Allow me to change the subject. Let's talk about nuns.
Yep, you read that right.
Last night I was reading this, thinking to myself, "These guys are scum, but even so, most of them were around before the Church as we know it even existed."
*cough cough* *cough cough coughcoughcough*
Then this afternoon, Marzie linked to a story that MSNBC headlined "Catholic nuns group 'stunned' by Vatican scolding for 'radical feminist' ideas."
Covering the same news the Huffington Post interviews a nun who volunteers escorting women into abortion clinics, and yeah, I can see where the Vatican would call that a "radical feminist" thing to do. (I just don't happen to agree with them, is all.)
But what are they mostly talking about here? Spending too much time on "social justice" issues and not enough time promoting pro-life and traditional sexuality issues. (The Leadership Conference of Religious Women, the group the Vatican's ire is focused on, even has a "Social Justice" drop-down menu on their homepage, o noes!) One of the big issues? The LCRW was a big Obama supporter in the health reform wars. The Vatican didn't like this, presumably because access to stuff like chemotherapy isn't as important as lack of access to contraception.
Other issues highlighted on the group's website include Haiti earthquake relief (where there are a lot of Catholics), immigration reform (which would, demographically speaking, probably benefit a lot of Catholics), and issues where they're totally in step with the Vatican (things like climate change, nuclear proliferation, war and refugees and torture, and potable water access (a huge, huge issue in the developing world where there are, you guessed it, a lot of Catholics). Annual resolutions over the past decade include "Strengthen Bonds Among Religious Women Globally" and "Reduce our Carbon Footprint." In 2001 they released a resolution on human trafficking. Some seriously radical-feminist stuff, I tell you.
Longtime, detail-oriented readers already know that I grew up Catholic and left that faith by the wayside. Even though I had to keep going to school Masses, I stopped receiving the Eucharist, which is the entire point of the Catholic Mass, in 1998, so that's when you can say I really stopped being Catholic, if you want to split hairs.
Even so, I still feel an... I guess you could call it an attachment to Catholicism. I still have some kind of proprietary feeling toward it. I don't know if you'd break it down that I feel it's "mine" and I ought to defend it, or the other way around - that I feel it still defines me or reflects upon me in some vague way.
I don't really know. I do know that when I see stories like this, I kind of go Hulk, at least on the inside. Stories of men, rich men for the most part, set up in mansions and townhouses and Bruno Maglis - of men essentially telling women to ignore the poor, ignore injustice, ignore thirst, ignore hunger, ignore violence, ignore wounded combat veterans - or at least don't pay quite so much attention to those things so you can pay more attention to undermining access to healthcare for millions of Americans, and the access to institutionalized recognition and support for millions of others.
I just... what? WHAT? How does that even work? Where is the reality of the world in that worldview?
I am by no stretch of the imagination a religious person. It's not just that I don't believe in Catholicism anymore (if I ever really did), it's that I am an agnostic atheist in terms of belief, a secular humanist in terms of action. So while it might be my personal bias to look at an organization like LCRW and shrug at the emphasis on God in their work, but that's not the point. The point is that they do the work. "We risk being agents of change within Church and society," their site says. And the point is that that is NOT the point to the Vatican.
Because if there's anything we know for certain about Jesus, it's that he that he thought all those early Church Fathers were right. Women are gross and scary and wrong, because, women.