25 years after Evangelium Vitae, we still need a “new feminism”

In his encyclical, Pope John Paul II called for a “new feminism”—“new” in the sense of the radical novelty of Christianity itself, not a reactionary Christian answer to secular feminism.

(Image: Mateus Campos Felipe | Unsplash.com)

Perhaps at no point in human history has the urgency of the proclamation of the “Gospel of Life”—the name given to the 11th of Pope Saint John Paul II’s 14 encyclicals—been so apparent as today. Indeed, on this 25th anniversary of Evangelium Vitae (promulgated March 25, 1995), more ferocious than ever is the systematic and ideological calling into question of the dignity and protection of human life, by the very institutions that have been traditionally charged to protect it: the state, the medical profession, even—and perhaps most sadly, as John Paul II pointed out in this same encyclical—the family itself, “which by its nature is called to be the “sanctuary of life” (EV, 9). On a more positive note, it was within the context of this “culture of death” (12) and even of what he considered a “conspiracy against life” (17), that this holy pope, in “cooperation” with “the episcopate of every country of the world” (5), pointed to women as “occupy[ing] a place, in thought and action, which is unique and decisive” in “transforming culture so that it supports life.” For this reason, he called upon us, women, “to promote a ‘new feminism’ which rejects the temptation of imitating models of ‘male domination,’ in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination, violence, and exploitation” (99).

What is the “new feminism”?

Drawing from the important passage of Evangelium Vitae cited above (no. 99), one can point out the following characteristics of this so-called new feminism. 1) Its primary goal is that of transforming the culture in view of promoting and sustaining human life. 2) It proceeds from the thought and action of women, which is to say that it cannot be limited to theory or praxis, but seeks a marriage between the two. 3) A new feminism draws from the fact that women’s thought and action are “unique and decisive”: our contribution is not, in other words, identical with that of men (and the next phrase reaffirms this point by insisting that it “rejects the temptation of imitating models of ‘male domination’); nor is it incidental. 4) A new feminism challenges “male domination,” in contrast, for example, to male headship or leadership. This is not to say it denies leadership roles to women. In any case, leadership—like headship—is always to be understood and lived as service for others. 5) Beyond its affirmation of women’s unique thought and action, a new feminism encourages women’s “true genius,” the content of which remains undefined, although we will seek to fill that out in what follows. 6) Far from limiting the scope of women’s influence—to the domestic sphere, for example—it seeks to foster it within “every aspect of the life of society.” 7) A new feminism seeks to “overcome all discrimination, violence, and exploitation”; that of women, certainly, but also that of children, the handicapped, the elderly, and all those who are weak and defenseless.

In view of these characteristics, there is good reason to believe that a new feminism will advance in an almost organic manner: our praxis of acting out these principles will help to advance our theoretical understanding of a new feminism, which in turn will further incite our praxis. Women are, of course, both actors and theoreticians in this endeavor, but we are not alone. A new feminism that isolates women is no better, and is perhaps worse, than that which it opposes: namely, “models of ‘male domination” on the one hand, and “discrimination, violence, and exploitation” on the other. It follows that all of us have a part to play in the formation of this new feminism, although it was specifically to women that John Paul II addressed the challenge to promote this “new feminism.”

What the new feminism is not

It is, extremely important that in promoting the new feminism, we avoid potential misunderstandings associated with the term feminism itself. Indeed, there are almost innumerable strands of secular feminism, whence the very real possibility of falsely believing that what is promoted by one strand might also be promoted by another. Many eco-feminists, for example, are radically opposed to chemical contraception, which they rightfully denounce as endangering women’s health. Most other strands of feminism, in contrast, promote it as foundational to the “liberation” of women from male servitude, which in turn is presented as a supreme goal. To speak of a “new feminism” almost inevitably risks misleading people into thinking that its goals are in agreement with those of the various strands of secular feminism, such as the so-called right to abortion, which runs counter-current to the life-blood of the new feminism. Even with regard to a major goal that we do share with nearly all forms of secular feminism—that of promoting women’s rights and dignity—the new feminism differs insofar as it follows the example of Pope John Paul II in his insistence not only upon women’s rights, but also upon our responsibilities. Hence the title of his apostolic letter “On the Dignity and Vocation of Women” (Mulieris dignitatem).

Finally, in addressing the new feminism as “new,” we risk misleading people into thinking that it is reactionary in character: a sort of Christian response to secular feminism, and this—I insist—is not the case. While a new feminism might draw inspiration from certain tenants of secular feminism and might likewise learn from its faults, it is “new” in the sense of the radical novelty of Christianity itself, which does not simply adapt itself to what is already given. “No one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins” (Lk 5: 37-38).

All of this is to say that we must be very careful in our employment of the term “new feminism,” which is still another reason to insist upon a common understanding among its proponents of what is understood thereby. Among the most important aspects of this particular feminism is the admission that men and women are equal but different; and it is this fact that allows us to point to their complementarity and to likewise “acknowledge and affirm” what John Paul II calls women’s “true genius.”

