Even defining feminism is difficult, let alone reconciling the many claims its various adherents make with Church teaching.
Is feminism an evil movement with aims to destroy society as we know it? Or something positive even popes have endorsed? Can Catholics be feminists? In “Catholic Central: Feminism,” Kai and Libby break down some of the different movements within feminism and what role it has in the Church and the world.
How does the basic premise of feminism -- supporting equal social, political, and economic rights and opportunities for women and men -- align with Catholic Church teaching? From this premise, can someone be both a Catholic and a feminist?
Throughout the world, women are disproportionately affected by poverty, violence, lack of education, sexual harassment and assault. How would these obstacles affect the ability for “feminine genius” -- the unique gifts of women, as defined by St. Pope John Paul II -- to flourish in the world?
Who are some examples of female saints and doctors of the Church? How did they use their feminine genius in the world? Can you name positions of influence or leadership in the Catholic Church today that are held by women?
What social, political, or economic issue affecting women most concerns you?
Think about your home, your work, your school, your parish, and your community. As you think about each place, pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal ways that women may experience inequality -- perhaps in the form of less opportunity, less recognition, less pay, less freedom, more responsibility, marginalization, or stereotyping -- compared to men in the same space. How are women spoken about by men in each of these places? In what ways can you make space for the gifts of feminine genius to be used more effectively and freely in these places?
Reflection by Father Vince Kuna, C.S.C.
As Scripture says, God made them male and female. So, through His creative act, God made two sexes. They’re different in some senses, but equal in others. Remembering our episode on “Faith and Reason,” how can the faculty of reason remind us of some obvious differences? For example, science shows differing levels of testosterone between men and women; and distinct differences in DNA. How does our faith, in a different sense, show us that both sexes are called to equal holiness? (Hint: there’s plenty of female canonized saints, evidence of Catholicism’s true feminine genius.)
About Kate O'Hare
Based in Los Angeles, Kate O'Hare is a veteran entertainment journalist, social-media manager for Catholic production company Family Theater Productions, and a screenwriter.