I am a devout Catholic. I am a feminist. I am single. I am not a virgin, but I have come to believe in the virtue of chastity and I am earnestly striving to embody that virtue in my life and in relationships, and to live with a pure heart. I believe part of that means reserving sexual intercourse for the Sacrament of Matrimony. I also believe that most of the purity and chastity and abstinence-only rhetoric that exists out there in mainstream Catholic/Christian circles and in Youth Ministry circles is harmful, misguided, and deeply sexist.
As a single, female millennial, this topic is close to my heart because sex and marriage are pretty relevant to my generation, as well as to this season of my life personally. We constantly read about the prevalence of hookup culture andrape culture (#metoo), or about why men won’t marry women anymore, as well as articles lauding or decrying sexual freedom and liberation. In the U.S., our culture is becoming more starkly divided and polarized between progressives and conservatives, and largely along topics most closely concerned with sex and family planning (eg: abstinence-only education, abortion, birth control access, gay marriage, etc.). There is so much screaming and anger and hurt and frustration that no one is hearing each other. We have to find a middle road. We have to examine our own biases and faults, and rectify our wrongs. As Christians, we need to re-think the “purity culture” we’ve been promoting.
Dear Father (Name),
As someone deeply committed to the Catholic Church and Her teachings, I’m writing today seeking your guidance on the Church’s teachings on women – both in the Church and in the world.
If you spend any amount of time reading about social justice issues on or offline, I would be willing to bet cold hard cash that you’ve encountered the term “intersectionality.” People calling for more of it, calling for none of it, debating its existence, flopping around while shouting “BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN??”
Maybe I’m alone on that last part?
The short answer is, intersectionality is “the oppression and discrimination resulting from the overlap of an individual’s various social identities:”
Before we dive in I want to make an important caveat. I am approaching this discussion from my own privilege as a middle-class American white woman. I am primarily speaking to other white women. Women of color don’t need me to explain intersectionality to them, they live it every day. I’m not an expert. I just firmly believe that it’s our responsibility to educate ourselves and not place that burden on our sisters of color, so I’m sharing the love.
Back in November, #thxbirthcontrol was trending all over social media. There were many stories about how birth control has treated women with health problems or helped them in other ways, and birth control was celebrated as a key factor for achieving gender equality.
As both a Catholic and feminist, I think it is unwise how much we praise birth control. First consider that NFP may actually be more effective at helping to achieve gender equality. Secondly, with regards to women’s health, birth control is often prescribed in place of providing better care to uncover the true source of health issues specific to women (and there are medical doctors who agree).
I liked being in control of my cycle.
I used birth control for about three and a half years. I started it because I didn’t want to get my period while I was on a huge backpacking trip where I would have very limited access to running water. I kept using it even though I wasn’t sexually active because I liked being in control of my cycle. Right after I got diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I learned about some of the risks of birth control and stopped using it. Interestingly enough, my depression improved and my formerly low thyroid values became normal by my next check-up. That year, I started learning how to chart my fertility cycle as part of my marriage prep. Though NFP has been challenging at times, I am also incredibly grateful for this tool. Like those women who are thanking birth control, I want to share why NFP is important to me.
My mother booked an Airbnb for the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, on October 13th, 2017, two years in advance. No matter where we would be, or what our circumstances might be like then, it was certain that we would be in Fatima to celebrate. When I say we, I mean that my mom called me to inform me that I’d be going with her.
I’m not sure what lies at the heart of my mother’s fondness for Fatima, except that she is a superfan of every Marian apparition and Mary herself. I was her first child, and when I was born she gave me the name Mary and, carrying me out of St. Mary’s hospital at a few days old, dedicated and entrusted me to Our Lady in front of a mural of her in the lobby. Growing up, she would take my brother and I to meet what seemed like everyone within driving distance who claimed to see visions of the Virgin Mary, from small apartments in Indianapolis to farms in Kentucky and supernatural light shows in Cincinnati. She helped arrange speaking engagements for visionaries and carted us to day-long conferences about apparitions. As a child, I was jealous of the visionaries, and always tried to pray, be a good girl, and squint hard at the sky, and always felt disappointed that I wasn’t chosen to see Our Lady.
Read the original question here.
Dear Starving But Wanting to Stay,
I have been there, too, and I hear you! Oh, have I been there.
We are a military family, and we move quite often. One of my biggest worries with each move is what our next parish will be like. We have lived in those tiny Southern towns with one Catholic parish, overseas with maybe one or two options in English, and — currently — in a diocese where questionable things going on in the liturgy is more commonplace than not.
So, let me share with you a few things that I have learned along the way.
Every homicide justified by self-defense has one thing in common: fear.
“I was alone.”
“I feared for my life.”
“I was afraid they would hurt my family.”
The person who shoots in self-defense — oftentimes, a police officer — warrants his actions by describing a genuine experience of fear, even when additional information reveals an unarmed victim, sometimes without criminal history or criminal intent. An innocent victim.