Tuesday, February 04, 2014
Thoughts on the Official Teachings of the Catholic Church. Where the Wimmenz Are.
A survey of Catholics in Germany and Switzerland shows that most reject the church's teachings on contraception, divorce, sexual morality and gay unions. This will not change the moral teachings of the church.
Well, of course not, and not only because the results might be different elsewhere in the world.
And despite some statements by pope Francis, neither is much going to change in the official teachings of the church about the proper place of women*, though it could well be the case that your average Catholic in this country or in Germany or Switzerland might not agree with those teachings, either.
I have written before about the three pillars on which the general second-class status of women depend** (religion, laws and science/pseudoscience). Out of the three it is religion which is the hardest and the slowest to change, because the holy books, written when cultures were very patriarchal, can always be interpreted as the written law of god. Once someone does that, well, you are arguing with a divine power.
This doesn't mean that religions cannot change or that there aren't religions which have changed. Some do wonderful work on women and gender. But there's a lot of work still to be done within the three large Abrahamic religions***.
*The teachings about contraception, sexual morality, divorce and gay unions are also linked to the proper place of women, of course.
**I use the pillars metaphor on purpose, because the old argument often consist of both restricting women's roles in the society and of putting them on a partial pedestal, especially as mothers. You can't leap off the pedestal without getting hurt but on the other hand your specific female talents (which the current pope attributes to women) can be more easily worshiped that way.
***And probably in other religions, too.