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View Diary: Shocking Catholic Misogyny (119 comments)

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  •  The very least appealing aspect of Daily Kos (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kvetchnrelease

    Is it's anti-Catholic bigotry.  Most religions have some odd beliefs especially when taken out of the context of their theological origins and in this case out of the context of not just Catholic but Italian language and culture.

    While I rarely attend Mass except with my 91 year old mother, I still identify as a Catholic and it is the religion of my extended family and heritage and that of literally billions of people around the world.  

    If these diatribes were directed against Jews or Muslims or Buddhists or whatever they'd be seen for what they are.  

    •  I think the Protestant fundamentalists are flogged (4+ / 0-)

      just as thoroughly here.  However, as with other issues, look upon it as an opportunity to educate and informed the misinformed.  Not everyone will listen but it has been my observation that there is a solid core of people here who are here to learn.

      Since many of us are on the outside looking in, then provide the information necessary (citations are nice) for us to form mature, informed opinions.  

      •  I'd need several PhDs in Theology (0+ / 0-)

        to explain the convoluted theology of the Catholic Church on the Church being the "bride of Christ" and all that flows from that including I expect the letter referred to here which is about 10 levels of theological separation from the original theology.  

        The letter I assume was translated from Italian, written for a Congregation with a provincial Italian understanding of the role of mother and priest and Church.  

        I could not begin to explain it and no one reading it here understands the context.  

        While I do believe this "bride of Christ" theology is at the core of so many seemingly wrong headed positions of the Church, it is precisely because of its deep and complicated theological history that it is so difficult for the Church to change or even evolve.  

        •  to employ an old term, every journey begins (0+ / 0-)

          with the first step;  even if the topic does not lend itself to explication within the context of a diary, there are online resources, such as the Catholic Encyclopedia (to pick one at random), which can either provide more information or more sources so the reader can go as deeply as he pleases into researching any given topic.  If this is done, the problem of the reader not understanding is incumbent upon the reader

        •  Believe me, you do not need "several Phds (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          colleen

          in theology and neither do I. I understand the context perfectly and so do the DailyKos readers which is why I omitted the commentary. Piacenza said what he meant to say.

          •  Now that's just silly. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            greenbell
            I understand the context perfectly and so do the DailyKos readers which is why I omitted the commentary. Piacenza said what he meant to say.
            I'm no defender of the Roman Catholic Church, but I do have a masters degree in theology—and quite honestly, if you aren't providing the theological background for the bishop's letter and the various theological concepts he references there, you're not providing the context. This letter occurs within a specific theological tradition and in a specific place, to a specific audience; that's an important aspect of the letter that must be accounted for or at the very least addressed.

            Additionally, to assume that Daily Kos readers would be familiar with that context is, I think, rather erroneous given that this community isn't one in which one expects one's readers a background in theological history and tradition.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 09:08:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I studied for a Masters in Theology, also. And (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SeaTurtle, my2petpeeves

              the remarks about the mother becoming the "daughter of the father" (i.e. her offspring's child) and offering her life for the son's ministry is NOT theology, it's baloney. And I think you underestimate the Daily Kos readers' ability to understand the worldview behind this kind of language. At least I'm sure women do.

              •  That's a pretty restrictive view of theology. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                greenbell, Kvetchnrelease
                And the remarks about the mother becoming the "daughter of the father" (i.e. her offspring's child) and offering her life for the son's ministry is NOT theology, it's baloney.
                But it does reflect theology—and it appeals not only to the Marian tradition which sees the son (Jesus) as superseding his mother (Mary), but also to Roman Catholic ecclesiology and the Roman Catholic vision of church as mother. There is a 1,500+ year history in Roman Catholic theology of viewing the priest and bishop as earthly authorities and guides akin to parents, and surely there are historical antecedents for this bishop's letter; you do your readers a disservice in providing none of this background.

                Quite honestly, while I'd be the last person to deny that the Roman Catholic Church has some major problems with gender, sexuality, and authoritarianism (one of the reasons I'm an Episcopalian), they at least have a significantly more developed view of the holy feminine than most Protestant churches.

