(Closed) RCIA, Catholicism, The Patriarchy and Feminism

posted 6 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
4336 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Read anything on Theology of the Body. Start with Christopher West’s “The Good News About Sex and Marriage,” (actually, anything by Christopher West…) and then if you’re up for some deeper theological stuff, so I’d suggest going all the way to “Love and Responsibility” by Pope John Paull II (aka Karol Wojtyla.) Theology of the Body I don’t believe directly addresses it, but it is *extremely* helpful and probably even necessary to have the understanding of it as a “backdrop” to understanding the different roles of men and women.

The Catholic Church gives the purely- and exclusively-human woman, Mary, the HIGHEST possible role that a human can be in – that of Mother of God. A woman, Eve, was the final crown of God’s creation. The Catholic Church does NOT discriminate against women.

Here’s an article I just found and skimmed through that seems to give a decent explanation for why women can’t be priests- http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2012/03/why-women-cannot-be-priests.html

It sounds like you give to much weight to the “evils” of the Church. Rather, the Church has done MORE for women than any other religion. I encourage you to do a little (or a lot) more research on your own, especially to get a different perspective from your anti-Catholic college professors and others in your life who may be teaching you things that are either false and/or not what the Church actually teaches. Here’s some books to get you started with that-



ETA: and how could I forget… if you’re not up for buying an entire book, at the very least, you have GOT to hear what the POPE, John Paul II says about women, in his apostolic letter “The Dignity of Women.” 

Post # 4
1310 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

I second what redrose said. Especially the rec to read Alice von Hildebrand 🙂

John Paul II is actually considered a feminist- do indeed check out his work called “Mulieris Dignitatem” translated in English as “on the dignity of women” which redrose linked above.

A big part of understanding Catholic feminism was, for me, unpacking the capitalist underpinnings of Western feminism as we know it. In the US and other places, feminists identified liberation with acheiving political and economic power – in other words, having control of others, being the “boss” and having the opportunity to accumulate power and become wealthy. It’s a paradigm well-suited for capitalist societies, where it took root.

Whereas in non-Western, or nonsecular feminism, true liberation is less about being in control or being a cog in the power structure and more about celebrating and appreciating women and giving their voices respect. It’s a MUCH more community focused and communitarian way of looking at feminism. It’s just a different perspective.

A good example is the use of the word “authoritative.” Coming from a secular or western standpoint, one can see that the priesthood is masculine. The secular viewpoint stops there and considers it very unfair that women can’t be priests – the assumption is that women are therefore excluded from the “power structure” of the church.

But Christianity doesn’t look at the church that way – in terms of power plays and who can give the orders. From the church’s point of view, when they talk about “authority” they mean it as spiritual authority. And of course spiritual authority is neither masculine nor feminine. Perhaps the greatest spiritual authority in many peoples’ lives, for instance, is their mother.

In fact there are many female Doctors of the Church (Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila) who are designated as great teachers and leaders for both men and women to follow. Catherine of Siena, in particular, was not shy about telling the Pope what he should do – and he listened, due to her great authority. She didn’t have a “position” or “job title” in the hierarchy where he had to listen to her, but Catholicism isn’t about those things.

The same holds true about authentic leadership. The Catholic understanding of leadership is very different from the type you see studied in business school or talked about on Meet the Press. It’s not about getting your way or getting things done or being “in charge.” Keep in mind that the true leader of Christianity “led from the Cross.” Not exactly a hard-charging success according to our criteria. And he wasn’t exactly a great motivational speaker, either, telling his followers to embrace their own cross…

It’s really a different way of looking at the world, much different than the cultural assumptions we breathe in from the moment we’re born in this country. It takes awhile but eventually with enough study (and an open mind to appreciate the differences) you’ll be able to see the richness of the Catholic perspective and how pro-human it is, for lack of a better word. Whereas at this point I don’t feel “traditional” feminism is very pro-human or person-focused.

Post # 6
643 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

Check out Hildegard of Bingen. Woman was a BAMF.

I’m a Catholic woman almost done an undergraduate degree in theology and it is something I wrestle with as a feminist at times. The problem I see with women becomeing priests is that the Church isn’t just the Church here in North America, it has to have the same rules everywhere. So if women priests are allowed here, then they would have to be allowed in cultures that would probably abandon Catholicism if that were the case. When you’re talking about an organization that makes up 1/7th of the entire world’s population, change has to happen at a pace that works for everyone, not just us. I don’t know if we will ever have women priests, but I will say that I can see it happening.

But with the exception of women priests, I have found Catholicism to be very liberating as a woman.

Post # 7
4 posts
  • Wedding: September 2013

@AdriannaJean:  Ironically that very idea is one of the things tearing the Anglican Communion apart – the west is moving ahead socially much more rapidly than Africa and South America, and everything is going all pear shaped at the top. So, I second your post. 

Post # 8
7977 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

Have you ever read Christine de Pizan and the Book of the City of Ladies? It doesn’t perfectly meet your needs, but it is an interesting read. Christine was responding to antifeminist church traditions in medieval France, by creating her own eloquent set of defences for women. She was also one of the first women to ever make their living as a professional writer.

Post # 9
862 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@red_rose:  Amen!  I wish people would focus more on the positive aspects of our Church instead of always the negative. 🙁

Post # 10
347 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2010


To be honest, I wouldn’t probably believe anything I said could be of help from someone in your position.  That is until my Mother-In-Law (yes I’m already married.  I still come here from time to time) started expressing that maybe the fact that she was bothered by the all-male priesthood was based on her own prejudices.  I think the main thing that has started to turn her is the fact that my daughter is becoming very insistant that she and grandpa stick to traditional gender roles. It was from a conversation about that which brought her to a point where she was ready to reconsider how she viewed gender equality.

So here are a few things.  Peter Kreeft gives a pretty good lecture on the topic here:  http://www.peterkreeft.com/audio/09_priestesses.htm  Personally I find the sexual symbolism argument the most convincing.  I find the argument that “well Jesus only appointed male apostles” to be weak.  Even though I don’t believe Jesus would have appointed women as apostles had he wanted women to have that role, what I like about the sexual symbolism argument is that it starts to make sense.  Its like “Well God said so.”  Its more “Why God said so.”

Alice Von Hildebrand also has a great book called “The Privledge of Being a Woman.”  She talks about women’s privledged place in God’s Divine plan.  For instance, the highest saint in Catholicism is a woman. 

There is also a movement in the Church called the New Feminism.  It emphasises the complimentary of the sexes in their gender roles rather than a superiority.  You  might want to look into the organization called Endow. http://www.osv.com/tabid/7621/itemid/5232/In-Focus-New-feminism-shines-light-on-true-geni.aspx

Post # 11
839 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

I’m commenting here to bookmark those links. I would love to take a look at them when I have time.

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