New Feminism is True Feminism

[ 76 ] January 6, AD 2012 |

Feminist. The f-word of femininity.

Ok, maybe that’s a little over the top and not exactly true, but stay with me for a second here.  The emotions and negative perceptions that this one little word can stir up in conservative circles is really not much different than what a tirade of curse words would result in at a church ladies luncheon. It’s just not proper or polite fodder to entertain such uncouth conversation about “girls gone wild” with our fellow church-goers.

We think of Feminists as the women of the 1960-70s Sexual Revolution; the women who boldly put careers in front of families and embraced the practices of birth control and abortion as a means to free themselves of the “comfortable concentration camps of the home” ( from Betty Frieden’s Feminine Mystique). We think of the women at NARAL rallies and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards when we think Feminist. Short haircuts, pant suits, Hillary Clinton…..need I say more?? We think of women who are really very un-womanly and in fact seem to want to emulate masculine traits and eschew the very things that make them uniquely feminine.

So what would you say if I said that I consider myself to be a Feminist? (Gasp! Why would she ever want to tell readers of a Catholic blog that she’s one of them?) Well, mostly because I am very decidedly NOT one of “them” and I want you and other Catholic women to understand and embrace what our late Holy Father John Paul II called “New Feminism”.

In 1988, John Paul II sent out an Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, or, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women. In this letter he began the use of the term the “genius of women” in describing the special attributes and contributions of females. He outlined the special characteristics that set us apart from men. And in a refreshing move, he upheld these unique talents as both beautiful and necessary to compliment the traits of men. This came not long after a time when women’s gifts were often belittled and considered “female weaknesses”.  A woman was considered a “weak” leader if she felt empathy for those working under her. This deprecation of natural feminine characteristics is what led many women in the decades before Mulieris Dignitatem to leave their roles as wives and mothers and seek the recognition and appreciation they needed elsewhere.  While he encouraged all women in their roles as wives and mothers, JP2 also encouraged further participation in politics and economics. JP2 never said women’s gifts were only useful in the home raising children. Instead he first worked to affirm that these traits were innately good and necessary, and then made the move seven years later to more directly challenge women to bring them to every aspect of their lives.

 

JP2 and MamaT

In 1995 JP2 wrote Evangelium Vitae, and called for a “New Feminism” to take root in the heart of the Catholic Church. He called for the women of the Church to infuse our world with our “feminine genius” and return to our culture the role of motherhood and the beautiful truth about women’s true talents and contributions. He called for us to “promote a “new feminism that rejects the temptation of imitating models of “male domination” in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination, exploitation, and violence.” He even went so far as to say that this was a prerequisite for creating a Culture of Life and placed this task in the hands of the women of the Church. (EV n.99)

There has been some debate about his use of the term “feminist” saying that what he called for was something so completely foreign to the Feminist mantra that we should avoid using the word altogether when describing this new movement of women who embrace and love the feminine genius. Some have suggested the term “Complimentarianists” is a better fit. (Although even typing it is honestly a trial!) And others have just not wanted to create confusion and be mistaken with the women we talked about so fondly earlier.  They fear creating scandal by association with that word. I tend to think John Paul II knew exactly what he was saying when he chose to send us forth as New Feminists.

You see before there were crazy “My Body, My Choice” feminists, there were Suffragists who were nothing like the women who hijacked their momentum roughly 60 years later. These Suffragist Feminists were overwhelmingly pro-life, pro-family, and anti-birth control and abortion. They fought for and won the right for women to vote in 1920. But yet in today’s history books (or “her-story books” if I want to be politically correct) somehow these women are considered the Mothers of Feminism, despite their complete disapproval of most of the new movements causes. They have been dubbed The First Wave of Feminism and the women we tend to think of as Feminists, the Second Wave. Their legacies have almost been wiped out by the new movement’s momentum and claim to their victories.  Second Wave Feminists have managed in many cases to rewrite our understanding of these First Wavers and twist their stories to fit their current agenda. Yet they do so in a way that seems almost complimentary and with sisterly adoration. They gloss over the parts they do not agree with and chalk them up to a different time period with less education and technology available to these brave women. They assert that the First Wave would have held the same opinion they do if they had been born 50 years later (awfully presumptuos!). They focus on the Suffragists strong spirits and the successes of these women to build support for their own agendas.

I say JP2 knew exactly what he was saying when he used the term New Feminist because in doing so he set a challenge before us to not run out and create an entirely new movement that alienates and separates women from one another. He didn’t want to see an “us vs. them” situation. He has challenged us to take the same approach executed brilliantly by the Second Wave Feminists in how they assimilated the followers from the First Wave Suffragist/Feminists. He is asking that we try very hard to honor Second Wavers as sisters and give them the gracious benefit of the doubt that surely their opinions and ill-conceived solutions were not the result of malice, but of the time period and a lack of proper education and the technological advancements that are available to us today.  He asks that we recognize their spirit of goodwill and give them a gracious opportunity to bow out of their antiquated ways of thinking. Then we quickly move on to how we all now know better and that by working together we can truly bring about a better state of affairs for all humanity. He is asking us to use our “feminine genius” and the traits of Empathy, Interpersonal Relations, Emotive Capacity, Subjectivity, Communication, Intuition, and Personalization to reunite women with one another in reclaiming authentic femininity.

 Do I think this will be easy or that the Second Wave Feminist ideas will die easily? Absolutely not, but I think JP2 was on to something big and it resonates in my heart. I know I have been called to this work and that if I can do it with authentic love, the truth will be made clear and soon we will see a huge shift in our societies’ understanding of femininity and human life in general. It is through women and our ability to mother and accept others with hospitality that the world will learn how to accept and love one another.

So yes, I am a Feminist. I am a New Feminist and I invite others to join me in helping to share the truth about who God created us to be.

 

 

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Leah-Jacobson-e1318950563716.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Leah Jacobson is passionate about John Paul II’s “New Feminism” and teaching women about the amazing dignity and worth of their bodies. She founded the Guiding Star Women’s Center in 2009, a non-profit focused on uniting the pro-life movement in Duluth, MN, and coordinates a national effort called The Guiding Star Project whose vision is to create a Culture of Life by creating greater unity and collaboration of pro-life groups. As a homeschooling mother of four (soon to be five!) young children, and a lactation consulting graduate student, she feels she understands pretty well the pressures and stresses facing women and families in our current culture.[/author_info] [/author]

 

 

Print Friendly

Tags:

Category: Columnists, Women's Issues

About the Author ()

Leah Jacobson, foundress of The Guiding Star Project, is dedicated to creating a Culture of Life through the implementation of Guiding Star Centers nationwide. These centers will promote New Feminism and Natural Law and are the next stage for the pro-women and pro-life movements to collaborate in a holistic, comprehensive approach.
  • http://onlyamerewoman.blogspot.com J.Tatum

    Wonderful post, Leah! Thank you for citing JPII’s writings; now I have some homework to do. A little while ago I stumbled across the group Feminists For Life ( http://feministsforlife.org/ ) and was surprised to know that the original “feminists” were nothing like the phantasm commonly brought up by the word now-a-days.

  • http://www.theguidingstarproject.com Leah

    Thanks J.! I love the work of Feminists for Life! I’ve been a member for a few years now. I like how they are able to bridge the gap into the secular world. But I also find so much strength from reading about the spiritual reasons to be a feminist too from our Church. There is another wonderful group out there called ENDOW that teaches classes on the writings of JP2 for women. http://endowonline.org/ I recommend checking them out and signing up for a class if they are in your area (then let me know how it goes as I’ve never been able to attend their classes!).

  • Ink and Quill

    I’m glad you wrote on this, Leah! I’ve been curious about New Feminism but never knew where to start–college campuses tend to be areas where second-wave feminists are brainwashing the future generation, so it’s nice to see a breath of fresh air from the other end of the tunnel.
    ~Ink

  • http://sainteasy.blogspot.com Paige Deaner

    I love this so much! I am so glad to see a good explanation of this!

  • Historian

    Apparently, Jacobson is ENTIRELY IGNORANT of such FEMALE HISTORIANS as DREW GILPHIN FAUST, THE CURRENT PRESIDENT OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY, AND, as one MIGHT GUESS, a NATIONALLY KNOWN HISTORIAN CONCERNING THE HISTORY OF FEMALE LIFE IN THE SOUTHERN STATES DURING THE CIVIL WAR…….If so-called ‘FIRST WAVE FEMINISTS had NOT been pioneers in BATTLING MALE SEXISM/ MALE HATRED OF FEMALES IN SOCIAL, POLITICAL, UNIVERSITY/OTHER EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES, SCHOLARS LIKE FAUST WOULD not HAVE BEEN ABLE TO HAVE THE CAREERS THAT THEY CURRENTLY ENJOY!

    OF COURSE, Jacobson does NOT DARE discuss such issues as WHY THE ROMAN CHURCH DEMANDS THAT it HAS A RIGHT TO RAM ITS SEXIST, FEMALE HATING RELIGION DOWN THE THROATS OF not JUST CATHOLICS, BUT, also, NON-CATHOLICS……..AND/OR JUST why THE ROMAN CHURCH HAS A RIGHT TO violate FEMALE CITIZENS’ RIGHTS OVER THEIR OWN BODIES………. AND/OR WHAT KINDS OF WORK FEMALES CAN/CANNOT DO…………

    SHOULD, FOR INSTANCE, THE PRESIDENT OF HARVARD, AN AWARD WINNING FEMALE HISTORIAN WHO HAS WRITTEN MAJOR HISTORICAL WORKS DISCUSSING THE SUFFERING OF SOUTHERN FEMALES DURING THE CIVIL WAR BE CONFINED TO BEING AH, a wife and mother, AS DICTATED TO BY A SEXIST, MISOGYNIST FEMALE HATING CLERIC LIKE THE POPE?
    Jacobson needs to THANK, not attempt to attack, feminists like Hillary Clinton for the CHOICES that Jacobson ENJOYS TODAY………….

  • Jason Becker

    Nice article Leah! There certainly are some out there who are very defensive (ex: Historian’s comment). When such strong emotions are inflamed, it’s a good sign. They need to wrestle through those emotions (there own hurts and pains) before they are hopefully able to properly process what you are actually trying to communicate. Keep up the good fight in communicating the truth of what will truly set women free!

  • Leah Jacobson

    Thanks for your comments everyone. I want to briefly address what Historian has to say and then encourage everyone to become a better student of history in general, as there is so much to learn when we look back through the eyes of hindsight.

