Misogyny in the Catholic Church

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Registered: 02-20-2013
Misogyny in the Catholic Church
41
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 - 12:21pm

grapthars_hammer wrote:
<p><blockquote class="quote-msg quote-nest-1 odd"><div class="quote-author"><em class="placeholder">jamblessedthree</em> wrote:</div>&lt;p&gt;&lt;blockquote class="quote-msg quote-nest-1 odd"&gt;&lt;div class="quote-author"&gt;&lt;em class="placeholder"&gt;bordwithyou&lt;/em&gt; wrote:&lt;/div&gt;Maybe she's mad at the "Nuns on the Bus." One of my favorite fb pages.&lt;/blockquote&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;No, It's more than that.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href="http://in.news.yahoo.com/pope-stands-firm-reforming-radical-feminist-u-nuns-154413631.html" rel="nofollow"&gt;http://in.news.yahoo.com/pope-stands-firm-reforming-radical-feminist-u-nuns-154413631.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt; &lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt; &lt;/p&gt;&lt;p&gt; &lt;/p&gt;</blockquote></p><p>Damn nuns.  Goin' around, helpin' people. Gives Catholicism a bad name....</p>

Ironic that the bishops who covered up all the sexual abuse are now pissed at nuns for their social justice work, no? 

On Wednesdays we wear pink.

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Registered: 02-20-2013
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 12:18pm

ka032006 wrote:
My DH grew up Catholic. Catholic school, Catholic town. I did not. When the time came to get married, we discussed how we would raise our children. He had an attachment to the traditions of the Catholic Church, a d nostalgia for the familiarity of it. But when I pointed out that the values of the church we chose would greatly influence our children, we both had to take a more critical view of our respect denominations. For me, the unwillingness of the Catholic Church to treat females as equals was a dealbreaker. Revering Mary while reminding other women in both subtle and not subtle ways that they are less than men? The message that sends to girls, IMO, is that you are worth less than males unless you find a way to birth a male the world highly values. I could not raise my daughter(s) with that message, and fortunately, my DH agreed. My church has a female minister. A female minister married us. My childhood minister was a man. All of them have been wonderful and I cannot imagine believing that genitalia dictates a person's ability to lead people to Christ.

My DH also converted. It wasn't a hard sell and as he gets older, he is more and more disturbed by the politics of it all. 

On Wednesdays we wear pink.

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

BeaArthurisMyReligion wrote:
<p>In a strange way I understand those Catholics who cling to "the way things are" .. change is hard... it's slow.. and it's painful.. and as I said even I who firmly believe in the right of women to serve in all area's of the Church including the priesthood.. struggle with what that would be like... when you spend 47 years.. or 60 or 80 knowing only men as priests the concept is hard to shake.. even if your rational brain agrees that change is overdue...</p><p>I was fortunate to go to a Jesuit college where women served as associate chaplains even  and where we were encouraged to question and to challenge our long held notions of how things were in all ares of our lives. When studied Feminist Theology in that amazing seminar taught by a woman lay religous professor.. I remember that she played us a folk song in one class called "sometimes I wish my eyes hadn't been opened.."  and I remember thinking how true that was.. life was easier when I didn't question.. but having done the reading and the studying it was impossible to unlearn what I had learned about the systemic eradication of any evidence of female leadership during Christ's time on earth. of female apostles and the like... I remember during that time a nun had addressed Pope John Paul II and said simply "I urge you to consider the role of women in your church" and he shunned her and refused to acknowledge her further... I remember telling my mother how I felt it a slap in the face that JP II had visited and forgiven the man who shot him yet could not forgive or acknowledge a nun who had devoted her life to God for asking that simple question.  My mother's response was "she embarrassed him"  My response was 'the other guy SHOT him!"   but I don't blame my mom, I know that she struggled mightily after Vatican Two to come to terms with a mass that wasnt in latin and things like folk music in services..</p><p>change is hard.. I do believe change will come.. but I don't think it wll come quickly or easily nor do I belive I shall live to see it.   So in the meantime I am churchless but with a deep devoition to Mary and to God and for now that's the best I can do. </p>

