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For anyone who thinks that the Catholic bishops’ opposition to contraception is about “religious freedom,” or that their assaults on women’s healthcare and reproductive rights is about zygotes, embryos or fetuses, a letter written by Italian Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Prefect for the Vatican Congregation of the Clergy, illustrates that these actions are products of the profound misogyny of the leaders of the Catholic Church, the subservient role of women as primarily child-bearers.

Piacenza’s open letter to mothers of priests is dated January 1, 2013. I think the following quote is self-explanatory without further commentary.

…the Church's two thousand years of experience teaches us that when a man is ordained a priest, his mother ‘receives’ him in an a completely new and unexpected way; so much so that she is called to see in the fruit of her own womb a ‘father’ who by God's will is called to generate and accompany a multitude of brothers and sisters to eternal life. Every mother of a priest mysteriously becomes a ‘daughter of her son.’ Towards him, she may therefore also exercise a new motherhood through the discreet yet extremely efficacious and inestimably precious closeness of prayer, and by offering of her own life for the ministry of her son.

The entire letter is available here.

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Comment Preferences

  •  you are watching a patriarchial system in meltdown (16+ / 0-)

    The early church encouraged women and had several women we know of in influential positions.  It was the later church, with an emphasis on Paul, which stripped women of any leadership roles and relegated them to second class celebrants.

    It is interesting the church is experiencing most of its growth in Africa and South America while in the European nations it has become almost a quaint relic.  Also interesting is the fusion of Christianity and African religions (which we had already seen in Haiti with Voudon for example) with such outrages now as "witch children" in Nigeria and active literal witch hunters in other countries

    If you have a few spare shekels, may I suggest this:
    http://www.steppingstonesnigeria.org/...  

  •  What more can you expect by... (9+ / 0-)

    a bunch of grown men playing dress up.  

    "A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." Ralph Waldo Emerson

    by Yo Bubba on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 06:45:12 AM PST

  •  Whatever he was smoking (8+ / 0-)

    I don't want any. Seriously, what the hell does this mean?

    Born in Oklahoma Raised in Ohio Escaped to Meechigan!!!

    by MI Sooner on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 06:50:09 AM PST

    •  It means that the son who becomes a priest (11+ / 0-)

      is now superior to his mother (daughter of her son) and that her own life is "offered" in service to the "ministry of her son."

      •  is this part of the "logic" which led to a woman (7+ / 0-)

        in Ireland dying from a toxic pregnancy because she could not have a therapeutic abortion?  Is the logic that women are only vessels while males are the stuff of which God's ministers are made so that, by preventing abortions, it tries to ensure that God will continue to have ministers?  After all if women are only containers, then surely containers are disposable?

        Sorry but some of Catholic doctrine is arcane and difficult for me to wrap my head around

      •  their arrogance is exceeded only by the ignorance (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis, Cassandra Waites

        talking about living in a twisted bubble, where logic is replaced by 'xch reasoning,' and if it is contradicted by what is commonly held elsewhere, well the xch must be right.  Bubble, bubble, bubble...

        He says in that letter:

        Even though the separation between a mother and her son is more "radical than any other separation,"
        Ahem, Freud, psychologists, writers of all stripes through a long history have recognized that in fact the bond between a 'mother and son', 'daughter and father' is very very close.

        In their fantasies.  They are caught up in a world of delusion and perpetrate a cult.  There may have been some good in the Vat 2 xch, but the new Opus Dei rendition, has seriously 'jumped the shark.'

        They are effin idiots.  Unfortunately who hold vast wealth and power.  And their cultlike followers unfortunately are still in their grasp.

        I really don't think any sane person can continue to call themselves an rc, unless they do their part to speak out against Rome.  And even then I doubt that their membership isn't just tacitly condoning what these criminals perpetrate.

        The people who stay in the rc xch, say that they are staying
        for community and sacrament. And to reform it from within.  Or at least that is what they have said to me.

        However, I believe a tipping point has been reached.  The system has become so utterly corrupt, with its prime goal being power and money (preservation and making of..... see Vatican finances, if you doubt.)  And obedience to the hierarchy and their political and cultural views is demanded without question.  This is cult like behavior.

