The other day, I started another rant while my husband listened. (It’s ok. He’s used it.) As with most of my rants, this one fell under the broad category of “why can’t everyone live their lives as I think they should.” And, as with most of my rants, he responded to this one with an amused smile.
This particular rant, however, took me in a direction I didn’t expect.
It started out as a complaint about the pressure that some Catholic women feel to conform to some sort of imagined “ideal” of domesticity.
Why do women feel that they must good homemakers to be good wives?
Why is all of the pressure on women to be the nurturers?
Doesn’t this ideal overlook the truth that not all women are good at cooking and cleaning? What about men? Shouldn’t they help out with the domestic duties?
On and on I went until I unveiled my secret weapon: Proverbs 31. (Let’s pause here and agree not to talk about the fact that I used the Bible as a weapon…)
“I get so frustrated by women who try to become ‘Proverbs 31’ women. I mean, is anyone really like that? This ideal is just setting women up to fail! And what women with jobs? Listen to this!”
Do you know what’s at the root of insecurity?
Fear of not being liked.
Or not being good enough.
Or being too much.
Or not being lovable.
Or being too intimidating.
Or not being able.
Or being alone.
“Fear is the enemy of love” says St. Augustine.
Let that sink in.
If you’ve heard that being a feminist is anti-Catholic, think again.
In today’s world, being a Catholic can be controversial. Especially when it comes to women’s rights.
Feminism has a history of advocating for things that the Catholic Church contends with, whether it be outright support of abortion, or just the connotation that mothering isn’t valuable work.
So it’s not uncommon for a Catholic to cringe at the word “feminist.”
But in 1995, St. Pope John Paul II actually issued a call for women to rise up in the name of feminism – a call for a “new feminism.”
And if feminism is good enough for a Pope who’s also now a canonized saint, well, it’s good enough for me.
Here’s three good reasons Catholics should be proud to sport the (new) feminist label:
Imagine a think tank for Catholicism + Feminism.
You know that Catholic friend of yours who won’t stop talking about women’s empowerment?
I need her.
Or maybe, that strong woman is you.
Can you stay awhile? Let’s chat.
The all-male Catholic priesthood is an issue I know doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to a lot of people, and I completely understand, having been there myself. Still, I find it really tragic that more people aren’t talking about this question of women and the priesthood – especially Catholics. The Catholic faith is really amazing in that, no matter how much you explore and learn, you can always go deeper. So in a certain sense, there are things that we accept without understanding. But we’re also thinking human beings, and questioning what we don’t understand can lead to a greater depth of faith.
When I was little, I remember asking my mother, “Why can’t girls be priests?”
To which she replied, “Do you want to be a priest?”
I didn’t, so that was that. I’m not sure I bought that entirely, but it was enough for the moment. As I got older, it seemed to make more sense to me. We call a priest “Father”, priests are spiritual fathers, women can’t be fathers. Done and done. And then, roughly a year ago, it struck me.
Why do they have to be fathers?
So I asked questions. I texted my cousin. I emailed a couple of my aunts. I cornered a friend at midnight and asked questions… and more questions. And then I researched. Now here I am, almost exactly a year later, and I’m ok with women not being priests. More than that, I think it’s fantastic.
Fertility Awareness isn’t just about pregnancy and women’s health; it’s about equality.
It’s Natural Family Planning Awareness week – which means you may see a lot of women promoting NFP because “my body isn’t broken,” “children are a gift,” and “cycles are part of being a woman.”
Maybe you agree with those things. Maybe you don’t.
If you’re a feminist, maybe it doesn’t matter; because those arguments are all missing the point.
Are you bored of Catholic resources talking about the feminine genius
… but only in terms of women getting pregnant?
Are you frustrated with hearing people talk about chastity and NFP
…as if it’s blissful and full of frolicking fun?