The genius of women

Although the concept of women’s “genius” remains relatively ambiguous in the context of Evangelium Vitae, one might point out that it suggests, almost by definition, the surpassing of the norm, pointing to an extraordinary giftedness. In employing this concept, Pope John Paul II might have sought to direct our attention away from what many secular feminists rightfully denounce as the presenting of the male as the standard against which women are judged. On the other hand, many (secular) feminists also denounce the concept of women’s genius as another attempt to categorize, stereotype, or otherwise delimit women by imposing upon us a male ideal of woman: an ideal which necessarily implies that she is different, and thus “other,” than man. Such is an important theme in the work of the famous French feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir. Similarly, the gifted philosopher and faithful advocate of the new feminism, Sr. Prudence Allen, RSM, has done marvelous work exposing the widespread and regrettable influence of Aristotle’s reduced vision of woman (as a “defective” male) upon philosophy up to and including the medieval era and well beyond.

Given this problematic historical background, one almost inevitably walks on eggshells in attempting to define the concept of women’s genius. It is not enough to insist that women are “equal but different,” because the question immediately arises: how are we different? Obviously, if we are to emphasize metaphysical foundations—as I insist that we must—we cannot simply point to biological differences. For this reason, Pope John Paul II did well to point not only to the distinct vocation of maternity, but also to the specifically spiritual dimension of motherhood, such that it can never be simply reduced to the bearing and birthing of children. On the other hand, many secular feminists go beyond this insight to argue that motherhood is simply a matter of “choice” and abortion a matter of freedom.

Perhaps the only way around this catch-22 is to proceed from our own experience as women. For those of us who believe that creation reveals the infinite goodness and wisdom of an all-powerful Creator, it becomes obvious that virtue consists in acting in accord with our being and that our actions reveal who we are as creatures. In observing our actions, moreover, we might better understand the nature from which those actions proceed. This is not to admit that biology is destiny; nor is it to grant that women have a different nature than do men. We too are human and thus fully rational creatures. On the other hand, human nature is necessarily sexual, which means that the human person is either male or female and not simply androgynous. This empirical observation and norm—which is not denied by the reality of those who are sadly born with characteristics of both sexes (the intersexed) any more than the phenomenon of blindness denies sight as proper to human beings—is the origin of the important question inspiring Pope John Paul II’s 1988 apostolic letter on the dignity and vocation of women: the question “of understanding the reason for and the consequences of the Creator’s decision that the human being should always and only exist as a woman or a man” (Mulieris dignitatem, 1).

It is perhaps that question which might also direct our investigation of women’s “genius”: that which we, specifically as women, offer to our common cultural heritage and more specifically to the promotion of a culture of life, in accord with the challenge of John Paul II. Instinctively, I share his belief (cf. MD, 30) that our specific contribution is linked to both our experience of mothering and to our natural disposition for mothering. Hence, we are profoundly aware that life—both physical and spiritual life—is a gift and not simply a choice. On the other hand, Sr. Prudence Allen has argued with good reason that a woman’s recourse to contraception—especially chemical contraception—might inhibit this otherwise natural, and thus experiential, awareness, precisely because a woman is thereby no longer disposed to receive life. This is an important point to keep in mind when the argument is advanced “from experience” that women do not necessarily have a natural disposition for mothering, or a so-called maternal instinct. When, in fact, nature is altered by the human will in a way that is arguably in conflict with nature’s purposes, it cannot be brought to the witness stand to testify against itself.

On the other hand, and more positively, it is surely the case that most of the manifestations of women’s true genius are not explicitly expressed within the context of promoting a new feminism. Hence, for example, every time that we as women interact with other women or men with even an implicit desire to contribute to a culture of life, we are effectively promoting the primary goal of the new feminism. In so doing, we—often unconsciously—bring to our daily activities and preoccupations that “genius” which belongs to us by virtue of our natural disposition to receive and nurture life, and likewise of our actual experience of doing just that. The various manners in which we cooperate in the promotion of the so-called new feminism are thus almost impossible to enumerate: visiting the sick and elderly, helping single mothers, caring for young children, offering an encouraging word, holding a hand, promoting the missions, offering an encouraging example to those who have lost hope in the possibility of a happy marriage or a fulfilling family life, promoting political candidates and laws in view of protecting human life and the well-being of all peoples, especially those who cannot defend themselves; and the list goes on and on.

Of course, it must be granted that men too are engaged in these life-giving and life-sustaining activities, but their manner of doing so is different. I am inclined to agree with many secular feminists engaged in the realm of epistemology who argue that women tend to have more relational manners of thinking, and thus also of behaving, than men do. In other words, it is argued that we women tend to view ourselves within a complex, or tissue, of relations, and not as isolated monads, a view that is said to be more typical of male thinkers. This is another area where contemporary secular feminist philosophers and new (Catholic) feminists might find common ground. According to the analysis of both, women tend to be more relational in our self-conceptions and more empathetic towards others than are our male counterparts, who tend to be more isolated in their thinking patterns and more objective and individualistic (though not egocentric) in their manner of acting.

Complementarity

Unlike many feminists who use this epistemological or phenomenological data to argue for the dismantling of male-dominated institutions and social structures, and for the de facto rebuilding of those same institutions and structures with women’s “superior” influence, new feminists argue for the importance of male and female influence within our social structures and institutions. Men and women are different and complementary, a new feminism maintains.

From this perspective, complementarity is not about “allowing” certain traits to one sex that might not be ascribed to the other. Rather, it is about surpassing the more or less natural limitations of each sex (the caution in this wording is important, because room must be granted to cultural influence, which after all, is part of the mystery of being human), precisely by means of his or her relations with the other. The 20th-century philosopher and saint Edith Stein, who is often cited by new feminists, has some interesting things to say to this question. She addresses certain diminutive tendencies of each of the sexes—the man to his “world” of work, for example; the woman to “her” children and the pettiness arising out of her sometimes excessive concentration upon relationships—that can be avoided by healthy interactions between the sexes, as in the married state.

