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Saint Augustine of Hippo is considered on of the greatest Christian thinkers of all time and the Doctor of the Church.
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I want to preface the following remarks by saying that I was raised mostly by my mother and that my mother is a working woman, an executive, and an immigrant to boot. She came to the US from a tiny country in South America not speaking a single world of English. There are very few people I admire more than her. I'm also consecrating myself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I feel that I'm the last man who could ever be accused of harboring sexism.

That said, I'm not making a broad commentary about women in general, but a particular demographic of women. I would submit that most of the women posting in these forums are far and away better exemplars of the faith than I am. Without going into particular detail, since this is the Internet, I have confessed many, many sins this week which I've committed in weakness. I am not attempting to aggrandize myself by drawing attention to a particularly unfaithful segment of the Catholic population.

That having been said, we are living in the post feminist age. Religions, particularly large hierarchically constituted institutions like the Catholic Church, are largely viewed through the blurry lens of radical feminism as a tool to oppress women, and we the apologists are guilty by association. Since most of us posting on this forum are devout Catholics, I probably don't need to get into a ton of background about just how nasty the 2012 campaign season got for practicing Catholics, but suffice it to say I think a few of us may remember the full page ad placed in the New York Times by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, in which the fiery denunciations of the Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops were mischaracterized by the FFRF as assaults on "women's rights."

The March 9, 2012 FFRF ad, entitled "It's Time to Quit the Catholic Church" said such offensive slanders as "Its your moment of truth, Do you choose women and their rights, or Bishops and their wrongs? You are an enabler. And its got to stop. As a member of the flock of an avowedly antidemocratic Old Boys Club, isnt it time you vote with your feet? Please, exit en Mass?"

Now I can attest personally to the fact that there are multitudes of baptized, nominally Catholic women who are very sympathetic to this message, as nominal Catholic women have voted in droves for candidates and policies which have directly attacked the Catholic Church.

How does a man fraternally and lovingly correct these women without being dismissed as an agent of patriarchal oppression? I can't claim this trump card before a righteous Catholic woman who calls me out on my many sins. I have to grit my teeth and admit when I've done evil, but my interactions with nominal Catholic women have been colored by the constant accusations of using religion as a tool to oppress.

ME, impotent me, an oppressor. I'm unemployed and going to school full time, at a Jesuit university where I'm subjected day-in and day-out to attacks on my faith by members of anti-Catholic groups who enjoy official recognition from the timid administration. I'm an agent of the Old Boys Club. It would be hilarious if it wasn't so sad.

At what point do I throw up my hands and heed Jesus' command to not "throw pearls before swine?" At what point do I continue to evangelize this group? Some of my greatest accomplishments in life have been when I was sternly scolded and told to shape up. The best confessor is a tough one like Padre Pio. I think where I've made a lot mistakes in trying to evangelize nominal Catholic women in assuming women like blunt honesty. But today i was told that blunt honesty is condescending to women.

Ok my tangent is over. This is a group I would like to be saved. How should we approach this?
Jul 8th 2013 new
And yes, I posted in the wrong forum. I think. Sorry.

Jul 8th 2013 new
I'm working with a group in Texas promoting the two bills that are trying to crack down on abortion clinics and restrict the ages that abortions can be done by. I'm sure you've heard the outcry from the "Texan women". I'm trying to manage a campaign to paint the bill as pro-woman as possible, so maybe I can contribute some thoughts from that perspective.

I've been listening to many of the women testifying who make heartbreaking claims like "If I had not had my abortion, I would not have the life and the children I have today" and from a certain perspective, I see their point. They think "If I had not had my birth control and my abortion to keep from having children with the man/men I was with, I would have been shackled to them forever". There are so many people who say "We need birth control/abortion to make sure women have the same opportunities that young men have." Rick Perry came under fire for saying that Senator Wendy Davis should have learned from her experience as the daughter of an unwed mother and a teenage mother herself that all life was valuable. Our president made a claim (that literally had me in my classroom hopping mad) that we need to make sure that we have abortion services to make sure that our young women have every chance that our young men have to be successful.

