You Are Immensely Powerful

Human beings suck. We’ve murdered, raped, belittled, ignored and otherwise objectified each other since we first learned to totter on two feet, and will continue to do so until the whole edifice of earth collapses beneath us.

If you nodded, agreed, or agreeably grunted at that statement, then please — go outside, take a knee, punch yourself in the face. Reject despair.

Mankind will always face temptation. Evil will always be seductive. But every sin is a free choice made by a person endowed with free will. For each and every sin there always exists a possibility for the sinner not to have sinned, to have refused to acquiesce to Nothingness and to have chosen to love instead.

We’re so used to our addictions, our sociological justifications, and our grand, logical flop that “People are going to do it anyways” that we should get the following tattooed to our heads:

Our actions are not determined by sociology, biology, neurology, psychology, ideology, geography, culture, race, society, class, environment, upbringing, demography, statistics, law, government, sexuality, religion, Satan, God himself, or the entire sum total of every influence in existence.

We act. Anything that influences an acting person implies a freely acting person to begin with. Influences matter (and can even seem stronger than our will) but they could not exist if they did not have a freely acting person to influence.

This is a complex way of stating what we all know: We are responsible for our actions. Our choices are our own. Man is free — influenced, but free.

Thus man always exhibits himself as standing outside of the factors that determine the actions of animals. Animals are driven by an urge to eat and drink. Man can starve himself to death. Animals are driven by an urge to reproduce. Man can be celibate. You, sitting at your computer, can do something entirely ridiculous. You can snap your computer in half. You defecate in your own pants. You can pray to God. You can buy a turtle and paint its shell with flames. You are free.

It follows that there will always exist a marvelous potential for the entire human race to love each other, to never sin, and to never, ever reduce ourselves and each other to objects of use. Universal love cannot be achieved by politics, economics, social programs, or any number of positive influences (though these may certainly aid and inspire us to choose the good) for the simple reason that they are but influences. Universal love can be achieved only by every human being choosing it. The answer to the problem of hatred, violence and sin is tautological – we can love perfectly if we love perfectly, reject evil and do good if each of us reject evil and do good — but it is the answer nonetheless.

Every dream of perfect love and harmony is valid. World peace is not the province of hippies, it is precisely as close to fulfillment as an individual choice, which is why Mother Teresa can say “peace begins with a smile” and mean it. Peace begins with the choice to be peaceful. Without it, peace fails and war begins.

A society founded on love, brotherhood and forgiveness is not an idea to be scoffed at before we go back to figuring out how to execute criminals, provide for abortions, and otherwise safeguard ourselves with the idea that “people are just going to do bad things, so let’s deal with it the best we can”. Of course they are. But they are free not to.

If every human being in the world is free to love and not to sin, then good people contain within themselves the power to change the world. Be free yourself, and by it inform others they are free. Be good yourself, then show others the good they can, in freedom, choose. The man who truly recognizes that all people have the capacity to do good and avoid evil must spend his life tempting people to love, for with his great power comes — you guessed it — a mighty responsibility. You cannot simply know that every human being has the capacity for love and then give a shrug when they choose not to.

This was all made clear to me by the recent case at Big Red High School in Steubenville, Ohio, where I attend university. A group of footballers raped a girl. They have all avoided justice, and it is only through the actions of bloggers and a few acting under the banner of Anonymous who have released indicting material — videos of them bragging about the rape, photos they posted on Facebook then hastily deleted, etc. — that they (from what I understand) will face trial again.

What an inditement of Franciscan University! It is a Catholic school. The depth it provides in its philosophy and theology programs is amazing. It contains within itself a Catholic culture that holds that rape is abominable, that lust itself is a poison, that women are to be upheld, equal in dignity, bearers of the “feminine genius” and hope for mankind, and that men show their strength in virtue, not in abuse. That this culture has failed to infiltrate the high school across the street is a failure on my part, and the whole school’s. If those footballers had the total capacity for good and chose against it, down the road from a people professing to know the good, to preach it, and to contain within themselves the sacramental grace to show others the good and even awaken in their hearts the desire for it, then both have failed.

Because man is always free to choose, we have a duty to our neighbor, to inform him of the immense freedom he is cloaked in, and to show him the good. Let’s all of us live up to that duty. Let’s be good, do good, preach the Gospel, feed the poor, visit the imprisoned, comfort the dying, admonish the sinner, and generally be who we are: Saints.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1128739923 Daria Keegan Winker

    Wow! This is the secret to peace on earth. I get so sick of people that wish and even pray for peace and then act in opposition to it. Like that old song. “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

  • Scout

    You make some great points here, Marc, but did you even bother to read up on the rape story that you’re referencing? The two accused were arrested and indicted long before the various bloggers and hackers decided to insinuate themselves in the process. The link you provided offers little else but unsubstantiated slander, and it is reprehensible that you would advance its dissemination.

    • Sus

      There were more than two people that participated in the drugging of this girl to the point of unconsciousness. There were more than two people that were taking pictures and videos. There were more than two that raped this girl. The ex-boyfriend arranged the whole thing.

      So yeah, two people have been arrested but what about all the others that participated?

      I’m praying for Jane Doe.

      • Scout

        You’re just repeating unsubstantiated rumors. That is slander. There’s no evidence of drugging, no evidence of additional rapists, no evidence that the additional people accused by the site Marc linked to did what they’re accused of doing. It’s slander, it’s irresponsible, and it’s sinful, and I expected far more of Marc.

