May 6, 2015

Oh, brother.

"Men but not women get to preside at Mass. Men but never women wear the cassock of a cardinal, the vestments of a pope. Male clergy are typically called 'father,' which connotes authority. Women in religious orders are usually called 'sister,' which doesn’t."

Says Frank Bruni in the middle of a rant titled "Catholicism Undervalues Women."

Whatever else he may want to say about Catholics and women, there's no lack of parallelism in that father/sister terminology. Men in religious orders are called "brother," and female leaders of orders are called "mother."

66 comments:

Tank said...

I see Bruni as a fine Mother Superior. The more I think about it, the more I think he would fit that role.

sydney said...

Mother Superior. No one gets called Father Superior.

Lyle said...

I can't count how many Hail Mary! Mother of God I said as a kid.

sparrow said...

Catholicism does have distinct gender roles, but it is hardly anti female. Mary, by dogmatic proclamation, is exalted higher than the Apostles, Popes and all other saints. She's second only to the 3 persons of the Trinity. Catholicism exalts the feminine; at it's heart is the especially beautiful love of mother for son. It's been elegantly portrayed over and over again by the Masters in the Madonna and child paintings.

Note Catholicism holds up the authentically feminine as distinguished from feminism which tends to falsely define equality of dignity with exact equivalence in all things, ignoring real differences in men and women. Feminism ironically tends to ridicule the feminine and encourage masculinity in women.

Big Mike said...

Let me know when Catholics practice clitorectomy and then I'll get excited about Catholic misogyny.

Tibore said...

Why am I not surprised at seeing where this was published? The NYTimes staff has the same understanding of religion that the cliché of Victorian era morality had about sex: Arms length distant and based on misconception.

rhhardin said...

Feminism is nagging.

Not complaining about it is man's traditional role.

tim in vermont said...

I hate the way witch doctors are always men, but witches are always women. It's demeaning.

Trashhauler said...

Those with no faith will use any reason to explain the lack.

Coupe said...

I would just note here, that Mother Superior's do not wear red lipstick.

I can attest to their wearing nothing on there face except maybe Chapstick.

sparrow said...

That's brilliant rhhardin

James Pawlak said...

The Episcopal Church will welcome such whiners----While it still exists.

I believe that most Satanist "churches" offer equal rights in their rites.

Ann Althouse said...

"I would just note here, that Mother Superior's do not wear red lipstick."

Click on the photo for more incongruities!

Sebastian said...

"Catholicism Undervalues Women."

Hence the puny cathedrals dedicated to Notre Dame.

Next up: Bruni attacks Islam for undervaluing women.

DanTheMan said...

>>I can't count how many Hail Mary! Mother of God I said as a kid.


Apparently, not enough. :)

It's
Hail Mary, full of grace...
then
Holy Mary, mother of God

Another eon in purgatory for you...

Renee said...

He needs a class on Natural Family Planning.


Husband & wife share the responsibility of family planning equally.

If contraception is going to fail, it's going to fail in the fertile phase of a cycle.

Currently teaching a 13 year old teen to track her ovulation with a use of a phone app. Her pediatrician is fine with it.

There was a segment of feminism that fully supported fertility awareness methods, because 1. Female sexuality should be altered & 2. Making oneself not dependent on the pharmaceutical industry.

JSD said...

Being a progressive is a wonderful thing. You instantly become an expert on economics, foreign affairs, education, finance, energy, law, science, religion. The lowly restaurant/travel critic becomes a mighty NYT Op Ed writer.

Char Char Binks said...

Try again, Frank.

Chris N said...

Didn't he used to be a food critic?

Something tells me the Times is just going to the restaurants, coffee shops and cabarets in the Village to pluck the next intellectual light.

That and the Upper West Side.

Leading intellectual lights.

Tank said...

Sebastian said...

"Catholicism Undervalues Women."

Hence the puny cathedrals dedicated to Notre Dame.

Next up: Bruni attacks Islam for undervaluing women.


No, he'll leave that to Geller and condemn her for mentioning it.

MaxedOutMama said...

Your pettifogging accuracy got in the way of a really good rant there.

How could you, Ann? How DARE you?

You must immediately be flung from the balcony of right thinkers. If you survive the fall, you will be stoned to death by the politically correct crowd below.

Lem said...

Are you ready for Hillary?

lgv said...

Somewhere in that Bible that supposedly is the basis for Christianity, it clearly defines the role and limitations of women in the church. If you believe in the teachings of that book, then women aren't to be speaking in the church. Women clergy contradicts what the Bible teaches, as does acceptance of homosexuality.

Somehow long after I've ever stepped foot in a church, it can now be rationalized. But, I still don't see how one can criticize a religion because it follows the teachings of the book from which it is based. Instead, just criticize the religion and its teachings directly. This, "why won't Catholics would treat women equally" is crap because that isn't want Catholicism teaches.

Coupe said...

Click on the photo for more incongruities!

Aye yai yai

Paraphrasing from the catechism: "...man and woman possess an inalienable dignity which comes to them immediately from God..."