    Historian, I am not certain that you understood what I was trying say about women and our amazing abilities. I certainly would never relegate a woman as accomplished and seemingly brilliant as Ms. Faust (or any woman for that matter) to a certain vocational career, such as motherhood. And neither would my Church. The Catholic Church has been a defender of women for centuries, advocating social programs and laws that uphold women’s true rights. It has honored and esteemed all women and has gently spoken its message of how beautiful and unique women are created. It assures us that we are worth and capable of so much more than our culture can give us.

    But this is not what some people want to hear, so they ignore what is truly being said and cast their opposition as “evil” in an attempt to ignore the message. I would just challenge you to pick up the writings of JP2s Theology of the Body and then try to say that this is a man who hates women. Perhaps we are just uncomfortable when we hear truth spoken and become angry/defensive when it might cause us to re-examine our own narrow-minded beliefs. Thank you for sharing the accomplishments of Ms. Faust with me. Her achievements are certainly to be admired.

  • Ink and Quill

    Whoa, whoa, “Historian.” Calm the heck down. Caps lock is not cruise control for cool.

    Also, Southern females were actually pretty often the nurses–Clara Barton ring a bell? I don’t see how you can call yourself a historian if you manage to overlook that precious little fact. Plus, women in wartime traditionally hold the homefront: if nobody kept up the farms, worked the factories, etc etc, while the men were fighting, the entire country’s economy would fall apart. Think about the emblem of Rosie the Riveter during WWII, for instance.

    And what’s wrong with being a wife and mother? Nobody says it’s confining. My mother is the most brilliant woman I know–and I’m in college, surrounded by many brilliant people. (If I listed her resume, several things would happen: people may be bored, this comment would be really stinking long, and many people would think she had some extreme form of ADD due to the wide range of experience.)

    If you can’t be calm in reply, don’t bother. Haters gonna hate.

  • Ink and Quill

    (That previous comment was me, Ink. I just forgot to sign it. Whoops.)

  • http://virtuouspla.net/ Stacy

    Historian,

    We certainly welcome healthy debate, but it would be easier to read your comment if you didn’t type in all caps so much in sentences. It comes across conversationally a bit hysterical.

  • http://fumblingtowardgrace.wordpress.com Sarah B

    Thanks for sharing Leah! Though after studying both Pope John Paul II’s Letter to Women and One the Dignity and Vocation of Woman through the ENDOW program, I’m not sure how much credence to even give to the word feminism. It’s almost like a word that has been re-defined so many times it’s rendered meaningless. For instance, I have a (formerly) good friend who insists that no one can be considered a feminist if they aren’t pro-abortion. It’s almost as though we have to ask, “Which feminism are you talking about?”. But what other term could be appropriately used to describe what John Paul II advocates? I have no idea, haha. I’m just sort of tossing this out there. I’d love to know what you think about it.

    Thanks for a great piece.

  • Robert

    http://www.catholicity.com/commentary/eden/03324.html

    See link for a critique. I’m still happily surprised it was ever written.

  • http://www.theguidingstarproject.com Leah

    Thanks so much for these last two posts! I love that this topic is finally being talked about more and more. This debate about using the word feminism has been raging in my own mind these past few years, especially since the most redeeming qualities of the feminist movement come from women who never even called themselves feminists. The word wasn’t even coined until well after WW2 and then was retroactively applied to the First Wave. Can, or should we even try to redefine “feminism” to fit our own cause? Or is there another route, another word to take up our banner with? I’ve been trying to decide this for a long time now.

    I am well aware of the wonderful piece by Dawn Eden, and have seriously been thinking about it for the past two years. It has served as an amazing point of perspective as I have undertaken my study of Feminism and the “Feminist Foremothers”. In my readings I have also come across many writings by the Suffragists that clearly are not in synch with the vision of love and the complementary relationship God intended for men and women and that JP2 spells out in his writings. Some quotes I have been able to explain away as circumstantial to the era, but others, such as many of Stanton’s later quotes are simply inexcusable. It does seem that much of the initial energy used to push women’s rights to the forefront was negative and resentful, and that tone has continued through with the Second Wave’s approach.

    However, the redeeming qualities of pro-family, pro-life Suffragists come shining through in my mind as I look at Margaret Sanger’s writings happening at roughly the same time, but with a completely different tone and mission to them. I am encouraged because I have seen the repeated refusal of the Suffragists to align themselves with her and the practices of birth control, abortion, etc. that now permeate that movement. I am able to excuse some of their bitterness towards men and the Church when I look back at what was available to them in terms of Church documents outlining female dignity and worth. There was very little coming from the Church to guide them in accepting their “feminine genius” or tell them how they could live that out in ways other than motherhood. Yet many of the Suffragists were able to take a strong stance in defense of “voluntary motherhood” and defend the ideas of natural fertility, childbirth, and breastfeeding, with trust that God made their bodies perfectly in tune with His will. And this was without the benefit of NFP instructors and a medical community that was pushing women into the hospital setting for birth because it was seen as “inherently dangerous”. There is something in their spirit of defending their feminine abilities that resonates with modern women who are becoming disillusioned with the negativity of the birth control movement.

    I think that even while the word “feminist” got its power from a movement that we can never try to call our own, there is a beauty in it that cuts to the heart of every women who wants to trust that God made her body exactly how He wanted it. There is no better word to describe who God made us to be. We are feminine; that is our purpose. We are made to feel the feminine genius and are made to function without the interference of the popular substitutions such as birth control. For a woman to accept this view of her body demands that others too must accept this view of her abilities. It is a call for men to “step it up” in their relationships with women as it removes the ability for men to simply use women for sexual pleasures without a sense of the true purpose of the act. It returns women to a feminine state that I think is the first step in the right direction. It is not the entire solution, but it begins to unwind the awful mess we’ve create for ouselves. There will be many more necessary steps that will come after we return women to place of love of their feminity (which in its very nature returns men to their rightful places of practicing true masculinity).

    As I mentioned in my original post, I do think JP2 knew what he meant when he called for a “New Feminism”. I think there is enough good within the First Wave that we can build upon and I am confident that with the right careful wording and outreach we can reach many of the disillusioned Second Wave to join the New Feminist movement. If we use a completely different name it will take decades for women to even understand this movement is for them and about them. And it will further entrench the two positions as juxtaposed against one another. We’ll never be free of Second Wave thinking unless we are able to overcome it and rewrite it with our own.

  • Historian

    THANK GOODNESS for a woman like Betty Frieden who had the guts to address the hypocrisy of her generation…… women were, after all, SUPPOSED to be grateful to be in comfortable suburbs with NOTHING more weighty on their minds than planning the next bridge club meeting, being active members of the PTA, etc….. FINE, AND WELL, IF one likes(ed) THAT KIND OF LIFESTYLE.

    Jacobson OBVIOUSLY doesn’t comprehend that when Frieden wrote her book, that females WERE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST in the working world, and, of course, a female who was hired as a secretary at a minimum wage at MOST was considered to be lucky! Women FORCED to support their families were pitied, and, looked down on for NOT having a ‘man to support them…..’

    While a female might be encouraged to become a nurse, elementary school teacher, secretary, etc, the MAJOR SOCIETAL EXPECTATION was that females would get married, be wives and mothers and NOT have other aspirations…………..’

    Jacobson wrote that ‘We are all aware of the women at NARAL rallies and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards when we think ‘Feminist.’ Short haircuts, pant suits, Hillary Clinton–need I say more??We think of women who are very UNwomanly and, in fact, seem to emulate masculine traits and eschew the very things that make them feminine.’……

    THANK GOODNESS for the First Amendment to the US Constitution which guarantees freedom of religion AND, OF COURSE, freedom FROM religion as well.

    STRIKINGLY, none of you ladies BOTHERED to mention that the Roman Church has YET to ordain WOMEN as priests, bishops, etc.NOR HAVE YOU LADIES EVEN BOTHERED TO ADMIT THAT AH, THE CHURCH HIERARCHY continues to seek TO TRY AND ABOLISH AMERICAN FEMALE CITIZENS’ RIGHTS OVER THEIR OWN BODIES–including THE RIGHT FOR FEMALES TO DETERMINE FOR THEMSELVES whether or not TO TERMINATE AN UNWANTED PREGNANCY. NOT ONE OF YOU LADIES HAVE explained just WHY A VICTIM OF RAPE–AND WORSE– SHOULD BE legally FORCED TO CARRY A RAPIST’S BASTARD TO FULL TERM– much LESS be legally FORCED TO BEAR A RAPIST’S BASTARD.
    APPARENTLY, you ladies SUPPORT VIOLENT MEN WHO SEEK TO ABUSE, RAPE AND MURDER FEMALES…. ALL OF YOU sound like you have been brainwashed by sexist males.
    CAN ANY of you THINK FOR YOURSELVES……….DUH……….

    HAVE any of you EVER bothered to attend a religious service LED BY A FEMALE MINISTER? IF NOT, WHY NOT? HAVE any of you EVER even MET an ordained female minister, priest, and/or rabbi? IF NOT, WHY NOT?

    DO YOU SUPPORT THE KIND OF TREATMENT THAT FEMALES RECEIVE IN ISLAMIC SOCIETIES? HOW IS THAT TREATMENT different FROM THE KIND OF DISCRIMINATION THAT FEMALES ARE legally FORCED TO ENDURE IN THE ROMAN CHURCH!

    DO TELL!

  • Historian

    I would also like to simply say that American females of various religious backgrounds ALSO appreciate the constitutional/civil rights that American female citizens have– INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO SUPPORT CIVIL LIBERTIES GROUPS LIKE THE ACLU which support the rights of ALL AMERICANS not to have to endure UNWANTED RELIGIOUS AND/OR SEXUAL HARRASSMENT……………..

  • http://virtuouspla.net/ Stacy

    Historian,

    Again, your all caps tone comes across as hysterical. We are trying to read it as calm though.

    These assertions of yours are things we hear, sorry, boringly often.

    We view abortion as an act of the insane woman not intact with her own dignity or sanity. She needs help, not excuses from the people who profit from her suffering.

    And the first amendment does not guarantee freedom from religion. Look it up. The founders knew that truth is what sets us all free.

  • Ink and Quill

    Yawn. Historian, when you come up with lines that haven’t been used a million times before, I’ll bother debating you. Until then, I maintain that abortion is not a right any more than murder or homicide is. It’s the same thing.

