Tuesday, December 20


No, actually, this isn't another gay post (despite what the image to the right may suggest).  Not really.  This is about how deep traditions of inequality drill down and how hard it is for good, smart, well-meaning folk to root them out.

I have a good friend who is both a catholic and an ordained pastor.  During a recent conversation, the Assumption was brought up and I mentioned my (admittedly heretical) opinion that I see it as distracting to the central message and that I didn't see the importance of it  and certainly don't see it as  worthy of pulling out the Infallible Stick.  My friend explained to me that it was exceptionally important , nay even vital as it proved that God accepted female flesh into heaven. 

I was gob-smacked. Here was a highly educated, articulate and deeply spiritual pastor telling me that girls needed 'extra proof' of the Divine's acceptance.

"What?  Why wouldn't God accept half of the world? That doesn't make any sense.", I say.

"That's because you weren't raised Catholic", she replied in a tone which explained the finality of the statement. 

Huh?  If you're Catholic, you're supposed to believe that God considers wimminz as second-class?  This would be the same 'Mary as Co-redemptrix' people, yes?  (One of these days, I should write up my Marian heresies, but I don't need that much hate today). Why would anyone need extra proof of Gods acceptance?

The answer appears is to be due to clerical leadership who were taught (and then taught others) a  Vatican I/Victorian model of femininity which is as out of whack with reality as the 'bra-burning feminazis'.  This isn't strictly a spiritual issue, but like so much of tradition, it has some roots in the Spiritual.  The whole 'weaker sex' idea harkens back to a time when you keep the woman barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.  And (in this particular instance), I wouldn't blame Vatican I for this precisely.  That sort of attitude was not out of line for a moderate, God-fearing gentleman of the 1860's.  And that's the trouble, as the Victorian mindset far outlasted the Victorian period.

Vatican II brought the Church from the 1860's to the 1960's and should be lauded for it.  But, since then, the Roman Church has slid back into a 1950's mindset where 'modern women' are allowed to wear shoes, as long as wear heels when they stay in the kitchen and raise the (minimum of 2) kids. Meanwhile, the rest of western society has gone into the 21st century, where a women can wear a T-shirt and jeans (undergarments optional) and sit next to a guy who carries his own purse satchel on the same subway which will take them to the same job which pays each of them the same amount.
This reminds me strongly of the reading from Galatians 3 :  "Through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

So, when I read about reproductive rights, female ordination, the 'male-female complementary model' or the non-straight 'issue', I keep coming back to this misguided notion that people are supposed to be a certain way (manly men, girly wimmins and obedient kids) or, at the very least, act a certain way which is to be dictated by an ecclesiastical authority composed of old, white guys who have never (officially) had sex (I've heard that altar boys don't count).

[note: post originally written 19 Oct, 2010]

No comments:

Post a Comment