ACW Review Easter 1992
UNGODLY RAGE. The hidden face of Catholic feminism. by Donna Steichen.
Published by Ignatius Press. 420pp.
...feminists must assume that Scripture is not the word of God...is
not a container of revelation...
...the myth of the Father God ensured a world of dominance and dependence.
...(I have) gotten over being 'God oriented' and come to live in
the areas of mysticism and feminism.
These startling remarks, all made by nuns, were recorded by Donna
Steichen, a Catholic journalist and teacher, in the course of her
extensive research into the hidden face of Catholic feminism. She
is writing of the American scene, but it is not wise for us to be
complacent. Already we are encountering in workshops and conferences,
books and pamphlets, concepts such as ''centering'',''weaving'', ''empowering'',
''bonding'', ''self-awareness'', ''rebirthing'' and ''creation spirituality''.
The 'ungodly rage' of the title of this book refers to the smouldering
anger that radical Catholic feminists feel towards religious authority
which they seek to overthrow at all costs.
It is most disturbing to read of nuns and influential Catholic laywomen
who turn for spiritual guidance to such people as Fr Matthew Fox (who
was silenced by Rome and by his order, the Dominicans) and Starhawk
(an ex nun and now professed witch) who works closely with him at
his Institute for Culture and Creation Spirituality which he founded
in 1977. They also turn to feminist theologians such as Rosemary Radford
Ruether (the mother of Woman-Church) and Mary Hunt who says feminists
hope for an ''end to the ordained priesthood and the emergence of
the Church without hierarchy.''
Donna Steichen describes strange liturgies that are devised to stress
that there is no need for outside authority as ''divinity is within
you''. Describing these sessions as ''another way of worshipping''
they seek to involve all Catholics in their activities. Fr Fox says
that ''we're not teaching young people about sexuality as mysticism''.
Worship should be ''an oasis where the child can emerge from the adults''.
It should be about ''getting our hearts together - getting our bodies
together''...''to redeem worship we must get people to dance to drums
and take off their clothes in a sweat lodge''. As Donna Steichen says
the young have drumbeats, nakedness and sexual freedom in excess.
What they do not have are answers to the perennial human questions
''Who made me? and ''Why did God make me?''
Fr Fox sees personal sin as a source of growth and calls on his followers
to find God in complete sexual freedom. ''The Cosmic Christ celebrates
sexual diversity'' he tells his audiences. Lesbianism, homosexual
activity, abortion and even incest are all justified by Fr Fox and his
followers. Donna Steichen warns that while New Age involvement may
be considered less bizarre than witchcraft, the two have similarities.
Devotees often dabble in both simultaneously.
Radical feminists and their male supporters have reached positions
of power in schools, universities and seminaries. They serve on justice
and peace committees and hold diocesan office. They make prolific
contributions to the media in which they discredit Church leaders
and ridicule Catholic beliefs. They organise conferences and workshops.
Many of these are held on Church property in order to try and establish
some credibility by working within the structures of the Church. Rosemary
Radford Ruether says that agencies of the ''spiritual revolution''
must remember that ''unless we manage to insert what we are doing...back
into...main institutional vehicles of ministry and community...it
will have no lasting impact''. These things are happening in America.
Many people would say there are signs of the same situation in this
This is a truly alarming book that should be read and studied by all
who are worried about the state of the Church and this devastating
assault on the Faith.
Section Contents Copyright © Donna Steichen 2008
Version: 17th February 2008