Can radical feminists be Catholics?

If one is “radical feminist” does that mean one is not allowed to be Catholic? Just wondering, because I thought feminism was a general term for belief in “equal pay for equal work” and in preventing employers from discriminating against women on the basis of their sex.

When it began in the nineteenth century, the feminist movement worked for such admirable goals as obtaining the vote for women and for preventing women from being unjustly discriminated against in marriage and in the workplace. Unfortunately, by the middle of the twentieth century, the movement was largely co-opted by contraception and abortion activists who sought to make their anti-life message socially palatable by cloaking it under the mantle of women’s rights. By the late twentieth century, the movement was further derailed by activists who sought to erase all distinctions between men and women, thereby making their anti-human message socially acceptable as another part of the fight for women’s rights.

The term *radical feminism *-- sometimes used interchangeably with secular feminism or radical secular feminism – was meant to bracket out the morally problematic planks in the feminist platform from its morally neutral and morally positive planks. In other words, the terms were coined to enable a person to count himself or herself a “feminist” without forcing that person to agree with the anti-life and anti-human elements of the entire feminist movement. One example of a group that is feminist but not “radical feminist” is the pro-life organization Feminists for Life.

As to the question of whether radical feminists can be Catholic: Some radical feminists identify themselves as Catholic, but much of their distinctively radical feminist ideology is not in line with Catholic doctrine and morals.

For more information on Christian feminism, I recommend the articles linked below.

Recommended reading:

Christian Feminism: A Fuller View of Woman by Zenit
The Pope’s New Feminism by Mary Ann Glendon
Catholic and Feminist: Can One Be Both? by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese

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