                Making Mary the "Queen of Heaven" and "Mother of God" is theologically problematic to my view—not only from my Protestant background which grates against that elevation, but also from my justice and academic background which sees that she's still in a subordinate role to the all-male Godhead. (The error of the all-male Godhead is the wellspring of the Marian error within Roman Catholic theology, in my opinion.)

                But the Roman Catholics do give Mary a much more powerful role for a woman than that offered by any conservative Protestant theology I've ever seen, in which there is no notion of a woman having even symbolic power—just an all-male Godhead and the all-male clergy, apostles, and Scripture writers as being in authority.

                And I think you underestimate the Daily Kos readers' ability to understand the worldview behind this kind of language.
                As I mentioned above, there's a lot to unpack in this letter that has to do not only with the current conservative worldview of the Roman Catholic bishops and Pope, but also to do with Roman Catholic christology, ecclesiology, and epistemology, and over a millennium of the development of those theological traditions. I have an advanced degree on the topic, and even I'm a little uncomfortable writing about it from my own recollection at the office while the theology books I'd reference are all at home. There's a lot of context here that your average site reader really wouldn't have at hand, context that I think is necessary for truly understanding the letter and the worldview it reflects.

                "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                by JamesGG on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 10:03:52 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well now we come to the obvious analogy I wasn't (0+ / 0-)

                  willing to make in a DailyKos diary because that is very bad ecclesiology - I wouldn't honor it by calling it theology. The veiled Vatican-speak IS intimating that the relationship between priest and mother is the same as the relationship between Jesus and Mary. That is blasphemy. A priest is NOT Jesus. Neither are all mothers of priests the Mother of God.

                  •  Bad theology is still theology. (0+ / 0-)

                    I agree that it's terrible ecclesiology and perhaps blasphemy (though I tend to be a bit more circumspect in using that word)... but that doesn't mean it's not still a theological and ecclesiological viewpoint nonetheless, and one that has its roots in the Roman church's vision of itself and its relationship with its members. I think that background and context is essential to understanding this letter, regardless of the fact that it is bad theology.

                    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                    by JamesGG on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 11:18:36 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Well, good then. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Bronx59

                  I am so glad you put this into historical perspective for us.  The Roman Catholic tradition is just a teensy bit less misogynistic than the Protestant tradition.  I get it now.  

                  •  In some ways less, in other ways more. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Kvetchnrelease, Bronx59
                    The Roman Catholic tradition is just a teensy bit less misogynistic than the Protestant tradition.
                    That's not quite the case, nor did I say that it was the case.

                    In some ways it's less misogynistic than conservative Protestant theologies—in what I mentioned above, having some sense of the holy feminine, and with the undercurrents within the church of the mystical/charismatic tradition (which has allowed for the flourishing of women's voices like Teresa of Avila and Julian of Norwich) and the convent life (which, for whatever faults it has, represented for centuries one of the only available avenues for women outside of marriage and childbirth).

                    In other ways, though, it's more misogynistic. These ways are tied in part to the Roman church's hierarchical authoritarianism, which keeps the Roman church's views on gender and sexuality strictly within the limits of what the Pontiff of Rome and his bishops find acceptable—a contrast to Protestantism, which has schism as an avenue for evolution if nothing else. And the practice of priestly celibacy means that female lay leadership is much more restricted within the Roman church, as opposed to many Protestant churches where clergy wives take on an unofficial or even official, if limited, leadership role. (Many conservative Protestant churches and theologies—though not all by any means—also don't have any problem at all with birth control, something the Roman church remains firmly opposed to.)

                    Liberal/postmodern Protestantisms, of course, are getting over both of those hurdles by eliminating or softening much of the hierarchy, by reformulating our theological vision to de-gender the Godhead and create space for the holy feminine within our theology, and by ordaining women to serve in an official leadership capacity as members of the clergy.

                    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                    by JamesGG on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 11:16:56 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, I think most women do. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                colleen

                It's fun to see the apologists come out of the shadows , though.

