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Catholic gender stereotypes rooted in the ancient world?

Image via Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia

Please don’t get me wrong. I consider myself a Catholic but, at the same time, cannot switch off my critical faculties just because I converted to that faith from a rather limp Anglican practice (limp because I rarely went to Church as a kid and young adult, except for the obligatory weddings and funerals).

I love the Catholic Eucharist and really don’t know if I could survive without its reliably uplifting love. For me the Eucharist literally is bread from heaven. I feel it and live it, and no atheist, materialist or neuroscientist will ever convince me that this experience is qualitatively the same as, say, a beautiful sunset, a Mozart sonata, or falling in love with another person. That’s just dead wrong.

However, some of the cultural and questionable aspects of the Catholic scene didn’t suddenly disappear the moment I was confirmed. It’s almost like I have to shut down my mind whenever I hear something that rings false or hypocritical during the Mass, all the while feeling the tremendous presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

It’s a slightly strange situation. But when was life ever simple or straightforward?

With this preamble complete, I’d like to ask. If women are especially “religiously receptive,” as we see below, why can’t they be ordained as priests?

Image via Tumblr click for larger size

Image via Tumblr – click for large size

I know the standard Catholic answers. Or most of them. The reasoning I’ve heard seems weak—both logically and ethically.

So what do you think? Will Catholicism ever get past its ancient male chauvinism and reach out to one half of the human population in a fair, sensible way?

My guess is it will take at least a hundred years. Maybe more. Right now there is a known shortage of priests. And it seems the Church is mining the so-called “underdeveloped” countries for potential priests because so few in the so-called “developed” world are willing to commit. This global search is a good thing because it makes the Church more international here at home.

But still, the priest situation remains all male. And I find it a bit unsettling that not a few Catholic women and men identify with prefabricated gender stereotypes that the Church continues to legitimize and reproduce.

Source for quote appearing in this article: Printed flyer distributed in Catholic parishes by http://www.catholicmomsgroup.com


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Today’s Top Tweet – How widespread is cowardly stalking?

They send you Christmas cards that go straight to the recycle bin. You’re excessively polite with them because you don’t know what they’ll do if you upset their imbalanced minds. They’re loners who can’t make it with people. But they can hack into your social media, email, whatever.

They’re a different kind of stalker. Disturbed cowards that don’t do anything in public for all to see. But behind the scenes, they’re watching your every electronic move… literally addicted to you in the worst possible way.

Selfish and self-centered, they never stop to think that maybe you’re onto them. And that it is disturbing to be spied on… not to mention illegal.

They don’t get the psychiatric help they need. They have no problem… As long as they can lurk in the shadows and live out their empty existence by looking at others from the outside. Always from the outside…

Paranoid dystopian future or realistic portrayal of what can happen right now?

Until legally busted, like in this tweeted example, we cannot know. But sometimes my gut makes me wonder. As the old saying goes, truth is often stranger than fiction.

Russian Spy by Lisa Cyr via Flickr

Russian Spy by Lisa Cyr via Flickr

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Today’s Top Tweet – Woman claims ETs spliced her genes

Ms Kapiteli said her mother’s eggs had been harvested while she was sleeping, and fused with those of an alien – leaving Ms Kapiteli’s genes spliced with extraterrestrial DNA.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3962348/Face-alien-Meet-woman-claims-extraterrestrial-DNA-astral-travel-Mars-fancies-it.html#ixzz4R2Kl0w7k

Call me a nut if that makes you feel better, but I think it’s entirely possible that some sensitive persons might intuitively connect with ETs. There’s just so many planets out there. To assume that Earth is the only place where intelligent life exists is, well, just that. An assumption.

Problem is, we think we’re smart with our 4K TVs, smartphones and information wars. But compared to what could be out there, our intelligence is probably quite limited. So even if some of us were to intuitively connect with other, ET minds, chances are we’d drastically misinterpret the whole event. That’s why I tend to doubt most ET hunters who anthropomorphize their understanding of ETs. The drawings, canned photos, etc. always seem to reflect nothing more than imaginative extrapolations of current tech and trends in artistic design. Same thing with sci-fi movies. Watch an old 70s sci-fi film or TV show and what do we see? We see the 1970s. Not much more.

Now, I am not saying this woman is not part ET. I cannot know. But my suspicion is that she’s had some unconventional experiences which she’s interpreted a certain way, a way that conforms to current understandings of how things work. It is much harder to imagine someone simply piercing through space-time, without any high tech intervention, and connecting with an ET light years away. But honestly, I think that could happen. A kind of psychic, “wormhole” connection. Not a genetic splicing or chip implant, as others seem to believe.

However, our culture generally does not believe in psychic phenomena or aliens. And we cannot create or control bona fide wormholes on demand. So a genetic meddling or microchip implant theory makes more “sense” to most UFO and ET enthusiasts. It might also be an easier sell for hucksters.