    Sincerely,
    The former-embryo currently known as Ink

    P.S. I said it before, I’ll say it again: Caps Lock is not cruise control for cool. Or calm. If you’re gonna hate, don’t pretend to debate.

  • Historian

    Hello, Stacy, and/or ink and Quill…..

    DUH…….. NEITHER of you ladies have specified whether or not YOU are acquainted with highly educated, accomplished females NOT LIKE YOU who are, IN FACT, ORDAINED Protestant ministers, priests (as in ah, like, Anglican, etc) and/or rabbis………… WHY didn’t you ladies even BOTHER to address the comments?

    Have either of you ladies EVER bothered to become acquainted with LADIES WHO ARE ORDAINED PROTESTANT MINISTERS/ANGLICAN PRIESTS/AND/OR JEWISH RABBIS…….

    DO TELL!

  • http://www.theguidingstarproject.com Leah

    And then people like Historian step in and remind me of just how hard it is going to be to get people with true Second Wave Feminist ideology to listen, let alone open their minds to reexamine the lies they’ve bought……yikes, this is not going to be an easy battle. Lord, give us strength!

    Perhaps there will always be that fringe of “Old Feminist” thinkers who will blast religion and men and anyone who gets in the way of them living life exactly the way they want with no regard for others. BUT, I am hopeful that most women do not fall into that camp and that a fresh message about the beauty of their bodies will resonate and breathe new life into the debate of women’s true rights and abilities.

    And Historian, I am truly sorry you have not had the joy of feeling the love the Church has for you. We “brainwashed” women of the Church have been sustained by the support and encouragement of our Church to take up lives that defy societal norms for women. I hope someday you’ll wake up and see abortion, birth control, etc for what they are; practices that restrict the beautiful abilities of your body for the satisfaction of men’s sexual desires. This doesn’t require you to become religious or even acknowledge a loving God, it just requires that you think.

  • Historian

    I have the incredible grace to be acquainted with a talented FEMALE Unitarian-Universalist minister who devotes herself to not only being a congregational minister, but,ALSO devoted to raising awareness in communities where awareness IS DESPERATELY NEEDED that females who have been raped/and/or forced to have sex against their will DO NOT HAVE TO CARRY MALE RAPISTS’ BASTARDS TO TERM.. IN FACT, THESE VICTIMS desperately NEED TO BE INFORMED OF THEIR RIGHTS!

    IF YOU LADIES DON’T APPRECIATE THE GRACE THAT THIS UNITARIAN-UNIVERSALIST MINISTER HAS TO MINISTER TO SUCH VICTIMS, THEN, you ARE THE ONES WHO desperately NEED HELP!

  • Ink and Quill

    Historian,
    Quill is male, and he has nothing to do with my posts here. (If he chooses to weigh in–which I doubt he will–you’ll notice an immediate change in voice.) Please note that I do sign my posts.

    I actually did speak to a female rabbi once. I asked her many questions–she informed me I asked questions that a good Orthodox Jew would. She was a Reformed Jew. All-over, I was unimpressed with her knowledge of her own theology. It was disappointing.

    Also, many High Anglicans do NOT ordain women and quite a few, in fact, “jump ship” and convert to Catholicism if their bishop starts doing so.

    We addressed part of your comment and chose not handle the rest. Frankly, if you were commenting on the blog I used to write for (Cleansing Fire), the administrator would’ve banned you three comments ago for your tone and lack of respect.

    ~Ink

  • Historian

    I am very curious……….. HOW MANY OF YOU LADIES HAVE THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BECOME (ANGLICAN) PRIESTS, PROTESTANT MINISTERS AND/OR JEWISH RABBIS!

    DO YOU READ/SPEAK GREEK/LATIN/HEBREW……….IF NOT, WHY NOT!

    HAVE YOU ENROLLED IN SEMINARY/RABBINICAL SCHOOL??????? IF NOT, WHY NOT……………………

  • http://www.theguidingstarproject.com Leah

    I have had the pleasure to know a lesbian Jewish rabbi and have worked closely with female pastors in my time as a campus minister at a large university. I have worked in ministry positions in the past and honestly have no idea how that would make me any more or less qualified to speak about these issues than a regular woman? What point are you trying to make? That you hate the Catholic Church? Or that we all must be dumb because we disagree with you?

  • Ink and Quill

    I am in the process of learning Greek, I understand Latin fairly well, and I do not want to enroll in seminary because I am Catholic and faithful to my Church. What, would I just enroll in Rabbinical school because I arbitrarily decided to become a female Rabbi, but I’m still sitting here (semi-)patiently debating you? Your questions are beyond rhetorical, they’re just idiotic. Do YOU read Greek, Latin, or Hebrew? (By the way, all those languages–assuming the Greek you mean is Ancient Greek, the kind used in the New Testament–are all dead languages, so if you “speak” them you only do so in a scholarly setting. Biblical Hebrew and Latin exist only in prayers.)

    You, my friend, are one to accuse of not answering the full comment. You haven’t addressed mine remotely.
    ~Ink

  • Micha Elyi

    You see before there were crazy “My Body, My Choice” feminists, there were Suffragists who were nothing like the women who hijacked their momentum roughly 60 years later.

    The suffragettes had at least this poisonous flaw in common with today’s feminists: they believed women were morally superior to men. The person commenting as “Historian” can supply plenty of examples (if that person is an actual historian of woman’s movements).

  • Historian

    Leah, you really DO appear to have been brainwashed.
    The Roman Church has YET to admit females to the priesthood–MUCH LESS to Church hierarchy. YOUR comments indicate that you ONLY value yourself for being a broodmare….the ESSENCE of sexism is that females are ONLY capable of being broodmares and bearing offspring… and, NOTHING ELSE. Of course, YOU might have made a good hausfrau under Hitler where all a female was expected to do was devote herself to children, etc.
    Unitarians are, of course, uniquely American and, of course, a small protestant denomination in which MEMBERS HAVE THE ABILITY TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES WITHOUT being dictated to by sexist males. UNITARIANS DON’T DICTATE TO FEMALES WHO HAVE BEEN RAPED AND/OR MOLESTED THAT THEY MUST CARRY THE RAPISTS’ BASTARDS TO FULL TERM AND GIVE BIRTH TO THEM.ONLY FEMALE-HATING,MISOGYNIST SEXIST MALES would MAKE SUCH DEMANDS–JUST AS THE ROMAN CHURCH HIERARCHY DEMANDS THAT all AMERICAN FEMALES– INCLUDING non-CATHOLICS should be forced to give up their civil and constitutional rights over their own bodies….WHICH IS A BLATANT ATTEMPT TO VIOLATE FEMALE AMERICANS’ FIRST AMENDMENT/CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.

    Quill, I do, in fact, read Biblical/Talmudic/ and Modern Hebrew….You are obviously UNaware that Israelis speak Modern Hebrew, and, apparently, you don’t know that Reform rabbinical students MUST pass exams in Hebrew BEFORE they are admitted to becoming candidates for the Rabbinate.

    Several of my friends are attorneys who work for organizations like the ACLU, People for the Seperation of Church and State and related organizations…..

    Speaking of so-called ‘respect’, WHAT KIND OF RESPECT DO SEXIST, MISOGYNIST MALES HAVE FOR FEMALES WHO decline TO ACCEPT DEMANDS MADE BY SEXIST, MISOGYNIST MALE CLERICS THAT SAID MALES BE allowed to dictate to ALL AMERICAN FEMALE CITIZENS WHAT THEY CAN AND CAN’T DO WITH THEIR BODIES…

  • http://fumblingtowardgrace.wordpress.com Sarah B

    Friends, I think it’s time to admit that “historian” is a troll who wants nothing more than to lead us down a rabbit hole which will have no end.

    Let’s pray for him/her and let him/her go with grace.

    Btw, Leah, thanks for the reply to my comment. It does make one wonder what the best way to proceed with this “dynamite” of “new feminism” is.

  • Ink and Quill

    I’m INK. I’m writing as INK. Quill is a smart man and stayed out of this.

    Micha, I don’t know if that’s true–the modern ones, sure–but the suffragettes? I’m not too well-versed here but I was pretty sure they were just establishing equal footing. And, since we have a troll here who loves jumping down our throats, I may want to point out that just because women aren’t morally better does NOT imply that men are either–both are equal in dignity. (Sometimes phrasing can be a little ambiguous and it’s best to clarify in those cases.)

    Leah, a call back to your really long comment (which I’d originally dismissed as TL;DR but went back and read and it’s fantastic): I’ve heard it said that men will “step it up” when their women demand it from them. A man will be as much of a gentleman as his lady demands. I pass that advice on to a lot of women.

    Sarah–live by example! Just BE a woman. That’s probably the best thing any of us can do.

  • Historian

    Leah,
    DR FAUST is a Professor of History at Harvard with numerous published books to her credit……
    Obviously, a Unitarian-Universalist is, of course, LIBERAL, and/or ABLE TO THINK FOR HIM/HERSELF INSTEAD of meekly accepting being dictated to by female-hating, misogynist sexist-male clergy who have continued to REFUSE TO ADMIT FEMALES to seminary, etc.*UNITARIANS OPENLY ACCEPT THOSE OF DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS– like Hindus, Buddhists, etc to their services and TREAT THEM THE SAME WAY THEY WOULD a member of the Fellowship…..

    CONCERNING the Roman Church’s treatment of women, WHAT DO ANY of you have to say to the historical facts of INNOCENT MEN, WOMEN, CHILDREN BEING ROUNDED UP, HERDED INTO WOODEN SYNAGOGUES AND BEING BURNED ALIVE FOR THE ‘crime’ of being born Jewish…..NO, ANTI-JUDAISM is NOT the forte of a females who value themselves for ONLY being broodmares capable of producing offspring– colts/fillies…..

    What do ANY of you have to say about females’ NON-rights to control their own property,being treated as so-called ‘cattle’ by husbands, male parents/family members,etc.

