Why it’s Hard to be a Catholic Feminist

Religion is a really hard topic for me to write about. There are a ton of things that are going on all the time and it’s super hard to keep track of where all of them are going and how to define my personal beliefs as well as my religious beliefs so I guess I’ll just write to the best of my ability as far as I can go without crying.

I am a Catholic and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I think Jesus is awesome and had the right idea about how to live a life about love. I believe in a benevolent God who is like a “I’m happy if you’re happy” type. My father was that type of guy so I think my heavenly Father would kind of be similar right? Pope Francis is a bro, I think he’s doing really cool and progressive things and I like that he rides the bus to work, carries his own bags, lives in a small hotel and seems really approachable as a leader. While there are a lot of big issues like marriage equality and contraception that I disagree with, it’s not like I expected anything different and at least Pope Francis is all about the love and acceptance.

 I know that a lot of the people reading this are probably people I know from church, who maybe clicked the link out of curiosity, or maybe you read my blog often and I just want to say now that I am not trying to offend anyone. I am not saying that following the church 100% is in anyway wrong or that I’m trying to make you feel like you are wrong in anyway because I know where you are coming from and I respect it. It’s just that I’m struggling with seeing things differently because my mind can’t flow in that way of thinking anymore.

That being said, I think I will dig in to what’s bothering me.

I’ve never gotten a straight answer to why women can’t be priests or deacons. I remember asking a deacon at my church when I was in elementary school and his answer was something like “There are just some things women can’t do. As a man, I can’t bear children. It’s just the way things are” and it didn’t answer my question then because I knew that some women never have children anyway so why couldn’t they be priests. As an adult, this message says to me that my role as a Catholic woman revolves around my reproductive capabilities. It disregards my personhood, my intellect, my leadership abilities, my faith, et cetera all because I have a vagina. Another time I asked this question in my life, my answer was that the Bible says that women should be submissive and silent in churches. Well the Bible says a lot of things, but over time we’ve changed interpretations and meanings of passages to suit the progression of time and social climate. I know I’ll be accused of being a “Cafeteria Catholic” who picks and chooses what I do and do not believe about the Catholic Church but doesn’t the Church do that on it’s own? I feel that the interpretation that disallows women from religious leadership is not based in the Bible so much as in the patriarchal hierarchy of the church.  And if we want to use Bible quotes anyway, I’m going to bust out one of my favorite quotes from Galatians 3:2- There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. , Right? This just tells me that my faith in Jesus Christ sets me equal to all men and women no matter what. I just don’t think God would be all like “can be priest, cannot be priest” while assigning sex.

In addition to that, I think this stems from the socio-economic climates from thousands of years ago when women held no value outside of their vaginas and that should be taken into consideration. I’d like also mention that it seems like Jesus was totally fine with women doing things. He hung out with women all the time and when we look at the biblical figures who had the most undying faith and belief in him, it’s women like Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary that are most commonly referenced, at least in the stuff I’ve read.

Another issue I have is that the expectations for me seem very limited. Since middle school youth group, it seems like there are two vocations for a Catholic woman: be a nun or be a wife and mother. I don’t know what they were telling the boys in the other room, but those two options aren’t enough for me. I don’t think there is anything wrong with either of them AT ALL, just so everyone is clear. I think it’s totally awesome if a woman wants to be a mom and a wife and have her job be her family and I think it’s also cool if a chick wants to dedicate her life solely to God. But when you look at me, look at my interests and the things I care about and it’s pretty obvious that neither of those paths is really for me, at least at the moment. I want to make an impact on the world and I want to change a lot of lives, but I think that would be difficult for me from inside a convent or a nursery. I resent that it seems like an expectation that every woman should want that life.

I also resent being called a Cafeteria Catholic because it implies that if you don’t agree with something 100% then you’re not dedicated. If everyone were 100% dedicated to things all the time, nothing would ever change. We would stay in the exact same spot all the time and nothing could ever progress. The church has definitely progressed, especially in 100 years and it’s because people disagreed with something and argued about it until it changed. There are some issues that I understand why the Church will not budge on it, but there are also a lot of other issues that could be addressed that are more flexible.

I don’t think God cares what is happening to my vagina as long as I consent to whatever goes in and out of it and I’m not hurting anyone.

I hate that my sister (who identifies as Queer) doesn’t feel like there is a place for her in the church because of her sexual orientation. I think that all of God’s children should feel welcome in His house.

With all of this oot and aboot, I want to remind all the people that it’s all about the love. Love is the great equalizer and although there are different kinds of love, love between people is the tightest shit ever. And God is Love right? So how can you say that some types of love shouldn’t exist.

And I know that I’m a bitch 86% of the time so I should probably work on loving people more and then I might be happier in my life and I think if everyone loved a little more a lot of bad things would happen less.

Bottom line: All I want is to be recognized as a child of God, regardless of gender, and have all the rights to which I am entailed. I don’t want to feel shamed for taking alternative paths in my life because no matter which path I’m on, rest assured that I believe God is at the end of them as well as with me on the way.

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