1. The Religious Roots of Gender Violence
Violence Against Women|
in Contemporary World Religion:
Roots And Cures
Daniel C. Maguire
Professor of Moral Theology & Ethics, Marquette University, and President, The Religious Consultation On Population, Reproductive Health and Ethics
Note: The following is quoted (with permission) from Violence Against Women in Contemporary World Religion: Roots And Cures, Daniel C. Maguire and Sa'Diyya Shaikh (Editors), Pilgrim Press, 2007, 248 pages.
Excerpt from Chapter 5, "The Mother of Life and the God of Death," by John Raines, page 93:
"What is the source of all this fear and anger [of men against women]? What is it that we men need and want so desperately to control? We move now to the very core, to the religious taproot of religiously legitimated violence against women.
"In Genesis Eve receives her name because she is "mother of the living." But the male writers of her story know that she is not so much the mother of life as the mother of a life-destined-to-die. Yes, Eve gives birth to life, but a life knows it will end in death. And the male writers of our sacred texts are anguished and furious about that, and they want to place blame!
"In Genesis Eve is presented as the world's first critical thinker and questioner. It is she, not Adam, who enters into debate about God's commands. But she debates with the clever snake and ends up with a disastrous exegesis. Persuaded by the snake, she bites the forbidden fruit and gives it to Adam. Thwe story portrays her as a betraying nurturer, one who feeds Adam dangerous food. Birthing and feeding -- the primordial powers of life -- are in Genesis inscribed with male fear, with criticism and anger. But that male anger has not yet reached to the cause of death. And for Christianity it is death that will come to haunt the work of Eve."
For further study and reflection on religious gender-related violence:
Colloquium On Violence & Religion (COV&R), Official website for exploration, criticism, and development of René Girard‘s Mimetic Theory.
Violence Against Women: Philosophical and Religious Foundations of Gender Morality, James W. Prescott, New Perspectives, 1995.
Faith Beyond Resentment: Fragments Catholic and Gay, James Alison, Crossroad, 2001.
Religion, globalization and violence against women, Rose Uchem, Conversations for a Better World, 2009.
A Cry for Dignity: Religion, Violence, and the Struggle of Dalit Women in India, Mary Grey, Equinox, 2010.
The Masculinity Conspiracy, Joseph Gelfer, CreateSpace, 14 August 2011.
The Forgiving Victim, James Alison, The Raven Foundation, July 2012.
Reconsidering women in relation to religion, Ekklesia, 21 August 2012.
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Ekklesia, 25 November 2012.
Catholic Priest Blames Italy’s Stiletto Murders on Women, Barbie Latza Nadeau, The Daily Beast, 28 December 2012.
Violence against women has no religious justification, Badria al-Bishr, Al Arabiya, 18 March 2013.
Religion Can Advance Women’s Rights: Carter Center Conference Mobilizes Faith Groups to Advance Women's Rights, The Carter Center, 28 June 2013.
For an interesting chronology of significant dates and events in overcoming patriarchy in various religious traditions, click here.
2. Heterosexuals and Homosexuals in Religion
Patriarchy preceded all the major religions that exist today, and biased them all from the beginning in favor of heterosexual male hegemony and domination (Cf. Genesis 3:16). This section is a synopsis about the universality of the deeply ingrained prejudice - undoubtedly based on male-only images of God - that must be overcome if organized religion is not to become an obstacle to integral human development.
Since their inception most religious traditions have absorbed the patriarchal mindset of male hegemony, and awareness that this is a prejudice to be overcome - rather than a sacred tradition to be conserved and transmitted - is a new phenomenon. Perhaps the impending economic and ecological crises, and the unavoidable need for all humans to collaborate in transitioning to a world of solidarity and sustainability, will induce a religious renewal and help to overcome pseudo-dogmatic resistance to change.
- Religious Tolerance, Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 1995-2011.
