Sunday, July 29, 2007

On Women. On Feminism

Catholic Mommas share a post on Christian Feminism.

It all started with a post on a recent homily, wherein "the blame for all the ills of society was placed squarely on the shoulders of women".


The post goes on to describe a positive view of feminism, of Christian feminism, recognizing the dignity of all, men and women.

And this view is supported with quotes from Pope John Paul II and from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

I openly admit to being a feminist, if feminism means supporting the influence and role of women; looking for equal rights and dignity ; acknowledging the role of each sex, differences and similarities.

Pope John Paul II spoke of the vocation of both women and men as following Christ and in following the example of Mary ~ the culminating point, the archetype, of the personal dignity of women, is indispensable. In her is perfectly realized what every human person, i.e. man and woman alike, should aspire to: To serve Him means to reign.

I am a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a worker.
But before all these things, I am first and foremost a person, a Christian, a Catholic.

When people look at me, do they see only my sex or only labels or only boxes in which they can squeeze my personality? Or do they see who I am and what I do? What sort of example am I of Christianity, regardless of my sex?

In the encyclical Redemptoris Mater the Pope JP2 lists these virtues :
It can thus be said that women, by looking to Mary, find in her the secret of living their femininity with dignity and of achieving their own true advancement. In the light of Mary, the Church sees in the face of women the reflection of a beauty which mirrors the loftiest sentiments of which the human heart is capable: the self-offering totality of love; the strength that is capable of bearing the greatest sorrows; limitless fidelity and tireless devotion to work; the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement.

A tall act to follow.

In my opinion, homilies similar to the homily described by Catholic Mommas (above), do a disservice to the Church, to women and to men, to families.

A family at church told me of the old Mr Ed TV show, apparently showing now on Foxtel . They described it as being a good example of a wife's obedience to her husband, not making any decisions herself but always looking towards her husband for his leadership. "The good old days - great for the kids to see!"

I don't think so.

That is not how it works in our home. We work things out together, as a Christian couple, giving in to each other's needs and special areas of interest. My dh feels it would be annoying for me to ask him to make decisions on everything - hey, he trusts my judgement as I trust his! We co-operate.

And we believe that this co-operation is a better example for our children.

To quote JP2 again ~ Sadly, a long history of sin has disturbed and continues to disturb God's original plan for the couple, for the male and the female, thus standing in the way of its complete fulfillment. We need to return to this plan, to proclaim it forcefully, so that women in particular—who have suffered more from its failure to be fulfilled—can finally give full expression to their womanhood and their dignity.
from Mary and Women


Mary Ann said...

I am a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a worker.
But before all these things, I am first and foremost a person, a Christian, a Catholic.

I would disagree here. I believe that I am a woman, and a woman is one type of person. Therefore, I am a woman before I am a person.

Leonie said...

So, you see yourself as a woman first? Interesting.

Leonie said...

2334 "In creating men 'male and female,' God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity."118 "Man is a person, man and woman equally so, since both were created in the image and likeness of the personal God."

From the CCC - we are persons, male and female.

Beate said...

Hi Leonie - I agree that we are people first - our personhood is an equal thing (or should be.) One couldn't be a woman without first being a person ;-) I'm prould to be a woman - love the fact that I carry another's soul inside my body, yet even in this country male and female are not viewed as equal in dignity.

The view of obedience as being a dormat makes me cringe - I prefer to view obedience as being in loving service to one another - something that goes both ways.

Beate said...

Oops - meant that I have baby here. Unconscious wishing I suppose. Great CCC quote. In the past few years I've come to love this wonderful source.

Leonie said...

I understand the unconscious wishing. :-)

I have been showing Anthony
( youngest, 11) how to look things up in the CCC recently - or in the Compendium. A good resource.