Mind you, not all folks interested in ETs and UFOs succumb to heavy-handed anthropomorphism. There are some who see it as pure psi. And perhaps both scenarios are true. For all we know little gray/green men and women with big, black eyes are in close proximity. They could be hiding in a pocket of space-time and also forging psychic connections with sensitive persons. And yes, it is conceivable that they could be intrusively engineering these things.

Point is, we just don’t know. So I ask, why doesn’t Lea Kapiteli get a DNA test and settle the matter? Even if the results were negative, she still might be in touch with an intelligence beyond herself. Just not the way she thinks.


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Why I switched my major from Sociology to Religious Studies (not that that was the be all and end all…)

This morning I came across a tweeted story (below) that at first glance I liked. It reminded me of my sociology days at Trent university where many of the professors in that department were above average. Especially in sociological theory. John Hillman covered the classical thinkers with an admirable depth for an undergrad course. Frank Nutch was the fun, alternative professor; a real gem of a guy who introduced me to the sociology of science. Andrew Werknick covered contemporary sociological theory, mostly European. Coming from the UK, Wernick seemed to have a close connection to the European scene. And the late Alexander Wilson was one of the coolest guys you could ever hope to meet. Up from California, he talked about Disneyland as a microcosm for all the imagery and spin we see in the greater North American media. These guys and a few other professors, male and female, really opened my mind. And I thank them.

But it wasn’t enough and I had to move on to something more comprehensive. Hence my switch to comparative religion and then religious studies. Not surprisingly, I used a sociological method (the postmodern work of Michel Foucault) in my doctoral thesis on Carl Jung. I was happy to graduate but, to be honest, that work was the outcome of so many strange and unsettling political forces that I don’t see it as a pinnacle of personal achievement. In retrospect, I see my graduate studies as another bridge I had to cross.

Anyhow, here’s a quote from this morning’s tweeted story:

For Bahro, a peaceful eco-communist alternative to capitalism is both possible and essential, but the belief that capitalism offers a life that is desirable must first be overturned if this alternative is to flourish. Through a variety of psychological strategies subsumed under the rubric of ‘retail therapy’, capitalism promotes pseudo-individualistic lifestyles, drives the desires of the self-absorbed, and promises fulfillment from the menu of all-you-can-eat. Retail therapy locates meaning in life through clothes, cars, homes, holidays and furniture. (view in context).

So what’s wrong with this view?

Well, the overall piece talks about spirituality but it sets up a false conflict between capitalism and spirituality. For me, going out to shop can be a spiritual exercise. We don’t need to compartmentalize “spirituality” and “the world” as so many hack thinkers do. It’s not as if God closes his or her eyes the moment we decide to enter a Pizza Hut or Tim Hortons. Far from it. If we do not objectify other people, interacting with employees can be quite spiritual and an important part of one’s overall journey.

So why the sharp division between “capitalism” and “spirituality?”

A person with any spiritual depth understands that God is everywhere. He or She is not just locked up in monasteries or in the Green movement. Everywhere is everywhere. Period.

All we really have to do is open our eyes and see what’s already there. And I think this perspective, if anything, would help to make the world a better, fairer place. If we see other people as our human brothers and sisters, there is far less chance of wanting to exploit, lie, cheat or rob.

Sadly, the biggest joke is that religion often bolsters people into doing bad things. These people believe the end justifies the means. But in most cases that’s ass backwards. As the good book teaches:

A good tree bears good fruit but a bad tree bears bad fruit (Matt. 7-17).

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Today’s Top Tweet – Every nation has a shadow, says Quartz author

Quartz just posted a Jungian article about how every nation has a shadow (or shadows), a topic I talked about here.

The tweeted article probably uses the singular “shadow” in the header because this reads better and is more attention grabbing than the plural, “shadows.” This usage seems simplistic but if we read on, the plural form arises:

Just as individuals have shadows, so do societies and nations. And, according to Jung’s theory, it’s important to be aware of your shadow in order to manage it. “If you’re aware of it, you can have more control over it instead of it controlling you,” says Bennet. “The more things are being repressed, hidden and denied, [the more likely] they will emerge in other ways.”

Not to imply that I am a die-hard Jungian. Far from it.

The shadow is an archetype in Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious. But feminist scholars like Naomi Goldenberg have been questioning the Jungian idea of the archetype for decades.

Goldenberg says that ideas about an “Eternal Woman” can lead to and reinforce unfair sex role stereotypes. And I, myself, have questioned the idea of the archetype when New Age enthusiasts say that The Virgin Mary, Kali, Kwan Yin, and Isis (the goddess) are all the same.

Still, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that different nations respectively have something in common which comes out as national identity. On the other hand, with increased globalization we have to wonder if this is an idea subject to change.