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.
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.
In 1995, Pope John Paul II started a conversation.
You’ve probably heard of it – his Letter to Women.
Now, over twenty years later, Chloe Langr is continuing that conversation. Chloe runs the Letters to Women podcast, and she invited me to chat with her for the latest episode “A Letter to the Woman Wondering about Feminism.”
Here’s a few of the things we talked about in this episode:
- Why feminism always resonated with me, wanting to be “part of the boys club,” and how it led me to start FemCatholic
- Mythbusting on what it means to be a “good catholic woman”
- Differences between modern secular feminists and catholic feminists – what modern feminists get right about equality, and the advantage catholic feminists have
- Should you call yourself a feminist, or does “catholic” already cover everything?
- Virginity and it’s history of empowering women
- Being a new mom myself, I talk about why feminism needs to support moms in the culture and the workplace
- NFP and birth control (from a feminist perspective, of course ?)
- Seeing woman’s body as a burden – even in marriage
- What you need to know about how modern feminism has impacted men – and what to do about it
- What I want to tell you if you disagree with church teaching
Listen to our entire conversation on iTunes or online.
Keep chatting with me on Facebook Live! – this Tuesday, Sept. 26th @ 1pm CST
I had SO much fun talking to Chloe about feminism, and now I want to talk with all of YOU!
These are really important, and tough, topics. There’s a lot we need to discuss.
Here’s how to join:
- Join the Facebook event.
- Before Tuesday, download the episode and listen to it.
- Tell me what resonated with you, and what rubbed you the wrong way. Send me your questions!
Talk to you soon! 🙂
Samantha Povlock is the Founder + Creative Director of FemCatholic. You can learn more about her here.
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.
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.
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.
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.”