My Road from Gender Feminism to Catholicism

September 1996By Kimberley Manning

Kimberley Manning is a member of Generation X. She is a stay-at-home mom and a writer in Arizona. Copyright © 1996 by Kimberley Manning.

Consider the following scenario: There was a time in human history when all was well. People lived in harmony with the planet, all resources were shared equally, and there was no violence. This was the great time of matriarchal cultures when women held the positions of power in their societies and wielded that power with wisdom.

Then it all came to a halt when men rose up and began to use force, rooted in misogyny, to bring women under their control. This was not some series of isolated uprisings, but a systematic reversal of world power and a subjugation of women which has left my gender devastated. Rape was the first method used to subdue women, followed by the development of the institution of marriage; however, as time went on, more sophisticated mechanisms were employed to rob women of their power, both earthly and spiritual.

The coup de grâce in this destruction of matriarchal utopia was the development of Christianity. This patriarchal system, purposely dominated by men, would seek to destroy the last vestiges of the great goddess-centered religions by establishing the complete authority of males over females through its use of supposed sacred writings (the Bible) and masculine symbolism to describe God. The great peace-loving goddess religions were no match for the brute force of a male-dominated Christendom and so were decimated. The greatest blow was the Inquisition, in which millions of pagan women, many high priestesses, were burned at the stake, as the Catholic Church made its massive attempt finally to eradicate female power. Then came the witch hunts in the New World, while today such constructs as gender roles continue the assaults against feminine energy on the planet.

Revisionist history at its finest? To be sure. However, much to my embarrassment, I must confess that not so long ago I subscribed to this gender-feminist nonsense. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t raised with such notions. To my parents’ credit, I was brought up in a strong Christian home. Baptized in a Methodist church, I was raised in a warm and loving Episcopalian home in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania — the heart of Amish country. The Christian values of love thy neighbor, personal morality, and strong faith were modeled constantly at home and reinforced by Anabaptist fundamentalists who set a very conservative tone for the community. Most significantly, I was raised with the old-fashioned idea that there is objective truth — that while there may be some gray areas in life, there is such a thing as definitive right and wrong.

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What a beautiful testimony. Welcome to the Church of true joy, one of our Lord's promised gifts. While it seems reasonable to speculate that in beatitude there are no divisional constructs we mortals maintain illogically, in the mean-time we can cooperate with the gift of complementarity and, like the 'men' [read mankind] at the ascension, get on with the work of bringing the Kingdom to all those God gives to each one of us. Posted by: lilio31
August 22, 2016 12:31 PM EDT
An excellent story of a true life experience. I am 79 years old and have been taught and have always followed the teachings of the Catholic Church. If I had never confronted the situations in which Kimberley faced I supposed that I would be just a simple believer. But living in the world, military service, marriage and family, interacting with others including family members, co-workers, associates in a variety of groupings, exposes one to the misunderstandings and errors such as she lived through. The hardest test of faith comes from family members and relatives who subscribe to an insufficient faith or no faith at all. Going through all of the false reasoning which others present as truth has made me seek answers and come to the objective truth that is there for anyone who seeks it.
The result is that I now know much about my followed faith and have come to love my Catholic Church. I seek the will of God and pray a lot for my family members and for the many things that are in need of prayer throughout the world. In other words I try to live my faith.
Posted by: billford
August 22, 2016 12:44 PM EDT
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