Maureen Dowd: the Catholic Church is JUST like oppression in Saudi Arabia
posted at 11:40 am on April 11, 2010 by Cassy Fiano
Catholic-bashing is all the rage in liberal circles and in the mainstream media. As a Catholic, that’s infuriating. I love the church, and I hate seeing it slandered over and over again. The old “all priests abuse children” meme is back in the press again, and Catholicism is taking a beating again. The biased media likes to act as if this is a crisis within the church. The reality is that the Catholic church does not abuse children any more than Protestant churches or even the general population. But you won’t see the mainstream media pointing that out anytime soon. They’re too busy painting priests as evil child rapists who are trying to abuse their positions of authority. And while those evil men do exist within the Catholic church, they also exist everywhere else — teachers, preachers, Boy Scout leaders — because anytime a position of authority exists, there will be the rare person who will come along and abuse it. The overwhelming majority of priests uphold their vows and the mainstream media doesn’t care. It’s because “the church covers it up!!!!!”, they’ll say. But why does it for some reason not matter if Protestants are abusing children at the same rates, and are not reporting it?
Attacking the Catholic church is nothing new. And that’s all they’re trying to do.
I don’t know that I’ve seen something so ridiculous and slanderous, though, as Maureen Dowd’s latest column, where she asserts that Catholic women are just as oppressed as Islamic women in Saudi Arabia.
When I was in Saudi Arabia, I had tea and sweets with a group of educated and sophisticated young professional women.
I asked why they were not more upset about living in a country where women’s rights were strangled, an inbred and autocratic state more like an archaic men’s club than a modern nation. They told me, somewhat defensively, that the kingdom was moving at its own pace, glacial as that seemed to outsiders.
How could such spirited women, smart and successful on every other level, acquiesce in their own subordination?
I was puzzling over that one when it hit me: As a Catholic woman, I was doing the same thing.
I, too, belonged to an inbred and wealthy men’s club cloistered behind walls and disdaining modernity.
I, too, remained part of an autocratic society that repressed women and ignored their progress in the secular world.
I, too, rationalized as men in dresses allowed our religious kingdom to decay and to cling to outdated misogynistic rituals, blind to the benefits of welcoming women’s brains, talents and hearts into their ancient fraternity.
To circumscribe women, Saudi Arabia took Islam’s moral codes and orthodoxy to extremes not outlined by Muhammad; the Catholic Church took its moral codes and orthodoxy to extremes not outlined by Jesus. In the New Testament, Jesus is surrounded by strong women and never advocates that any woman — whether she’s his mother or a prostitute — be treated as a second-class citizen.
Negating women is at the heart of the church’s hideous — and criminal — indifference to the welfare of boys and girls in its priests’ care.
She then goes on to agree with a Newsweek writer who criticizes the “senior executives” — aka priests — for being celibate, refusing to marry, and not having children. Apparently, priests should bring need to “familiarize themselves with the earthy, primal messiness of families and children”.
What does having a family have to do with being a priest? If a man chooses to become a priest, he does so voluntarily, and voluntarily takes the vow of celibacy. A priest is the head of his church, and as such it is his responsibility to administer to his parish. It is his responsibility administer sacraments, see to the poor, the sick, the old… and it is literally a 24 hour a day job. If someone in his parish, for example, gets in a car accident at 3:15 in the morning and is in critical condition, then the priest must get up, go to the hospital, and administer the Last Rites. When my brother was in his motorcycle accident, our priest was there within an hour of being notified. This is the job of a priest. He does not marry because he is married to the church. He is celibate because he is not married, and the church requires sex to only take place within a marriage.
But of course, it’s typical liberal nature to wonder why anyone should even bother restraining themselves. Liberals think that we should just do whatever we feel like doing, as if we were animals incapable of thinking through our primal urges. The idea that any person would willingly dedicate their life to the church as a priest or a nun, and be forever celibate, is astonishing to them.
But all of this is nothing compared to Maureen Dowd’s assertion that the Catholic church is just as oppressive as Saudi Arabia. It is so far out there that I can’t help but believe that she must be living in some kind of alternate reality. Women are not repressed in the Catholic church. To the contrary, as The Anchoress points out, women are celebrated in the church. There number of women in leadership positions in the Catholic church is comparable to the number of women in leadership positions in the workforce on the whole. There is nothing to stop women from serving in the Catholic church if they feel called to it. Look at Mother Theresa, Catherine of Sienna, Teresa of Avila. When it goes against the liberal meme of “the Catholic church is sexist”, women like these — and the thousands and thousands of nuns around the world — are ignored. There are far more nuns than there are priests currently serving the church, but what does that matter to Maureen Dowd? The church is still somehow oppressive.
But oppressive to the level of oppression that women face in Saudi Arabia? A statement like that shows just how out of touch modern feminists are with reality. Saudi women are segregated and oppressed. Women there have to live under sharia law, where if a woman is raped she can be stoned for it — unless, of course, she can find four men willing to speak for her. Women can be educated in Saudi Arabia, but very few of them are able to work. Most of them end up doing nothing but taking care of their husbands and children, whether it is their will or not. Women are not free in Saudi Arabia, they face actual persecution, oppression, and segregation.
Yet in Maureen Dowd’s twisted, warped reality, this is the same thing as the “oppression” in the Catholic church? Stonings are still reported in Saudi Arabia, yet somehow this is equal to… what? What is there in the Catholic church that can possibly compare to the hell that women endure in Saudi Arabia?
The answer is there is nothing. And like every other unimaginative liberal in the mainstream media, Maureen Dowd is grasping at straws to try to find another pitiful, pathetic argument to wage against the Catholic church.