This web site offers an excellent synopsis (with passage quotations, annotated citations, and links to other web sites) about the status of women in the Bible and in early Christianity. It is structured as follows:
- During Old Testament times, when the roles of women were severely restricted
- Hebrew scripture passages treating women as generally inferior to men
- Hebrew scripture passages treating women as property of men
- Hebrew scripture passages describing women in other negative terms
- Hebrew scripture passages describing women as equal to men (very few)
- Hebrew scripture passages describing women as leaders (but not as religious leaders)
- During Jesus' public ministry to the people of Israel, when the roles of women were severely restricted in accordance with the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) traditions and practices
- Changing roles of women after the execution and resurrection of Jesus (circa 30 CE)
- Regressive statements by Christian religious authorities (all male) after the 2nd century CE
By following these lists of biblical and post-biblical statements, the reader is able to verify the descriptive versus prescriptive passages about women, and the significant discontinuities that must be researched, as pointed out in Section 1.
- The emerging field of women and gender studies now includes issues of men, masculinities, and spirituality. See, for example:
- Sex on the Brain: The Biological Differences Between Men and Women, Deborah Blum, Penguin, 1998.
- Two Wings of a Bird: The Equality of Women and Men, Bahá'í International Community, 1999.
- Does Masculinity Thwart Being Religious?, Edward H. Thompson Jr. and Kathryn R. Remmes, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, September 2002.
- Women, Power, and the Biology of Peace, Judith L. Hand, Questpath Publishing, 2003.
- Biological Differences Between Men and Women With Respect to Social Stability and Aggression, Judith L. Hand, 2006.
- Young Men, Religion and Attitudes Towards Homosexuality, Yasemin Besen and Gilbert Zicklin, Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality, Novermber 2007.
- Guide to Graduate Work in Women's / Gender Studies, Joan Korenman and NWSA, 2009.
- Contemporary Masculine Spiritualities and the Problem of Patriarchy, Joseph Gelfer, Equinox Publishing, 2009.
- The Patriarch's Nuts: Concerning the Testicular Logic of Biblical Hebrew, Roland Boer, Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality, June 2011.
- The Other Side of the Gender Equation: Gender Issues for Men in the Europe and Eurasia Region, Susan D. Somach, KDID Social Transitions, July 2011.
- What "America's Pope" thinks of gay marriage, priestly celibacy, and women priests, CBS Sixty Minutes Overtime, 21 August 2011.
- Was Jesus gay? Probably, Paul Oestreicher, The Guardian, 20 April 2012.
- Church of England: Is error really better than uncertainty?, Savitri Hensman, Ekklesia, 4 August 2013.
3. Women and Religious Gender Roles in Judaism
Wikipedia article on Women in Judaism:
The role of women in Judaism is determined by the Hebrew Bible, the Oral Law (the corpus of rabbinic literature), by custom, and by non-religious cultural factors. Although the Hebrew Bible and rabbinic literature mention various female role models, religious law treats women differently in various circumstances.
Relatively few women are mentioned in the Bible by name and role, suggesting that they were rarely in the forefront of public life. There are a number of exceptions to this rule, including the Matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, Miriam the prophetess, Deborah the Judge, Huldah the prophetess, Abigail who married David, and Esther. In the Biblical account these women did not meet with opposition for the relatively public presence they had.
According to Jewish tradition, a covenant was formed between the Israelites and the God of Abraham at Mount Sinai. The Torah relates that both Israelite men and Israelite women were present at Sinai, however, the covenant was worded in such a way that it bound men to act upon its requirements and to ensure that the members of their household (wives, children, and slaves) met these requirements as well. In this sense, the covenant bound women as well, though indirectly.
To continue reading the Wikipedia article, click here.
The Wikipedia article includes a very comprehensive bibliography and a directory of links to Jewish religious sources. With regard to current trends on the role of women in Judaism, the following articles may be of interest:
- The Dragon in the Belly: Patriarchs, Judges, and Kings, Susan Wunderink, Christianity Today, 25 April 2008.