Advocating complementarity does not presume—and so-called traditional thinkers and new feminists are constantly misunderstood on this point—that neither men nor women are complete in themselves and that they need to enter into communion with one another so as to be expressly “whole.” Rather, there is a sense in which both sexes are challenged, encouraged, and expanded, as it were, in their continually dynamic communion with one another. Precisely in moving beyond the limitations of each one’s “I” in an unceasing effort to enter into an authentic communion of persons, the natural capacities of both man and woman are, in other words, fostered, developed, and even fulfilled. Hence in the education of children, for example, there is good reason to promote the active presence of both mother and father.

Unfortunately, the emergence of true complementarity has often been stifled by social structures that impose straight-jackets on women and men by hindering or prohibiting them from arriving at a natural, almost organic, balance between work and family—or even work and prayer (ora et labora)—in accord with each one’s gifts and needs. To be sure, the struggle to find a balance is a very real one. One challenge is a system that instrumentalizes its workforce, reducing its employees to a means to its own gain. In such an environment, there is no place for the  concern to, for example, assure employment for single mothers, especially employment that will not compromise their primary vocation to care for and educate their children. Nor is there a place for assuring adequate maternity leave; nor still that of allowing for part-time employment for mothers and fathers, who likewise wish to accord primacy to educating their children, and who are, frankly, much too often left out of these discussions. Still more lamentable an example is what John Paul II points to as a “conspiracy against life” in a culture that “denies solidarity” and is “excessively concerned with efficiency,” so as to consider the weak, ill, elderly and unborn as “useless” and “intolerable burden[s]” (EV, 12).

More positively, many married couples are convinced that they are not only responsible for their own so-called personal vocations, but that they are also responsible for a shared vocation: as the parents of their children, of course, but also in the many multidimensional manners in which together—as husband and wife—they contribute to the building of a culture of life.

The call to a contemplative outlook

Such a contribution is certainly fostered by the conviction that we truly are “our brother’s keeper” (Gen 4: 9) (cf. EV, 19). Still more fundamentally, however, it is strengthened by the conviction, born of faith, that we are the sons and daughters of a heavenly Father, to whom we are ultimately responsible for our own lives and even for the lives of all those who pass along our paths and share our destinies. From this perspective, a new feminism is rooted in what John Paul II likewise refers to in Evangelium Vitae as a “contemplative outlook”: “It is the outlook of those who see life in its deeper meaning, who grasp its utter gratuitousness, its beauty and its invitation to freedom and responsibility. It is the outlook of those who do not presume to take possession of reality but instead accept it as a gift, discovering in all things the reflection of the Creator and seeing in every person his living image (cf. Gen 1:27; Ps 8:5)” (EV, 83).

To be sure, this outlook is not unique to the new feminism, but it is only to the extent that we are still able to marvel at the mystery of our beings and lives as given (not just factually, datum, but also generously, donum) and thus as created, that we might truly appreciate the most basic intuitions of the new feminism, and contribute to its fostering. Because we really can and do admit that God has created us male and female, it makes sense to raise the questions at the heart of the new feminism: what is specific about being a woman, as differing from a man? Is there a specific call or task that might be attributed to women as female? Like all genuinely human questions that occupy the hearts of men and women throughout history, these are questions that cannot be resolved with simplistic answers. Rather, they must be lived and reflected upon throughout the various stages of our lives, with an appreciation for natural beauty and an awesome respect of mystery. After all, it is the attitude of wonder—far more than that of doubt—that has advanced learning and culture through most of the tradition of humanity.

We thus have good reason to believe that the new feminism—in its search for metaphysical understanding—does not represent a passing phenomenon. Like a virtuous woman, it is destined to leave its mark upon human history and human hearts.


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About Michele M. Schumacher 2 Articles
Michele M. Schumacher is a doctor in theology (S.T.D.) and a private docent at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. Among her many publications, she is the editor and contributing author of Women in Christ: Towards a New Feminism (Cambridge / Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2004).

25 Comments

  1. A very long essay which would require very long replies if the replies were to be thorough. Setting aside the issue of relying upon one pope and the exaggerated importance given to his writing on this topic (or take Francis as being in continuity with him if one pleases), I will just choose one item:

    [ 7) A new feminism seeks to “overcome all discrimination, violence, and exploitation”; that of women, certainly, but also that of children, the handicapped, the elderly, and all those who are weak and defenseless.]

    How about the discrimination, violence, and exploitation that is committed by women against men? This is no small matter, and these behaviors do reveal something about female psychology and how women view men.

    • “[ 7) A new feminism seeks to “overcome all discrimination, violence, and exploitation”; that of women, certainly, but also that of children, the handicapped, the elderly, and all those who are weak and defenseless.]”

      First of all, half the sentence can be left out; just “overcome all discrimination, violence, and exploitation.” It doesn’t matter who the victim is. Though I do have to quibble with the word “discrimination.” Discrimination isn’t an innately bad thing. I discriminate between things all the time; between things that taste good and things that don’t, between things that are sinful and those that aren’t, between all kinds of things. The only thing that can be wrong is the basis of discrimination.

