"God: Can't Live With Him, Can't Live Without Him!"
Courtesy of The Curt Jester I read a recent editorial in the Guardian that brought to mind an earlier post in this blog about the same newspaper, and the two articles coalesced into proof of Mark Shea's dictum that the history of secularism can be written in two volumes titled, "What Could It Hurt?" and "How Were We Supposed to Know!" Click on the links to the Guardian's two articles and you'll see what I mean.
Volume I, the Guardian, 2004: What Could It Hurt? Wherein our intrepid paper worries that backwards Italy might kowtow to "the Catholic church's stance that a woman's mission is to stay at home and breed."This is what one might call an "irony-rich environment," folks.
Volume II, the Guardian 2006: How Were We Supposed to Know! In this installment, our incisive paper publishes an editorial bemoaning Britain's "falling birthrate," and praising women who "stumble towards their own private insights into the importance of mothering - to which they cling in the face of not just zero endorsement from wider society but active contempt."
Ms. Bunting's Guardian editorial is cogent, intelligent, timely, and just the thing the West needs to hear. It's also a mirror image of the Vatican "policies" denounced by the Guardian's report in 2004.
And yet, the Guardian's 2004 editorial claims that Catholicism demeans women by preaching their enslavement as stay-at-home "breeders."
So, if one follows the Vatican's "policies," and essays respect and awe of motherhood one is demeaning women as "breeders." On the other hand, if one follows Ms. Bunting's advice and essays respect and awe of motherhood, one is doing something very positive for women and society.
I think the key is found in the fact that Ms. Bunting didn't say a word about God, Christ, or Catholicism in her editorial. If she had done so, the Guardian's editors would have immediately realized that she was out to oppress women into being "stay-at-home breeders."
Ms. Bunting: "In other words, the self we are encouraged to develop through much of our education system and early adulthood is of no use whatsoever to a new parent. What use is that sassy, independent, self-assertive, knowing-what-you-want-and-how-to-get-it type when you fast forward five years to the emotional labour of helping a child develop self confidence? Once there's a baby in the cot, you need steadiness, loyalty, endurance, patience, sensitivity and even self-denial - all the characteristics that you've spent the previous decade trashing as dull or, even worse, for losers. Forget trying to work out your own feelings - you'll be too busy trying to work out those of your children; ditto self-confidence and self-expression."Can't you see the vast difference between these points? Ms. Bunting is talking about a certain and false feminist worldview that hinders or prohibits women from living their ‘capacity for the other.' She's talking about motherhood being the litmus test that separates economic and sociological abstractions and life-as-it-is-actually-lived. The Vatican, on the other hand, just hates women. It's there for anyone with eyes to see. Ms. Bunting is offering a respectable inquiry into the follies of Western secular materialism. The Vatican hates women.
The Vatican: "Among the fundamental values linked to women's actual lives is what has been called a ‘capacity for the other.' Although a certain type of feminist rhetoric makes demands ‘for ourselves,' women preserve the deep intuition of the goodness in their lives of those actions which elicit life, and contribute to the growth and protection of the other. . . . This intuition is linked to women's physical capacity to give life. Whether lived out or remaining potential, this capacity is a reality that structures the female personality in a profound way. It allows her to acquire maturity very quickly, and gives a sense of the seriousness of life and of its responsibilities. A sense and a respect for what is concrete develop in her, opposed to abstractions which are so often fatal for the existence of individuals and society. It is women, in the end, who even in very desperate situations, as attested by history past and present, possess a singular capacity to persevere in adversity, to keep life going even in extreme situations, to hold tenaciously to the future, and finally to remember with tears the value of every human life."
In fact, just don't even bother with the comparison and memorize this: THE VATICAN HATES WOMEN. That's why anything the Vatican says about women mentions God -- referring to "God" is just a trick to make women into "breeders." It's why the same things said without reference to God are responsible, thoughtful critiques of how we live and worthy to publish in the Guardian.
If the Vatican would just leave God out of it, we could explore all these issues reasonably, free from the dogmatic blinkers (The Vatican Hates Women) that keep us from honestly and dispassionately (The Vatican Hates Women) examining (The Vatican Hates Women) modern (The Vatican Hates Women) problems (The Vatican Hates Women).
Heck, we might actually decide to respect motherhood, so long as we don't have to kowtow to a bunch of eunuchs and their weird God-talk. Of course, it would help if we kept a few of those women-hating eunuchs around to tell us how not to be women-hating eunuchs. But that's God for you. Can't live with Him. Can't live without Him.
Postscript: Nothing in the above should be read as a characterization of Ms. Bunting's opinions about religion in general, or Catholicism in particular. It's the juxtaposition of viewpoints that tells the tale here, not anything Ms. Bunting has said about faith, God, or Rome. Men who have abandoned or lost God will accept any good thing so long as they remain free to deny that it comes from His hands. What could it hurt? How were we supposed to know!