    Ink/Quill,I have been informed by a friend that Jews do NOT believe what Catholics do about unborn fetuses– AND,IN MOST CASES, A RABBI WOULD more than likely advise aborting the fetus to save the life of the mother…..THAT APPROACH is HUMANE– rather than the CHURCH’S demands that a female victim of rape– and worse– be LEGALLY forced to carry the rapist’s bastard to full term.
    In fact, what’s the difference between the Roman Church’s sexist, female hating misogynists and/or the female-hating Islamists who blame a victim of rape for being raped to begin with…… and, which has led to raped females being stoned to death for the sake of so-called ‘male honor….’ TALK ABOUT BARBARITY……

    NONE OF you have discussed just WHY the Church hierarchy has protected Clerical SEXUAL PREDATORS who have raped/molested innocent children and/or moved the sexual predators from parish to parish WITHOUT informing parents that their children were being entrusted to SEXUAL PREDATORS……………

    OBVIOUSLY, HISTORICAL ACCURACY IS not SOMETHING THAT THE POSTERS HERE value…..MUCH LIKE THE KKK doesn’t ‘value’ HISTORIANS WHO HAVE DARED TO ATTACK THE RACIST ORGANIZATION FOR WHAT IT HAS DONE TO MINORITIES……..

    ONLY WITHIN THE LAST 45+ years has the Church even BOTHERED to admit its HATRED OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE…AND, at least, taken a few steps to communicate at least some repentance for its 2000+ year hatred of Jews….. and, the Church has YET to admit its misogynist hatred of females–ESPECIALLY females who do NOT yield gracefully to continuing misogyny and hatred of females–based on one thing ALONE– A FEMALE’S GENDER.

    AND, YES, LEAH, SO-CALLED ‘SAINTS’ OF THE CHURCH have, in fact, MANDATED MURDER OF JEWISH MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN FOR THEIR ‘crimes’– the crime of REFUSING TO CONVERT TO CATHOLICISM.

  • Ink and Quill

    Okay, I’ll tackle the rape argument ’cause I need the practice.

    Look. I’m going to revert to psychology here. When a girl or woman is raped, she’s often ashamed of it. She doesn’t want to tell anyone. It’s embarrassing and traumatic. The exact same emotions are the result of the afteraffects of abortion. Trauma. Scarring. Humiliation. Guilt. I’ve been doing some reading up and many women who were raped or molested said that the abortion was a way for the adults involved to save face. The women themselves are simply forced to bear the pain and guilt in silence. You are seriously going to compound trauma by added trauma? Two wrongs never make a right.

    Also, lady, check your facts, PLEASE. For the love of all that is holy. It depends on the branch of Judaism, to start. (If you honestly think you can beat me with the Jewish argument, think again. I actually did QUITE a bit of inter-faith studying of them, and I’m fascinated by Judaism. So don’t start with me, or I’ll start pulling out my documents. And then you’re going to lose.) And another point is that in any situation where the mother’s life is at risk, the doctor treats the mother and her unborn child as two separate patients. If the baby happens to die in surgery–which could very well happen–it was not for lack of trying.

    Think about that for a bit. The mother’s life is at risk. (Let’s say it’s an ectopic pregnancy.) The doctor is required to treat the mother and her child as TWO distinct patients. Well, if that isn’t fascinating, I don’t know what is.

    ~Ink

  • Historian

    As a historian, I simply point out that many, if not most people don’t WANT TO FACE THE RESULTS OF SEXIST
    /RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY….

    So called Catholic dominated countries in Europe which had their so-called ‘Court-Jews’ BUT, which ALSO instituted total persecution/murder of ENTIRE JEWISH populations for the refusal to convert to Catholicism….. the burning of Jewish books,clerical-instigated cold blooded murder of Jews(* never accepted as so-called ‘citizens’…) but, forced to reside in ghettos….(* check the origin of the word ‘GHETTO’…)
    AND/OR Jews were legally FORCED to endure being preached to and worse by Jewish-hating Catholic clergy……
    Many well written histories (in various languages) exist that document Catholic/Orthodox persecutions of the Jewish populations in various European countries–ranging from Britain to Russia to the Ukraine…..for the ‘crime’ of REFUSING to convert to whatever brand of Christianity had been adopted by the local Baron/Count/Duke/ whatever…….
    WHY would an organization that ordered the executions of men, women and children for the criminal act of REFUSING to convert to Catholicism even begin to CARE about females….
    except, of course, UN-educated females who accept their roles as broodmares that produce colts and fillies………..(a REAL mare with a champion bloodline that can produce Derby winners is, of course, worth her weight in gold, duh……)
    WHY haven’t the people who have commented on this website bothered to ADMIT that misogynist, female-hating bigotry is ALIVE AND WELL in Rome– and, of course, just WHY AMERICAN FEMALE CITIZENS–especially NON-CATHOLICS ARE LEGALLY REQUIRED TO SUBMIT TO RELIGOUS BIGOTRY AND HATRED………….

  • http://fumblingtowardgrace.wordpress.com Sarah B

    Um, Historian, the main reason we haven’t “bothered to ADMIT that misogynist, female-hating bigotry is ALIVE AND WELL in Rome” is because none of us think that. In fact, we are all convinced the opposite is true. So, unless you have something besides that one trick pony, perhaps it’s time to move on.

  • Historian

    HEY, QUILL–

    WHEN A FEMALE HAS BEEN RAPED BY A MISOGYNIST, FEMALE HATING MALE– IT IS not A CRIME OF PASSION– IT IS criminal act of CONTROL– PLEASE, do CHECK WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT WHO HAVE BEEN EDUCATED CONCERNING MISOGYNIST/SEXIST MEN WHO HAVE BEEN SENT TO PRISON FOR THE CRIMES………………………………..
    ARE you AN ATTORNEY WHO SPECIALIZES IN DEFENDING MALE RAPISTS AGAINST THE VICTIMS OF RAPE… THAT would not BE SURPRISING……………..
    FURTHER, you HAVE not BOTHERED TO STATE JUST why A FEMALE VICTIM WHO HAS BEEN FORCIBLY RAPED against her will SHOULD BE LEGALLY CONSTRAINED TO HAVE TO BEAR THE RAPIST’S BASTARD…………
    WHY NOT JUST admit THAT you HATE FEMALES– especially THOSE WHO DON’T ACCEPT THE KIND OF HATRED/MISOGYNY THAT you ADVOCATE.

  • Historian

    Sarah,

    I’m sorry to ‘rain on your parade….’

    YES, time to ‘MOVE ON’ has come/gone……… THE ROMAN CHURCH HAS yet TO ADMIT THAT its CLERICS continue to hate females and/or give females a LEGAL right to become priests/etc.

    IF YOU DON’T LIKE REALITY, THAT IS your PROBLEM……………….

    NOTHING THAT you and/or OTHER FEMALES WHO BUY ROME’S SEXISM AND/OR WHO HATE THEMSELVES IS GOING TO CHANGE anything IS GOING TO CHANGE…..

    AT LEAST, IN THE US, FEMALES ARE not UNDER LEGAL OBLIGATIONS TO SUBMIT TO DEMANDS BY MISOGYNIST, FEMALE-HATING CATHOLIC CLERICS TO TO GIVE UP THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL/CIVIC RIGHTS TO ‘JUST SAY no’ TO PRESSURES TO GIVE UP FIRST AMENDMENT/CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO CONTROL THEIR OWN BODIES………………….

    MAYBE, FEMALE HATING SEXIST/MISOGYNIST CLERICS MIGHT BENEFIT FROM BEING ASSIGNED TO PAKISTAN, SAUDI ARABIA, ETC WHERE THEIR HATRED OF FEMALES IS legal.

  • Historian

    UM……. SARAH…..

    DO YOU READ ARABIC…….! ARE YOU AT all FAMILIAR WITH THE TREATMENT OF FEMALES IN MUSLIM COUNTRIES………… ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE QURAN……….. WHY DO i ASK SUCH STUPID QUESTIONS…….

    UM.. MAYBE, JUST, MAYBE you SHOULD DO THE RESEARCH–especially CONCERNING THE TREATMENT OF FEMALES IN ABOVE COUNTRIES–and THE PARALLELS IMPOSED ON FEMALES BY CATHOLIC FEMALE HATING/MISOGYNIST CLERGY…

  • Stacy

    I am travelling today with limited access. I reccomend no further engagement with Historian until he/she ceases the hateful and rude accusations.

  • http://www.barefootandpregnantblog.blogspot.com Calah

    My eyes! They’re bleeding! Jeez, I have no idea how Ink and Leah even managed to read those comments, much less respond coherently. Good hell. Caps lock should be illegal unless you take a test and qualify for a license to use it sensibly.

    Great article, Leah. Well done. If you’ll all excuse me, I have to go and make dinner for my family and then slavishly do the dishes. Someone, liberate me!

  • Ink and Quill

    Calah,

    You made me literally laugh out loud. I’m still snickering a little. I slavishly made dinner today (Mom’s out of town and I’m home from school for another week) and am forcing my father (well, I never really asked him) to do the few dishes I didn’t clean as I went.

    Also thank you so much for recognizing that we ARE two distinct people, just under the same username. =P

    Leah,
    I think your patience with this exchange makes you a candidate for sainthood.

    ~Ink

  • http://thatmarriedcouple.blogspot.com/ That Married Couple

    This is a great post. I especially appreciate the paragraph about treating second wavers with charity and grace, as this is something I can too easily forget.

    Also, I’ve done a couple of ENDOW studies and loved them! So I would second the encouragement to look into it and see if there are any going on in your area. I haven’t done any small groups that compare to the ENDOW ones and am antsy to get the go-ahead from God to start one up in our new parish! I don’t know of any better way to introduce our Catholic sisters to the beauty and fullness of New Feminism – and in my humble opinion, they’re some of the most important people we need to evangelize.

  • Historian

    Bluntly stated, NO equality for females exists in the Roman Church.
    Females are obviously NOT permitted in decision-making capacities,which are, in fact, LIMITED TO MALES. IF THIS ISN’T THE ESSENCE OF SEXISM, WHAT IS IT?

    WHAT IS RUDE ABOUT ‘TELLING IT LIKE IT IS”. AND, YES, THE TRUTH DOES HURT….THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TREATS FEMALES LIKE DIRT. PERIOD.

    NOTHING THAT MISOGYNIST,FEMALE-HATING MALES SAY WILL CHANGE MATTERS. SEXISM IS ALIVE AND WELL IN THE ROMAN CHURCH– JUST LIKE IT IS IN ISLAM.

    Thankfully, females in the US are NOT forced against their will to adhere to the hatred and misogyny of sexist male clerics…

    THANKS FOR THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE US CONSTITUTION…

    THE ROMAN CHURCH CAN not RAM ITS HATEFUL, ANTI-WOMAN TEACHINGS DOWN THE THROATS OF FEMALE US CITIZENS.