Bruni reminds me of Emily Litella.

The Drill SGT said...

Bruni is an a$$. Why doesn't he try a campaign to admit Trans people into Nunneries. good luck with that.


Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Q: What's black and white, black and white, and black and white?

A: Frank Bruni getting bitch slapped with a rolled up newspaper.

Sebastian said...

Henry Adams contra Bruni:

"The Mother alone was human, imperfect, and could love; she alone was Favour, Duality, Diversity. Under any conceivable form of religion, this duality must find embodiment somewhere, and the Middle Ages logically insisted that, as it could not be in the Trinity, either separately or together, it must be in the Mother. If the Trinity was in its essence Unity, the Mother alone could represent whatever was not Unity; whatever was irregular, exceptional, outlawed; and this was the whole human race."

TCR James said...

Once cynical, progressive snark starts doing a good job of feeding the soul's hunger, I'm sure that everybody will flock to Frank's church.

Kzookitty said...

Imam LaVerne and Rabbi Shirley were unavailable for comment.

kzookitty

David said...

"Next up: Bruni attacks Islam for undervaluing women."

Naw, that might be dangerous.

Marc Puckett said...

Ha. I don't read Frank Bruni on any subject whatever-- the smug self-righteousness I hear enough of in the real world. But I would point out that most of the women's religious communities that did historically use the title 'mother superior' decided after the last ecumenical council, sometime in the last century, to stop doing so, in favor of 'sister superior' and even 'moderator', 'coordinator' etc etc.

I would like to hear a conversation between FB and Ross Douthat, though. My guess is that one of them would sign the professio fidei required of teachers in Catholic faculties of theology and one wouldn't.

David said...

"Next up: Bruni attacks Islam for undervaluing women."

Or the New York Times. But that might be dangerous for him too.

PB said...

If you don't like a religion/church, you are free to leave and find another one or even start one that aligns with your beliefs. Ridiculing others that don't harm you seems less than petty and often angry and vindictive. Insisting and threatening that a religion/church adopt constantly changing societal conventions is a violation of what our first amendment.

Monkeyboy said...

I owe a lot to the Sisters of Saint Joseph.

For centuries women have taken holy orders and cared for the sick, being buried in the same mass graves as their patients, or taught generations of immigrant kids that society gave up on. They are heroes of the Church who truly represent "good works." Many number among the saints.
"I won't serve if I can't lead" completely misses to point.

tim maguire said...

As P.J. O'Rourke once said in response to a forgotten question, "I don't know. I'm not a liberal so I'm not an expert on things I know nothing about."

Bill said...

I'm a big, ugly guy on the wrong side of middle age who wears a medal of the Virgin Mary beneath his shirt. I pray the rosary every night, which entails reciting the Hail Mary over 50 times. I attend a church full of statues of female saints, named for an iteration the Virgin Mary. The respect I strive to give women is all of a piece with these things.

Frank Bruni should return to restaurant criticism and leave the church to those, like me, who love her.

Mike said...

Frank really should have suck with food criticism. There's far less complexity in a good mole than in the real world, and Frank just can't seem to get deep enough in any subject to get his bearings.

Has he never heard the term Mother Superior? Didn't he ever see the Flying Nun?

Mike said...

And THAT is why posting BEFORE reading any comments is a risk. Tank et al said it sooner and more concisely.

Laura said...

"Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:4

"The greatest among you will be your servant." Matthew 23:11

Stained glass windows and embroidered vestments are so distracting. Christianity is hard.

cubanbob said...

Frank Bruni should quit pretending to be a Catholic and simply, publicly confess to being a member of the Church Of The New York Times.
Confession is good for the soul.

Alex said...

Karma says the Catholics have it coming for their 1700 years of evil abuse of humanity and the latest priest pedophilia coverups.

Reap what you sow, meow!

Tits.

mikee said...

I was taught in a parochial school by nuns in the 1960s, before Vatican II emasculated the teaching orders. And yes, I used emasculated on purpose and correctly.

Nobody taught by nuns will ever, ever "undervalue" them, or think they are "undervalue"d in the Church, or for that matter undervalue any other female.

Sister Mary John was a hella good principal, and Sister Mary Camilla (Camilla the Gorilla to us seventh graders) was more respected than feared, i.e., a lot of both, because she was fearsome.

Cog said...

This Bruni piece is just another redundant rant against the Catholic Church's apostolic doctrines. NYT has dished this stuff out again and again for 40 years. The Times will never quit pushing its own moralism, just as the Church will never amend its apostolic-age constitution.

Here's a better political moralist to read than Frank Bruni: Hildegard of Bingen, the 12c. prophet who Pope Benedict XVI named Doctor of the Church. Her Scivias is far deeper commentary about our own times than anything to be found in the NYT.

Coupe said...

The thing that writers for the NYT should remember, is the reason that Ted Cruz and Barack Obama are Americans, is because of their...


mother.

Jason said...

Another eon in purgatory for you.

an eon here, an eon there... pretty soon you're racking up some real time!

Bruce Hayden said...