What they don't see is that all of those options are trying to turn young women essentially into young men by denying the thing that makes them women - their ability to give life. Not, of course, that motherhood is the only thing that makes women valuable or unique. But it is precious and unique about us that should be celebrated, not suppressed which is exactly what birth control and abortion seeks to do.

The Catholic Church and her teachings elevates womanhood to a pedestal. Who is the most celebrated human being on the planet and in all of history? Why, Mary of course. Jesus doesn't count because He was also God. When did God finish creation? Not until He created Eve. How did Satan seek to destroy mankind? By striking through what God treasured - through woman.

The Church treasures marriage in part because it protects women. When men and women are free to sleep around as they please without consequence, it is the women who are guaranteed to have to deal with any children who might result and single parenthood is the number one indicator for poverty world-wide. The Church's insistence on the intricate bond of marriage and sexual intimacy protects women first and foremost and any children that might arise.

The Church's teachings on birth control respects the natural rhythms of a woman's body and in fact empowers her to understand her body better. Women who are trained in methods of natural planning approved by the Church are actually capable of determining if there are changes to her health in addition to knowing whether she is capable of conceiving or not and with that information she can have an open conversation with her spouse about whether to attempt to conceive a child or not that month, spreading the burden of family planning between the spouses instead of placing it solely on her shoulders as the pill or so called modern methods of contraception would.

When it comes down to it, the Church is entirely pro-woman and no other institution is as feminist! There is no institution that respects women in the whole of who she is - as a being who was created to nurture and give life, whether that be in a biological and/or spiritual fashion. lol Is that enough of a novel for you? Can you tell I like this subject?
Jul 8th 2013 new
I guess the tl;dr of what I'm trying to say is focus on the positive - the Church respects women more than any other institution out there. Talk on that part of it and how various aspects of Church teaching elevate women and I think you'll at least plant seeds if nothing else. Make it about women. Women don't want to hear about how it's good for the baby - they get that part and unfortunately we're all innately selfish beings. But we all know we're called to be more than this world is telling us. Someone just has to let us know that there actually is more out there.
Jul 8th 2013 new
(quote) Pamela-880383 said: I guess the tl;dr of what I'm trying to say is focus on the positive - the Church respects women more than any other institution out there. Talk on that part of it and how various aspects of Church teaching elevate women and I think you'll at least plant seeds if nothing else. Make it about women. Women don't want to hear about how it's good for the baby - they get that part and unfortunately we're all innately selfish beings. But we all know we're called to be more than this world is telling us. Someone just has to let us know that there actually is more out there.
You're amazing, Pamela. That was beautiful. I remember that old CatholicVote.org ad which featured adopted celebrities, and children raised by single parents, and Obama was front and center, the literal poster boy ofthe pro-life cause, it was a jarring juxtaposition for a man who's labored much of his adult life to ensure that other unborn children would not be so blessed.

The problem which the Left is so excellent at obscuring is that the arguments in favor of abortion state, in agreement with their Victorian forebears, tha a woman is naturally the inferior of a man and that without synthetic hormone pills and latex rubber sheaths they are doomed to destitution and helplessness. You deserve to be mad, Pamela. You are more articulate and intelligent than the man I Pennsylvania Ave and you are leading the campaign against these supposed tools of empowerment.

There was that excellent piece in National Review by Megan Clyne about how the Victorian society viewed women exclusively in a reproductive context; as cows essentially and that the contemporary arguments of the Left, that women NEED abortion and contraception are nothing less than regressive.
Jul 8th 2013 new
I think what most secular women don't get is that they (and really that is we) have handed men the weapon of our destruction by allowing men to treat women as sexual objects, then from that perspective saying women must have access to contraception and abortion in order to remain free sexual objects for the use of men. The Church looks at it in a different manner and requires more of men and women alike - no one is an object for another's use and our very selves must be treated with a great deal of respect.