        This structure is so decayed that I believe it can't be rebuilt.  People should leave and reject the threats of sin, hell, excommunication, etc in the faces of these religious fraudsters, and find the freedom to disobey them and start anew.  Even Hans Kung is encouraging parishioners to take a stand against Rome, and essentially take back the xch.

        This current church is not worth saving, and more importantly, in my opinion, in its current form is absolutely impossible to be saved.

        Time that the rc xch started really believing in their central tenet of the 'death and resurrection' and let all this horrid decay die and welcome a breath of new life.

        Thanks as always, Betty!

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

        by SeaTurtle on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:15:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah, not shocked (10+ / 0-)

    at all. I'm no biblical scholar but from what I've read in the bible, women weren't really thought of too highly nor treated all that well. A work of fiction we really shouldn't try to emulate imo.

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 06:53:40 AM PST

  •  What a crock. Thanking mothers is misogyny? (3+ / 0-)

    Venerating a priests mother on a holy day honoring Mary is not expressing hatred towards women.

    In a similar way, the entire Church looks with admiration and deep gratitude upon all mothers of priests and of those who, having received this lofty vocation, have embarked upon the path of formation. It is therefore with deep joy that I address myself to them...Therefore, with all my heart I wish to encourage and offer special thanks to all mothers of priests and seminarians - and along with them to all consecrated and lay women who have received (perhaps through the invitation addressed to them during the Year of the Priest) the gift of spiritual motherhood towards those who are called to priestly ministry. By offering their lives, their prayers, their sufferings and their hardships as well as their joys for the fidelity and sanctification of God’s ministers, they have come to share in a special way in the motherhood of Holy Church, whose model and fulfillment is found in the divine maternity of Mary Most Holy.
    http://www.zenit.org/...

    "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

    by Kvetchnrelease on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 06:59:57 AM PST

  •  Yeah, that river they swam a few miles back? (8+ / 0-)

    That would have been the Rubicon.

    Catholicism has become a sad, degraded relic of its former glory, still convinced that it can dictate policy to the princes of the world.

    Yes, They still think we have princes.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:00:07 AM PST

  •  These guys are so sexually creepy (10+ / 0-)

    . . . it gives me hives.

    I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

    by CherryTheTart on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:01:18 AM PST

  •  The credibility of 70-year-old virgins (6+ / 0-)

    on the sanctity of motherhood, or the rightful role of mothers, is, mercifully widely contested.

    Thanks for the diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:02:10 AM PST

    •  depending upon your definition of virgin (5+ / 0-)

      since several popes did pass their office to their sons

      •  Not only anti-sex, but hypocritical, too. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bumbi, glorificus, Bronx59

        That's the Catholic Church, in spades. Gotta love it.

        While we're on the subject of Catholic FAIL, some well-funded group (to do with these nuts, I think) has been putting up big "pro-life" billboards in poor minority neighborhoods in the city where I live. I have enjoyed seeing these things defaced, but even more than that, I have enjoyed the big pictures of BLUE-EYED, PINK-CHEEKED infants. You know, this is who will die if mommy has an abortion. Yeah, sure. Spend your bucks. That's the way to reel 'em in.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:39:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Richard Sipe, who has studied celebacy in the (4+ / 0-)

        Catholic priesthood, states that the majority do not remain virgins after being ordained.

        •  of course, the recent sea change by the Church (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          karmsy, Cassandra Waites, Bronx59

          to have married priests as recent converts while enforcing the old celibacy rules on their own priests presents a certain theological conundrum

        •  Strictly speaking, many also argue (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          karmsy

          that the majority of married people also have sex with others after they have been married.  Priests' violations of celibacy are equivalent flaws.

          A Catholic priest's vow of celibacy is a vow to refrain from marriage, not specifically a vow to not have sex.  (The colloquial understanding of the word is not the same thing that priests mean during their ordination.) The latter is just inferred from the former, but priests, like everyone else, often fall short of the ideal.  Nothing new there.  

          Also, for all we know, the Pope isn't a virgin.  Virginity is not something taken into account when someone becomes a pope or a priest.  A declaration to attempt to lead a certain life with certain obligations and sacrifices is.

  •  History Channel Bible Episodes (6+ / 0-)

    I've seen a few episodes on the History Channel where it's  described how Catholic bishops ripped out of the Bible any story showing women in a strong, leadership role.