      Secondly, that’s not “feminism,” it’s common decency.

  2. I have a long post under another article on this site, that relates to the above article, to avoid repeating myself, perhaps some may consider reading it.
    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2019/07/07/the-subtle-lie-women-must-be-powerful-but-not-fruitful/#comment-143765

    Having once again reflected on the problem of creating an inclusive Priesthood/Church I have concluded that it will not be resolved until the authoritarianism and elitism that is embedded within Clericalism which emanates from an abuse of this teaching given by Jesus Christ, is confronted.

    “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth your father, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted”

    Jesus appears to be conveying that His disciples do to take honour to themselves, which did not belong to them; nor even choose to be called by such names, as would lead people to entertain too high an opinion of them, and take off of their dependence on God the Father, and Himself, as these titles the Scribes and Pharisees loved to be called by, rather look to the mandate given at the last super, to those who would lead in His name’

    In the world we see the Media pedestalizing celebrities etc, and then for some unfortunates demonize them, as it is good for business so to say. This same ploy is used on many who sincerely follow Jesus Christ and what a better targets than Priests, Religious and sincere Christians.
    Not all those who treat “father” like a celebrity do so with a Christian heart, rather quite the opposite as this feigned pedestalization comes in ‘different disguises’ see an example via the link.

    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2019/10/17/seminaries-and-formation-one-priests-perspective-and-suggestion/#comment-157546

    This culture of ‘pedestalization’ needs to change but how can those who have been institutionalized do this this? A new culture of manifest/true humility has to be encouraged as in

    “learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart”

    I personally have tried to avoided the use of calling priests father for some considerable time now, as the use of the term father, to any other than to our true ‘Father’ and Creator is offensive to Him, as it undermines the Inviolate Word (Will) of God, given to us within the Gospels causing (through double talk) confusion amongst the laity and nonbelievers, while at the same time it belittles the teachings of Jesus Christ before all of mankind.

    Posted by xxxxx on another site

    “I don’t know what you call(ed) your male parent (Male Parent?), but I don’t buy into your Protestantism. My mind and heart are open, which does not equate to acquiescing to everyone who comes along with a contrary opinion. And I find the precious notion that it’s wrong to call priests “father” ridiculous. It’s a term of respect and affection, no more than that”..

    My response: I called my male parent daddy; I do not think that Jesus was referring to your ‘lawful’ as in ‘Honour or your father and your mother’ (Natural) father, before God, to think that He was, would be preposterous as God’s inviolate Word (Will) cannot contradict itself.
    Yes the term father is a term of respect and affection (Love) and due to our natural earthly father, but in the fullest sense as in our Father/Creator, it is due to Him and Him alone as we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and he is the Father of us all.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

    • Hi, Kevin! Phil here. As a former Protestant, I can see several things in your almost “pet project” insistence that calling Catholic Priests “Father” is wrong and that it is somewhat “offensive” to God. First, Protestants call their leaders “Pastor” even though Jesus is the Supreme Pastor, the Supreme Shepherd (that’s what the origin of the word “pastor” IS: shepherd). Second, I see a general, life-wide, very uptight, ultra-rigid attitude in people who, like you, insist that Priests not be called “Father”.

      Most I’ve seen end up showing that they have big father issues of different kinds. Third, is God Himself so insecure, selfish and narrow that He is not willing to share the title “Father” with anyone? Why then did He create families with a FATHER, mother and children? Why did Ancient Jews use their FATHER’S name as their last name (Jesus being known as Jehoshua Ben Yosef- Jesus son of Joseph) and most modern people use their FATHER’S last name as their last name? Why did God not only choose a mother to His Incarnated Son BUT also a FATHER (Joseph)?

      Today’s Demonized Feminism is a FATHERLESS movement, being criminal in attitude and intentions, just like most of the inmates I dealt with and most of the others around the world who also are reported to be grown FATHERLESS children, in fact or in attitude. FATHERLESSNESS is lustfully relished by Satan and his followers.

      The Priest gives us BIRTH in the fecundity of the Holy Spirit through the Sacraments so he is a True FATHER, just like Saint Paul makes it SO clear here: “Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your FATHER through the GOSPEL”, (capitals added) (1 Corinthians 4:15). Kevin, get a good, holy FATHER to father you and get the life that God gives through THEM!! God is not only NOT afraid to share His VERY image and likeness with us (Genesis 1:26) but also His Amazing FATHERHOOD so we become One with HIM!! How could He be offended by what He actually wants? Praise be to our Father God!!

      • Thank you, Phil, for taking the time and effort to respond to my post for which I am grateful, as it gives me the opportunity to look again at what I am saying.
        Quote “Father” is wrong and that it is somewhat “offensive” to God” “Do not call anyone on earth “father,” for you have one father, and he is in heaven. I believe the Gospels contain the living Word (Will) of God and when you deviate from It you confuse the sheep.

        You say “Protestants call their leaders “Pastor” even though Jesus is the Supreme Pastor, the Supreme Shepherd” “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” “Yes, Lord,” he answered, “You know I love You.” Jesus told him, “Shepherd My sheep.” Here Jesus confers His priests as Shepherds/Pastors. I would feel very comfortable in using the term Pastor for a priest such as yourself Phil, as it would not infringe upon my conscience. The Good Shepherd directs the sheep to our Father in heaven and His Shepherds should do the same, by directing them away from themselves to your and my FATHER who is in heaven.

