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April 2017

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    Can you be Catholic and a Feminist?

    Can you be Catholic and Feminist?

    Can you be both faithful to the Catholic Church and be a feminist?

    If you look at the literal meaning of feminism, then the answer is emphatically yes, but when you look at the modern feminist movement, that confident “yes” turns into a blur of uncertainty and conflicting perspectives. The purpose of this post isn’t to give you a definitive answer, but instead address some of the common points of discussion.

    Secular Perspective

    Background of Feminism

    A quick Google search defines feminism as the  “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” A lot of feminists will simply say it is gender equality. In the United States, we can see “waves” of the feminist movement. This isn’t to say there weren’t women speaking out before that, but rather to point out that these were established movements.

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    Dear Edith

    Dear Edith Response #4 – Erin

    Read the original question here.

    Hey, Carey! Your question about veiling is a good one! There are a lot of layers to this question and to its answer, some of which I am still uncovering myself. But I’ll do my best!

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    Dear Edith

    Dear Edith: Confidence in being Catholic

    Dear Edith,

    How do you find the courage to stand up when people make snide comments about being Catholic? My online presence in social media is VERY Catholic and I am super proud of that and how much it is a part of my identity. But when someone scoffs at me in public or makes a comment about how Catholicism is a lie/corrupt/worthless/etc. I somehow manage to lose my voice and I don’t have the courage to stand up for Christ and the truth. I keep asking Mary to pray for me that I find this confidence, but I don’t know what else I can do.

    — Ashleigh

    Ashleigh is a graduate student and works with special needs kiddos by helping them use technology to access their curriculum. Her identity is deeply rooted in Christ and she prays that every day her life can be used to glorify God. Ashleigh creatively illustrates her prayer through hand lettering and bible journaling. Find her at ash.colleen on Instagram and Daughter of the Star Breather page on Facebook. Her website is

    Want to submit a response to this question?

    Have a question of your own?

    See the Dear Edith page for more info.

    Dear Edith

    Dear Edith Response #3 – Kyla

    Read the original question here.

    Hi Carey,

    First, I would like to say I was totally with you in the fact that I had no idea what women wearing chapel veils was about, or that anyone was even still wearing them! When I decided to start wearing a chapel veil for Lent, to work on humility and concentration during mass, my super liberal (as am I) parents were almost appalled. “Why would you want to wear a symbol of the church’s oppression of women?!” They asked me. Well, here was my reply to them.

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    Modern Catholic Women, Other Resources, Resources

    4 Essential Podcasts for Catholic Feminists

    4 Essential Podcasts for Catholic Feminists --

    1. The Catholic Feminist podcast

    Hosted by millennial Claire Swinarski, this weekly podcast features strong Catholic women on topics ranging from refugees, to eating disorders, to women’s rights. It’s like having a coffee date with your new best friend who has all the best connections and insights. (She’s even interviewed Audrey Assad!) Be “inspired, informed, and intentional” and definitely hit ‘Subscribe’ on this one.

    Don’t miss these episodes:

    • How Women Can and Should Utilize Leadership Skills
    • How To Talk About Politics On Social Media Without Losing Your Friends Or Your Soul
    • How Catholics Should Respond to the Refugee Crisis

    Find The Catholic Feminist Podcast on the website or iTunes.

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    Dear Edith

    Dear Edith Response #2 – Kate

    Read the original question here.

    Hi Carey!

    The important thing to remember about interpreting Scripture is the Catholic Church teaches that there is a literal and spiritual sense, and ultimately, the Church guides us (see CCC 115-119). When we look at St. Paul’s writing, we need to consider the cultural significance and how it relates to modern times, as you pointed out in your question. What we as women must understand is that we are morally obligated to dress modestly and reverently. A woman’s hair is viewed as something incredibly beautiful in a variety of cultures, which is why the idea of veiling came about. We also see other beautiful, and even holy things, “veiled” (that is, covered) in the Mass like the Eucharist in the Tabernacle or the blood of Christ being in a solid chalice. “Covering” our beauty rightly orients the focus away from us and towards what the focus of the Mass should be: Christ.

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    Church Documents, Resources

    The Vatican Document all about Women

    The Vatican Document All About Women.

    In 1988, Pope John Paul II published the Apostolic Letter Mulieris dignitatem, which means in Latin “On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.”

    Read it from the Vatican here.

    Or get this book version, which includes commentary.

    Some key points and thought-provoking quotes:

    • A woman, Mary, is at the center of human salvation because it was through her that Jesus came into the world
    • In her “fullness of grace” Mary signifies the fullness and perfection of what is feminine

    both man and woman are human beings to an equal degree, both are created in God’s image.”

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