If you have not read any of Jennifer Fulwiler's writing on this subject I highly recommend her. She likens this subject to others asking how to make playing with a loaded gun as safe as possible. Catholics simply suggest that playing with a loaded gun is never a good idea in the first place. We realize that a gun is dangerous in all situations and should always be treated with great respect. The reproductive system's primary purpose is for reproduction and while we acknowledge that reproduction is not always possible we also realize that God and not us is the author of life and is the judge on when and if life enters into the picture. So we enter into the unitive aspect of sex with the understanding that we can't separate the reproductive aspect from it, not entirely.

This is my absolute favorite of her articles on the modern culture's demand for contraception and abortion - if you want to understand why secular culture demands why we deem this necessary, it is a must read. She is an amazing woman. www.crisismagazine.com
Jul 9th 2013 new
I don't know why it didn't occur to me earlier - another great website to empower women on knowledge about their bodies in a totally moral fashion is 1flesh.org - www.1flesh.org a great initiative run by Marc Barnes of BadCatholic and some of his friends. It's science and sociology based, not theology, but totally in keeping with Church teaching on contraception.

The marvelous thing is that since God made our Church and God made our bodies, the Church's teachings will always go hand in hand with how our bodies were best made to work. And I think if you lovingly share that information with the women in your life - from the point of view of "Look how amazing this is and how much better it will make your life!" just like you might the latest health news (or hey, the good news of the Gospel) it will eventually be received well.

And the best testimony we can give is to be good witnesses ourselves, ladies. I know a lot of moms who know better than their so called well-educated doctors when their babies were conceived because they were well-trained in NFP and knew within a few days when conception happened rather than using silly, outdated ideas of "last menstrual periods". I know women who have used charting to help them overcome endometriosis, PMS and PMDD and hope one day to help pinpoint some of my migraine problems that are hormone related with the same technology. I have friends with babies who are alive today because NFP helped identify causes of inability to conceive or early miscarriage so that medical doctors could intervene. And its low cost and 100% hormone and artificial chemical free. You can't ask for better than that.

This is technology that empowers women to better their health and their marriages and we only have it because Catholic doctors refused to compromise on their morals and were determined to find a way to truly help their women patients while obeying Church teachings. Birth control doesn't do this for women. We need to spread the word on this, because this is one more place where the Church has so much more than the world has to offer!
Jul 16th 2013 new
(quote) Devan-877827 said:
How does a man fraternally and lovingly correct these women without being dismissed as an agent of patriarchal oppression? I can't claim this trump card before a righteous Catholic woman who calls me out on my many sins. I have to grit my teeth and admit when I've done evil, but my interactions with nominal Catholic women have been colored by the constant accusations of using religion as a tool to oppress.


Ok my tangent is over. This is a group I would like to be saved. How should we approach this?

Is it your job to do this? Live right. Be as faithful to the Gospel as you can. Pray. Love those around you. Salt and leaven. Nobody like a scold or a busy body. When the opportunity arises, speak of the faith and of the errors of the feminist mindset, but you will accomplish much more by living in faithful obedience to the faith - being a good example trumps a thousand words.
Jul 16th 2013 new
Well believe me I do my best to live like a sheep among wolves. The reason I feel so strongly about this is because in my experience it is the single most likely demographic to put political ideology before faith, in their voting for radically secular progressive politicians who pass laws which come full circle and affect my ability to live out my faith. This contraceptive mandate is a prime example of this. If we don't reach out to dissenting women, we become oppressed by the state.

I would consider it a victory for Christ if I, acting in accordance with grace, could even just compel all the people who identify as Catholics under false pretenses to at least admit who they really are; that would begin to reconcile them to the Church as they would finally begin the process of healing and devote their energies toward the mission of the Church and not against it.
Jul 18th 2013 new

Again, perhaps it's not your job or mine to "correct" the thinking of many women. Just be holy.
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