        “Today’s Demonized Feminism is a FATHERLESS movement, being criminal in attitude and intentions”

        I do not disagree Phil but as my post via the first link states
        “As in the natural order of things, it is natural to rebel against injustice and if the conflict is not re-solved, in time, can lead (Push) one into anger, wrath, malice, manipulation etc. Hence, we have the Sibyls of this world, and mankind fears her power”

        We look to the cause (Sin) as many ‘fathers’ of the Church, down through the ages have abused their power/authority, so in the present day we must look for a way of healing. (Leading to my ‘pet project’) ‘I believe’ the True Divine Mercy Image one of Broken Man given by Our Lord Himself to his Church has within itself the means to do so.

        The Priest gives us BIRTH in the fecundity of the Holy Spirit through the Sacraments so he is a True FATHER,

        “I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

        The living Word of God, is the ‘seed’, that is enkindled by the Holy Spirt

        “just like Saint Paul makes it SO clear here……..

        This is a powerful argument to what I am saying, while directing me to, “get a good, holy FATHER to father you and get the life that God gives through THEM”

        “I am the Good Shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father—and I lay down My life for the benefit of the sheep”

        Sadly, from my personal experience the ‘Fathers’/Shepherds that I have encountered, cannot even own their own vulnerabilities, never mind the laying down of one’s life. Yes, we are all flawed but the lack of honesty that I have encountered etc, as stated in many of my posts, does not instil trust.

        I think that this Ode to the Church by Carlo Carretto an Italian monk who died in 1988. Describes the feelings of many within the Church to day.

        How much I must criticize you, my church and yet how much I love you!
        How you have made me suffer much and yet owe much to you.
        I should like to see you destroyed and yet I need your presence.
        You have given me much scandal and yet you alone have made me understand holiness.
        Never in this world have I seen anything more obscurantist, more compromised, more false, and yet never in this world have I touched anything more pure, more generous, and more beautiful.
        Many times I have felt like slamming the door of my soul in your face – and yet how often I have prayed that I might die in your sure arms!
        No, I cannot be free of you, for I am one with you, even though not completely you.
        Then, too – where would I go? ‘To build another church?
        But I cannot build another without the same defects, for they are my own defects I bear within me.
        And again, if I build one, it will be my Church, and no longer Christ’s.
        No, I am old enough to know that I am no better than others.
        I shall not leave this Church, founded on so frail a rock, because I should be founding another one on an even frailer rock: myself.
        And then, what do rocks matter?
        What matters is Christ’s promise, what matters is the cement that binds the rocks into one: the Holy Spirit.

        The Holy Spirit alone can build the Church with stones as ill hewn as we

        God bless you Phil

        kevin your brother
        In Christ

        • Kevin, your reply has a lot of cherry-picking the very Bible you pretend to respect and you use a long comment just to diminish Catholic Priests as what they really are: FATHERS. You talk about me “confusing” people but why are you even diminishing Priests under an article about FEMINISM? Makes no sense whatsoever until one realizes the immense, broad influence of Ideological Toxic Hyper-Feminizing False Fathers that have been in a very long Anti-ALL-Legitimate-Fathers Crusade. Like all these Toxic False Fathers (which include viciously AUTHORITARIAN radical feminists, radical homosexuals, rapists, corrupt politicians and prelates, etc.). Vicious Disguised Authoritarianism by anyone, in any form and by any excuse is the absolute opposite of God’s True Fatherhood.

          Toxic False Fathers hate the Heavenly Father just like Satan does and that’s why they have been viciously attacking all legitimate Fathers whether inside the family or in the Priesthood. Given that our ABSOLUTE GREATEST NEED is for the Heavenly Father, as Jesus made SO abundantly clear, these Toxic Father Impostors have used their Demonic Impersonation of the Father to gain quite a big foothold and control today. Good and Holy Fathers are needed more than EVER and Priests are the door to that Holy Fatherhood, that must be crushed and eliminated by Church enemies, paving the way for those Toxic False Fathers to be elevated and/or “ordained” in the Catholic Church.

          That’s why your “Ode To The Church by Carlo Carreto” only proves how much Priests are needed today as FATHERS because today’s homosexual crisis and pedophilia within the Clergy and everywhere else is nothing but a FATHERLESS CRISIS just like Extreme Feminism, Liberalism, etc. ARE. Protestantizing the Church under false biblical excuses only makes it much WORSE. To stop calling Priests “Fathers” sounds very innocent, JUST LIKE every other thing that has been and is being done to destroy the Church as instrument of Salvation and Redemption. It is not innocent t all.

          Here’s two great resources against this Worldwide Toxic False Fatherhood and toward True Fatherhood and True Feminism: “The Consecration to St. Joseph” by Father Donald Calloway and “33 Days to Greater Glory: A Total Consecration to The Father” by Michael E. Gaitley. The Heavenly Father holds our most TRUE identity and Father Priests are the way to Him through Jesus. If that wasn’t the case, Jesus would not have bothered with having Apostles and instituting the Eucharist, therefore totally eliminating the possibility of anyone being called a Spiritual Father.

