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Kristina Keneally: I'm a Catholic feminist, and my church needs me more than ever

30. jan. 2015

Kristina Keneally skriver i en kommentart i The Guardian, bl.a.:

The pope’s comments about “breeding like rabbits” highlight the precise reason the Catholic church needs input from feminist agitators like me.

I recall standing in my grandmother’s kitchen with her yellow Bakelite phone to my ear, waiting on hold for a talkback radio program. I was eight years old, and my family was in another room listening to the Catholic Bishop of Toledo take questions from callers on the local AM station.

Finally it was my turn. “Bishop Donovan,” I said, “I’m in third grade. The priest at our school has come to our class to ask for boys to volunteer to be altar servers. Why can’t girls volunteer too?”

Poor Bishop Donovan. He mumbled something about church tradition and the importance of serving at mass as a first step towards priesthood – where, again, one obviously had to be male – and moved on to the next caller.

Unsatisfactory, I thought. And my career as a Catholic feminist began.

38 years later, I’m still a Catholic and a feminist. I’ve got a degree in religious studies, specialising in feminist theology, and while girls can be altar servers now (take that, Bishop Donovan), we’ve still got a long way to go, baby.

Pope Francis’s recent comment that Catholics need not “breed like rabbits,” while insisting that artificial contraception is still banned, left many shaking their heads. Here was yet another example of the all-male Catholic hierarchy completely failing to understand what it is like to be a woman, or to live in a family, or to exercise control over fertility.

The Catholic church so overtly and fully excludes women from certain jobs and seeks to deny them certain rights that some dismiss the idea that a true feminist can profess the Catholic faith. Yet this is precisely why the Catholic church needs feminists.

The idea that one can’t be a Catholic and a feminist usually starts with a misunderstanding of what it is to be Catholic. In strict technical terms, a Catholic is someone who believes in those things listed in the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed: God, the creator of heaven and earth; Jesus Christ, the son of God who was crucified, died and resurrected; the Holy Spirit; the holy Catholic church (that is, the entire community of those who believe in Jesus Christ); the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.

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