After reading an article tonight on CNN about the Catholic nun who brought her “star power” to the DNC, I just couldn’t help but express my utter bewilderment by their use of the words “Catholic” and “Feminist” to describe this woman. When I hear the term Catholic Feminist, I see a completely different woman than Sr. Simone Campbell. I see the women of The New Feminism Movement. Such women as Pia De Solenni, Janet Smith, Dr. Angela Franks, Helen Avare JD at Women Speak for Themselves, Marjorie Campbell and all the contributors at New Feminism, the smart gals over at IuseNFP.com, Theresa Martin from New Feminism Rising, Jess Smith from NFPworksblog.com, Kristin Detloff at LivingtheSacrament.com, and the list could go on and on. The Catholic women I see who identify themselves as Feminists look nothing like Sr. Simone.
“And at a convention that is revolving largely around an alleged GOP-led “war on women,” Campbell is a poignant feminist symbol. She has stood up to the Vatican’s criticisms of American nuns for what the church says is their fixation on progressive advocacy at the expense of promoting socially conservative positions.
“We’re certainly oriented toward the needs of women and responding to their needs,” she told Colbert in June, defending the nuns against the Vatican. “If that’s radical, I guess we are.””
As her sister in Christ (albeit a few decades younger) I am not aiming to be malicious or degrade her for holding views different than mine, but I can’t help but draw attention to the very obvious facts that are missing from this story. She is failing to uphold the fundamental principles of being a faithful Catholic AND those of a true Feminist.
First of all, this woman who is claiming to love the Catholic Church through her lifelong vow of obedience as a professed religious is now willfully being disobedient to her Bishops and essentially saying, “I know where this bus should be going, let me drive.” The use of her religious vocation as a platform to confuse fellow Catholics is certainly disheartening and highlights exactly why the Vatican has been cracking down on these very politically powerful women. She even adds a little insult to her injury of defying the Bishops by quoting them in this short clip trying to make it seem as if her positions were supported overall by the USCCB. They are not.
Sr. Campbell video CNN
But the main thing that I notice differs between Sr. Simone and New Feminists is that we fundamentally view the needs of women differently. Sr. Simone says she is oriented towards the needs of women, which leaves me wondering what in the world does she think the rest of us need? Has she really considered the assumptions and views about women that are inherent in the Healthcare Law? Does she really believe that her sisters are so weak minded that we cannot learn to manage our own fertility? Does she believe as the current administration does that carcinogenic drugs are worthy of coverage to prevent our beautiful natural fertility, but that education to learn about this fertility in order to preserve it is not? Does she think that pregnancy and motherhood are some sort of disease that should be treated with preventative measures? Does she believe we need birth control to treat everything from acne to cramps and increase our risk of blood clots and stroke in the process of receiving this poor substitute for real medical research and treatment? How does she see forcing her fellow Catholics to pay for abortions with their tax dollars as maintaining her supposed pro-life stance? I simply cannot understand how she and I can both claim the same title of Catholic Feminists when we stand so opposed on our view of women.
There is indeed a new wave of Feminism rising. It looks nothing like Sr. Simone Campbell. It is a hopeful and positive view of women and their abilities and when the swells of its message reach the ears of mainstream America we will see those who would support the destruction of the feminine gifts relegated to the ranks of true misogynists.