  • Historian

    Misogynist, female hating male clerics are ALSO the ones who have behaved as sexual predators,raping and molesting children,and, then,trying to hide their despicable behaviors.

    At least, some victims HAVE had the guts to come forward and confront the sexual predators LEGALLY!

    WHICH LEADS TO A QUESTION– SHOULD HOMOSEXUAL MALE CLERICS BE ENTRUSTED WITH VULNERABLE CHILDREN…… AND, IF SO, why!

    NOT ONE POSTER HAS EVEN dared to mention the problems associated with homosexual clergy….why is that!

  • Micha Elyi

    In 1988, John Paul II sent out an Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem, or, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women. In this letter he began the use of the term the “genius of women” in describing the special attributes and contributions of females.

    As always, “the special attributes and contributions” of men are taken for granted. No apostolic letters for men qua men.

  • Historian

    Mary Boykin Chesnutt was the wife of a Southern General in the Civil War; her husband was attached to Lee’s personal staff. She kept a fictionalized diary which was published in 1909 and again in 1981, edited both times by male historians. The 1981 edition, MARY CHESNUTT’S CIVIL WAR won the editor, Yale Historian C. Van Woodward, the Pulitizer Prize for History. However, one of his fellow researchers, Penn History professor, Drew Faust, would become the FIRST female president of Harvard as well as a nationally recognized writer concerning Southern Womens’ history.
    Of course,Mary Chesnutt did NOT have personal rights over her own property, which was of course controlled by her husband, much less, the right to vote.
    Judith Manigault was a French Huguenot refugee in 17th century Charleston who established the cultivation of silkworms/silk as a way to support her family.Her descriptions of her experiments, etc are in the South Carolina Historical Society in Charleston, SC.
    Eliza Lucas Pinckney is another good example of a female planter who was taken seriously by the men of her generation; again WITHOUT personal rights over her own life and/or property; she had married into the socially prominent, wealthy Pinckney family and was noted for her experiments with what would become major cash crops for South Carolina planters– indigo and rice– well into the 19th century. Pinckney might rise at four in the morning to write in her diary, then, go onto supervise the planting of the rice and indigo fields; the slaughter of hogs and chicken for winter provisions and have a large social entertainment in the evening. She traveled with only another female in a dugout canoe on the black, swampy fast flowing Ashley River as a way of traveling from one plantation to another as well.Only after 1896 were her contributions to establishing what became major crops for planters even begun to be recognized.
    Female planters were not uncommon although legally their land belonged to their male relatives who also controlled their lives– social and otherwise. Some of these women planters’ diaries have been published; many have not.
    The note here is that these talented, gifted colonial/antebellum women were esentially powerless over their own lives,and property and they certainly did not have the right to vote and/or own property. In that regard, they were like the black slaves– and regarded as ‘property’– as much as a field, a cow or a riding horse.
    Said women could use a gun to hunt game; plow the fields, if necessary; were excellent horsewomen,society hostesses, etc BUT, THEY COULD NOT VOTE NOR COULD THEY OWN PROPERTY….Women could not be college professors, ministers, lawyers or engage in ANY career/job reserved for men.

  • http://virtuouspla.net/ Stacy

    Historian, thank you for the calmer tone. Mankind’s understanding of morality is something that matures over time. Even in the US today we have many people who support the death penalty. The maturation of morality is a result of Christian theology, founded on the divine revelation of the Bible. In short, Christ set man free.

    Guard against the anachronistic imposition of today’s understanding with those one hundred years ago. Just because a woman wasn’t recognized as the head of household who owned the property for her family, and therefore didn’t cast the family’s vote, that does not mean that in general women were slaves. It means they had a different role. In healthy families, husbands still loved their wives and devoted themselves to the family.

    What is backwards today is the notion that women must subjugate and kill their own children if they don’t want them or they don’t want to endure the pains of childbirth. That’s not only treating the child like property; it’s treating the child like trash.

    Instead of worrying about history, other than to learn from it, it’s better to influence the present so the future is better.

  • Historian

    At least today’s females are NOT forced to endure INTERFERENCE IN THEIR PERSONAL/SOCIAL/POLITICAL LIVES, ETC by male misogynist clerics who seek to LEGALLY BE ABLE TO INTERFERE IN WOMENS’ PRIVATE, REPRODUCTIVE LIVES BY TRYING TO LEGISLATE SO-CALLED ‘CATHOLIC MORALITY’ AS THE LAW OF THE LAND.
    WOMEN DO, IN FACT, HAVE RIGHTS OVER THEIR OWN BODIES AND OVER THEIR OWN LIVES–without, thank you,INTERFERENCE from female-hating misogynist clerics………
    Leah, a REAL need is NOT TRYING TO RAM CATHOLICISM DOWN THE THROATS OF THOSE WHO don’t WANT THE BIGOTRY AND HYPOCRISY…..obviously, it is OK for johns/pimps to sire illegitimate bastards, but NOT OK to abort the unwanted, unneeded pregnancy that results.
    PEOPLE LIKE YOU–AND THE MISOGYNIST, FEMALE-HATING, HYPOCRITICAL BIGOTS THAT you obviously SUPPORT ARE ALL ABOUT FORCING FEMALES WHO ARE PREGNANT TO HAVE THE BASTARD– USUALLY AGAINST THE FEMALE’S WILL AND/OR UNCONCERNED ABOUT THE HARDSHIPS THAT THE UNWANTED PREGNANCIES PUT ON THE FEMALES– RAPE VICTIMS OR OTHERWISE. YOU ARE not ABOUT PROVIDING VICTIMS OF RAPE/MOLESTATION WITH THE NEEDED MONIES TO SUPPORT THE BASTARDS……. THAT IS WHAT WELFARE is ABOUT, RIGHT?

    PEOPLE LIKE YOU–AND THE HYPOCRITES THAT you so obviously SUPPORT NEED TO GET THE MESSAGE–THE JOHNS/PIMPS WHO SIRE THE BASTARDS NEED TO PAY BABY MAMA TO SUPPORT THEIR BASTARDS. IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO– not JUST ONE…..OF COURSE, THE TRADITIONAL MALE MISOGYNIST BIGOT’S RESPONSE IS ‘TO BLAME THE FEMALE’ FOR having made the male lose control’ to begin with. WHAT CROCK!
    MALE MISOGYNIST HYPOCRITES/BIGOTS NEED TO BE LEGALLY forced TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR their ACTIONS–WHETHER IT IS SENDING A MISOGYNIST CLERIC WHO HAS RAPED/MOLESTED INNOCENT CHILDREN TO JAIL FOR HIS ACTIONS– AND not TRYING TO HIDE THE ACTIONS BY CHURCH HIERARCHY– TO TAKING ACTIONS AGAINST JOHNS/PIMPS FOR REFUSING TO SUPPORT THEIR ILLEGITIMATE BASTARDS……

  • Maddie

    A few irritated replies to historian’s latest post:

    No one in the Catholic church thinks it’s ok for men to rape women.

    You haven’t even tried to substantiate this “misogynist women-hating hypocrisy” you keep mentioning, which just makes it abusive language (I might even go as far as hate speech to be politically correct …) and therefore against the tolerance you wish Catholics to have.

    Please stop using that horrible word “bastard”. It once had a technical meaning but in the present day we all know it has an insulting connotation – and if you will accuse Catholics of being anti-women, please don’t use such anti-“person” language!

    Plenty of Catholic charities DO support mother and baby in unwanted pregnancy situations.

    And when you talk about abortion you haven’t once considered the rights of the child. If you want to talk seriously about abortion, you should consider both sides of the story …

    Thanks to Leah Jacobson for the article! :)

  • Historian

    Stacy,thank you for your comments.

    Unfortunately, so-called ‘Catholic morality’ does NOT mean growing in so-called ‘moral maturity.’
    To the contrary– historically, so-called “Catholic/christian morality” has, in fact, meant death sentences for ENTIRE populations– consider, for instance, a work written by Martin Luther– ON THE JEWS AND THEIR LIES– which was used by Hitler as a ‘manual’ for the virtual destruction of Europe’s Jewish population during the Holocaust.
    At first, Luther had been hopeful that the Jews in Europe WOULD convert to his ‘new religion’ which, of course, became Lutheranism.When he discovered that he could NOT convert Jewish communities to his new faith, he bitterly wrote ON THE JEWS AND THEIR LIES in 1543. (*This anti-Jewish book is available on-line under the title.)Various German states had what they termed ‘Court Jews’ that were supported by the various Baron/Count/Duke, etc who happened to rule the state and determined WHICH religion that their subjects would follow– Catholicism, Lutheranism, etc. Court Jews were held LEGALLY responsible for supplying the Purse of the ruler with monies to support his military, cultural activities, etc: even at the expense of even MORE heavy taxes leveled against the Jewish community….. which had already been heavily taxed.
    The Popes established ghettos for Jewish people because they taught that Jews were NOT to live among Christians because of their ‘sin’ in rejecting Jesus as the so-called ‘Messiah.’
    Roman Ghetto Jews were legally FORCED to gather in a chapel established by the Popes and listen to so-called ‘lectures’ by so-called ‘conversos.’ (ie, converted Jews).(*In Spain, such Jews were referred to as Marranos–ie, ‘pigs.’) WHAT IS OBVIOUS IS THE CLEAR CONTEMPT FOR JEWS by so-called ‘moralist Catholics.'(and, to be fair, OTHER Christians).
    Followers of OTHER so-called ‘Christians’ like the followers of Jan Huss who was burned at the stake in 1400’s for defying Rome’s teachings instituted so-called ‘missionary societies’ to try and convert Jews to THEIR particular brand of Christianity…….
    Whether Catholic and/or Protestant types of so-called ‘morality’ the END results were the same: persecution of Jews because of the ‘crimes’ of Jews in REFUSING TO CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY of WHATEVER kind.
    So called “Christian morality’ has ALSO figured largely in the so-called ‘White Man’s Burden’ in attempting to ram Christianity down the throats of unwilling native populations ENSLAVED by White Europeans who ‘conquered’ natives in Africa/Mexico/South America, etc
    No, this isn’t a particularly pleasant subject to discuss, perhaps it is necessary.
    What makes you believe that so-called “Catholic/Christian morality’ is ah, superior to say, Buddhism? Should a moral Buddhist who has basic teachings like loving-kindness, compassion, feeding the hungry (in the spirit of Buddha), fasting, supporting a family, etc be FORCED to convert to Catholicism? ESPECIALLY given the role of Christianity in trying to DESTROY native cultures in countries like India, Japan, etc…..
    WHY try to force so-called ‘Catholic morality’ down the throats of a very religiously diverse/culturally diverse American female population to begin with!

