I do thank you for this blog, because it does have some interesting discussion, but have you ever wondered why the church teaches what it teaches? And maybe try to see why the church and its people really should follow through with what it teaches. I identify myself as a Catholic feminist.I feel empowered through the churches teachings towards sexuality. I would personally like to see more of those stories on here as well, because having just one side of the story is not enough.
Hi, thank you so much for reading! Glad to have you here. I do identify as a Catholic feminist as well, except I don’t identify with the Church’s “new feminism” for various reasons: I’m wary of any feminism created by a man, and I also don’t believe in a feminism that reinforces gender roles—especially one that’s so rooted in biological essentialism, and uses your biological make-up to define your cultural role (and place) in society. In almost all ways, that’s the antithesis of feminism. This is not saying that I want female supremacy, or that you can’t be feminine, or that I’m totally rejecting so-called “womanhood”; it’s that “womanhood” is a spectrum, not a monolith. It’s not defined by the possibility of marriage and bearing children, which is what the Church emphasizes. (I’m not sure if you identify with new feminism, but since that’s what the Church states as feminism I want to make it clear.)
My goal here is to not only have a pro-choice space, but also to show that feminism doesn’t have to be antithetical to the Catholic Church. Too many times, I have heard young women saying they left the Church because they were “too feminist.” I call these women the “bad Catholic girls,” and I am one of them. However, I don’t think we’re really as bad as people say we are—and I’ll get back to that.
Have I ever wondered why the Church teaches what it teaches? All the time! I’ve been wondering this ever since I was a 10-year-old altar server. I had just served Mass and was changing in the sacristy when three elderly women came up to me and said, “We just wanted to tell you how happy we are to see a girl on the altar.” I didn’t realize how much it meant to them for a long time but boy, did I think about.
I don’t know how long you’ve been reading, but I’ve also stated on here that I used to be very pro-life, having marched in the March on Life in Washington, D.C. I remember seeing middle-age women with red tape over their mouths, rocking back and forth. Silent. At the time, I thought, How sad, these poor women who had abortions. Now, I still think how sad, but for a different reason: Look how the Church has failed them. Pained them. Silenced them. They were also bad Catholic girls.
So, here’s my problem with new feminism and the Church’s teaching on women: Although new feminism strives to make women complimentary to men, it also creates divisions among Catholic women. It fails to see “womanhood” as a spectrum, fails to take into account lived experiences, and ignores other innate or learned gifts and abilities women may have. To be a Catholic women, you want marriage and children—and this is the highest attainment. These are good Catholic girls.
I don’t want to get married. It’s not my calling. I’m in a very committed relationship, but wife was never a title for me. But for many people in my Church, this has negated all the work I’ve done with my diocese and beyond. I’m a bad Catholic girl.
I can also sympathize with women who are childless by choice. It’s not selfish; in fact, having kids just to please God is. My aunt and uncle have been happily married for over 40 years, never had kids; my aunt was a teacher for decades, and those were “her kids.” I would side-eye anyone who tried to tell me their marriage isn’t very Catholic or wrong in the eyes of the Lord.
I’m happy you felt empowered by the Church’s teachings on sexuality. I didn’t, although I do follow many of the teachings on modesty and enjoy it (thanks, Mom!) And it’s not because I wanted to have “all the sex” and what not, but because I realized I didn’t know myself and my body. Now, I’m not that confused because I don’t let my sexuality define me—and that’s the thing. Sexuality doesn’t define you. Your relationship status doesn’t define you. Your mother or childless status doesn’t define you. And none of that defines your relationship with God—or the Church, for that matter. Your work, your service, your mission, your ideas, your compassion, your peace—that defines you. And none of that has to do with you using a condom in the bedroom.
So, here’s what I believe in a nutshell: There’s no such thing as good Catholic girls and bad Catholic girls. They’re the same woman.
P.S. You can certainly submit a post on your views!