“Spotlight” and the Recovery of a Lost Faith by Cynthia Garrity-Bond

cynthia garrity bondLast week I was finally able to see “Spotlight“, the recent movie depicting the true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation into the priest pedophilia abuses. What makes “Spotlight” so compelling is the shared burden of culpability by those outside the organized Catholic Church. While hunting down the priestly offenders, including Cardinal Bernard Law, “Spotlight” also takes calculated aim at those official offices and individuals that turned a blind eye from the sexual abuse of children. In his NCR review, film critic Steven D. Greydanus praises the film for its ability to include such collaborators as “Lawyers, law enforcement, family members and friends, and pointedly and repeatedly, the fourth estate itself—the press and specifically the Globe – are all implicated.” Which is to say, the sin of silence through a misguided sense of protection of the institution is as damaging as the act itself.

In the Globe’s investigative work, a team of four reporters begins the difficult work of interviewing survivors of sexual abuse. What moved me deeply was the recurrent syllogism expressed by each in their retelling of the abuse at the hands of their parish priest. In the first statement of a syllogism, the major premise is the articulating of the moral principle. Step two, the minor premise, is the particular act to be judged. Step three is the logical conclusion inferred between the major and minor statements. With regard to the Catholic Church’s doctrine of the priesthood and views expressed by survivors, the syllogism looks like this:

Step 1: “By ordination one is enabled to act as a representative of Christ, Head of the Church in his triple office of priest, prophet, and king” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 1581)

Step 2: All priest (as males) reflect Jesus Christ in word and deed.

Step 3: When a priest abuses children it is as if Jesus Christ is also the abuser.

For those survivors interviewed by the Globe, their early religious teaching of the priest as Jesus made Jesus as God a participant in the abuse. Cries of anger over the abuse at the hands of priest who stood in the place of God turned to lament at the losing of ones faith and belief in a benevolent God. Continue reading ““Spotlight” and the Recovery of a Lost Faith by Cynthia Garrity-Bond”

All Hail a New Priestess! by Marie Cartier

ordination photo
“All hail- the new priestess!” they all shouted at the end.  I was recently ordained near Midsummer Eve (June 20, 2015) as a priestess with the Temple of Isis, Los Angeles and Fellowship of Isis. As befits feminism and religion — I felt it important to share the document read by my scribe – the person who did a lengthy interview and wrote up a summary of why I should be accepted into ordination. I am sharing this with her permission with the Feminism and Religion community. Why do we choose the paths we choose? Why did I choose this Goddess path? The document that explores those reasons follows:


June 20th 2015 – 4:00 p.m.
Ordination of Dr. Marie Cartier into the Fellowship of Isis,
Temple of Isis Los Angeles and the Temple of Isis Long Beach.

Our dear sister has reached a point in her life that our ancient mothers of old have been preparing for her and she is ready to be dedicated to and be an emissary of the Goddesses.  She is ready to take on the responsibilities of Priestess and is very honored and proud to be accepted by her Priestess Sisters who she dearly loves and admires. 

Dr. Marie Cartier is a scholar, visual/performance artist, queer activist, writer and theologian. She has been active in many movements for social change. Marie teaches at UC Irvine in the Film & Media Studies Department and CSU Northridge in Gender and Women’s Studies and Queer Studies. She received her Ph.D. in Religion from Claremont Graduate University, 2010, in Women Studies in Religion, with an emphasis on theology, ethics, and culture. She published in 2013 through Routledge the book Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars and Theology Before Stonewall and created the concept of “theelogy” a religion of friendship for people in exile, particularly lesbians prior to 1975. Continue reading “All Hail a New Priestess! by Marie Cartier”

Lust in the Heart by Linn Marie Tonstad

Linn Marie TonstadLove the sinner, hate the sin. We are all familiar with the bludgeon this statement represents in Christian circles. It functions as a way to maintain one’s goodness and Christlikeness (supposedly!), while simultaneously condemning and persecuting those who find themselves drawn to live lives outside the constraints of heteronormativity in all its variations. The statement hardly needs to be deconstructed – it proves its own emptiness in relation to the way sexuality is understood as identity in the contemporary context. (There are Foucaultian reasons to be unhappy with this understanding of sexuality – one of the disciplinary functions of power on his account is the desire to find a name that will express one’s true identity – but we’ll save that for another day.)

Instead, I think we should consider a much more fundamental contradiction in the way Christian churches today speak and think about sexuality. In many mainline congregations in the US-European context, the debate has been framed around celibacy versus “practice” for persons identifying as gay and lesbian. Excluding the fringe ex-gay movement and its horrors, there are three typical positions that churches take up. One, celibate gays and lesbians may participate fully in church life. Two, married and monogamous gays and lesbians may participate fully in church life. Three, neither marriage nor monogamy are required for gays and lesbians (or anyone else) – the latter is perhaps not a frequent position for churches to take, at least officially, other than in the MCC. For most mainline denominations, the fault line lies between those who assert the ‘vocation’ of celibacy for gay and lesbian persons, and those who permit marriage. Continue reading “Lust in the Heart by Linn Marie Tonstad”

The Roman Catholic Theology of Womanhood by Ivy Helman

The Vatican has creIvy Helmanated an entire theology of womanhood without the input of a single woman!  Searching the Vatican archives reveals a wide range of documents pertaining to women, some of which mention women tersely only in their capacity as workers needing protection (Rerum novarum, 1891) and others are fully dedicated to describing the status, role and mission of women in the family, society and the world (Mulieris dignitatem, 1988).  Within the documents, as time passes, women become their own category of theological importance.  This is due to the influence of feminism on the status and roles of women across the globe.  Yet, there is vehement anti-feminism in the documents as well.

I searched the documents myself, curious as to what the Vatican had to say about womanhood and wrote a book on the topic published by Orbis in Febrary 2012 entitled, Women and the Vatican: An Explanation of Official Documents.  I would like to lay out that theology now.  Continue reading “The Roman Catholic Theology of Womanhood by Ivy Helman”

A Sea Change Towards Women’s Ordination by Mary Ellen Robertson

If I see a flaw in contemporary Mormon feminism, it’s that we haven’t ventured outside our own religious community to partner with other religious feminist activists. Working separately or in ignorance of the work already done by other religious feminists, we’re more likely to spend time reinventing the wheel than building upon the lessons learned.

Fortunately, there’s an exciting shift afoot.

Last week, Catholic and Mormon women came together for a dialogue on women’s ordination.
Hosted by Claremont Graduate University, this discussion brought together six women from  patriarchal religions to explore what happens when we call an all-male priesthood into question and examine the theological and cultural assumptions upon which an all-male priesthood rests. Continue reading “A Sea Change Towards Women’s Ordination by Mary Ellen Robertson”

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