- Alina Treiger to become first female rabbi ordained in Germany since war, Kate Connolly, Guardian (Berlin), 3 November 2010.
- Gender Segregation and Inequality inside Israel and Palestine, International Middle East Media Center, 30 November 2011.
- Judaism 101: The Role of Women, Tracey R. Rich, 1995-2011.
- God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist and Racist?, David T. Lamb, IVP Books, 27 May 2011.
- Rehovot film festival to focus on women and religion, Nirit Anderman, Haaretz, 3 October 2012.
- Women Activists Held For Violating Ban At Jerusalem Western Wall, Staff, RTT, 11 April 2013
- The Women’s Wall, Elliott Horowiz, The Tablet, 30 April 2013
- Women of the Wall Prevail, Sara Hirschhorn, Sightings, 9 May 2013
- Eve: The Woman of Unique Distinction,
BibleGateway, 22 July 2013
4. Women and Religious Gender Roles in Christianity
Wikipedia article on Gender Roles in Christianity:
It is noteworthy that 12 women disciples are mentioned in the gospels:
1. Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:38, John 19:25)
2. Mary's sister, Jesus' aunt (John 19:25)
3. The mother of James and John Zebedee (Matthew 27:55-56)
4. Mary Magdalene (John 20:16)
5. Joanna, wife of Chuza (Luke 8:3)
6. Salome (Mark 15:40-41)
7. Susanna (Luke 8:3)
8. Mary, wife of Cleopas (John 19:25)
9. Simon Peter's mother-in-law (Matthew 8:15)
10. Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus (John 11:27)
11. Mary of Bethany, sister of Martha and Lazarus (John 12:3)
12. The Samaritan woman (John 4:39)
Source: Jennifer J. McKenzie, 1994, p. 292
Gender roles in Christianity vary considerably today as they have during the last two millennia. This is especially true with regards to marriage and ministry.
Christianity traditionally has given men the position of authority in marriage, society and government. This position places women in submissive roles, and usually excludes women from church leadership, especially from formal positions requiring any form of ordination. The Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, and many conservative Protestant denominations assert today that only men can be ordained—as clergy and as deacons.
Many progressive Christians disagree with the traditional "male authority" and "female submission" paradigm. They take a Christian egalitarian or Christian feminist view, holding that the overarching message of Christianity provides positional equality for women in marriage and in ministry. Accordingly, some Protestant churches now ordain women to positions of ecclesiastical leadership.
Despite these emerging theological differences, the majority of Christians regard women with dignity and respect as having been created alongside men in the Image of God. The Bible is seen by many as elevating and honoring women, especially as compared with certain other religions or societies. Women have filled prominent roles in the Church historically, and continue to do so today in spite of significant limitations imposed by ordination restrictions.
To continue reading the Wikipedia article, click here.
ON THE BIBLE, PATRIARCHY, AND CHRISTIANITY
I Will Love Unloved: A Linguistic Analysis of Woman's Biblical Importance
J. J. McKenzie, University Press of America
A Gender Neutral God/ess:
Be Inclusive but MAKE NO IMAGES was the Religious Change
J. J. McKenzie, Amazon Digital Services
These books are jewels waiting to be found. The books are about gender in the Bible; not a new topic, but the author takes a fresh look at some of the most ancient manuscripts, and finds new insights that may facilitate a graceful crumbling of rigid, patriarchally literalist interpretations.
The author provides a concise but exhaustive linguistic analysis of the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible. Starting with the linguistic composition of the name "YHWH," she traces the 1,000-year journey of biblical development, and all the derivative names, adjectives, and attributes used by the sacred authors. Her conclusion is that the original texts refer to God sometimes as masculine, sometimes as feminine, sometimes as neuter, and sometimes as both masculine and feminine by using the "maqqeph" symbol to join two words into one as, e.g., "HIM-HER" in Daniel 2:20. This is just one example of many.
