The New Catholic Feminism: Theology, Gender Theory and by Tina Beattie

By Tina Beattie

It truly is not easy to over-estimate the problem that feminism poses to Roman Catholicism. Pope John Paul II's demand a 'new feminism' has resulted in the advance of a Catholic theological reaction to the so-called 'old feminism'. The New Catholic Feminism sets up a dramatic come across among the orthodox Catholic institution and modern severe conception, together with feminist theology and philosophy, queer idea, and French psycholinguistics, with the intention to discover primary questions on human identification, personhood and gender. From the bare our bodies of Eden to the 'gay nuptials' of liturgy, it argues that the unusual and unstable global of Catholic sexual symbolism can't be 'tamed' to satisfy the ideological agendas of both feminist theology or conservative Catholicism. merely via an intensive re-examination of the sacramental value of the sexed human physique may possibly the Catholic Church supply a redemptive reaction to the sexual politics of up to date society.

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Extra info for The New Catholic Feminism: Theology, Gender Theory and Dialogue

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17 Associated as it is with the primal desire for the mother, the real is closely identified with femininity, so that ‘woman’ comes also to signify the non-signifiable, non-representable other of the symbolic order, whose subject is masculine. 20 This leads her to ask, How are we to understand this figure of a rock which is at once the law and the loss instituted by that law? 21 Here, Butler reveals the extent to which a certain secularizing and defining power exerts itself through her text. In her critique of Žižek, she refers to his treatment of ‘the Marxist—feminist criticism of psychoanalysis’ and in particular ‘the idea that its insistence on the crucial role of the Oedipus and the nuclear family triangle transforms a historically conditioned form of patriarchal family into a feature of the universal human condition’.

Again, such ideas would find widespread support among feminists. But the whole bias of the letter is implicitly anti-feminist. For a start, it is produced in the name of one exclusively male group (the CDF is made up of twenty-five cardinals, archbishops and bishops),5 and addressed to another exclusively male group (the bishops of the Catholic Church). Its title bears little relation to its content, which says hardly anything about men or about collaboration, but instead focuses almost entirely on the nature and role of women.

Janet Martin Soskice writes, Feminist theology is sometimes attacked by others in feminist fields as a theoretical backwater. If this is true, it may be part of the price paid for keeping an ear to the ground. ‘A theologian,’ goes a Christian Orthodox adage, ‘is one who prays’—and on this reckoning there are many theologians who have minimal access to education of any sort, much less to theological education. 28 The relationship between theology and theory is problematized if one seeks to introduce a sense of communal responsibility or a faith perspective.

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