Misogyny in the Catholic Church

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Registered: 02-20-2013
Misogyny in the Catholic Church
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Wed, 04-17-2013 - 12:18am

Since I'm currently taking a history class focused on early religion (pre-reformation, so there is no other church but the Catholic church), I'm repeatedly struck by the absolute misogyny of the Medieval Church. The portrayal of women as she-devils and amount of propoganda (Peter Damian is one to read) positively villifying women culminating with Pope Gregory VII's reforms in the 11th century positively take my breath away. 

While I realize why it was done: get rid of simony & lay investiture (corruption), centralize power & reestablish the papacy as the dominating geo-political force in the region and the patriarichal context of the society at the time, History was rewritten to wipe out the fact that women (deaconesses, wives of priests) served right along side the men for the first millineum of the church's existence. Now, in the third millineum, I am struck by the fact that, women are still second class citizens in the Catholic Church. 

Galatians 3:28  says "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." So how do you come to terms with a faith in which you are not equal (or worthy of ordination/performing sacraments) because of your genitalia?

On Wednesdays we wear pink.

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Registered: 02-20-2013
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 1:08pm

rollmops2009 wrote:
"We go back to studying Eastern Orthodoxy next week." ------------- If you have any questions, let me know. I will pass them on to the house expert. Just watch out, he once inadvertently converted about 40 Campus Crusaders for Christ, in the process of teaching them Greek ;)

I will keep that in mind. DH actually works w/an Orthodox Priest--that's an interesting story right there...

On Wednesdays we wear pink.

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Wed, 04-17-2013 - 1:06pm

bordwithyou wrote:
<p><blockquote class="quote-msg quote-nest-1 odd"><div class="quote-author"><em class="placeholder">reginageorge2005</em> wrote:</div>&lt;p&gt;Since I'm currently taking a history class focused on early religion (pre-reformation, so there is no other church but the Catholic church), I'm repeatedly struck by the absolute misogyny of the Medieval Church. The portrayal of women as she-devils and amount of propoganda (Peter Damian is one to read) positively villifying women culminating with Pope Gregory VII's reforms in the 11th century positively take my breath away. &lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;While I realize why it was done: get rid of simony &amp;amp; lay investiture (corruption), centralize power &amp;amp; reestablish the papacy as the dominating geo-political force in the region and the patriarichal context of the society at the time, History was rewritten to wipe out the fact that women (deaconesses, wives of priests) served right along side the men for the first millineum of the church's existence. Now, in the third millineum, &lt;span&gt;I am struck by the fact that, women are still second class citizens in the Catholic Church.&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span&gt; &lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;span style="color:#000000; font-family:sans-serif; font-size:13px"&gt;Galatians 3:28  says "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, &lt;strong&gt;there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus&lt;/strong&gt;." So h&lt;/span&gt;&lt;span&gt;ow do you come to terms with a faith in which you are not equal (or worthy of ordination/performing sacraments) because of your genitalia?&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt;</blockquote></p><p>Out of fairness, I'll point out that Christianity did not invent misogyny.  Christianity grew out of Jewish, and Roman/Hellenistic culture, which had been doing misogyny fairly well on their own long before Jesus showed up on the scene.  There was a moment, during the lifetime of Jesus and shortly after, when things could have turned out quite differently for western women, but as the church institutionalized, it simply grew to look more and more like the culture around it.  And now, as the culture is finally changing, institutionalized misogyny in Christianity (and its not limited to RC by any means) has become doctrinal, and that's going to take another millennium to eradicate.</p>

I think your clarification is absolutely fair. As I study it though, I find it depressing that the institution of the church wound up so far from where it could have wrt women. And as a member of a liberal denomination that recognizes women as fully equal to men in every aspect, including ministry, it is difficult for me to understand how other women can be at peace in a faith that essentially tells them they not worthy of holding the same positions as men in the faith. 

On Wednesdays we wear pink.

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Registered: 02-24-2009
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 1:00pm
"We go back to studying Eastern Orthodoxy next week." ------------- If you have any questions, let me know. I will pass them on to the house expert. Just watch out, he once inadvertently converted about 40 Campus Crusaders for Christ, in the process of teaching them Greek ;)
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Registered: 01-08-2009
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 12:55pm

reginageorge2005 wrote:
<p>Since I'm currently taking a history class focused on early religion (pre-reformation, so there is no other church but the Catholic church), I'm repeatedly struck by the absolute misogyny of the Medieval Church. The portrayal of women as she-devils and amount of propoganda (Peter Damian is one to read) positively villifying women culminating with Pope Gregory VII's reforms in the 11th century positively take my breath away. </p><p>While I realize why it was done: get rid of simony &amp; lay investiture (corruption), centralize power &amp; reestablish the papacy as the dominating geo-political force in the region and the patriarichal context of the society at the time, History was rewritten to wipe out the fact that women (deaconesses, wives of priests) served right along side the men for the first millineum of the church's existence. Now, in the third millineum, <span>I am struck by the fact that, women are still second class citizens in the Catholic Church.</span><span> </span></p><p><span style="color:#000000; font-family:sans-serif; font-size:13px">Galatians 3:28  says "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, <strong>there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus</strong>." So h</span><span>ow do you come to terms with a faith in which you are not equal (or worthy of ordination/performing sacraments) because of your genitalia?</span></p>