She also traces, in minute detail, threads of revisionism over the centuries whereby feminine/neuter references to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been arbitrarily (albeit not necessarily intentionally) masculinized. It is made clear that this initially happened in conjunction with the desire to show the uniqueness and singularity of the Hebrew deity vis-a-vis those of surrounding cultures. Indeed, they had to do marvels to describe a deity that would include all human attributes, and transcend them all, using the still rudimentary Hebrew and without using "graven images." She provides many concrete examples in indented/tabular formats that should facilitate scholarly review.
One appealing feature of this work is that it makes no accusation of intentional sexism. No fingers are pointed to scribes and translators, or even biblical scholars of the past or still working. However, that which is shown to be objectively sexist, and contrary to the original intent of biblical authors, must be recognized as such, and sooner rather than later.
Another appealing feature is that the books are written mostly in plain English, with most of the material requiring Hebrew and/or Greek symbols indented as quotes and/or notes which identify the gender declension for key words. A significant number of images and diagrams, based on the latest archeological findings, are also included.
Biblical scholars, theologians, and all those concerned with the vexing resilience of patriarchy in Christian churches, will do well to study these books, provide feedback to the author if appropriate, and carry the work forward. These books would provide excellent case study material for college level courses in women/gender studies, feminist theology, and sacramental theology.
EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN CUBA
Episcopal Diocese of Cuba Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio and a community worker with prized tomato from a community garden in Itabo, one of the diocese’s projects that promote self-sufficiency. Photo: Ali Symons/General Synod Communications. Source: Episcopal News Service. For more on Bishop Delgado, click here.
5. Women and Religious Gender Roles in Islam
Wikipedia article on Women in Islam:
The study of women in Islam investigates the role of women within the religion of Islam. The complex relationship between women and Islam is defined by both Islamic texts and the history and culture of the Muslim world. The Qur'an makes it clear that men and women are equal, however the Qu'ran states in 4:34, "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient and guard in the husband's absence what Allah orders them to guard." Although the Quran does say this, the superiority of men is interpreted in terms of strength by the context - men maintain women. This verse however refers to a relationship between a husband and wife, not in society as a whole.
Sharia (Islamic law) provides for complementarianism, differences between women's and men's roles, rights, and obligations. However neither the Quran nor Hadith mention women have to cook or clean. The majority of Muslim countries give women varying degrees of rights with regards to marriage, divorce, civil rights, legal status, dress code, and education based on different interpretations. Scholars and other commentators vary as to whether they are just and whether they are a correct interpretation of religious imperatives.
To continue reading the Wikipedia article, click here.
Some additional references:
The Women of Islam, Lisa Beyer, Time Magazine, 25 November 2001.
Mauritanian Islamic leaders ban genital mutilation, Mohamed Abdel Wedoud, Magharebia, 15 January 2010.
Women in Islam, Catherine of Siena Virtual College, 2010.
Gender Equity in Islam (Foundations of Spiritual and Human Equity), Jamal Badawi, Islam Online, 29 March 2011.
Gender Equity in Islam (The Economic Aspect), Jamal Badawi, Islam Online, 30 March 2011.
Gender Equity in Islam (The Social Aspect), Jamal Badawi, Islam Online, 4 April 2011.
Gender Equity in Islam (The Legal/Political Aspect), Jamal Badawi, Islam Online, 7 April 2011.
Gender Segregation and Inequality inside Israel and Palestine, International Middle East Media Center, 30 November 2011.
International conference calls for gender equality in Muslim societies, Today's Zaman, Istanbul, 23 December 2011.
Within, Without: Dialogical Perspectives on Feminism and Islam, Sara Ashencaen Crabtree and Fatima Husain, Religion & Gender, February 2012.
Muslim Women in India Seek Gender Equality in Marriage, Nilanjana Roy, New York Times, 24 April 2012.
Islamic Feminism: Method and Strategy, Lanny Octavia, Qantara, 28 June 2012.
Egypt Revolution Makes It Worse for Women, Cam McGrath, IPS, 2 November 2012.