Bea--thank you for your thoughtful responses. I think what bothers me about the Catholic church today is how they drive away their own members by their exclusiveness. As was pointed out earlier--Jesus said "ALL ARE WELCOME" at the table. So knowing that history was rewritten in the church and that women did serve for the first thousand years (usually right alongside their husbands the parish priests and bishops)--I can't reconcile that with the Catholic church I see today. If all are welcome at the table, then why can't women also serve at that table? How is it explained that it was the women in Jesus's life who found the empty tomb? That is so scripturally significant that it was the women who were tasked with telling the men that the tomb was empty--and yet women have no significant role in the church? I can not wrap my head around that. 

You don't have to answer this, but have you explored other denominations that may be close to Catholicism but w/o all the constraints of Catholicism? You are such a woman of faith, it makes me sad that you don't have a community in which to share that faith...

On Wednesdays we wear pink.

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Registered: 02-20-2013
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 12:09pm

jamblessedthree wrote:
<p>Was the mother of God treated like a second class citizen? Reform your church all you want but stay off the Catholic church. Misogyny is harsh and it's ignorant. </p>

I agree, which is why I am amazed that so many women remain in a faith in which they are second class citizens. And I'm compelled to point out that Virgin Mary wasn't Catholic. She was a Jew. 

On Wednesdays we wear pink.

Avatar for rollmops2009
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Registered: 02-24-2009
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 11:33am
"It demonstrates to me again and again how powerul a religion steeped in tradition can be" ------------- I think that is the crux of the matter, actually. There is strength in tradition, which also means that there is strength (as well as oppression) in not changing traditions easily or lightly. Personally, if I had to choose, I would like to see married priests before seeing women ordained.
Avatar for rollmops2009
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Registered: 02-24-2009
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 11:29am
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.
Avatar for jamblessedthree
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Registered: 10-23-2001
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 10:58am

BeaArthurisMyReligion wrote:
<p>In a strange way I understand those Catholics who cling to "the way things are" .. change is hard... it's slow.. and it's painful.. and as I said even I who firmly believe in the right of women to serve in all area's of the Church including the priesthood.. struggle with what that would be like... when you spend 47 years.. or 60 or 80 knowing only men as priests the concept is hard to shake.. even if your rational brain agrees that change is overdue...</p><p>I was fortunate to go to a Jesuit college where women served as associate chaplains even  and where we were encouraged to question and to challenge our long held notions of how things were in all ares of our lives. When studied Feminist Theology in that amazing seminar taught by a woman lay religous professor.. I remember that she played us a folk song in one class called "sometimes I wish my eyes hadn't been opened.."  and I remember thinking how true that was.. life was easier when I didn't question.. but having done the reading and the studying it was impossible to unlearn what I had learned about the systemic eradication of any evidence of female leadership during Christ's time on earth. of female apostles and the like... I remember during that time a nun had addressed Pope John Paul II and said simply "I urge you to consider the role of women in your church" and he shunned her and refused to acknowledge her further... I remember telling my mother how I felt it a slap in the face that JP II had visited and forgiven the man who shot him yet could not forgive or acknowledge a nun who had devoted her life to God for asking that simple question.  My mother's response was "she embarrassed him"  My response was 'the other guy SHOT him!"   but I don't blame my mom, I know that she struggled mightily after Vatican Two to come to terms with a mass that wasnt in latin and things like folk music in services..</p><p>change is hard.. I do believe change will come.. but I don't think it wll come quickly or easily nor do I belive I shall live to see it.   So in the meantime I am churchless but with a deep devoition to Mary and to God and for now that's the best I can do. </p>

I'm sorry you feel that way about JP II..  What did the woman expect him to do or say?  JP II goes down as a wonderful pope and he bridged a lot of the divides that I don't think Benedict did/could.  Have you read Threshold of Hope? 