    This latest episode of misogyny is nothing new. It's been going on for over a thousand years.

    Brings to mind one of my favorite lines that gets me into trouble. After the fall of the Soviet Union, I would remark:  

    Now we can focus on the true enslaver of man (and woman) kind over the last millenia: the Roman Catholic Church.  

  •  The only time I am shocked by Catholic Mysogeny (11+ / 0-)

    Is when there is a lack of it.  This is the group that blamed women for Original Sin.

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:08:06 AM PST

  •  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.  

  •  what is shocking about it? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bumbi, ExStr8, enhydra lutris

    they've been this way for centuries

    "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:25:52 AM PST

  •  Where's the beef? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kvetchnrelease

    I'm sure you can find better, but if this is an example of Catholic misogyny, it would appear that the Catholic Church is among the least misogynous religious organizations there must be.  I mean, seriously?  A letter extolling and expressing gratitude for the sacrifice of mothers on a feast day of Mary? Where's the beef, here? I don't see it.

    •  Where's the letter to priests' fathers telling (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SeaTurtle, Cassandra Waites

      them that they are now "sons of their sons" and telling them to devote their lives to their sons' ministry?

      •  Maybe wait for St. Joseph's feast (0+ / 0-)

        day for that?  Instead of a holiday celebrating Mary, the mother of God?

        •  Yeah, I'll be holding my breath waiting for a (0+ / 0-)

          letter similarly demeaning to fathers.

          •  Well, let's look at that then (0+ / 0-)

            The whole character of Joseph is pretty demeaning to popular and historical social constructions of masculinity, and pretty much always has been.  Joseph has been a frequent slur for a cuckold throughout history, for example.  Yet Joseph is held up as the example of fatherhood for men to emulate by the Catholic Church.

            Self-sacrifice is the highest expression of love in the tradition of that faith.  That's doesn't seem like a bad thing, regardless of one's beliefs. And there is nothing wrong, per se, of thanking people for actually living up to that.  Not in women and not in men.  

            Are there incidences of misogyny in the Catholic Church?  Yes, of course.  But this just doesn't seem like one of them, at least how you're portraying it.  

            •  But Joseph is never portrayed as being the child (0+ / 0-)

              of Jesus nor is he portrayed as offering his life in service of Jesus' ministry. Self-sacrifice is commendable but mothers of priests can accomplish this in other ways other than in service to their son's ministry.

              •  That's really stretching it. (0+ / 0-)

                The Church is full of accounts and teachings of Joseph and everyone else offering their lives in service to Jesus and to other people.  Or of portrayals as children or sheep, even.  Even Jesus himself is portrayed as such as a character.  Service and submission to a life of servitude and rejection of power are the central tenets of the faith.  Just like submission is the central tenet of Islam, for example, and service and humility are usually upheld as moral virtues in even secular society, regardless of gender.

                I think there are many places you can find unequal expectations for, and exclusions of, women in the Catholic Church.  But this letter, by itself, just isn't it.  What else does this offending Cardinal say at other times, for example?  That might help.

    •  where's the beef? I would say "where's your (0+ / 0-)

      knowledge?"

      You lack the facts to come the conclusions you have so confidently arrived at.  And you reveal just how vast your ignorance is both about religion and politics:

      it would appear that the Catholic Church is among the least misogynous religious organizations there must be
      Remember the birth control battles recently?  

      Do yourself a favor and think and speak only after you have some knowledge upon which to base what you say.

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

      by SeaTurtle on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:25:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry turtle, but (0+ / 0-)

        I'm doubling down on my statement after your comment.  Maybe you should read it first, as in the modifying dependent clause beginning with "if" plus the independent clause, if you ever learned that.

        If birth control beliefs were evidence of misogyny, and I agree that a case can be made that they are, then that is what should have been the focus of diary, not a rather innocuous letter about gratitude for maternal sacrifices.  Rather non-sequitur, it seems.  Just because some things are evidence of misogyny in an organization doesn't mean you can interpret everything that way.

        •  I am interpreting the Church's political fight (3+ / 0-)

          against contraception and abortion as being based on misogyny in the clergy. Otherwise, they would go about electing Republicans and other plutocrats around the world using different campaign themes.