          All good Fathers reveal in some way the Heavenly Father. Those who have tragically failed in these modeling only prove how epically and universally important True Fathers ARE, in the family, the Church and the world!! We should not relish and rejoice in their failure in order to strip all others of their title, like Satan does, but learn much from it and, even more, greatly appreciate all good Spiritual Fathers. We MUST call things and people by name,their Core Reality, which Satan hates! Thank you, Kevin, for bringing an all-important CATHOLIC subject to the fore!

          • Thankyou Phil for your comment “Kevin, your reply has a lot of cherry-picking the very Bible you pretend to respect and you use a long comment just to diminish Catholic Priests as what they really are:

            So, you see me as a pretender whereas I see myself as a searcher for the Truth. You say I have cherry picked my quotes, rather the root of them welled up from within my Heart, all of which are from the teaching of Jesus Christ, given within Gospels.

            “but why are you even diminishing Priests under an article about FEMINISM?

            My opening Post states: “I have a long post under another article on this site, that relates to the above article, to avoid repeating myself, perhaps some may consider reading it…….
            Having once again reflected on the problem of creating an inclusive Priesthood/Church I have concluded that it will not be resolved until the authoritarianism and elitism that is embedded within Clericalism which emanates from an abuse of this teaching given by Jesus Christ, is confronted”. “Call no one on earth your father, you have but one Father in heaven” etc. We are on safe ground when we look to the Word (Will) of God within the Gospels.

            The leadership of the Church has diminished the Priesthood, not I. For credibility to be restored, a sea change will have to take place, which confronts the arrogance embedded with Clericalism -Merriam-Webster: Clericalism; a policy of maintaining or increasing the ‘power’ of a religious hierarchy;

            “We should not relish and rejoice in their failure in order to strip all others of their title”

            No, we should not Phil, but only a manifest humble Priesthood will restore credibility before mankind and the faithful.

            From your first post “is God Himself so insecure, selfish and narrow that He is not willing to share the title”

            ‘God shares His Glory (Grace) with us but we are always the vessel, never the liquid we are forever the container; He is that which we contain’

            “Our Father who art in heaven Hallowed (sacrosanct, worshipped, divine, inviolable) be thy Name” “Thus ye also, when ye shall have done all things that have been ordered you, say, We are unprofitable bondmen; we have done what it was our duty to do” So it seems, apparently not Phil. But how could it, when God’s living Word say’s

            “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth your father, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted”

            Phil from my prospective the Church needs to look ‘Honestly’ at Herself at this moment in time as the present Hierarchical structures are not fit for purpose. May God help those like yourself who work at the coal face, so to say, to bring about change, as in a fundamental shift of culture. May I personal thank you for your endeavours that you have given the church down through the years, which I am sure that many are grateful for.
            kevin your brother In Christ

          • Kevin, I am responding here to your comment below as it has no “Reply” option to it as far as I can see. You say in your second paragraph: “So, you see me as a pretender whereas I see myself as a searcher for the Truth. You say I have cherry picked my quotes, rather the root of them welled up from within my Heart, all of which are from the teaching of Jesus Christ, given within Gospels”. Given that I never used the word “pretender” directed at you, yours is a self-disclosing Freudian Slip. It also calls my attention that when you refer to your heart, you capitalize it. Self-disclosing Freudian Slip again. Also, Authoritarian Clericalism is coming from the very top, not the Core Church. God bless you, Kevin!

          • Thank you, Phil, for your reply APRIL 2, 2020 AT 9:40 AM

            “Given that I never used the word “pretender” directed at you, yours is a self-disclosing Freudian Slip”

            I took and used the word pretender from “your reply has a lot of cherry-picking the very Bible you pretend to respect…. To pretend;- put on a false front or Merrian-Webster;-one that pretends” am I missing something here?

            Also you say “Also, Authoritarian Clericalism is coming from the very top, not the Core Church

            But is that not what I have been saying, within my post above “The leadership of the Church has diminished the Priesthood, not I. For credibility to be restored, a sea change will have to take place, which confronts the arrogance embedded with Clericalism”
            Take care

            kevin your brother
            In Christ

      • Phil, don’t waste your time. He’s extremely mixed up and seems to labor under the misapprehension that he knows far better than the Church does about everything.

        • Thank you, Leslie, so much for your sisterly kindness and very thoughtful advice, which I will follow. I tried to reach him but, as you say in different words, he is vacuum sealed in his OWN ideas, blindly insisting on calling us to stop calling Catholic Priests “Fathers”, among other things.

          We True Catholics are OPEN to God not vacuum sealed in our own interpretations. We must GROW in God’s Truth not ours and let that Truth change us.

          As a parting observation and to the benefit of all here, much of what he says has a lot of what I experienced as a former New Ager, with many of his arguments coming as a mix of Bible verses and New Age worldview, especially the great spiritual guru attitude. Some of his words even remind me of the spiritualism of the Book of Enoch, changed somewhat. May God bless him! Your observation, Leslie, is right on, thank you again!! God bless you and all you hold dear!!

  3. John Paul thinks that the mission of the Church is to make the world a more equitable place. How far we have strayed from the gospel!
    Jesus: “Do you think that I have come to bring peace into the world?”
    The Church: “Yes.”
    Jesus: “No.”
    Case closed.