  • Historian

    Maddie,
    UNFORTUNATELY, when misogynist, female-hating Catholic clerics tell ALL AMERICAN FEMALES THAT ALL AMERICAN FEMALES– INCLUDING non-CATHOLICS/non-CHRISTIANS must SUBMIT to attempts by the Roman Church to tell females that said females do NOT have a constitutional/civil right to TERMINATE UNWANTED PREGNANCIES/ AND/OR THAT FEMALES WHO HAVE BEEN RAPED must LEGALLY CARRY THE RAPIST’S BASTARD TO ‘TERM’ AND BEAR THE BASTARD, THAT is THE ESSENCE OF MALE SEXISM–especially given the attempts of misogynist, female hating Catholic clerics TO DEPRIVE AMERICAN FEMALES OF THEIR MOST BASIC RIGHT–THE RIGHT OVER THEIR OWN BODIES.
    If you are NOT comfortable, WHY NOT just consult an attorney who specializes in CIVIL RIGHTS LAW!

  • Historian

    Perhaps what is needed on this website, is the perspectives of various national Civil Rights attorneys– across the board– who CAN explain the LEGAL issues of Misogynist, female-hating Catholic clerics who believe that they have a right to try and violate American female-citizens civic/constitutional rights over their own bodies.

    Of course, CIVIL RIGHTS LAW IS WHAT THE ACLU,ETC, does……….. MORE THAN LIKELY, THE ACLU AND/OR RELATED GROUPS can EXPLAIN TO misogynist, female-hating Catholic clergy just WHY said clergy CANNOT impose their female-hating dogma on those who REFUSE to accept it–given the First Amendment/religious/cultural(etc) rights NOT to have a particular religion COERCED down peoples’ throats…………

  • http://www.theguidingstarproject.com Leah

    Holy Buckets! Can we somehow put restrictions on commenters talking to themselves?!?

  • Maddie

    Historian,

    It’s probably more useful to talk of Catholic morality as it is applied nowadays. There’s no use ranting at us for the mistakes of people dead hundreds of years ago which have nothing to do with us, the present writers and commenters. Catholics don’t go around killing people any more (any by the way, it wasn’t just Catholics …) etc etc. You talk of us forcing our morality down other people’s throats which you again have made no attempt to substantiate.

    I don’t think the “essence of male sexism” is what you describe it to be, either. Saying that foetuses have a right to life isn’t sexist. Moreover throwing around words like sexism/sexist simply prevents you from having to justify your opinions. We’re giving you reasoned arguments and would appreciate hearing the same back from you whether or not we agree.

    The point of the comment box is I believe to engage with the writer or commenters’ responses. If you just want to rant perhaps you should get your own blog !

  • Charlie

    Contemporary catholic morality is STILL trying to force females to accept attempts by Catholic sexist clerics to violate First Amendment Rights of American NON-Catholic female citizens by trying to DESTROY ROE V. WADE (1973) and, of course, be subjected to CONSTITUTIONAL/CIVIL RIGHTS LAW VIOLATIONS BY TRYING TO CLAIM THAT FEMALES DON’T HAVE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OVER THEIR OWN BODIES……….
    ROE V WADE IS legal and/or SO IS THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF FEMALES TO TERMINATE UNWANTED PREGNANCIES!

  • Charlie

    Other points need to be established: the ACLU (and/or other Civil Rights organizations, for that matter- have established the FACTS– US female citizens DO have legal rights over their own bodies– INCLUDING THE RIGHTS TO TERMINATE unwanted PREGNANCIES……..)

    My research has YET to reveal ANY PRO-LIFE/CONSERVATIVE/SEXIST ORGANIZATIONS THAT PROVIDE the very persons that have been raped/molested and/or who MUST make decisions concerning terminating an unwanted pregnancy that WILL PROVIDE THE RAPE VICTIM WITH THE MEANS TO RAISE THE RAPIST’S BASTARD…. AND, BLUNTLY, YES, THAT includes MONEY FOR HOUSING, EDUCATION, MEDICAL CARE, ETC.
    MOST FEMALES IN THIS SITUATION ARE LEFT TO STRUGGLE FOR THEMSELVES TO SUPPORT THE UNWANTED BASTARD, TRYING, BUT not SUCCEEDING IN COLLECTING MONIES FROM THE JOHN/PIMP THAT MADE THE FEMALE PREGNANT TO BEGIN WITH– AGAIN, IN THE CURRENT ECONOMY many, if not MOST states ARE STRUGGLING TO SUPPORT ALL THE UNMARRIED FEMALES WITH ILLEGITIMATE BASTARDS THAT HAVE BEEN ABANDONED BY THE BABY DADDY-JOHN/PIMP/RAPIST…….
    WHEN WILL THE CATHOLIC CHURCH PUT ITS MONEY WHERE ITS MOUTH IS AND STEP UP TO THE PLATE AND PAY WELFARE COSTS…………

  • Charlie

    Leah, Maddie, etc–

    HOW MANY of you WOULD/WILL step UP TO THE PLATE TO FINANCIALLY SUPPORT THE, UH, UNWANTED CHILDREN OF UNWANTED PREGNANCIES OF FEMALES WHO HAVE BEEN MOLESTED/RAPED — IN MOSTLY CRIMINAL CIRCUMSTANCES…..
    WILL YOU/CAN YOU SUPPLY THE NECESSITIES– FOR THE VICTIM OF RAPE– WHO WAS RAPED against her will— AND/OR SUPPLY THE VICTIM WITH EMERGENCY MEDICAL TREATMENTS/HOSPITAL CARE/ SUPPLIES FOR THE RAPE VICTIM/ BASTARD– INCLUDING– HOUSING/INFANT FOODS/MEDICAL CARE/COUNSELING–ETC. AT COST TO A CATHOLIC PARISH??????????? IF NOT, WHY NOT?
    WHY MUST THE STATE PAY FOR THE ABOVE–especially GIVEN the costs to support FAMILIES WHO HAVE BEEN FORCED TO GO ON WELFARE– JUST TO MEET BASIC costs?

    PERHAPS THE POPE SHOULD PUT HIS MONEY WHERE HIS MOUTH IS– SELL all of the art/antiques in the Vatican AND USE THE ACQUIRED MONIES TO SUPPORT THE WORLD’S POOR…. WHY SHOULD THE POPE/SO-CALLED CARDINALS/BISHOPS LIVE IN THE LAP OF LUXURY WHEN A MAJORITY OF THE WORLD’S NON-EUROPEAN CATHOLICS ARE IN THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES!
    THINK ABOUT IT!

  • Maddie

    Charlie (or Historian ?!)

    A legal right isn’t the same as a moral right. Sadly the law is capable of changing its “opinion” if you like but it isn’t a moral arbiter!

    Whether or not a female has rights over her own body, in any case, is almost irrelevant to this debate. The foetus while dependent on a woman’s body is a SEPARATE HUMAN BEING if you’ll excuse the capitals ;) and therefore neither its mother nor anyone else has the “right” to decide its fate.

    Just for info, rape accounts for very few abortion cases proportionally, I don’t remember the exact statistic.

    Unless I’ve misunderstood, you ask why the state should pay for emergency medical treatment, housing, medical care etc for the mothers of unwanted children and for the children themselves. Maybe you could clarify what you mean … the welfare state is a good thing in general no ?

    Finally as I’ve said before there are plenty of Catholic charities who do help mother and baby in these situations.

    And we’ve gone right off topic …

  • http://virtuouspla.net/ Stacy

    Ladies,

    A prayer…

    “LORD, grant me the serenity to ignore trolls, the courage to debate honest people, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.”

    Historian and Charlie, because I’m addressing you, I’m still hoping you are the latter. But blasphemy and name-calling will not be tolerated any further from you. If you can’t make your point without attacking Catholics, then there is no reason for us to continue to try to engage your fury.

    This is your only warning. Chose your words carefully if you want to be taken seriously. Otherwise you will be blocked.

  • Charlie

    Stacy,

    Please do define by what you term as ‘blasphemy.”

    You and your brainwashed friends may hate brilliant, successful females like Hillary Clinton, etc. Hate them as much as you want to that is your right.

    However, do be aware that there ARE females who DO care about womens constitutional/ civil rights and/or who ARE certified/qualified attorneys who WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR POLITICAL/CONSTITUTIONAL/SOCIAL RIGHTS through groups like the ACLU, etc and you, poor brainwashed females CAN DO NOTHING ABOUT.

  • http://virtuouspla.net/ Stacy

    Charlie,

    Blasphemy is defined as irreverence towards religious or holy persons or things. If you can’t be reverent, then be silent. This is a Catholic website, and you will respect those rules.

    We realize there are people who will vote to keep abortion legal. We vote too though.

    You seem very intense, very upset. What’s bugging you? Who are you? Why is this issue so important to you?

  • Charlie

    Stacy,

    Apparently, you and your brainwashed friends support right-wing political agendas like so-called ‘Personhood USA’ which attempts to circumvent Roe v.Wade (1973) even in circumstances like incest and rape. Unfortunately for you, various medical organizations have described such legislation attempts as harmful to patients and the practice of medicine…. particularly in cases of ectopic and related forms of pregnancy.
    Of course, the overwhelming focus on the issue of personhood for the fetus is an alibi for DEPRIVING WOMEN OF THEIR RIGHTS AS A PERSON.

    In 1971, in Reedv.Reed, the Supreme Court ruled that sexual discrimination violated the Equal Protection Clause under the 14th Amendment(1868) which granted rights to the newly freed black slaves.

    Margaret Sanger ALSO wrote that no woman can be free until she can choose consciously whether or not whether she will or will not be a mother. Denying the right to abortion from this perspective can be construed as a form of female oppression under a patrichial system perpetuating INequality of the sexes.

    So-called attempts to put Personhood Amendments on ballots have FAILED in every state where they have been attempted– the latest in ultra-conservative Mississippi…..

    Nor is the Vatican noted for its support of womens rights–especially the American constitutional/civil rights of a woman over her own body.
    The Vatican was the organization that instituted GHETTOS as a way of keeping Jews from interacting with Christians and, of course, the GHETTO in Rome did not go away until late in the 19th century…… as such, the Vatican is NOT exactly a so-called ‘bastillion’ of human rights……

    The very fact that the Vatican knew of and TRIED to cover up clerical sexual predatory abuse of children simply testifies to that fact.
    In fact, when the details of sexual abuse of minors became known at Penn State became known, the school’s president, its head coach, etc WERE FIRED….