          •  I think there is a good argument you (0+ / 0-)

            can make for that, as you have before.  I think a fair  ethnographer wouldn't call it misogyny so much as a failure on the part of an internally supporting male hierarchy to admit it might lack feminine perspective on things, but it's a point that can be made, I agree.

            I just don't see this letter speaking to that point in any way other than merely tangential.  On one of several feast days extolling motherhood, in a faith tradition that upholds self-sacrifice as identical to love, a priest wrote a letter thanking mothers of priests.  Not much more to it than that unless a reader is being deliberately obtuse in his or her interpretation of it.

            •  Progressive Catholics and women in general know (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SeaTurtle

              that there is nothing in their religion which views mothers as children if their offspring is a priest nor is there anything in their religion which presumes that a mother will want to offer her life to her son's ministry. You, of course, are perfectly free to deny the obvious.

  •  Likening the mother's of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kvetchnrelease

    priests to Mary, The Mother of God, through devine providence is not an insult or misogynistic.

    The exclusion of females to priesthood is.

    In a manner the church has more respect for a biological mother than a father. The womb is the temple of life, and the church sees to protect that, as miraculous. That's agreeable or disagreeable, and comes into self conflict with free will when the church attempts to influence secular law.

    •  This is "respect" for biological mothers, that (5+ / 0-)

      their lives should be defined and "offered" by giving birth to a priest who is now their superior? Obviously, you are not a female.

      •  Flannery O'Connor had it right: what you demand (0+ / 0-)
        is that the Church put the kingdom of heaven on earth right here now.Christ was crucified on earth and the Church is crucified by all of us, by her members most particularly, because she is a church of sinners. Christ never said that the Church would be operated in a sinless or intelligent way, but that it would not teach error. This does not mean that each and every priest won't teach error, but that the whole Church speaking through the Pope will not teach errors in matters of faith. The Church is founded on Peter who denied Christ three times and couldn't walk on the water by himself. You are expecting his successors to walk on the water."

        "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

        by Kvetchnrelease on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:56:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Oop. There it is. (0+ / 0-)

      They're just protecting our sacred wombs.  And, and it's not misogynistic if divine providence is involved; it's just that our patriarchal betters have to protect us from ourselves by elevating our submissive biological role to something "sacred".  

  •  With 2000 years of experiencing the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris

    institution called the Roman Catholic Church and all its murder, plunder, misogyny and corruption, one would think the world would finally wake up and yank all semblence of respect and tolerance away from it.  I still do not in any way understand why a thinking person would give this institution their money, their time or their support.  

    If you want to believe all of its teachings (which is another whole discussion) you can certainly do that without belonging to it.

  •  Thanks for this diary. (0+ / 0-)

    Misogyny is par for the course for Catholicism, like with most other religions, I'm afraid. It would be impossible to do away with these elements in modern society without removing and pulling out religion and culture by its very roots and start from scratch, which is an infinitely depressing thought.

  •  There is nothing shocking about Catholic Misogyny. (0+ / 0-)

    That's standard operating procedure.

    Also Nazi popes. Literally.

    •  What is shocking is the blatant and obvious (0+ / 0-)

      misogyny in this letter. Catholic hierarchs obfuscate and dance around the subject and are never so direct.

      •  Well, by the sound of half the comments (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SeaTurtle

        here, the Catholic hierarchs have done a brilliant job of giving cover to their apologists.  Over and over, in these comments, there is the pat, pat, pat on the heads of women.

        Why are we taking this out of context? Why don't we just try to understand a little harder?  Why are we so overly sensitive about the subject of misogyny?  Why are we not so, so happy that the church holds our wombs in sacred esteem?  Why do we have to be so vocal and pick on the defenseless hierarchy?  If we would just behave and get with the program, we would be ... (fill in the blank with appropriate adjective like happy, enlightened, eternally blessed, etc).  That last one is a favorite of the Mormon church, too.

        If a person finds meaning in a faith tradition and lives a meaningful life because of it, I can applaud that and even respect it.  But that doesn't mean I shouldn't be vocal when I disagree with that faith tradition's teachings, especially when I am offended by them.

        Thank you for the post.  It is thought provoking.

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