  4. It is curious that Prof. Schumacher seizes upon one reference to “new feminism” in EV, while ignoring the central role that the Blessed Virgin Mary played throughout the encyclical; after all, EV was promulgated on March 25, the incarnation. Mary is central to the gospel because she is radically open to God’s will as child bearer—she responds to the will of the Father in spirit and through her bioligical capacity, qua female. Is not giving birth to new life in Christian marriage the primary mission of the female? Does not her biology remind her of this every month? Are these spiritual and biological facts of Mary lost on the professor? Feminism is egoism. The Catholic view of the female is Marian, not feminist, not egoistic. It will be difficult to incorporate any notion of the female into authentic Catholic world view, that does not simultaneously root it in Mary, and radically separate it from its principal enemy, Marxism. Feminism is egoism. Mary is the antithesis of egoism.

  5. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope-francis/mass-casa-santa-marta/2020-03/pope-annunciation-homily-luke-madonna.html – We can rejoice , with the Holy Father and many others , for today’s Feast that The Church celebrates with all of heaven , for the truth as beheld by the Bl.Mother , seeing herself , in the perfection of our original creation .. a memory that He holds for each of us too , for both men and women , as could be heard , in the blessed words of the Holy Father .

    For those who are short on time, those words of the Holy Father , during the brief moments of adoration at around the 42 min mark of the video , to help bring out that profound truth , as in a mustard seed – the Father , in the perfect memory of each of us , ‘ in whom we exist as He originally created us ‘ ….

    Thus , easier to see how those who are in touch with that truth live in that truth and how every deviation from that is from the father of lies , that men and women are to strive to be set free from , with the help of The Lord and His Spirit , made possible in the whole truth of The Incarnation on down .
    Covid 19 – may be a prophetic term – even if the enemy might have had other plans

    19 , as in The Feast of St.Joseph …and The Church , with the help of The Fathers blessed to bring us these ‘videos ‘…
    to be played in our own memories , locking away all false ideas and memories ..
    that we see the original , clothed in light and love and innocence , such as was before the ‘father of the earth ‘ came in as the kingdom of death spirits ,to be overcome through The Mother’s trust and readiness to heed the voice of The Father , for The Spirit to get to work , by being His Handmaid …
    Glory be !

  6. Having listened for many years to feminists of many stripes — Christian and non-Christian; pro-abortion and pro-life; complementarian, egalitarian, misandrist; etc. — I’ve formulated a proposed working definition of what most if not all forms of feminism have in common, whatever else they may disagree about.

    The common threads linking most forms of feminism can, I think, be expressed in three propositions:

    a) Women and men are equal in moral worth and personal dignity, and should be accorded equal respect, equal rights in law, equal opportunities in the public square (e.g., regarding education, employment, etc.).

    b) Our society (like many or most if not all other societies) is characterized by pervasive, well-established cultural ideas, attitudes, and institutions that at least tend, on the whole, other things being equal, to advantage men in general and disadvantage women in general. Various names for, or aspects of, this reality include male domination, patriarchy, sexism, misogyny, etc.

    c) These realities must be acknowledged and resisted.

    A story is only as good as its villain, and the case for any kind of feminism, including the Christian feminism John Paul II called for, depends on the case for what John Paul II calls “discrimination” and “male domination.” 

    The terms “discrimination” and “male domination” appear a few times in this piece, always in a direct quotation from John Paul II.

    Although Dr. Schumacher rightly notes that feminism must be concerned with other forms of discrimination against disadvantaged or marginalized groups (the essential premise of “intersectional” feminism), the ways in which Christians should recognize that women are disadvantaged, thus necessitating a new Christian feminism, are given no attention here.

    This silence about how women are disadvantaged undercuts, it seems to me, the case that Dr. Schumacher wants to make.

    • “b) Our society (like many or most if not all other societies) is characterized by pervasive, well-established cultural ideas, attitudes, and institutions that at least tend, on the whole, other things being equal, to advantage men in general and disadvantage women in general. Various names for, or aspects of, this reality include male domination, patriarchy, sexism, misogyny, etc.

      “c) These realities must be acknowledged and resisted.”

      Speaking as a woman: Bilge.

      And you will find nobody who is more contemptuous of traditionally feminine activities such as homemaking than “feminists” who rail against “patriarchy” and “sexism.”

  7. Curious what arguments Catholic “feminists” would use to exempt women from having to register for selective service. Surely the military can’t be the one sphere from which the presence and influence of women should be excluded? Afterall, the military has been open to women for a while, and women are even now allowed into most combat roles, with more being opened to them. I’ve never come across any objection to this development from our Catholic “new feminists.”

    Women Should Have to Register for the Draft, Congressional Commission Says
    https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/03/24/women-should-have-register-draft-congressional-commission-says.html

    “Of course, it must be granted that men too are engaged in these life-giving and life-sustaining activities, but their manner of doing so is different. I am inclined to agree with many secular feminists engaged in the realm of epistemology who argue that women tend to have more relational manners of thinking, and thus also of behaving, than men do. In other words, it is argued that we women tend to view ourselves within a complex, or tissue, of relations, and not as isolated monads, a view that is said to be more typical of male thinkers. This is another area where contemporary secular feminist philosophers and new (Catholic) feminists might find common ground. According to the analysis of both, women tend to be more relational in our self-conceptions and more empathetic towards others than are our male counterparts, who tend to be more isolated in their thinking patterns and more objective and individualistic (though not egocentric) in their manner of acting.”

    • On the Selective Services form, there is a check box for “female” (not one for the other genders though), so at least the paperwork is ready if Congress mandates girls go down to the post office 30 days after their 18 birthday.
      .
      Hmm, I wonder if “male-to-female” 18 years olds need to register…

  8. There is no new feminism because there is no new masculinity. The modern Adam is still stuck in the Garden listening to the serpent.