'Our Books and Our Pens Are Most Powerful Weapons', Malala Yousafzai, delivered this address on education to the United Nations Youth Assembly on 'Malala Day', her 16th birthday, 12 July 2013.
6. Women and Religious Gender Roles in Buddhism
Wikipedia article on Women in Buddhism:
"Women in Buddhism is a topic that can be approached from varied perspectives including those of theology, history, anthropology and feminism. Topical interests include the theological status of women, the treatment of women in Buddhist societies at home and in public, the history of women in Buddhism, and a comparison of the experiences of women across different forms of Buddhism. As in other religions, the experiences of Buddhist women have varied considerably.
"The founder of the religion, Gautama Buddha, permitted women to join his monastic community and fully participate in it, although there were certain provisos or garudhammas. As Susan Murcott has commented: "The nun's sangha was a radical experiment for its time" [Murcott, Susan (1991). The First Buddhist Women:Translations and Commentary on the Therigatha. Parallax Press. page 4.] Dr. Mettanando Bhikkhu says of the First Buddhist council: "Perhaps Mahakassappa and the bhikkhus of that time were jealous of the bhikkhunis being more popular and doing more teaching and social work than the bhikkhus. Their anti-women prejudice became institutionalized at that time with the eight garudhammas, the eight weighty restrictions. We must discontinue that prejudice. There is no anti-women prejudice in Jainism and they survived in India; whereas Buddhism had prejudice and did not survive in India" [see The First Council and Suppression of the Bhikkhuni Order]. Although it must be said that this is factually incorrect, because there are jain sects like the Digambara sect, which believes that women are capable of spiritual progress, but must be reborn male, in order to attain final spiritual liberation. It is also highly doubtful that the garudhammas were motivated by Mahakaasapa's being jealous, as he is said to be an enlightened one and one of the principle disciples of the Buddha. Furthermore there's no support within canon, to suggest that the bhikkunis were more popular, taught more or that they did more social work than Bhikkhus.
"The various schools and traditions within Buddhism hold different views as to the possibilities of women's spiritual attainments. Feminist scholars have also noted than even when a woman's potential for spiritual attainment is acknowledged, records of such achievements may not be kept - or may be obscured by gender-neutral language or mis-translation of original sources by Western scholars. According to Bernard Faure, "Like most clerical discourses, Buddhism is indeed relentlessly misogynist, but as far as misogynist discourses go, it is one of the most flexible and open to multiplicity and contradiction."
To continue reading the Wikipedia article, click here.
Some additional references:
The Place of Women in Buddhism, Swarna de Silva, Enabling Support Foundation, 1994.
A Grand Declaration of Gender Equality, Writings on Buddhism, Soka Gakkai International, 1996.
Full Ordination of Women in Tibetan Buddhism, His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama, 2007.
An Argument Against Gender Discrimination Within The Buddhist Sangha, Anthony Burns,
International Buddhist College, Thailand, 2007.
Buddhism and Women, BhudaNet (with links to other resources), 2008.
The Position of Women in Buddhism , L.S. Dewaraja, Buddhist Pub Soc, Sri Lanka, 2011.
Ordination of Women in Buddhism, Wikipedia, 2011.
Buddhism Gender and Sexuality, Patheos, 2011.
7. Women and Religious Gender Roles in Hinduism
Wikipedia article on Women in Hinduism:
The role of women in Hinduism is often disputed, and positions range from equal status with men to restrictive. Hinduism is based on numerous texts, some of which date back to 2000 BCE or earlier. They are varied in authority, authenticity, content and theme, with the most authoritative being the Vedas. The position of women in Hinduism is widely dependent on the specific text and the context. Positive references are made to the ideal woman in texts such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, while some texts such as the Manu Smriti advocate a restriction of women's rights. In modern times the Hindu wife has traditionally been regarded as someone who must at all costs remain chaste or pure. This is in contrast with the very different traditions that have prevailed at earlier times in 'Hindu' kingdoms, which included highly respected professional courtesans (such as Amrapali of Vesali), sacred devadasis, mathematicians and female magicians (the basavis, the Tantric kulikas). Some European scholars observed in the nineteenth century Hindu women were "naturally chaste" and "more virtuous" than other women, although what exactly they meant by that is open to dispute. In any case, as male foreigners they would have been denied access to the secret and sacred spaces that women often inhabited. Mahabharata and Manusmriti asserts that gods are delighted only when women are worshiped or honoured, otherwise all spiritual actions become futile.