Somewhere in that Bible that supposedly is the basis for Christianity, it clearly defines the role and limitations of women in the church. If you believe in the teachings of that book, then women aren't to be speaking in the church. Women clergy contradicts what the Bible teaches, as does acceptance of homosexuality.

This is part of the difference between sects of Christianity, and, here, between Roman Catholicism and Protestants. According to the latter, much of this is not found in the Bible, but rather, through 2,000 years of history and sacred traditions. Maybe nowhere as much as illustrated above, with Marion worship and what we consider idolatry.

Jason said...

Looks like somebody jumped the gun.

buwaya said...

"Somewhere in that Bible that supposedly is the basis for Christianity"

It isn't, from the Catholic point of view. Unlike the Moslems, or many Protestants we aren't a bunch of book-worshipers. The Church pre-existed the Bible as we know it today. Saint Paul did not have a Bible as we know it.

Lots of religious in the Family.
Catholic religious orders terminology varies, as does their internal culture and organization.

buwaya said...

Mother superior is still in use.
Titles vary according to the order.

For area bosses of religious orders, say someone with oversight of all the orders activities and communities in a country or global region, "Mother Provincial" is still a common title. My aunt was one.

Michael said...

Frank is exactly like every lefty in the sense he would prefer there be no religions at all, much less a Catholic Church. A transgendered Pope might get him part way there but I doubt it.

sparrow said...

Sola scriptura is not in the Bible either

Susan said...

There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.
Fulton J. Sheen

I, for one, am happy belonging to a church who doesn't think that the only way a woman has worth is by being identical in all ways to a man.

Jason said...

CATHOLIC CHURCH IS CATHOLIC! Women, Minorities Hardest Hit! #NYTimesHeadlines

AlbertAnonymous said...

The comments in the NY Times (especially the anti-Catholic articles like this) are just so uninformed about the Church. Even (especially) those that claim to be former Catholics.

I read their misunderstandings of Church teaching, and their rejection of teachings they don't want to follow, and I think "no wonder you left". Cafeteria Catholics.

But they can lecture us about all we're doing wrong....

Every year around Christmas, one of the talking heads on the news will say something like "Tomorrow is Christmas, the most important holiday for the Catholics..."

Really? Ignorance is bliss I suppose.

Terry said...

A gay man thinks the Catholic church needs to get with the times. Stop the presses.
The opinions of the NYT op-ed writers are neither novel nor provocative.

Cog said...

Catholicism is based on tradition. Standing on tradition meant that early pre-bible bishops passed down dogmas and doctrines in communion with other bishops and especially confoming to Peter's successors as bishops of Rome. And so forth to the present day.

Does the Times thinks the pope is going to reject Catholic tradition now?

traditionalguy said...

Teresa of Avila is my idea of a faithful Catholic woman. She was Low maintenance going barefoot and starving.

just wait until the slave Nuns learn to read the translated Pauline scriptures. No one expects the Reformation.

Chef Mojo said...

Where art thou?

Sam L. said...

Why does the NYT hire these idiots? To fit in with the rest of them.

Mark said...

Of course, there is no such thing as "Marion worship." And those who persist in spouting such nonsense, know it to be false, having certainly been told again and again the truth about the Catholic view concerning Jesus' mother.

Jason said...

In the clip, a high school classmate of mine, and a guy I used to cut school with to go to the movies in Waikiki discusses his decision to move from a pastorship in a Dutch Reformed Church to become a Catholic, and specifically addresses how his reservations about the role of Mary in Catholic Church doctrine is scripturally justified, which was his last and major sticking point...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9PRDbT-8bY

He's now a Professor of Theology at the Catholc Franciscan University at Steubenville.



buwaya said...

"Teresa of Avila is my idea of a faithful Catholic woman. She was Low maintenance going barefoot and starving."
Teresa of Avila was most definitely not low maintenance. She was a formidable queen bee. Check her out.
Saints aren't low maintenance.
They make trouble, lots of it.
Its not for their own personal sake, but it doesn't mean they don't impose on people.
Believe me, I know. And you can't say no, because that's not what God wants, and a proper saint lets you know that's so. Without saying so, usually.
If you have a problem with that, well, take it up with God, why don't you.

Jaime Cardinal Sin, RIP

Cog said...

Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church in the religion that the Times guy says disrespects women.

Doug said...

It seems like feminism's role is to prove that - no matter how tiresome you think their whining is - you are not giving them enough credit for being tiresome.

rcocean said...

Ho hum - Another attack on the Catholic Church by the NYT Op-ed page. When are they going to attack Orthodox Judaism or Islam?

traditionalguy said...

Two interesting St. Teresa quotes:

1)Let nothing disturb you. let nothing make you afraid.All things are passing. God alone never changes. Patience alone gains all things. If you have God you will want for nothing. God alone suffices.

2)and her final words: My Lord it is time to move on. Well then, may your will be done. O my Lord and my Spouse, the hour I have longed for has come. It is time to meet one another.

A difficult woman. She did not need a man to tell her what to do.