  9. Evangelium Vitae was published on March 25, 1995. It is highly relevant to the thought of Saint John Paul II that less than two months later, specifically on May 12, 1995 he co-hosted at the Vatican a conference on breastfeeding. There he endorsed the recommendations of UNICEF for breastfeeding up to two years and beyond. His address to the conference is available at http://www.nfpandmore.org/bfjohn.shmtl.

  10. Interestingly of 15 posts only one is from a woman. The rest men, one who begins with his usual diatribe not at all on the subject of the article rather against clericalist priests wrongly called Fathers and a Church requiring paradigmatic remaking. Nothing on Feminism. Until he responds to a critique of his diatribe. And then it’s needless to say a defense of feminism, woman victimized by priests, women who are really Sybils, prophetesses mirroring Kevin’s new age of Aquarius where sin is self absolved, confession to priests unnecessary, a new Church happy and reborn in Kevin’s masterfully self referenced image [I counted about six] embellished with polemic poetry. But not yet. Kevin must be all means have the last word. As a priest I stand accused with my brothers. I wonder. Perplexed. Has Kevin ever met a priest whom he thought kind, helpful? If not is Kevin a Diogenes still searching for an honest priest, or is his mind made up for eternity?

    • “I wonder. Perplexed. Has Kevin ever met a priest whom he thought kind, helpful? “If not is Kevin a Diogenes still searching for an honest priest, or is his mind made up for eternity?

      Yes Peter (Fr Peter Morello) I have met four, the first one was a priest in a care home (1967/8) he was very kind and humble (thinking of him now makes me want to cry) he came down to my level, he made me feel valued. Sadly, he died shortly after my second encounter with him. Incidentally his spinster sister who had accompanied (In the background) throughout his priestly ministry died a few days later. May they rest in peace and from my perspective they will.

      The second one who I though was kind and helpful was young and newly ordained I originally encounter him at the commencement of my difficulties, in the confessional, he was for me, very empathic, honest, open and humble. This encounter with goodness, comforted me over many years.

      Approximately twenty-five years later I was attending evening mass in a parish where one of my relations lived. After mass the priest announced the sudden death of a parishioner whose son was a priest, her surname was unusual so I recognised her son to be the empathic priest I had encountered so many years ago. Out of appreciation for his kindness I attended his mother funeral, of course he did not recognise me, as he shook my hand at the church door. Sometime afterwards I approached him in my distress at his home in a distant parish within the diocese, looking for the originally empathy I had encountered. Sadly, this had long gone, pride with gesticulation directed at me was the present situation. May God grant him the grace to recapture his former self, for which I will always be grateful for.

      The third kind priest I accounted also many years ago. I went to see a parish priest (a kindly man) and asked him if he would baptize my daughter. He took me into the Sacristy with his back turned away from me, he opened a large book and said “What is the child’s name? I replied “It will be xxxx” he turns slowly and looked at me for some time in a perplexed manner, wanting to speak but did not. It was many years later before I realized what had transpired between us. Those who walk in friendship with the Holy Spirit, hear his voice within their hearts and when they fall into error, he corrects them and in so doing gives glory to our Father in heaven. Unknowingly I had conveyed a truth to this kindly priest, that had pieced his heart, he had permitted the secular law to supersede Gods law (Holy Will) within his heart, as from my perspective in faith, until baptism my child had no name before our eternal Father in heaven.

      Sometime later at the end of mass, while he was returning via the aisle to the main entrance door to engage with parishioners as they left the Church, when he reaches my aisle, he turns and looks at me, full on, with great anguish and concern on his face accompanied by a slight hand gesture of embrace, directed towards me. I left by the side door, so I did not speak to him, sadly he died shortly afterwards, he was middle-aged and appeared healthy. May he rest in peace.

      The fourth I met in 1981 he was a friend/acquaintance of the first priest I meet 1967.He gave me and my wife (Now mentally disturbed) some advice in relation to our predicament.

      About twenty years later, now alone, I went to see him again in a retirement home for priests, where he now lived, about one hundred miles away in Liverpool, England.
      He enlarged upon my present predicament, while telling me that after my complaint the Convent in xxxxxxx (which unknown to him was the parish of the priest who had baptized my daughter) had been closed down. (The pagans had already implied that I was responsible for the loss of one of their outposts). On reflection I do not think he should have told me this as when I tried to contact him by phone shortly afterwards I was told that the retirement home was been redecorated and that he would be residing in London, until it was completed. I tried again about six weeks later, I was then told that he had Died. May he R.I.P

      So yes, I have encountered kind, helpful priests, but sadly they are few and far between.

      “If not is Kevin a Diogenes still searching for an honest priest, or is his mind made up for eternity?

      I can definitely say I am not a Diogenes as I am a sinner and I know it, my hope and pray is that God will accept me into ‘eternity’ in my brokenness with all those other damaged souls that I have encounter during my lifetime, which includes priests

      kevin your brother
      In Christ

    • eter (Fr. Peter Morello I have just posted (3 times) a comment in reply to your post which does not appear to have been accepted. (Has not been shown)
      My with my last attempt I was informed me that I have already ‘said that’ hopefully it will showup.

      kevin your brother
      In Christ

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