Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Reader Writes — Cardinal Müller to Vatican Colloquium on Complementarity: "Both Masculine and Feminine Are Necessary to Communicate to the Child the Presence of the Creator"

I hope I'm not being too chatty here today. There seems to be so much to talk about, and I never read through a day's worth of comments on threads here without thinking that much that you readers say is more important to hear than what I myself write on this blog.

Here's MarkWilliam responding to my report on Sunday about Sister Maureen Fiedler's commentary on the notion of male-female complementarity, Vatican-style — Mark has generously shared his translation of the Vatican news site's summary (in Italian) of what Cardinal Gerhard Müller told the Vatican colloquium as it opened yesterday:: 

Müller says that it is from the relationship with their child, as its father and mother, that we may grasp the difference between man and woman. That is, it is in their roles as father and mother that we see the masculine and feminine qualities displayed. The feminine is the constant presence, always accompanying the child [expressed as figlio] ... a presence which wraps the child from the beginning, accompanies him on the journey, a unique sensitivity for the person as a gift and for his affirmation. On the other hand the masculine is characterised, in relation to the child, as the presence of someone 'in the distance', a distance which attracts, and in this way as a help to travel the journey of life ... Both masculine and feminine are necessary to communicate to the child the presence of the Creator: the one [woman], like love which wraps and confirms the goodness of life, despite all ills; the other [man] like a call from afar with an invitation to grow.

Mark adds that the bracketed material is his own interjection. Vis-a-vis the word figlio rendered as "child," he points out that Italian speaks of both the figlio and the figlia — the boy and the girl — but Müller appears to collapse all children into the male gender. 

Both masculine and feminine are necessary to communicate to the child the presence of the Creator: so much for those thousands of faithful Catholic religious women who for generations have taken in orphaned children and raised them in communities headed by women, constituted by women. What a slap in the face for the top leaders of the Catholic church now to inform those faithful religious women that they were doing something atrocious to the children to whom they were giving such loving care: they were denying those children the opportunity to know the Creator, since children cannot know God without having both fathers and mothers.

They cannot know God or grow to any kind of meaningful spiritual or emotional maturity when raised by a parental figures constitued by one gender alone. 

As Belgian lay Catholic leader Thierry Peltier said in his open letter last year to the right-wing French "Catho" superstar priest helping to organize the anti-marriage-equality movement in France, l'abbé Pierre-Hervé Grosjean, 

You keep saying, "One papa, one mama, for each child." Must I remind you that multitudes of little orphans have historically been raised by nuns in convents? These children had no "papa" but had seven or eight mamas. Through such arrangements the church itself has historically organized families headed by parents of the same sex or even "polygamous" families.

The translation is my translation of Peltier's open letter, by the way.

Do the leaders of the Catholic church ever even think as they parrot the anti-gay slogans of the U.S. religious right (since that's ultimately where this toxic nonsense is coming from)? If so, do they think what an ugly thing they're saying to faithful religious women who have taken in children and raised them with love for generations, and about the sacrifices those religious women have made to give the children they raise good starts in life?

Did Pope Francis think about any of this when he stood up yesterday to open this colloquium and, to his discredit, parrotted this toxic nonsense? I wonder.

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