    So please, don’t deny that you people are simply right wingers who want to DESTROY AMERICAN WOMENS RIGHTS OVER THEIR OWN BODIES. WHY NOT JUST BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR AIMS AND OBJECTIVES…..

  • http://www.theguidingstarproject.com Leah

    I appreciate the somewhat calmer demeanor so I will respond; although I still take great offense at the complete degradation of the smart, accomplished women posting here and of any unborn human in general. Also, I will not engage a person unwilling to listen or look more closely at the people they so eagerly defame and stereotype. It is the worst form of bigotry and hate speech and I simply will not tolerate it.

    This blog post was never meant to talk about the past failures of the Church, as perceived by anyone. We are a people of hope and continually move forward (we try to “get with the times” and not live in the wrongs of 400 years ago, much to the surprise of anyone who would gain their Church knowledge from popular media sources.)

    The entire point is that women in modern culture have been in no way well-served from the practices that you assume bring us liberation and empowerment. Birth control and abortion have completely destroyed the sacred bond that woman once had with her own body. Women no longer even understand the basics of their own fertility. You claim the Church has tried to keep women from knowing about how to prevent unwanted pregnancies, etc. That is just simply false. The Church pioneered medically based fertility studies, starting as early as the 1930s. While Margaret Sanger ran off with the notion that BC was the solution, the Church stepped back and saw the potential ramifications this would have our culture. Teh Church has not approved the use of BC or abortion, not because it wants to keep women barefoot and pregnant, but because it realized the great harm these practices bring to our own bodies, our relationships, our society. And the Church was, and is right about that. There is ample proof of the dangers and negative effects these practices has on women. Unfortunately, people like Historian/Charlie care so very little about women that they do not even listen when these women speak out about their hurt and pain.

    I am a Catholic woman writing this, but the common sense of natural fertility and working with our bodies instead of surpressing and harming them with artificial subsititutes is something that resonates with all women. It does not require you to be Catholic, or Muslim, or anything but a woman who wants to do what is best for your own body.

  • Charlie

    Leah,

    Like it or not, the Roman Church is a sexist organization, inside and out. You ladies may call yourselves whatever you wish to; believe what you wish, delude yourselves all you want to….

    There exist many smart, brilliant females who have had the guts to think for themselves and REJECT being dictated to by misogynist, female-hating sexist clerics.

    These are the SAME clerics WHO WOULD(DO) REJECT any SUGGESTIONS, WHATSOEVER that females be admitted to being priests/having a decision making role in decisions that supposedly affect females. I drily note that Karen Armstrong, a FORMER nun, has written NUMEROUS books concerning the origins of world religions and she isn’t exactly complimentary concerning the Vatican’s sexism towards smart, gutsy females!

    Margaret Sanger did make the comment that before a woman could be free to be herself, she MUST HAVE THE CHOICE TO DECIDE FOR HERSELF WHETHER OR NOT SHE wanted TO BE A MOTHER…Unfortunately, the misogynist, female-hating clerics who run the Roman Church just ASSUME that ALL females WANT to be broodmares and have brats year in and year out……..

    Apparently, what you don’t like is that American women have the right to decide for themselves whether or not to get married/have children, etc. Naturally, sexist misogynist males DON’T like it when so-called ‘uppity’ females decide that they DON’T want to ‘buy into’ the mythology fostered by Rome, etc. (Any more than duh massa liked it when the ‘upitty niggas decided that they didn’t want to work on de’ ol’ plantation’ after 1863-65.)

    One of the major issues is a woman’s right to choose for herself what kind of life SHE wants to live and/or how to achieve her goals and objectives….That MAY AND/OR MAY not involve being in a so-called ‘traditional relationship’ of the kind that misogynist, female hating clerics would ‘approve of!’

    Claims that having children is essential to a woman’s well being have essentially been discredited by medical research……

    How many women on welfare who have bought into the kinds of mythology advanced by the Roman Church are envious/jealous of females who have TOTALLY REJECTED the hypocrisy spewed by misogynist, female hating males! No wonder such females are jealous of highly successful, intelligent, articulate women who took the bit and ran with it!

    Having a brat every year is NOT exactly conducive to being an outstanding athlete, diplomat, etc…..

  • http://virtuouspla.net/ Stacy

    Sorry Charlie,

    “Like it or not, the Roman Church is a sexist organization, inside and out.”

    You were warned amply.

  • Maddie

    Charlie,

    It’s insulting and offensive to call children “brats”. It’s equally insulting, dare I say sexist, to imply that being “highly successful, intelligent, articulate women” etc etc is incompatible with being a parent.

    We all live in the world and all have the opportunity if we want to reject the idea(l)s we hold, so you should consider before saying we are brainwashed and deluded. How many times can we emphasise that we aren’t. You refusing to listen to our testimonies about our lives and feelings is surely exactly what you are accusing the Catholic Church of doing.

  • http://cegzz.blogspot.com Ceciia

    Indeed JP II did a major advance in refreshing the teachings of our beloved Church to all. I couldn’t be more happy in my life without his catechists of the Theology of the Body, which completed many doubts and fears I had. TRUTH will make us free.

    Let the people talk about what they don’t know and just bubble about what they think they know (news and tv is never the way to learn). If there is a day when men like the ones who left an “opinion” here, do get to understand the RESPECT that women have when they understand their meaning of being a feminine human, maybe that day we won’t hear anymore about pre-marital sex, or unwanted children, or porn…Until then, let them pretend the Church is wrong, let them eat air and let’s keep praying for them.

  • buckyinky

    As always, “the special attributes and contributions” of men are taken for granted. No apostolic letters for men qua men.

    While Micha Elyi’s comment got lost in the trollery, he raises a point that is at least worth considering. It seems as thought JPII wrote and spoke as he did about women under the assumption that the dignity of men is firmly established and well understood in our day. This is very far from what I have observed, however. There is no doubt women have faced particular injustices as women throughout history, and they will continue to face particular injustices in the future. These problems that women face, however, can only be understood in the context that men also face particular injustices and affronts to their dignity as men, have experienced these injustices throughout history, and will continue to experience them in the future. To divorce women’s suffering from the suffering that humanity experiences as a whole, and also to place great emphasis on the abilities of one sex divorced from the context of humanity as a whole, is necessarily to pit group against group, men against women, and women against men, because it is an imbalanced approach, as was the feminist movement from the very beginning, even the “First Wave.” Understandably Micha Elyi asks where is the counterbalancing encouragement to men? The feminist movement by its nature is blind in this respect. It cannot be salvaged because I believe as a movement, there was nothing good there to begin with.

  • buckyinky

    Regarding the “First Wave” of feminism, here is a blog post by a Christian lady who explores some of the ideas and lifestyles of the early feminists.

  • http://www.forgottenaltars.blogspot.com Nicole

    Hi Leah,

    I’m new to the blog and just found this post after reading your latest one on motherhood (beautiful, by the way). These questions weigh heavily on my mind all the time. I just finished reading Simone deBeauvoir’s “The Second Sex,” which was my first exposure to the older feminist thought, and am looking to read something that’s a bit less abrasive. In this post you mention that there are feminists who are more friendly to the Catholic way of seeing the world. Who are these feminists? I know that many of the early feminists (Susan B.Anthony comes to mind) were anti-abortion, but I’m not sure that that means they were off the hook. As of right now, I am questioning whether feminism can ever be “converted.” It seems to me that the movement was flawed from the beginning and that we should opt for something altogether different.

  • http://www.theguidingstarproject.com Leah

    Hello Nicole. Welcome!

    In the comment thread above, lost somewhere admist the craziness of Historian and Charlie I talked a bit about this exact thought. I am bummed the comment thread had to be hijacked away from this conversation, so I am very glad you have brought it back around to this question. Can and should be use “feminist” to describe our new movement?

    From my previous comment above, “This debate about using the word feminism has been raging in my own mind these past few years, especially since the most redeeming qualities of the feminist movement come from women who never even called themselves feminists. The word wasn’t even coined until well after WW2 and then was retroactively applied to the First Wave. Can, or should we even try to redefine “feminism” to fit our own cause? Or is there another route, another word to take up our banner with? I’ve been trying to decide this for a long time now.

    I am well aware of the wonderful piece by Dawn Eden, and have seriously been thinking about it for the past two years. It has served as an amazing point of perspective as I have undertaken my study of Feminism and the “Feminist Foremothers”. In my readings I have also come across many writings by the Suffragists that clearly are not in synch with the vision of love and the complementary relationship God intended for men and women and that JP2 spells out in his writings. Some quotes I have been able to explain away as circumstantial to the era, but others, such as many of Stanton’s later quotes are simply inexcusable. It does seem that much of the initial energy used to push women’s rights to the forefront was negative and resentful, and that tone has continued through with the Second Wave’s approach.

    However, the redeeming qualities of pro-family, pro-life Suffragists come shining through in my mind as I look at Margaret Sanger’s writings happening at roughly the same time, but with a completely different tone and mission to them. I am encouraged because I have seen the repeated refusal of the Suffragists to align themselves with her and the practices of birth control, abortion, etc. that now permeate that movement. I am able to excuse some of their bitterness towards men and the Church when I look back at what was available to them in terms of Church documents outlining female dignity and worth. There was very little coming from the Church to guide them in accepting their “feminine genius” or tell them how they could live that out in ways other than motherhood. Yet many of the Suffragists were able to take a strong stance in defense of “voluntary motherhood” and defend the ideas of natural fertility, childbirth, and breastfeeding, with trust that God made their bodies perfectly in tune with His will. And this was without the benefit of NFP instructors and a medical community that was pushing women into the hospital setting for birth because it was seen as “inherently dangerous”. There is something in their spirit of defending their feminine abilities that resonates with modern women who are becoming disillusioned with the negativity of the birth control movement.