I agree with you about change, Change isn't easy but I believe it is inevitable too.  I don't think you'll see it in a way to satisfy a secular society however, The two are not compatible. 

Lastly, I am reminded of an article I read from an area priest in my catholic weekly newsletter.  He spoke out about the misunderstandings of our doctrine and why society and church principles collide...  Long story short but there are fundamental differences b/w two very powerful institutions that will always divide the two. 

I see/hope for change in a way where we can at least learn to respect one another more instead of the berating and ignorant arguments and forces that continue to divide people.      

 

 

Avatar for BeaArthurisMyReligion
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Registered: 02-20-2013
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 10:58am

I respected and loved JPII in many ways and i mourned his death but I think I will never forget that he met with, blessed and embraced the man who shot him yet he literally and figuratively turned his back on the nun who posed that simple question.  He refused to see, acknowledge or speak to her.  And that to me was unforgiveable .. to not even listen to not even extend her common courtesy.  

I want to like Francis very much.. I have heard much I like and some I do not.. but I am waiting to see. But I have not gone back to the church.. nor do I see that happening anytime soon... but like youI hope that there is room for more dialogue and discussion even among those who don't agree.

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Registered: 07-12-2005
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 10:29am
My DH grew up Catholic. Catholic school, Catholic town. I did not. When the time came to get married, we discussed how we would raise our children. He had an attachment to the traditions of the Catholic Church, a d nostalgia for the familiarity of it. But when I pointed out that the values of the church we chose would greatly influence our children, we both had to take a more critical view of our respect denominations. For me, the unwillingness of the Catholic Church to treat females as equals was a dealbreaker. Revering Mary while reminding other women in both subtle and not subtle ways that they are less than men? The message that sends to girls, IMO, is that you are worth less than males unless you find a way to birth a male the world highly values. I could not raise my daughter(s) with that message, and fortunately, my DH agreed. My church has a female minister. A female minister married us. My childhood minister was a man. All of them have been wonderful and I cannot imagine believing that genitalia dictates a person's ability to lead people to Christ.
Avatar for BeaArthurisMyReligion
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2013
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 8:40am

In a strange way I understand those Catholics who cling to "the way things are" .. change is hard... it's slow.. and it's painful.. and as I said even I who firmly believe in the right of women to serve in all area's of the Church including the priesthood.. struggle with what that would be like... when you spend 47 years.. or 60 or 80 knowing only men as priests the concept is hard to shake.. even if your rational brain agrees that change is overdue...

I was fortunate to go to a Jesuit college where women served as associate chaplains even  and where we were encouraged to question and to challenge our long held notions of how things were in all ares of our lives. When studied Feminist Theology in that amazing seminar taught by a woman lay religous professor.. I remember that she played us a folk song in one class called "sometimes I wish my eyes hadn't been opened.."  and I remember thinking how true that was.. life was easier when I didn't question.. but having done the reading and the studying it was impossible to unlearn what I had learned about the systemic eradication of any evidence of female leadership during Christ's time on earth. of female apostles and the like... I remember during that time a nun had addressed Pope John Paul II and said simply "I urge you to consider the role of women in your church" and he shunned her and refused to acknowledge her further... I remember telling my mother how I felt it a slap in the face that JP II had visited and forgiven the man who shot him yet could not forgive or acknowledge a nun who had devoted her life to God for asking that simple question.  My mother's response was "she embarrassed him"  My response was 'the other guy SHOT him!"   but I don't blame my mom, I know that she struggled mightily after Vatican Two to come to terms with a mass that wasnt in latin and things like folk music in services..

change is hard.. I do believe change will come.. but I don't think it wll come quickly or easily nor do I belive I shall live to see it.   So in the meantime I am churchless but with a deep devoition to Mary and to God and for now that's the best I can do.