There’s More Than One Way to Objectify a Woman

While I was looking for podcasts to listen to at work, I came across The Catholic Underground. The word “Underground” gave me hope

The best women have to offer?

The best women have to offer?

for something subversive, a hope which remained sadly unfulfilled. Instead, I got the same old party lines rife with contradictions. (You can listen to the whole show here, but I can’t say I recommend it unless you have 75 minutes to kill and want to do so listening to three guys shoot the breeze and occasionally mention something relevant to Catholicism.)

One of the news items discussed is the Gates’ Foundation’s new technology that puts birth control on a microchip. The article I just linked is the one referenced in the show, and a link to it appears on the show’s page, but one of the hosts made sure to include the disclaimer that the website supports birth control “for all of the usual, silly, illogical reasons” that they’ve gone into before.

When it comes to Catholicism, there’s not much that raises my ire more than three men sitting around calling birth control “illogical” and “silly.” I could fill a whole post with a rant about that (I sort of already did here and here), but that’s not what I’m here to write about. Not exactly.

Later in the show, the hosts discussed brain research showing that when men view images of tools and images of scantily clad women, the same brain area lights up: the area associated with using objects to attain goals. (When men viewed images of attractive but fully clothed women, the brain response was more complex, involving more systems). The hosts used this as an opportunity to bemoan the habit of seeing women as “objects” rather than as full people. I concur that this is unfortunate, even sinful, and that spiritual people especially should avoid cultivating this habit.

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Progressive Catholic 101: Women’s Equality and Ordination

Post-Vatican II church reform has a rich history — and many of the young Catholics who read this blog may not know it all. The CTA 20/30 Leadership Team sure didn’t. That’s why we are excited to offer a series of Progressive Catholic 101 posts, recommended resource lists on some of the topics of interest to progressive Catholics. The first syllabus comes to us from Kate Conmy, Assistant Director of the Women’s Ordination Conference.
Ordination of women would correct an injustice
This 2012 National Catholic Reporter editorial is a brief and simple introduction to some arguments in favor of the ordination of women to the Catholic priesthood.

Background on Women’s Ordination:
This website run by Dr. John Wijngaards, a former priest who resigned from ministry in protest against Pope John Paul II’s “Ordinaio Sacerdotalis” and “Ad Tuendam Fidem” which forbid further discussion on the ordination of women. The website is a clunky, but the content is really unparalleled online. Resources there include a a useful overview, a listing of Rome’s statements on the ordination of women, and a rundown of major scholars’ positions in favor of and against women’s ordination.
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“Big C”, “little c”, Hurt and Hope

nobleRecently, I returned to the Motherland. This trip did not take me far across land and sea, just a few hours from my Nebraska home to several very small and very Catholic towns in western Iowa to visit family over the 4th of July. Although this trip seemed familiar, it was also wrought with interesting changes from my previous visits. These changes ranged from my newfound status as a semi-adult at family events to my refusal of burgers and hotdogs as a vegetarian.

However, the most interesting change I experienced was my return to my “big-C Catholic” heritage as a self-professed “little-c” progressive catholic who isn’t the biggest fan of institutional Church systems and doctrine. For the first time, I approached the rituals and goings-on of institutional Catholicism as a semi-outsider. After nearly 5 months worshipping in an intentional community, I returned to a big-C Catholic big-M Mass. Armed with the tools of critical analysis, I half-expected to storm in and deconstruct every abusive, heteronormative, patriarchal, gender-binary-enforcing Euro- and white-centric aspect of the institutional church.

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The Confessions

A confessional. Via Wikimedia Commons.

A confessional. Via Wikimedia Commons.

On a spring evening at dusk, sitting next to the fire pit with a glass of wine, my mother told me what it was like to go to confession before the Second Vatican Council.

First of all, that is what it was. There was no “Reconciliation.” There was no “Reconciliation Room.” You went to confession. You went in the confessional.

You went once a month, every month. Mom’s impression was that this was church law. But it wasn’t, not really.

The minimum rate of going to confession was pegged to the minimum rate of receiving Eucharist. In other words, once a year around Easter. But in those days, things that seemed to be law had as much force as things that actually were law.

You went on Saturdays. Mom dreaded it. She hid in her bedroom, hoping her mother would forget. It was fruitless. Sometime in the afternoon, the shout came up the stairs from the kitchen.

“Krysia!” (For the uninitiated, “Krysia” is Polish for “Chrissy.”)  Read more of this post

all voices count

Despite the attempts of churches, communities, and organizations to silence those of us who live and love beyond the norm, we must remember that all of our voices, soft and loud, squeaky and bellowing, count. Throughout history we have seen how even just one voice can transform society, can revolutionize a people, and can widen the circle within churches.

Words can pack a wallop; we must be intentional on how we choose to use them. Just as our voices can hurt, dehumanize, and shatter, they can also heal, make whole, and radically transform—we must be mindful and careful how we choose to share our voices for a church and society that is just, inclusive, and welcoming. Even when we think its pointless and no one is listening, we never know when the seeds we are planting will bear fruit in the lives of others, lives of people we may never meet but who will find inspiration, insight, and incredible oomph in what we shared. Even the smallest, softest, and weakest voices (by society’s misguided standards) can ripple into justice, wholeness, and equality. Our voices matter, our voices count!!!


–delfin bautista is a member of the CTA 20/30 Leadership Team and the CTA Board of Directors; delfin is also a member of Dignity’s Young Adult Caucus and Trans Caucus

In Which Congregants Take Over Worship

Last Sunday, at the beginning of the prayer after the offering at Church, the pastor faltered, stumbling over her words for the first time. She followed up with, “I’m sorry, but I’m not feeling well—I have to ask you to excuse me.” She requested that the choir director finish leading the prayer, and she disappeared.

Everyone deserves backup.

After a moment of surprised silence, the choir director took the podium and led the rest of the prayer. I was staring at the bread and pitcher on the altar, waiting for communion. Communion is only served once a month at this church, so my first thought was, “We’ll have to skip communion.”

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Why the Defeat of DOMA Gives Me Queer American Pride

flagsWhen I think about the progress of marriage equality in the U.S. this year, I cannot help but feel proud, and grateful, to be an America.

My girlfriend is not a U.S. citizen. She’s Brazilian and attends college here on a student visa which expires when she graduates. Before DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) was struck down a year ago, I’m not sure we would have been able to stay together in the States and get married.

Now that our rights are the same as opposite-sex couples, the federal government will recognize and honor our union and allow my girlfriend to stay in the country with a marriage visa.

That being said, our marriage still won’t be easy. The struggle towards full equality continues, but today I want to focus on what we’ve gained.

As my girlfriend once said, “I am really thankful for what I have, not for what I don’t have.”

I wrote a poem and wanted to share it with you today. Please share it with anyone who feels overwhelmed by the darkness of this world. Sometimes we get distracted by the negativity around us and we don’t see the good. But God brings light to the darkest places. Read more of this post


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