    I think that even while the word “feminist” got its power from a movement that we can never try to call our own, there is a beauty in it that cuts to the heart of every women who wants to trust that God made her body exactly how He wanted it. There is no better word to describe who God made us to be. We are feminine; that is our purpose. We are made to feel the feminine genius and are made to function without the interference of the popular substitutions such as birth control. For a woman to accept this view of her body demands that others too must accept this view of her abilities. It is a call for men to “step it up” in their relationships with women as it removes the ability for men to simply use women for sexual pleasures without a sense of the true purpose of the act. It returns women to a feminine state that I think is the first step in the right direction. It is not the entire solution, but it begins to unwind the awful mess we’ve create for ouselves. There will be many more necessary steps that will come after we return women to place of love of their feminity (which in its very nature returns men to their rightful places of practicing true masculinity).

    As I mentioned in my original post, I do think JP2 knew what he meant when he called for a “New Feminism”. I think there is enough good within the First Wave that we can build upon and I am confident that with the right careful wording and outreach we can reach many of the disillusioned Second Wave to join the New Feminist movement. If we use a completely different name it will take decades for women to even understand this movement is for them and about them. And it will further entrench the two positions as juxtaposed against one another. We’ll never be free of Second Wave thinking unless we are able to overcome it and rewrite it with our own.”

  • http://www.theguidingstarproject.com Leah

    And in response to your first question, “Who are these feminists?” The New Feminist movement is just beginning to grow and includes such notables as Pia de Solenni, Alice Von Hildebrand, Marjorie Campbell, Janet Smith, Mary Ann Glendon. Although the movement is young and most have never heard of it as an official ideology, very recently it has begun to blossom and define it’s language. I am so proud to be part of this dawn. My own group, http://www.theguidingstarproject.com and another new site http://www.newfeminism.co/ are helping to bring supporters and members of this movement to the public eye. I hope you’ll join us in proclaiming yourself one of JP2’s New Feminists.

  • http://www.forgottenaltars.blogspot.com Nicole

    Thank you so much, Leah. Yes, I got lost somewhere in a rambling all-caps comment…:)

    I guess my question in its most basic form is this: What is the fundamental impulse that fueled the feminist movement? To my mind (and I am by no means well-read, just a preliminary observation) it is woman’s desire to do the same things as men (or at least to have the opportunity to do them). What underlies this is a fundamental tension, a competitive gap between man and woman. That is what worries me about adopting the feminist title.

    That is not to say that what you and women like you are doing is futile. I respect you for recognizing that a crisis in female identity is the root of many modern problems. I just wonder if aligning ourselves with a fundamentally flawed movement, even if only in name, is a wise move.

    Maybe the “new feminism” is “no feminism.”Back to basics, you know?

    Again, just a thought. If you’re interested in my other thoughts I’ve written a few blog posts about it here (http://forgottenaltars.blogspot.com/2012/04/identity-crisis-what-marys-fiat-means.html) and here (http://forgottenaltars.blogspot.com/2012/04/identity-crisis-brief-history-of.html)

    It’s great to hear from other ladies who are passionate about these things. God bless you and your work.

  • Abbie

    Wow, lots of haters here! I, for one, love this article. I would just like to say to the haters collectively, I am a Roman Catholic and a New Feminist. I disagree with any type of abortion because I know that it is the murder of a human being. Would you kill a toddler who was conceived in rape? If you could only see that it’s the same thing, it makes no difference how the child is conceived (though I am adamantly against rape and think it’s right up there with murder) I don’t care if the child has disabilities, disorders, or was an accident. That child is alive and has a human spirit. The epidemic of abortion is Genocide from this point of view, can’t you see why we are against it, this Genocide? Perhaps not, perhaps you will simply skim, become angry, and type an all caps response. But let me tell you that abortion dishonors womankind, birth control says woman have something wrong with them and that they should suppress their own nature to be “in control”. Oh, and also makes them really easy to objectify, none of that messy respect and dignity, no consequences for enjoying a woman for one night.
    I also don’t think woman should be confined to bridge club meetings and packing lunches, but I don’t think motherhood is wrong either. Also, you can be a mother and have a career, crazy huh? I’m glad woman’s rights have come about and that we have and are gaining equal rights. I’m not “brainwashed” and you really don’t sound so intelligent throwing a little temper tantrum and hurling insults without so much as trying to understand and respond to all of our comments. You seem bitter not intellectually superior and “Free”. It is we who are free. Hate on it, that’s the truth.

  • http://www.forgottenaltars.blogspot.com Nicole

    Abbie, hopefully that comment was not directed at me. I am by no means a “hater” and was just asking a few honest (and, I feel, important) questions.

  • http://www.theguidingstarproject.com Leah

    I certainly do not think that Abbie’s comment was directed at anyone interested in actual dialogue on this topic. I assume she was responding to some of the rambling, bumbling comments from months ago. Sadly the conversation was completely redirected at that time and ended up being instead as a fabulous display of the type of societal ignorance about Catholic teachings. Anyhow….

    Nicole, I have been pondering your last question for a few days now and think that I’m finally ready to respond. Thanks for pushing me to really think my positions through on this.

    I don’t think the question should really be about what fueled the origins of the feminist movement, but rather a question of who are we trying to reach now with our approach. Stay with me for a bit and I’ll explain.

    While it is important to recognize the origins of any movement you are trying to assimiliate into your identity, it is not a crucial element of what you are promoting yourself to be. The ideas and beliefs associated with a title can change and be redefined. This actually was driven home to me again this morning at Pentecost Mass when our priest talked about the original Jewish pentecost being the Celebration of Weeks, or the reception of the Law by the Jewish people when Moses brought the 10 Commandments down off Mt. Sinai. The birth of the Catholic Church was the New Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down and the people accepted and understood the New Law. Ok, while this is not the best example because the original understanding and celebration of Pentecost was a beautiful thing, it reminded me that for thousands of years Christians have converted pagan ideas and holidays into Christian celebrations to bring the unchurched to the Faith, much like how Pentecost changed. The origins of many pagan feasts had nothing beautiful about them, but the Church has been able to work with the comfort levels and the customs of the people to bring them to the Truth of the Faith. They have used names and symbols of their celebrations that are familiar to the people to help them move to a fuller understanding and to adopt a new set of practices.

    I think that is what we’re doing with Feminism and why JP2 specifically used that term. We are supposed to work as closely with the second wave feminists as possible to not only create a new movement, but to bring as many of them as possible into a fuller understanding of the Feminine Genius. We’re supposed to walk along with them on their journeys and help them embrace a whole new way of looking at womanhood/motherhood. We could use a completely new name to do this, but I honestly think that would add time and confusion. I believe also that by converting the old ideology into a new one, you eliminate that old ideology from continuing.

    I think this is really more a matter of marketing than anything else. It comes down to who we believe our target audience is. Many of us who call ourselves New Feminists feel our target is the old feminists and women on the bubble of that ideology. We’re not “preaching to the choir” of practicing Catholic women; we’re aiming for those who are most in danger of rejecting these Truths. Now many practicing Catholic women are not comfortable in the same camp as liberal Feminists and that is where I think we’re getting hung up on the title of the movement. There is a desire from two completely different groups of women to claim this view of womanhood. I can see two completely different approaches, or marketing tactics to bring this message to society. I favor the more secular approach, not because I do not think there is need in the Church, but I think we can reach more people and bring more to Truth by appealing to the old feminists.

    I want to see the old feminist women’s studies professors proclaiming the beauty of NFP, not warning their students about a new women’s movement that is opposed to feminism. I want them to “own” this New Feminist movement as a further development of their ideas. It does not, and never will, line up with the most extreme of liberal feminist principles. But I believe most of the women in that movement do not line up with them either. We can work to help those women adopt a fuller, healthier understanding of womanhood.

  • Liberated

    I honestly don’t understand how you can judge women so harshly based on her hair length and clothing. That is so disrespectful to women of any culture or religion. You have single-handedly insulted many good Catholic women with this statement. And what about those of us who’ve lost hair due to hormonal or biological problems? Must be wear wigs or get implants so that we can be more “naturally” feminine according to your rules?

    Short hair on men is only masculine in this culture and age because we have decided it is. It isn’t natural to cut hair. A man, left to natural law, would have long hair and long facial hair. Not groomed and without scents. That is natural. Any alternation to that is unnatural, man-made and requires man-made tools.

    A natural woman would have long hair, more facial hair, and body hair. Unbrushed and without scents. That is natural law.

    Why have you decided that a good Catholic woman is only allowed to let her hair grow but not anything else? Why have you decided that a man’s “natural” way of being is with short hair and sculpted or non-existant facial hair? None of this is anything but a sign of the times, not how “Godly” a woman is.

    The biggest problem is that you have mistaken what is “feminine” and “masculine” with what is “biologically male” and “biologically female”. They are not the same thing and to tell any woman that she must look a certain way in order to fit under your definition of religious (or even what a woman is) is as vicious, shallow and close-minded as it gets.

    My husband actually ADORES the way women look with short hair. You should also remember that it wasn’t many years ago that women who wore pants instead of skirts were deemed ungodly, man-hating and masculine. I’ll bet you wear pants, though, don’t you?

    Besides that, why be so mean to women based on their appearance? That’s nothing but childish cruelty.

  • http://www.theguidingstarproject.com Leah

    Liberated, this article is not meant in any way to box women into a certain fashion genre. I myself have never had hair past shoulder length and rocked a pixie-cut for a good many years. I like wearing a wide variety of clothes and easily might change from a long dress into a business pantsuit within hours.

    That is actually the beauty of New Feminism. JP2 helps us cut through all the externals of what we currently use to define “femininity” and helps us to understand it is the inborn traits that unite us as women, not our appearance. It doesn’t matter how a woman looks; by her very nature, she is called to mother humanity with her feminine gifts. Let’s not get tied up with the silly details and focus on getting along with one another; even those who look, act, and dress differently.

  • Liberated

    It was THIS article that attacked women for looking “masculine”, not me. Leah, I’m not sure why you turned this around on me as though I was getting caught up in “silly details.” The entire first part of this article attacks women for looking “manly” and I simply pointed out the hypocrisy and cruelty in it. It’s not silly that women are made to feel bad about the way they look, from any group in society. It is very serious. I simply don’t appreciate that a movement that claims to be the “True” word on femininity thinks it’s ok to point to a woman with a certain haircut and say “See? Look how unfeminine and unattractive she looks! This is what we are fighting against.” Again, this very article says it: “Short haircuts, pant suits, Hillary Clinton…..need I say more?? We think of women who are really very un-womanly and in fact seem to want to emulate masculine traits and eschew the very things that make them uniquely feminine.”

    Perhaps some women (and men) find pantsuits very attractive. And I say that they have that right without being ripped apart, I don’t care if you agree with their politics or not.

    You