Support This Website! Shop Here!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Soft Realities

I don't normally direct people to this site because
a) I never read the site itself if I can help it
b) the people who run it are slightly crazy,

But in this case, I can't stand it.

Read this essay, if you can stomach it.

I'd love to see which of JP II's writings Fr. Loya would reference to support his weird allegations.
I'd also love to see the reactions from, say, Mary, Queen of the Universe, Queen Isabella of Spain (her cause for canonisation is here), and St. Elizabeth, Queen of Hungary, to name just a few.

Indeed, I'd like to see ANY Magisterial document which says women are not fit to rule.
It looks like Theology of the Body promoters have now reached the level of maturity of, say, your local Baptist congregation.

I especially liked, "It is a world that deals with issues and hard realities." - a child, being kind of squishy, is apparently a soft reality, unfit for man or beast (but for woman, we make an exception and let her deal with it).
Certainly the contents of the diaper are soft realities.
And that's what Fr. Loya's essay reminds me of.

But I'm a man, so I only think from the neck up on these issues.

7 comments:

Jordanes said...

Wait a second, Steve. Father Loya never said women are not fit to rule or shouldn't be leaders or shouldn't be involved in politics. His point is an altogether different one:

When women enter spheres that are largely dominated by men because men are more hardwired for these spheres, it is important for the good of society that women not lose the riches essential to their femininity. She has to bring what is exclusively feminine to spheres such as politics or the corporate world and not simply try to imitate men. Therefore in this process a woman must ask herself how much of the essential riches of my femininity will I be required to lose or compromise by entering this sphere?

I know you've found problems with things Father Loya has said or written in the past, but in this case you've read a bit to hastily. You ought to take this post down and rewrite it. (And really, is the aside about the folks running Catholic Exchange being slightly crazy really necessary?)

Patrick said...

That article was like time traveling back to medieval times. A christian who believes that women should stand outside of activities in life and simply "be" so that she doesn't appear unfeminine seems to miss the point in the Gospels of breaking with traditional societal viewpoints of what we should do and instead actively try to follow God's commands for every human being, no matter their gender. If that was the case, an individual like Mother Teresa would have never existed. To write "that in the order of nature man is the one who loves and woman is the one who is loved" is so outside the christian message that it is up to every individual to live out God's commands, it's really rather scary. Basically, the whole post concerns how only 50% of the world should be active in the world and the other 50% should worry about losing face if they become active in the world. I don't see the aside questioning the sensibilities of these types of posts at all out of bounds.

Kate said...

This is not the first time I've run into TOB writers who try to confine men and women to different roles based on their bodies. Don't get me wrong--men must be the fathers and women the mothers, but beyond that I don't see any natural restrictions. Fr. Loya's assertion that men deal with externalities while women deal with be-ing and centeredness suggests that he hasn't spent enough time in families. Who, for pity's sake, is supposed to deal with externalities of getting dinner on the table and leading the children wisely when daddy's off at work? Is it somehow unfeminine of me to pay the bills when hubby runs out of time to do so? Puh-leeze, as they say.

This brings up a beef I have with badly-done TOB teaching: it's too focused on sex, too much on the sexes as sexual partners, and not as spouses. To put it another way, why don't I ever hear about babies in the Theology of the Body? Fr. Loya's post completely ignores what women bring into the world: children. His teaching only works in some foreign realm where men rule, women are, and children (and the ruling, working, and guiding they require) do not exist. It's as if these writers forget to be pro-life!

Since I'm ranting, I'll go on.

Another thing Fr. Loya misses--and missed from his commentary on men's bodies as well--is that we are all, in our lives, both genders. God is male, according to His Son. If we are to have the spousal relationship with Him described in Scripture, we must be feminine in relation to him. We must receive His seed (the Holy Spirit? or am I going too far with this?) and bear His fruit. The Virgin Mary was so good at this that she managed to do it literally, not just metaphorically. Since we are caleld to follow her, we're called to be women.

But we're also called to be men: we're followeres of Christ, after all. As He acted on the world, reaching out and planting the metaphorical seeds of change, of love, of the kingdom, so are we called to do. Sounds pretty masculine to me.

Yes, our bodies--masculine and feminine--teach us about relating to God. Since both those bodies are in His image, we have to learn from them both. We have, in certain ways, to be both: feminine and receptive in relation to God, masculine and active in relation to the world. Because if I'm not active while daddy's away, the baby gets awfully hungry.

Jordanes said...

That article was like time traveling back to medieval times.

You say that like it's a bad thing. Perhaps you should re-read Regine Pernoud's "Those Terrible Middle Ages!", especially the chapter on the role of women in medieval society.

A christian who believes that women should stand outside of activities in life and simply "be" so that she doesn't appear unfeminine seems to miss the point in the Gospels of breaking with traditional societal viewpoints of what we should do and instead actively try to follow God's commands for every human being, no matter their gender.

