When it comes to my family, I’ve always felt different. One of my earliest memories from when I was really young was being told that I felt things too passionately—that I felt too much. What was never said but was implied was that I felt dissent too much, too often, too vocally. It made people uncomfortable. It made my family uncomfortable. When it came to understanding my faith/religious path, my family and I started diverging early on, never really meeting again—at least not for now.
When I was about five, I remember asking why women could not be priests. My mother brushed it aside and said we could be nuns. She was blind to the inherent misogyny behind the same Church that so many of her female family members had built (we come from a long line of nuns and Jesuits). I thought maybe someday I could be a woman priest. I would change it all. I would be Pope Joan.
When I was thirteen, I started noticing the wealth involved in the Roman Catholic Church, the opulence of the lived Catholic life. When I asked my parents why the Church did not lead in example and live in poverty using its wealth to actively live the gospel, I was told, “ This wealth is a gift to humanity. It is there for all of us, a patrimony to those who open their hearts.” I wasn’t talking about art, I was talking about the RCC’s gold assets—valued in the billions —but it didn’t matter. I’ve seen my family donate to Church building funds my entire life—buildings that were then sold off to pay for the Church’s offenses later on. Still, I thought if I became more involved, with the “right kind of Catholics”, I would be able to change the Church from within. Continue reading “You Are What You Read by Martha Cecilia Ovadia”
Quite a number of years ago I had a conversation with one of my professors, a feminist theologian, who posed the question “Why do I need a man to purify my baby with the waters of baptism? Is there something wrong or impure about the blood and water from a mother’s womb – my womb?” Before you jump and shout the words Sacrament or removal of original sin, this question bears merit in exploring, especially in today’s world where women are taking a serious beating religiously, politically, and socially. In today’s world, violations and rants are causing women to stand up and say STOP! This is MY Body. This outcry was provoked by chants of ethical slurs against women– Slut! Prostitute! Whore! The cry got even louder when the issue of religion and government was raised in the fight of healthcare coverage of contraception. The cry got even louder with the enactment of the laws in Virginia and Texas (and many other states to follow suit) that forces women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds in early stage abortions. The mandatory insertion of a wand into a woman’s vagina (mandated by the government, mind you), is a violation and has women crying RAPE!
The memory of this conversation did not re-appear by chance, it was prompted by a book I read for my History of Sexuality Class – Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial Context by Anne McClintock who addresses the notion of baptism through origins, property, and power. So many things are currently being taken away from women and reading McClintock’s assertion regarding male baptism is perplexing. She believes that male baptism or baptism by a man takes women’s role in child bearing and diminishes it. These are the same men who historically treated and regarded women as vessels. She further asserts that this act is a proactive removal of creative agency with respect to a woman’s ability to have the power to name. That is, the last name of the child belongs to the husband. A point that supports the notion that patrimony marks the denial of women. Anyone doing genealogy encounters a perplexing struggle to identify mothers because their names are essentially erased from memory and rarely attached to a child’s name. Continue reading “Is Baptism a Male Birthing Ritual? By Michele Stopera Freyhauf”
It has been said time heals all wounds, I do not agree. The wounds remain, in time the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone. Rose Kennedy
This past Saturday, August 6, would have been my 34th wedding anniversary. Next Saturday, August 13 will be the wedding of my once fiancé. The former lasted 20 years, the latter 10. I have recently begun the delicate dance of getting to know another man; continuing to second-guess myself as if I’m a schoolgirl with her first crush, only I’m not. I’m a woman drawing upon 30 years of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Without sounding like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and The City, I am asking myself what does a feminist relationship look like as it unfolds? How do I trust another with a heart that is held together by Elmer’s glue? And more importantly, how do I make myself present to another without past wounds surfacing and then projected onto the innocent?
In a recent post, XochitlAlvizo wrote on the difference, as she understands it, between sacrifice and love. All too often, argues Xochitl, we confuse the two, believing our sacrifice is what redeems us and others, when in reality, it is always love. The distinction, while at times difficult to discern, is what can bring life to a healthy, loving relationship. I can’t imagine not being steeped in a committed relationship without some sacrifice on my part. But when does this practice of sacrifice become the support system for sustaining love? How do I hold the balance of love and at times sacrifice for another without losing love of self? Continue reading “Love, Loss and Longing: The Rebooting of a Feminist Heart By Cynthia Garrity-Bond”