Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Day the New York Times Saved Me From Evil, Evil Catholicism

I remember it vividly -- the day an army of grossnasty Vatican men came to force me into their grossnasty men cult. I was just finishing my daily meditation on the magnificence of the Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren, daydreaming in spurts about how much I love abortion and freebleeding and stuff, when I heard three loud booms against my front door. "Who iiiis it?" I sang, with exactly none of the frilly princess nonsense of Disney damsels. "Oh, you know, just the ice cream man, here with a boatload of chocolates and unicorns, just for you!" Awesome!

I twirled to the door, not realizing it would be the last time I would see my home, my feminist utopia set apart from the rest of the patriarchal mainstream society I found myself smothered by everywhere I turned. I opened the door, but there was no ice cream man there. It was instead a bunch of old white men in dresses trying to tell me who I should and shouldn't sleep with even though they're all like virgins or something so what the hell do they know anyway.

I was terrified. Naturally, I couldn't defend myself from these scary old dudes, each of them shouting random slurs such as "Birth control is a sin!" and "Women shouldn't be priests!" I was aghast, and each exclamation shot through my heart like a martini tossed at an abortion clinic. Unable to retaliate, I was easily bound and gagged, and not in the cool way they talk about in Twilight fanfictions. In the bad way. I was thrown into the back of a big scary black van and held hostage for five years, brainwashed into accepting an ancient faith which undoubtedly holds no relevance in the world today, let alone in my life...until one day, the New York Times delivered a breathtaking and astonishing reality check on everything the Catholic Church has been wrong about for centuries. With a new surge of #womynpower coursing through my lady veins, I broke free of my shackles, kicked all those grossnasty men in the face, and crawled out into the real world again. The real world where I could change my profile picture to "Ready for Hillary" without receiving a flogging. The real world where I could receive Communion from any Catholic church I wanted while living in "serious sin" without being tackled to the ground by a bunch of grossnasty old virgin dudes who don't know the first thing about having a vagina to look after anyway.


I hope it didn't take too long to get your bullshit radar blazing.

Recently, the New York Times put out an article decrying the Catholic Church's alleged sexism, especially in regards to the all-male priesthood and teachings against contraception, pointing out that priests are called "father" but women religious are called "sister," and reminding everyone (except Catholics, who never forgot) that Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdelene after His Resurrection. The writer seems to easily forget -- or, if my inclination is correct, he has never actually researched anything he's talking about -- about Mother Teresa, and every woman in her same position who shares her title, and the ages-old title given to Mary Magdelene, the Apostle to the Apostles.

But, I'll try my very best to put my feverish desire to correct all of his atrocious attempts at exegesis and explaining Catholic theology aside (it comes with pursuing a degree in Theology, which I'm allowed to do, even though I'm a woman. Calm down. Control your shaking and vomiting, please.) to point out how brilliantly arrogant it is for a non-Catholic man to accuse every Catholic woman on the planet of Stockholm Syndrome.

I love being a member of the Catholic Church, the Church I ultimately chose to be a part of. The Church I chose to be a part of even after a fierce internal wrestling match with everything I held dear about religion and God and a mountainous heap of the Church's teachings. Yes, there was some discomfort with the ban on contraception, the weird obsession the Church seemed to have with sex and gay marriage, and the all-male priesthood. Yes, there was some hesitating. No, I wasn't forced into this religion against my will and no, no one coerced me into submitting to the Church's authority on these matters. I chose to for myself.

How bitterly insulting to be told by this man that I can't think for myself, that half of my personal heroes were little more than victims. Many of the intellectual, spiritual, and social giants I admire most were Catholic women, many of them now Saints. I'd like to see his feeble grasp on theology square up against the minds and writings of Teresa of Avila, Edith Stein, and Therese of Lisieux. I'd like to see him tell Mary Magdelene that her dear friends Peter and John, the latter of whom she clung to as her Lord died in agony, were out to oppress her and make her subservient to them, even though they showed her a profound respect and admiration she would not have been shown by other men during her time, let alone religious men, by regarding her as their equal. I'd like to see him tell Dorothy Day to run for the hills from the Catholic Church. I'd like to see him tell Flannery O'Connor to abandon the Eucharist in pursuit of a more century-appropriate vocation for her as a woman or something. But most of all, I'd love to see him stand before the throne of Mary Immaculate, the Queen of Heaven and Earth and the Mother of God Almighty, and tell her that the Catholic Church undervalues women and their role in society by only ordaining men and preserving spiritual symbolism which exalts men over women...somehow.

There is much more I can say. Like I said, theology students seem to all come together in the habit of wanting to defend the Church's teachings from those who haven't tried in the slightest to understand them. But, I'll leave that to someone this man might actually listen to. Why, I wonder, would he listen to me anyway? I'm just a Catholic woman, oppressed and sad and all that. What could I possibly know anyway?


  1. Oh my gosh, that was spectacular!

  2. Replies
    1. Nailed what? Herself to a cross?

    2. You don't even realize what you just said. Lol.

  3. This could be my story. Bookmarking and will be back to read more!

  4. I wrote a book on the Rosary I would love to give you. Would you like?

  5. Well done! I also chose the Catholic Church, which I discovered has a huge respect for women.

  6. Great writing and even greater points! Love this article.

  7. A woman? Studying theology?
    *cleans up vomit*

    Awesome blog post! And though I didn't study Theology, I studied philosophy, and it was in this that I slowly returned to Holy Mother Church after years in the wilderness. You're right, sometimes the truth isn't comfortable, but there it is :)

  8. I love you. This was awesome.

  9. So. Much. Awesome. Seriously, my friend, you absolutely killed it. This is excellent! :)

    Signed, Another woman who chose the Church for herself

  10. The NYT inadvertently drove me back to the Church during the height of the abuse crisis.
    I was receiving daily NYT e-mails in the late 90s and there was a great deal of coverage, seemingly every day. I was away from the Church but still sympathetic. I did think that the Church has brought all this on herself so now they were reaping the consequences.
    As the extensive coverage continued, however, I started reading the articles, most of which appeared in bold letters ‘above the fold’ (if you can fold an e-mail). The substance of the stories was severely lacking. There would be news of a minor legal filing followed by hundreds of words recounting the scandal and dragging the Church through the mud.
    As this type of coverage continued I wondered why the NYT was trying so hard to defame and destroy the Church. This led me to research the gory details for myself, find out the truth and what the Church has done and is doing to make restitution (if that is ever possible) and ensure this never happens again. This put me back in touch with the faith of my childhood and rekindled the love in my heart for my Church. Once this happened there were a series of events that drew me like a river back into full communion.
    I’m still not sure why the paper was going so hard to the boards against the Church (though I have my opinions) but it helped bring me home. Thanks NYT!