Out of fairness, I'll point out that Christianity did not invent misogyny.  Christianity grew out of Jewish, and Roman/Hellenistic culture, which had been doing misogyny fairly well on their own long before Jesus showed up on the scene.  There was a moment, during the lifetime of Jesus and shortly after, when things could have turned out quite differently for western women, but as the church institutionalized, it simply grew to look more and more like the culture around it.  And now, as the culture is finally changing, institutionalized misogyny in Christianity (and its not limited to RC by any means) has become doctrinal, and that's going to take another millennium to eradicate.

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Wed, 04-17-2013 - 12:54pm
"In my volunteer life, the phrase I hate the most is "But it is a tradition...." Second to that would be, "But we've always done it that way...." " -------- I get that, and once upon a time I may have felt the same way. As I get older, I have come around to seeing the plus-side to those statements, although I fully acknowledge the downside as well. It is not so easy to find the balance there. If you change what you do too easily, you quickly end up with a very weak institution. If, OTOH, you are too inflexible and dogmatic, you end up with a strong institution that is hollow. I did know that the celibacy thing was fairly recent. My dh has done a fair bit of church history, and besides we have married priests in the Greek church, always did.
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Wed, 04-17-2013 - 12:37pm

rollmops2009 wrote:
"LOL I"m pretty sure I wasn't given a choice when i was in 8th grade LOL... I don't know honestly we really haven't talked about it.. i'm good at avoidance." -------- I think I am with Bord on this one, it ought to be largely up to the kid, with discussion, of course.

One of mine is going through (early) right now. We've had lots of talks about how this is his choice and his public declaration of his own faith. I asked him if he wanted to do it and regularly check in to make sure he's still okay with it. We've had some interesting theological discussions as a result of his confirmation coinciding with my grad studies...

On Wednesdays we wear pink.

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Registered: 02-20-2013
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 12:31pm

rollmops2009 wrote:
" he flat out refusedto have 'girls' on 'his' altar " ------------ This is where the Greeks often crack me up. At dd's school there was a small church on the school grounds. Here the altar is screened off completely from the church, and strictly speaking women should never enter the altar part. The head mistress of the school was from he family that founded the school almost 200 years ago, and she obviously felt it was "her" church. So first time I was there, I came a bit early, and she was hustling in and out of the altar area in her khakis to get everything ready. The priest said not a word and wouldn't have dared either.

We go back to studying Eastern Orthodoxy next week. I'm fascinated by it because I don't know as much about it as I do Roman Catholicism. 

On Wednesdays we wear pink.

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Wed, 04-17-2013 - 12:29pm
"LOL I"m pretty sure I wasn't given a choice when i was in 8th grade LOL... I don't know honestly we really haven't talked about it.. i'm good at avoidance." -------- I think I am with Bord on this one, it ought to be largely up to the kid, with discussion, of course.
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Wed, 04-17-2013 - 12:28pm

rollmops2009 wrote:
Regina, first of all, I must take issue with the "no other church but the "kat-lick" one. There were Syriacs, "Rum Ortodox" (Greek-Orthodox), Armenians etc. Not that any of those ordained women or would dream of doing so now, but the whole vibe is fairly different from the Roman church in many ways.

In my volunteer life, the phrase I hate the most is "But it is a tradition...." Second to that would be, "But we've always done it that way...." Generally speaking, when I hear those words, it is in defense of the indefensible (hazing, etc). I wonder how many Catholics know that it was common for priests to be married in the first 1000 years of their church's existence? That the reasons that changed were political and not doctrinal. Yet the church is unyielding in its stance because it's "tradition" and has been done like that for the last 1000+ years. That no more justifies celibate priests IMO than it justifies hazing. 

On Wednesdays we wear pink.

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Wed, 04-17-2013 - 12:26pm
" he flat out refusedto have 'girls' on 'his' altar " ------------ This is where the Greeks often crack me up. At dd's school there was a small church on the school grounds. Here the altar is screened off completely from the church, and strictly speaking women should never enter the altar part. The head mistress of the school was from he family that founded the school almost 200 years ago, and she obviously felt it was "her" church. So first time I was there, I came a bit early, and she was hustling in and out of the altar area in her khakis to get everything ready. The priest said not a word and wouldn't have dared either.