a platform in our communities, our civic lives, and, of course, over social media. On Twitter, I’ll tweet a line from the homily. … People tell me a tweet sometimes reminds them to pray, to go to noon Mass. Tweet a window a day from your parish church. Let’s help one another sanctify our days. And yes, share what the Church teaches!
Endow Gala 2014
What: Mass, dinner, talk, award ceremony, and auctions
When: Feb. 8, 4 p.m. Mass, 6:30 p.m. dinner
Where: Hyatt Regency Convention Center, 650 15th St., Denver
Information: Call 720-382-5242