There is a wide variety of viewpoints within the different schools and sects of Hinduism concerning the exact nature and gender (where applicable) of the Supreme person or being; there are even sects that are skeptical about the existence of such a being. Shaktism, for example, focuses worship on the goddess Devi as the supreme embodiment of power, or Shakti (feminine strength; a female form of God). Vaishnavism and Shaivism both worship Lakshmi with Vishnu and Parvati with Shiva respectively as beings on an equal level of magnitude (the male and female aspects of God). In some instances such as with Gaudiya Vaishnavism, specific emphasis is placed on the worship of God's female aspect (Radharani) even above that of her paramour Krishna. Thus it could be said that Hinduism considers God to have both male and female aspects, as the original source of both.
To continue reading the Wikipedia article, click here.
Some additional references:
Landmark Step to Gender Equality, Bina Agarwal, The Hindu, 2005.
Women in Hinduism, Hindu Wisdom, 2008.
Gender equality is passé, let us usher in gender partnership, V. N. Mukundarajan, The Hindu, 2010.
Shaming numbers, Editorial, The Hindu, September 2011.
8. The Resilience of Patriarchy in Religious Institutions
This section examines the vexing resilience of patriarchal structures in most of the world religions:
Sharia Law - Source: Author Unknown
Papal Apology - Source: Kirk Anderson
RECENT NEWS & PUBLICATIONS
Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Vatican CDF, released 18 April 2012.
Statement of Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR, Vatican CDF, released 18 April 2018.
Vatican Names Archbishop Sartain To Lead Renewal Of LCWR, USCCB, 18 April 2012.
African theologian questions church’s exclusion of women, Joshua J. McElwee, NCR, 8 June 2012.
Meeting with doctrinal office opportunity for dialogue, says LCWR head, Carol Glatz, CNS, 12 June 2012.
Redefining Radical: Catholic Nuns Vs. the Vatican , Mark Engler, Yes! Magazine, 14 June 2012.
Levada talks LCWR, criticism in the States, John L. Allen Jr, NCR, 15 June 2012.
Nuns' leader decries church environment of fear, Nicole Winfield, AP, 18 June 2012.
Woman theologian stands up to Vatican, Ma. Ceres P. Doyo, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 21 June 2012.
Leaving the church is a luxury the world cannot afford, Jamie Manson, NCR, 27 June 2012.
Women bishops: Jesus was happy with female apostles. What is the CofE's problem?, Diarmaid MacCulloch, Guardian Observer, 7 July 2012.
Mission, Unity and Women Bishops, Savi Hensman, Ekklesia, 13 July 2012.
Missing the Mark: What the CDF Gets Wrong about the LCWR, Sister Y, Commonweal, 18 July 2012.
Leadership Conference of Women Religious Decides Next Steps in Responding to CDF Report, LCWR, St. Louis, 10 August 2012.
In Praise of Radical Feminists: American women religious and the call to service, Kevin McCardle, America, 27 August 2012.
Religion and Masculinities: Continuities and Change, Religion & Gender, October 2012.
New archbishop of Canterbury shaped by Catholics, favors women bishops, Simon Caldwell, Catholic News Service, 9 November 2012.
General Synod rejects draft legislation on women bishops, Anglican Communion News Service, 20 November 2012.
Church of England will have women bishops: new Anglican head, Joe Brock, Reuters, 22 November 2012.
Editorial: Ordination of women would correct an injustice, Editorial Staff, National Catholic Reporter, 3 December 2012.
