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    Catholics: Don’t be afraid of the word “Feminist”

    Catholics: Don't be afraid of the word "Feminist" --

    Don’t worry: nothing that follows will be anti-Catholic, un-orthodox, or contrary to Church teaching.

    In fact, I’m going to use only support from Pope’s, Saints, or official Church documents to make my point. Promise. 🙂

    The question is though – why should I have to include that disclaimer?

    Because Catholics, for some reason, we’re really afraid of feminism.

    Really, it’s going to be ok.

    To be fair – I understand why “Feminist” is a frightening word to most Catholics.

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    Discussions on Divorce: What We’re Leaving Out

    Divorce & What we're leaving out --

    Discussions on divorce in Catholic circles tend to focus on two points: 1) pastoral care for divorced persons in the Church and 2) the question of (not) permitting divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion. As members of the body of Christ, we need to ask these questions and properly care for divorced Catholics. At the same time, there is a sobering void in our discussions. We are quick to state how deeply divorce hurts children, but we are largely silent when it comes to how we can help them.

    We are quick to state how deeply divorce hurts children, but we are largely silent when it comes to how we can help them.

    The truly efficacious grace given to me during the sacrament of Confirmation is, I am convinced, what kept me in the Church. One year after my Confirmation, my parents told me they were getting divorced. I sought comfort and healing in the Church, spent more time at my parish than before their divorce, and never missed Mass on Sundays. How I wish my situation were the rule and not the exception.

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    Modern Catholic Women, Other Resources

    Shopping in blissful ignorance: A spotlight on Fast Fashion

    I begin with a prayer that I may not be blind or indifferent to the suffering of others.  

    I first heard the term “fast fashion” two years ago.  

    I took in the scene immediately: the quickly changing trends, the insatiable consumerism, the disregard for waste, the rock-bottom prices and consequent rock-bottom wages.  

    The phrase itself validated my lifelong sense of being a step behind the fashion curve.  By the time I pondered a new trend long enough to decide whether I liked it, then decided whether it was worth a purchase, and THEN got around to actually shopping – the trend was stale, more often than not.  

    The phrase also convicted.  How often have I bought an item, only to barely use it or find I didn’t like it as much when I got home?  

    I knew in a vague sense about the connection between fast fashion, sweatshops, and garment workers’ rights.  I could name a brand or two that claimed to be ethically made.  

    But I was horrified to learn what I hadn’t known.  

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    10 Ways Physician-Assisted Suicide Targets Women

    10 ways physician assisted suicide targets women --

    As our country considers new legislation on patients’ rights and healthcare, physician-assisted suicide will undoubtedly join the conversation.

    Physician-Assisted Suicide, or PAS, occurs when a doctor provides a patient with the means to commit suicide by prescription medication.

    It’s currently legal in California, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Colorado, Montana, and Washington, DC. 

    This isn’t just an ethical issue, it’s a feminist one.

    Most “right-to-die” legislation includes provisions to protect a patient’s autonomy in this decision — such as minimum age of 18, a terminal diagnosis with six months or less to live, multiple requests for assisted suicide, and a mental evaluation.

    When Montana legalized PAS, it was determined by the State Supreme Court (Baxter v. Montana), which mentioned “competent” and “terminally ill” in its ruling, but failed to define these terms or specify patient protections. With so little regulation, a patient might be more easily pressured into thinking suicide is her best, or only, choice.

    Ethical reservations about PAS include this concern, that external pressures could push patients toward an unwanted suicide.

    And several cultural norms in the United States indicate a woman may experience more external pressure than a man to hasten her own death.

    So this isn’t just an ethical issue, it’s a feminist one. Here are 10 reasons why:

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    What to Say when There are No Words?

    What to say when there are no words: Helping a friend through miscarriage --

    October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I never know what to say or feel when people mention this. I have had two miscarriages, and I still grieve them both, but I don’t know how to talk about them in public – or even if I want to. Those who have lost babies before they are born live in a strange middle ground: are we parents or are we not? Are we allowed to stand for the Mother’s Day blessing at church? Is it worth explaining to near strangers that I have three children on earth and two in heaven, or should I just answer “three” because I know that that’s what they’re really asking? Am I allowed to talk about the babies who were never born?

    One aspect of pregnancy loss that surprised me is how intensely personal it is. Before losing my babies, I thought I would be the kind of woman who would speak of something like that openly without fear and without shame – as if women who do not speak of it keep silent because of fear or shame. But I quickly learned that, for me, fear and shame have nothing to do with my silence. If I seldom speak of my losses publicly, it’s because the grief is more personal than I ever expected it be, partly because, unlike the loss of a grandparent, for example, most people don’t have a context for it. Most people simply do not know what it feels like to lose a child. How do you explain that you are a mother when no one else can see that?

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    Open to Life, Open to Death: Love and Miscarriage

    Open to Life, Open to Death: Love and Miscarriage --

    My husband and I were avoiding pregnancy after our wedding while we worked on an interstate move and settling into new jobs. But we were open to life, and looking forward to tangibly welcoming life by way of a squishy little bundle of baby chub in short order.

    We were prepared for it to take time – I was diagnosed with PCOS in high school, and years of charting my cycles for health awareness revealed a litany of reproductive health concerns that hadn’t responded to treatment thus far. Cycle after cycle led to a week of extreme cramping and a glass or three of red wine while picking fights over Downton Abbey or the gender wage gap instead of gleefully researching how to raise a kid in an urban studio apartment. After a year, we weren’t alarmed by this, just resigned that my ovaries hadn’t magically healed themselves (surprise) and we would have to pursue fertility-specific medical intervention after all.

    Six months later, a few days before leaving to visit family, I peed on – a lot – of sticks, not wanting to let myself believe that I really was seeing a second line.

    It happened.

    We were pregnant.

    That life had arrived.

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    Proverbs 31: Feminine or Feminist?

    Proverbs 31: Feminine or Feminist? --

    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!”

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