one giant step backward

April 20, 2005 at 10:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

white smoke. finally. but then again, i just want to take a little stroll down memory lane, when the previous pope’s rottweiler invited this response from a local legislator in her maiden privilege speech.

Privilege Speech by Akbayan Rep. Ana Theresia Hontiveros Baraquel
August 9, 2004

“Ginoong Speaker, ginagalang na mga kapwa Kongresista, mga kabaro at kapatid na lalaki, magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat!

My party, Akbayan, deeply protests the “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World” written by Josepg Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith last 31 May 2004 in Rome and approved and ordered to be published by Pope John Paul II.

In the spirit of sisterly correction, I ask why, in the latter years of a Pope who has meant so much to us in many of humanity’s struggles for democratization, social justice and a humanist culture and ecological healing, among others, the Vatican has seen fit to reaffirm its earlier, painful marginalization of the feminist movement from these parallel strivings for a fully human life. Just like all sisters living under Islam, all sisters practicing the indigenous spiritualities of their ancestors, all feminists who profess a faith and whose political consciousness and social involvement were formed in great part by this influence, I say, we, too, are Church. We appeal to its leadership not to turn a blind eye to the role and gains of the feminist movement in building more humane societies, and to re-examine the virtual abandonment of this movement embodied in the Cardinal’s letter.

The Cardinal wrote of feminism that “strengthens the idea that the liberation of women entails criticism of Sacred Scripture, which would be seen as handling on a patriarchal conception of God nourished by an essentially male-dominated culture. Second, this tendency would consider as lacking in importance and relevance the fact that the Son of God assumed human nature in its male form.” This is the most startling part of his letter to the Catholic bishops. Feminists criticize not Scripture, but some of its patriarchal interpretations that exclude women from the promise of fully human life in our male-dominated societies. Wasn’t the New Testament and Jesus’s proclamation of the commandments of loving God and our neighbor a critical take on the Old Testament? Does the Cardinal not appreciate the role of positive, critical discourse within the Church in revealing the rich meanings of Scripture? The Catholic Church would be poorer as an actor in the world if not for the critical perspectives of liberation theology, creation theology and yes, feminist theology, among others. And no feminist debates the fact the Jesus was born a man. Instead, we Catholic feminists cherish Jesus Christ as a feminist man and a sign of the feminine principle in God. Akbayan is interested to learn through interfaith dialogues how Muslim feminists and feminists of other spiritualities would view similar questions about their Sacred Scriptures, about God and about their holy prophets as these questions impact on their actions in our societies.

for the rest of the speech check it out here


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