And another stellar comment from the last day or so: Mark 13 Fs responding to my posting about Kate Clinton's send-up of Cardinal Burke and his emangelization crusade:
Initially, I was struck by the unconscious irony of this image with the humorous text. The many interesting responses here caused me to reflect. I wonder if we should take what Cardinal Burke is saying as a serious object of analysis. From his point of view, the Church is in decline because it has become feminized.
His solution is to insist on policies and attitudes which can be characterized as masculinist. Partly, this can be understood as a reactionary movement and a thrust of the consistent restorationist movement in the Church hierarchy shared by some percentage of the laity since Vatican 2. Features of the masculinist agenda are implicit in the reactionary moments which today are shaking our religious and political landscape. These features include the assertion that only heterosexual masculine experience is the norm, replacing, supplanting and appropriating any other human experience. It is the only channel worth watching. In the masculinist agenda it is axiomatic that Men are justly privileged because men alone are the accurate image of God. As Elizabeth Johnson states, "When God is male, male is God."*
Masculinism is the cult of the heroic, glamorization of action, even violent acts, and utter valorization of agency over relationships other than the master-slave relationship. The mode of power is steeply hierarchical, based on obedience and punishment. Power over others and unquestioning obedience in the hearts and minds of all followers is absolutely required. Everyone must be inside the thought collective. Defectors, traitors and deviants of the thought collective are detected, expelled, killed or worse. The violent and tragic history of the Church with Jews, heretics, natives, pagans, sexual minorities and witches too often reveals fates worse then death. However, actual history is always regarded as a threat to masculinist narrative and mission, especially where in actual events, women, men, children initiated and nurtured great changes. As Brecht said,
Young Alexander conquered India.He alone?Caesar beat the Gauls.Was there not even a cook in his army?Phillip of Spain wept as his fleetwas sunk and destroyed. Were there no other tears?
Cardinal Burke cannot give all this up. He is too invested in the masculinist agenda. He cannot truly accept a faith based on love and inclusion where all are equally noticed and cared for by the Divine if it means giving up masculinism. Nor can many of our citizens who clamor for "making America great again."
*I think Mark may mean to cite Mary Daly here.