Charlotte Allen wrote a thought-provoking article last week about Mary Daly entitled, ‘As the Flame of Catholic Dissent Dies Out’. You can read the article from the Wall Street Journal here:
Mary Daly, theologian and oft criticized feminist recently died and although I am certainly not a fan of all things Mary Daly, I thought it was too early for such an article. But I certainly think she shared a great wealth of Catholic values. The author cites all the Catholic education Mary and others have (Some could say that the universities they went to weren’t Catholic ‘enough’ but come on, Sandra Schneiders has a doctorate from the Gregorian Institute for Pete’s sake) and I just don’t think it is possible that they pursued that much Catholic education purely to undermine it; people with differing views are not as diabolical as people would like to make them out to be but humans so often demonize ‘the other’. I have a Catholic education and the teachings have SHAPED me into the liberal I am proud to be today. It is because of Church teaching, not because I’m rebelling or rejecting them, that I am who I am today. There are so many facets of our faith; this is why I try to respect all perspectives in Catholicism, because I think they are all a part of the tradition as difficult as that may be to hold them all in tension.
There are some that would say so-called ‘orthodox’ Catholics are dissident because they don’t follow all Church teaching. None of us do. Take for instance that over 80% of Catholics believe in the death penalty, something very contrary to Catholic teaching, and only to be considered in VERY rare cases. I don’t say this to engage that whole debate, or judge lest I be judged. It is an example however, of conservative ‘dissent’. I think it would go a long way for everyone, whatever their perspective on things, to realize that they come from a certain frame of reference, see through a certain lens. This isn’t bad or good, just is.
One of the greatest contributions Feminists like Mary Daly passed onto us was being able to live the in the values of feminism while Mary’s life’s work was about fighting for them. I benefit now from being able to live in an almost post-feminism world where so many of the values are in place, and I can celebrate people just being people-for me, one of the values of feminism is about the freedom of all (men and women) to be who they are and be that very well. It’s a privilege to work from there and not have to fight so much.
Even the situation about her banning males from her classroom-men and women both need safe space sometimes and women are new at asking for it, so Mary made it happen. No sexism is ok, but it does ruffle my feathers when a male cries sexism for some minor or fleeting moment when women and other oppressed people, have endured so much for so long. Those on the end of oppression know too well how difficult it is to endure comments from others that are so hurtful, and believe me, people say some majorly hurtful things even when they aren’t meaning to. Ignorance can hurt too, and I wouldn’t expect someone to put themselves in the fire while they are trying to build themselves up.
Lauren Ivory earned a Master of Divinity degree from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis and completed her chaplain residency at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Originally from Northern Michigan, Lauren is now enjoying her new city of Chicago and working on the north side as a health care chaplain/’storylistener’. When she isn’t working she can be found spending time with friends, reading, exploring unique things about Chicago, traveling to see family and friends, listening to music, and dancing.