Well, that's true, but your observation is misplaced, because Father Loya didn't say or imply that he believes that.

To write "that in the order of nature man is the one who loves and woman is the one who is loved" is so outside the christian message that it is up to every individual to live out God's commands, it's really rather scary.

Really? What is so un-Christian about it?

Basically, the whole post concerns how only 50% of the world should be active in the world and the other 50% should worry about losing face if they become active in the world.

Sorry, but I just don't see where Father Loya said anything like that. You're confusing the descriptive with the prescriptive.

I don't see the aside questioning the sensibilities of these types of posts at all out of bounds.

It's an irrelevant ad hominem that doesn't amount to a substantive interaction and criticism of what Father Loya said.

This is not the first time I've run into TOB writers who try to confine men and women to different roles based on their bodies.

As I have already pointed out, Father Loya doesn't confine men and women to different roles in public based on their bodies. He is addressing what Steven Goldberg provocatively calls "the inevitability of patriarchy," and pointing to the innate differences of male and female physiology and psychology and the underlying cause of that "inevitability," while never laying down any law that women are not to participate in public life or have leadership roles.

Don't get me wrong--men must be the fathers and women the mothers, but beyond that I don't see any natural restrictions.

The only "restriction" Father Loya mentions, if it is one at all, is that women who choose to assume responsibilities of public leadership should not sacrifice their femininity in an attempt to imitate men. Rather, they should govern as if they were women, not as if they were men.

Fr. Loya's assertion that men deal with externalities while women deal with be-ing and centeredness suggests that he hasn't spent enough time in families.

I've spent plenty of time in families, and I agree with him.

Who, for pity's sake, is supposed to deal with externalities of getting dinner on the table and leading the children wisely when daddy's off at work?

Those things fall under the category of "internal," since they are inside the home and the interrelationships of the family, not outside.

Is it somehow unfeminine of me to pay the bills when hubby runs out of time to do so?

Of course not, nor can anything Father Loya said be construed to mean that.

To put it another way, why don't I ever hear about babies in the Theology of the Body?

I've heard him talk about it, and every time he always talked about babies and the fruitfulness of human marriage.

Fr. Loya's post completely ignores what women bring into the world: children.

He was talking about women in politics and leadership positions.

His teaching only works in some foreign realm where men rule, women are, and children (and the ruling, working, and guiding they require) do not exist. It's as if these writers forget to be pro-life!

That's a completely unfair and distorted take on what he said -- but as you said, you're ranting. Also, perhaps you have noticed that in this realm we live in, men do rule, in overwhelming numbers, in practical every culture one can think of. Anyway, you can't take a few brief paragraphs in isolation of everything else Father Loya has written on male and female identity. As for the things you discuss in your remaining comments, I know Father Loya has talked and written about all of that, and I am confident he wouldn't disagree at all.

Patrick said...

Well, that's true, but your observation is misplaced, because Father Loya didn't say or imply that he believes that.

FTA: "Men are designed to act upon the environment, to accomplish a task. A man’s body is designed for the external world and for the rougher side of life. His mind is hardwired to look for the point of things, accomplish the task, defend, protect, penetrate, tear down, build up."

In other words, the masculine is to act, versus

"Women are not hardwired to act upon the environment but to accommodate the environment..."

and

"The truth is, unlike men who prove their worthiness in accomplishment, women do not have to “do” anything to be valued. All she has to do is just simply “be.”

That's pretty straight forward.

Really? What is so un-Christian about it?

"Love one another as I have loved you" is not the same as "let others love you as I've loved you."
Again, passive versus active. In no way can a Mother Teresa be considered simply a receiver for love. I find it hard to believe that anyone could defend the argument that she was acting in a masculine nature.

It's an irrelevant ad hominem that doesn't amount to a substantive interaction and criticism of what Father Loya said.

It seems completely relevant to the topic at hand.

Jordanes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jordanes said...

That's pretty straight forward.

Yes, pretty straight forward: nothing there at all about "women should stand outside of activities in life and simply 'be' so that she doesn't appear unfeminine."

As I said, you're confusing the descriptive with the prescriptive. Father Loya is not.

"Love one another as I have loved you" is not the same as "let others love you as I've loved you."
Again, passive versus active.


Yes, the classical depiction of feminine versus masculine.

So, why do women like it so much when their men give them flowers or cards or special gifts, but men don't have that same kind of "need" for such things from their women?

In no way can a Mother Teresa be considered simply a receiver for love.

Of course Father Loya never says women are simply receivers of love either, so that's a straw man.

It seems completely relevant to the topic at hand.

"The people who run Catholic Exchange are slightly crazy" is relevant to the topic in what way?