THE RECOVERING DISSIDENT CATHOLIC
A FORMER CINO (CATHOLIC IN NAME ONLY) GRADUALLY LEARNS AND ACCEPTS THE WHOLE MAGISTERIUM
TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
SEPTEMBER 30, 2011
Iím re-reading Donna Steichenís book Ungodly Rage: The Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism. I realized, recently, that this book was originally published in 1991 Ė right when I was an undergrad
in a Catholic womenís college and focusing on Feminist Theology as part of my Theology minor. Iím not kidding.
It also recently occurred to me that it is too bad that I did not read Steichenís book at the time it was published.
Instead, I was reading Starhawk, Fiorenza and Ruether (the ďtrinityĒ) along with the latest from Timmerman (who
was one of my profs, btw), Daly, Kyung, Hellwig. I read them because their books were required or optional reading
for courses. In other words; they were the theology textbooks.
I never had the Catechism as a required text in any Theology
courses. I had the Catholic Bible (NAB) as a required text in one Theology class. I recall doing a lot of exercises
in the hermaneutic of suspicion against Biblical texts and encouraged to find evidence in Scripture that the Church
put women down. Did I mention this was (still is) a nominally Catholic college?
Timmerman is a local author and, for that matter, so was Steichen at the time Ungodly
Rage was published. You would think she wouldíve had a place at the table in the
Theology program reading. She has most of the things the school loved going for her: Woman (check), Theologian
(check) Catholic (check) Magisterium (check). It was the check box in the Magisterium column that ensured sheíd
never get an invite to speak at the commencement ceremonies much less have her book read in a Theology class. I
read Timmermanís books in Timmermanís class. I doubt Steichen would ever be invited to teach a course there so
she could push her own agenda, uh, work.
It occurs to me to reflect and wonder, with the passing of 20 years, that the purpose of a liberal arts education
is to create a well-informed, balanced, knowledgeable person. I ask myself now: where was the balance? Are you
really well-informed and knowledgeable when you only know one viewpoint? When your entire program is built upon
a theory of reactionism (i.e. we are reacting against something) and you present little to nothing of the other
side of the argument; is that education or indoctrination?
Some would have us believe that the changes that ensued in Catholic education after the Land O Lakes Conference
were put in place to create well-informed, balanced and knowledgeable people because the belief was that the Catholic
school systems did not. Catholic schools only presented one point of view and that was wrong. Catholic schools
did not educate, they indoctrinated. To which I say: Yeah, duh, read the mission and affiliation statements of
the CATHOLIC institution! If you haven't, don't feel too bad, no President of the College I attended, since Mother
Antonia has read it either - except to deconstruct it.
Catholic academics put in place a system of teaching that was completely reactive and without balance. Somewhere
along the line, maybe day one, Catholics no longer had the core teachings to compare the new information to. Any
illusion that the new Catholic academia was balanced was removed. I donít know about you, but I sure didnít learn
about Catholicism in CCD. I went in to Catholic college as ignorant as any Southern Baptist regarding what Catholicism
is or should be.
So, I fell for it. I went to feminist Catholic conferences (I was present at the first two Re-Imagining conferences),
I led workgroups to change the patriarchal structure of the Church (you can see I failed!), I did rituals that
even then I could barely keep a straight face thru. I dabbled in the occult.
I believed, as many feminists do, that if you are not with us you are not enlightened to the truth yet. Women who
are not feminist activists have been nullified by the dominant patriarchal culture prevalent in the Catholic Church
and in society. We, feminists, have to educate them so the light of (our) truth shines upon them and they are as
angry as we are.
Feminists are really a sour and angry bunch. Ever been to a feminist party? Ever been to one where everyone is
laughing and joking and having a good time? Me neither.
Somewhere along the line when I started teaching myself by reading books that I was discouraged from reading in
College (well, not discouraged, they just were never mentioned) I realized that most of Feminist Theology is offensive
to anyone: who has ever believed that being as God made you is something you can live with, who has, or has loved
a family, who sacrifices themselves for others, who doesnít think the natural world is God, who is a man.
Feminist Theologians will take what I listed above and turn it around. Iíll wait for them to comment or send me
an email Ė because they will.
Speaking of turning things around. An event is happening this weekend that I find interesting. Interesting because
it is a concept the feminist theologians love: re-claiming a term or an attitude and making it over. It is called:
There are have been Slut Walks around the country. This weekend the Sluts will parade thru Minneapolis near the
river (Closing ceremonies will be, I kid you not, at Father Hennepin Bluffs Park. When Fr. Hennepin "discovered"
St. Anthony Falls I wonder if he ever envisioned this day?!). The point of Slut Walk is, supposedly, to empower
women by making a statement that says: I can dress like a prostitute and if some guy asks if Iím open for business
I can slap him for his presumption based upon my appearance. How many guys are going to show up with cameras and
complete lack of "custody of the eyes?" You know there will be. Is this a "victory" for either
gender? Two dummies making a point?
You can tell Iím on board with the Slut's position, right?
In any case, I find it curious that feminists worked so hard for decades to empower women to think they were more
than just their gender (the implication being that gender is a handicap to overcome) and the ultra-femmes worked
so hard to counter the feminists by making it ok to look like a woman, that here is an event that is almost post-feminist,
post-counter-feminist mashup resulting in women dressing like female prostitutes engaged in a protest against victimization
based upon appearance. Got all that?
No word on if the working girls in downtown Minneapolis will now have to adopt long corduroy jumpers with high-necked
and long sleeved white blouses and saddle shoes in order to differentiate themselves from the Sluts.
POSTED BY CATHY_OF_ALEX AT 9/30/2011 06:06:00 PM
Blogger Adrienne said...
Right now I can't think of anything very intelligent to say other than, "Excellent, Cathy."
SEPTEMBER 30, 2011 7:29 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I could have written this article (but not as well as you have). Thank
you for posting it, and I'm really glad both of us saw through it all at last. Thanks be to God.
OCTOBER 02, 2011 12:59 AM
Blogger ignorant redneck said...
This is so weird! I actually work for one of the women who helped gather the data for "Ungodly Rage",
by getting into conferences and workshops--she lent me the book to read, BTW. She said to get into one, whe had
to flirt with the lady on the desk, because it was for lesbians only.
Sister Gabriel Uhline is someone I once knew, before she was sister--she's mentioned in the book--and she took
every opportunity to explain to me that Cardinal Krol was a shallow social climber. She also worked hard to get
me to see that being Catholic was a curse to be born while working to make it less like the Church I joined.
This stuff basicly drove me fromt he Church--until i realized that there was a CCC, and that what I thought the
Church taught, and then got taught--largely by nuns--wasn't so, Was So.
OCTOBER 02, 2011 8:21 PM
Anonymous Cathy C said...
My brother introduced me to your blog and I am so glad you are writing this perspective. It sounds like my experience.
Now as a grown up former feminist, I have a daughter in a Catholic college who is fully engaged in the current
feminista-lesbian rhetoric including the Slut Walk! What do you know about Slut Shaming? That was a new term for
me! Anyway--keep on writing. It gives me hope that my daughter will come back to sanity soon.
OCTOBER 10, 2011 10:19 PM
Anonymous Micha Elyi said...
Slut Walk, meet Wolf Whistle.
OCTOBER 17, 2011 3:02 AM
Version: 25th October 2018