    •  The very least appealing aspect (7+ / 0-)

      of Catholicism is it's contempt for and hatred of women and the deep hypocrisy of it's heirarchy. Some Catholics (John O'Brien of Catholics for Choice or the folks at  SNAP or the Bishops Accountability Project come to mind) acknowledge the hierarchy's failings.
      You, otoh, appear to be unable to do even that. Institutionalized contempt for over half the human race isn't an "odd belief", it's a foundational belief of the Catholic church and the glue that holds the coalition of 'faiths' that we call the religious right.

      •  I thought the purpose of Daily Kos was (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kvetchnrelease, Bronx59

        to elect more and better Democrats and not to engage in religious wars, open old wounds, incite hatred towards people of diverse faiths, and perpetuate misunderstandings, myths, stereotypes, and cultural biases.  

        You will find the vast majority of American Catholics on those states colored blue on your map.  We do not all think alike or share all the positions of the Vatican.  The most delightful discussion I've had in the last year was with my mother's 92 year old girl friend concerning the follies of the Church concerning women and she is a devout Catholic.  

        Many Catholics like my own family came to this country to escape religious hatred not to wallow in it.

        •  Electing Republicans is the goal of the Catholic (5+ / 0-)

          episcopate and the Vatican. (Where have you been during the last four presidential elections??) This is not about the Catholic laity.  No one that I know of is "inciting" anything except to expose the hyprocrisy and political agenda of the current Catholic leadership. (I'm a cradle Catholic, too.)

          •  Politics is as old as theology in the Church too (0+ / 0-)

            I'm just saying that you've pulled something out of its theological context to make a political point and it is particularly unhelpful for people who don't even have several years of Catholic education to have some clue of where this Cardinal might have been coming from.  

            It's not useful to rant against the Vatican.  It's going to take a St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas with divine intervention to unravel the theological mess.  

            Don't make it a religious battle.  It can't be won that way.  We have to fight the political fight and so far we are bringing at least half of American Catholics with us.  And Catholics will make their own views known through the collection plate.  

            •  Greenbell, you're making this something it surely (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              colleen

              is not. As a matter of fact, I studied for a Masters in Theology and no one is making this a "religious battle." It is about the underlying reason for the episcopate's political battles against contraception and abortion. And p.s. about the "collection plate." The Church in the U.S. is now funded primarily from the same donor source as the other "dark money" PACs and SuperPACs.

              •  Until the theological basis for these teachings (0+ / 0-)

                is reinterpreted the Church cannot change.  Now, there certainly are biases and political agendas that may be preventing the Vatican from taking a good look at the theology but just ranting on about sexist clergy isn't going to change anything.  What's the point?  

                There are one million Catholics in the 20 miles surrounding my home and I live in one of the most liberal Congressional districts in the country.   People listen to the Church and evaluate what they hear in the context of their personal experience and the Church isn't winning hearts and minds.  

                When I visit my Mom her priest is Sudanese and my uncle's is Kenyan.  They can't even write a letter to the mothers of priests around here unless they mail it to Africa.  

        •  It's very sad (0+ / 0-)
          not to engage in religious wars, open old wounds, incite hatred towards people of diverse faiths, and perpetuate misunderstandings, myths, stereotypes, and cultural biases.  
          that you would reduce the obvious, institutionalized misogyny of your hierarchy to a misunderstanding. Even sadder is that you find it necessary to pretend that anyone is criticizing the Catholic laity.
    •  Much of the criticism (8+ / 0-)

      of the Catholic church comes from Catholics / former Catholics.  We are people who spent years in the church, tried to follow its teachings, and suffered greatly because of it.

      I was born in 1953 - grew up Catholic - went to Catholic grade school, High School AND College.  I was an altar boy, a choir boy, my sister entered the convent right out of high school, and my mother taught at a private Catholic girls high school.  We were as Catholic as you can get!

      My dislike of the Catholic church is a little different than a right-wingers hatred of Islam, which they know little or nothing about.   I was a devout Catholic for the 1st 20 years of my life, and I suffered a great deal from crippling shame and guilt that nearly destroyed me.  I'm not criticizing the church out of ignorance - I know what it did to me, and to many others (especially of my generation).

