This is more of a vent, but it’s come up so often now recently I feel it should be said.
Why is it permissable for posters to make generalizations about women on a Catholic forum that would not be permissible about other large groups such as blacks or Jewish people?
My litmus test is if I can read the sentence and put in the name of some other group and it would be considered inappropriate, then it’s not appropriate for women either. (Or for men, but I don’t see many inappropriate statements on here about men as a group.)
I have a pretty thick skin due to having worked in male-dominated fields for many years, and I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I’m honestly flabbergasted by some of what gets posted here on a Catholic forum where we are supposed to respect others. Some days it feels rather toxic.
I note there have been no replies here (though some did hit “like”), yet we continue to have threads on a daily basis (one going on right now) that make this forum an unwelcoming place for women and give a poor impression of the Catholic faith to those stopping by.
As a regular female contributor to the forum, I find this is disheartening, discouraging, and tiring.
I just came across this topic a few days ago when I was looking at categories. I just want to say I sympathize. I think “women in the Church” is an extremely important subject and of course I’m sure you are aware there are people working on women’s issues already.
I don’t have time right now to get into working on this problem myself, but I think two issues that could be further developed are that: 1) Catholics (and I’m generalizing) want women to respect unborn children and yet they don’t want to respect women in the same way as men and 2) to turn off women to the Church because the women see male domination instead of Jesus Christ is to hurt evangelization and causes women to leave the Church–along with their male sympathizers. We don’t have to give in to the worldly culture in order to show women how the Church is better for them, but to denigrate women from the start does not attract them.
We often hear how better off women are with Christianity. That is true in many ways, yet the bar is set so low in other cultures that it is not that hard to get it higher.
Pope Francis is aware we need more women in higher places, yet the going is slow. And the fact that the Church refuses to ordain women to deacon or deanconess, whichever you want to call it, means men have seven sacraments given by the Church while women have six. To change that situation would be a great start, in my opinion, toward more respect.
I can understand the frustration with “women in the Church”. I haven’t found that a productive topic to discuss on this forum because it’s too much of a hot-button issue to have a good discussion. I will say that I believe if women were allowed to be priests and deacons in Western countries at this point, I think pretty soon the clergy would become a “pink collar ghetto”. At minimum we would need to restore a strong male priesthood and not have it associated with men who are weak, overemotional, wimpy, or unsure of their commitment to the priesthood, before we could even start thinking about a female diaconate. I’m not saying that every priest has to be a John Wayne/ Sherman Potter style tough guy, and I don’t throw around “gay” or “effeminate” stereotypes, but at minimum I would like them to have the qualities I would associate with a good father of children - a certain level of commitment, strength, and leadership. I think this is slowly getting re-established among young priests but at minimum it’s going to take 10 years at the current rate for this to filter out into the genpop.
We also have way too many lay men who have opted out of the church and consider it an activity for the women in their life such as wife, mom, grandma and not an activity for them, which is just sad. I don’t think they’d be encouraged by seeing a woman priest and a woman deacon running the parish.
Having said that, my concern with the forum is more about the men who seem to have taken the “red pill” and come on here making remarks about how women need to be subordinate to men, women shouldn’t work outside the home, women have a lower iq than men, women making false sexual abuse allegations, and other stuff that’s simply demeaning overgeneralizations. A person who posted on the forum that black or Jewish people were deficient in some way would be removed immediately, but someone who posts that women are deficient in some way is often allowed to continue at least for a time. Of course he will insist he is just telling some inconvenient truth, as people always say when they’re being demeaning to others.
Well, some would call this disrespect. That’s what women need to work against, just as Blacks and Jews worked and still work against, in order to gain respect.
I didn’t talk about the priesthood, because that’s a different subject than diaconate. I’m just talking about the diaconate. To me, what is most important for a deacon is that he (or she) truly believes in Jesus Christ, that He died for our sins and we need to believe in Him for everlasting life. Then, of course, he (or she) needs all other qualifications for a deacon. But that is not my main point.
Speaking for myself, I have to ignore some of the slights I have seen and heard against women in order to come to the Lord in His Church. Apparently some men need to ignore what they think is too much involvement by women in order to come to the Lord in His Church.
It is the Lord who matters. My main point in my comments about women is that we all need to do right and that our opinions may have to change in order to do right. Over US history, people had believed black slavery was OK, but now we do not (staying away from current human slavery problems). Attitude changes about women in the Church would greatly help toward doing what is right, and correct attitudes would attract many women rather than repel them.
I want to add that some may justify feelings about women by saying the Church is growing in some places. But those are different cultures than the West and may change, just as the West has changed over time.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.