Women's role in church not likely to change with new pope, Vincent Browne, Irish Times, 13 February 2013.
Women rising in the Catholic Church, Bernadette Meaden, Ekklesia, 16 February 2013.
Open Letter by Basque Priests' Forum on Women's Ordination, Iglesia Descalza, 21 February 2013.
Christian feminists aim to spread the word on gender equality, Jane Martinson, Guardian, 28 February 2013.
Church in all its Fullness, Conference Report from Women Bishops, Yes 2 Women Bishops (Church of England), March 2013.
Bishops seek greater role for women, The Tablet, 1 March 2013.
Are Women “Secondary” in Catholic Church?, Elizabeth Drescher, Religion Dispatches, 11 March 2013.
Note to the New Pope: Half of the World's Poor are Women, Marian Ronan, Religion Dispatches, 14 March 2013.
Jesuit theologian: May Pope Francis expand women's role, James Keenan, NCR, 18 March 2013.
The Church and Women,
Rebecca Hamilton, Patheos, 21 March 2013.
The Catholic Church should change its attitudes toward women, Chuck Smith, Charleston Gazette, 24 March 2013.
Embrace women’s gifts, protesters say, John Cooney, NCR, 6 April 2013.
Pope Francis and women: The "honeymoon" is over?, Rebel Girl, Iglesia Descalza, 16 April 2013.
'Tainted by radical feminism'? More like 'living the Gospel', Joan Chittister, NCR, 24 April 2013.
Teresa Forcades: "Institutional clericalism and structural misogyny are palpable in the Church", Jesús Bastante, Iglesia Descalza, 13 May 2013.
How a Radical Group of American Nuns Shook Up the Vatican to Better the World, Valerie Schloredt, Yes! Magazine, 21 May 2013.
The Vatican and women: Beyond sex, lies and scandals, Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera, 26 May 2013.
Will Francis’ Statements on Women and Gays ‘Make a Mess’ Inside the Church?, Mary Hunt, Religious Dispatch, 29 July 2013.
Thanks for nothing, Pope Francis, Sadhbh Walshe, The Guardian, 31 July 2013.
Pope Francis in Rio: The Good, the Not-so-good, and the Downright Ugly, Iglesia Descalza, 2 August 2013.
Pope Francis' woman problem, Diane Winston, Los Angeles Times, 4 August 2013.
Pope Francis and the theology of women: some concerns, Ivone Gebara, Iglesia Descalza, 6 August 2013.
Vatican religious prefect: 'New attitude' needed with nuns, Joshua J. McElwee and Biagio Mazza, NCR, 8 August 2013.
Vatican religious prefect: LCWR must address doctrinal issues, Joshua J. McElwee and Biagio Mazza, NCR, 9 August 2013.
Vatican religious prefect: Gender inequality exists in church, Joshua J. McElwee and Biagio Mazza, NCR, 12 August 2013.
Why We Call God 'Father', Simon Chan, Christianity Today, 13 August 2013.
Lutherans elect Elizabeth Eaton first female presiding bishop of ELCA, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, RNS, 14 August 2013.
Challenge to the church from women religious in the USA, Staff, Ekklesia, 14 August 2013.
Leadership Conference of Women Religious Assembly Explores Issues Facing the Global Community, LCWR, Orlando, 19 August 2013.
US Catholic Religious Women encouraged in 'faithful dissent', Staff, Ekklesia, 21 August 2013.
LCWR President Says Vatican Investigation Is More About Church's Future Than Nuns, CNA, 26 August 2013.
Hierarchy's Mary is vastly different from ours, Joan Chittister, NCR, 30 August 2013.
THE CASE OF MALALA YOUSAFZAI
"Malala Yousafzai (born 12 July 1997) is a school student and education activist from the town of Mingora in the Swat District of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. She is known for her education and women's rights activism in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school... On 9 October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus. In the days immediately following the attack, she remained unconscious and in critical condition, but later her condition improved enough for her to be sent to a hospital in the United Kingdom for intensive rehabilitation. On 12 October, a group of 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwa against those who tried to kill her, but the Taliban reiterated its intent to kill Yousafzai and her father..." Malala Yousafzai, Wikipedia
However, the visceral resilience of patriarchy is not to be underestimated ...