      I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. -- Susan B. Anthony

      by bluestatesam on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:53:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Certainly NOT anti-Catholic faith and beliefs. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SeaTurtle, blueoasis, colleen

      Because Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have joined the Church to the world's plutocracy, Daily Kos diarists have noted the political hypocrisy of the hierarchs and how these same hierarchs devote their resources to electing Republicans in the US and pro-business governments around the world.

    •  greenbell, you are entitled to your own opinion (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      colleen

      but not your own facts.  

      Your comment makes absoutely no sense in response to the diary if you call it "anti catholic bigotry.'  You are the one who is being bigoted, because you are not discussing where you differ with the points of the diary, you are just saying 'this diary doesn't feel right to me and what I believe and what I believe is right and you are wrong, so dont' challenge what I believe.'  That's the same logic that the climate skeptics use.  'Don't bother us with facts.  We KNOW how things are.  Anything you say that challenges our sacrosanct beliefs is bigotry."

      Your comment reveals a vast ignorance of information of what has been happening in the rc xch for the past 50 years.  Do some research and come back and talk from at least a semi-informed basis.

      We Must DISARM THE NRA The next life you save may be ONE OF YOUR OWN!

      by SeaTurtle on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:21:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No I am not saying what I BELIEVE is right (0+ / 0-)

        I am saying that attacking a THEOLOGICAL letter sent to a foreign religious congregation which has a deeply rooted religious and cultural set of FAITH based BELIEFS because of an American POLITICAL agenda can easily turn into diatribes of religious bigotry.  What I mainly hear on this thread are variations of "I hate the Catholic Church".   There's nothing helpful in that.  And this is certainly not the first of these "I hate the Catholic Church" threads.  

        The letter was written to mothers about their religious faith and the faith of their sons who had become priests.  Unless you are an Italian mother whose son has chosen the life of a priest, the letter was not meant for you.  You don't have to understand it.  If you want to understand it, you're going to have to read a lot of theology.  You still won't agree with it, but you might then understand the context.  

        •  OK, greenbell, don't have much time, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          colleen

          but let's begin with your education; I'll continue when I get home from work tonight, but think about this in the meanwhile.

          Your first sentences is so riddled in inaccuracies and misunderstandings and projections that is it hard to unravel.

          I am saying that attacking a THEOLOGICAL letter sent to a foreign religious congregation which has a deeply rooted religious and cultural set of FAITH based BELIEFS because of an American POLITICAL agenda can easily turn into diatribes of religious bigotry
          1.  This is NOT a theological letter.  Look up the difference between PASTORAL AND THEOLOGICAL.  It was a pastoral letter.  Any priest can put out a letter for the edification of the recipients.

          2.  A 'theological' letter or argument has a theory behind it which has been worked out by theologians, who, btw, have differing viewpoints.  So, even if this guy was writing about some THEOLOGICAL OPINIONS, there is no weight of law, so there is no reason for serious consideration.

          3.  This is this guys INTERPRETATION of their rc xch's PHILOSOPHY about women, mothers, sons, priests.  

          4.  MOST IMPORTANTLY, AND THE MAIN POINT, AS I UNDERSTAND IT FROM BETTY'S DIARY,

          THIS LETTER REPRESENTS CLERICAL/VATICAN ATTITUDES AND CULTURE TOWARDS WOMEN that they are not even trying to hide their sexism anymore!

          5.  This letter is like the 47% videos of Romney.  It shows what the Vatican clergy really think and feel.

          You are so wrong about the rest of it as well.

          Will continue......

          You are closing your ears and screaming while anyone is trying to reach you, repeatedly saying "

          "This is an I hate the Church thread."
           If you really think so, leave.

          btw, who are you to judge how much theology I have read?  How arrogant and once again ignorant of you.

          We Must DISARM THE NRA The next life you save may be ONE OF YOUR OWN!

          by SeaTurtle on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 10:39:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I will leave (0+ / 0-)

            I don't need you trashing my education any more than I need you trashing my faith.  

            Of course it his interpretation of theology.  That is my point.  He is writing as an Italian cleric to his religious flock.

            You all are misusing this for political purposes and it extremely self-defeating.  

            Although I do not believe it was Betty's intention I find this thread extremely bigoted and full of hate towards people of faith mocking their beliefs and ridiculing their religion.  

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