British Islamists to issue fatwa against shot Pakistani girl, Jonathan Thatcher, Reuters, 20 November 2012
9. Women in Roles of Religious Authority
LINK TO THE BOOK
In our lifetime?
Probably not, but
"Nothing is impossible to God."
The patriarchal culture of control and domination is the root of all social and ecological violence. It corrupted the original unity of man and woman (cf. Genesis 3:16) and is now corrupting the unity between humanity and the human habitat. Just as we are now aware that slavery and racism are moral evils, we must become aware that all manner of gender discrimination is a moral evil that must be overcome and eradicated if social solidarity and ecological sustainability are to be attained.
The need to reform obsolete patriarchal structures applies to both secular and religious institutions. Feminism is clearly a "sign of the times" to the extent that it fosters authentic gender solidarity and nonviolence for the good of humanity and the glory of God. Given the enormous influence of religious traditions, it is especially critical for religious institutions to overcome and eradicate any semblance of male hegemony in matters of doctrine and religious practices.
The Roman Catholic Church, with 1.2 billion members worldwide, is in a unique position to foster this process of human advancement. Such a massive institution carries a huge amount of inertia, and it would be unrealistic to expect that women will be ordained to serve as priests and bishops "In Our Lifetime." However, even though the door remains closed, it is by no means locked, so it can be opened, and "nothing is impossible to God." This novel by Jeanne Pieper is a sign of hope that, in due time, the door will be opened and divine grace will be liberated to enrich the sacramental life of the church, and energize a new era of worldwide evangelization, with great benefit for integral human development.
FROM THE BOOK COVER
"The Nun . . . The Bishop . . . The Suburban Housewife and Mother . . . What do they have in common? Sister Maureen Connally has little sympathy for the agenda of the radical feminist nuns until the U.S. Bishops edit her sensitive report on "Women in the Catholic Church" into superficial nothingness and publish it under the name of a well known male cleric. John O'Malley, Bishop of San Francisco, has never been a risk taker until his innocent attendance at a feminist Mass for a dying nun brings angry Vatican accusations that he is sanctioning priesthood for women. Linda Bonn, the loving mother of three teenagers, is a dutiful wife and the pillar of her local parish church until her husband, jealous of her sudden success as a suburban Real Estate Agent, tricks her into an unwanted pregnancy. Equally oppressed by inflexible "superiors" and forced to confront personal fears and inadequacies they have never before acknowledged, these three devote Catholics discover both problem and solution in their religion. Upset by the out of touch official pronouncements of the Vatican, as well as the dishonest machinations for the hierarchy, yet unable and unwilling to break the spiritual ties of their childhood, they come to believe that THEY are the Catholic Church. At last, with their help, the time bomb that is within the Catholic Church in American today explodes IN THEIR LIFETIME."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: "Jeanne Pieper is considered a devote Catholic by anyone who knows her. She attends Mass regularly, is active in parish activities, and contributes regularly to the Sunday collection. She grew up in a very active Catholic family and her twin sister, who is a nun, and her brother, who is a priest, often share their lives with her. She and her husband have been married 50 years, and their four children and eight grandchildren all live in Southern California For many years, Jeanne was a freelance writer, with regular columns in her local newspaper, as well as assignments from Franciscan Communications, the producer of Catholic educational materials. Later her attention turned to bi-lingual education for adults. Always interested in bringing people from different backgrounds and life experiences together, her most recent passion is the Action Committee for Women in Prison, where she is a founding board member and director of a program which matches up women in prison with outside women as pen pals. Author of the non-fiction book, The Catholic Woman, Difficult Choices in a Modern World, she now brings us a novel about the Ordination of the First Woman Priest."