        • http://www.facebook.com/marcjohnpaul Marc Barnes

          I don’t know, the video of the un-arrested, uncharged Nodianos bragging about raping the girl and letting others rape her doesn’t make me think slander. It makes me think: There’s a guy publicly bragging about raping a girl. It’s exposing evil, it’s not slander.

          • Scout

            Have you actually watched the video? It’s absolutely vile, yes, but there’s no admission of rape, much less bragging. The guy should be ashamed, but on the basis of the video alone, there are no grounds for prosecuting him. And what about all the other unsubstantiated allegations that you are tacitly supporting by linking to that particular site, do you own those too? If so, fine, but I would hope that you had evidence beyond what that absurd and slanderous gossip mill is peddling. Evil is exposed by evidence, not hearsay and rumor.

          • Scout

            What I mean is that there was no admission that *he* raped anyone, at least not in the video that’s been making the rounds. If you have more info…

          • Scout

            Thanks for responding, Marc. You obviously studied up on this case and put a lot of thought into your decision to make baseless accusations. Very classy.

        • http://www.facebook.com/daptak Debbie Ptak

          ARE YOU RELATED TO THESE GUYS WHAT THEY DID WAS SICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Claude

    Because, for example, criminals exposed to lead as innocent children simply failed to exercise their free will to tread the path of righteousness.

    • http://www.facebook.com/marcjohnpaul Marc Barnes

      Some influences are stronger than others. The stronger an influence, the less the culpability a person has for an evil act. A lessened culpability does NOT mean the eradication of responsibility. A child exposed to lead might have a stronger influence on his life — more disposed to mental problems, etc. That does not mean he is determined to become a criminal.

      • Claude

        I didn’t suggest determinism, but simply a morally ambiguous occurrence subsumed in the sweeping litany you dismiss in order to appeal to virtue.

        By the way, indictment, and no, the Franciscans aren’t somehow guilty of negligence because of evildoers across the street.

  • guest

    Oh please. It is certainly not your fault that those guys rapped the girl because of the ” culture”. Everyone knows that rape is evil, and they don’t deserve any kind of pass.

  • Kirsten

    This is one of my favorite BadCatholic posts. Well done, Marc!

  • Mike

    Genesis 3:15, Genesis 4:7

  • Karen

    Actually, I think that Catholic doctrine creates precisely the mind-set that leads to things like this incident. The Catholic church teaches that men and women are utterly and entirely different, that women aren’t just another variant of the type Human. Woman are all soft and cuddly and June Cleavery — that is the “feminine-genius” — and never have any desire to compete with or argue with or in any way, shape or form inconvenience males whatsoever.

    When men raised that women are helpless twits, but with better personal hygiene, than men confront actual females who do NOT fit this restrictive mold, those men simply react by treating the non-conforming women as “not-women” and then punish the non-conformers. Most of those men don’t resort to rape, but rape is extremely convenient to this kind of male. (Please read fellow Patheos blogger Libby Anne’s piece The Patriarchal Utility of Rape) It is also convenient for the kind of man who thinks of women as Perfect Flowers that there are never any actual women who do conform to his fantasy. Consequently, he never has to respect any women he meets since none of us are Perfect Flowers.

    No, Marc, it is never your job to protect any woman unless it’s your infant daughter or you become a police officer. We don’t want that kind of “protection,” which really ought to only be written with the word “racket” after it. You need to create a world where men respect women as fellow humans and not as Perfect Flowers. Those football players would never have raped their friends, probably not even their enemies. They did rape a girl because, among other things, they learned from their surroundings that girls weren’t people: they are either Perfect Flowers or things, mostly things.

    • Karen

      Ugh, no edit button. Libby Anne’s piece is The Patriarchal Utility of Rape

    • Mike

      I do not follow your argument. The Catholic church teaches that both man and woman were made in the image and likeness of God. The Church also teaches that man and woman do roles specific to their gender. This is obvious even to the non religious – a man cannot give birth to a child, but a woman cannot concieve a child without a man. The Church also teaches that it is part of man’s role to PROTECT women, and that rape is a grave (mortal) sin.

    • Sophias_Favorite

      Wow.

      Do you believe your strawman there can talk back to you?

      Because you are utterly, laughably divorced from any knowledge of the teachings of the Catholic Church or the actual existence of Catholic women—throughout history, not just now. Seriously, I think if you found someone from a remote part of the world who’d never heard of the Catholic Church, and asked him to guess what their view of women was, he’d be closer than you.

      • Mike

        Please, correct me if I misrepresent your argument. I understand your argument to be that the Catholic church teaches that women are inferior to men and were put on earth to serve men. This is simply not the case. You can read about our beliefs in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. CCC 369 says, “Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman.”

        Definitively, then, we can agree that the Catholic church teaches that man and woman have perfect equality as human persons. We can also agree that, as I said, the church teaches that man and women differ in their respective beings as man and woman. That is, man has a certain patriarchal role, and woman has a maternal role. These roles, I would argue, do more to prevent rape than to cause it. Please note that the Catholic view of a patriarchal role is different in some ways from the view that Libbey Anne portrays. Libbey Anne never says this view is Catholic, but if you say that it is, then you are misrepresenting my view. Most notably, the Catholic church does not teach that men must control women, or that they should rape women as a method of exercising this control. (Although the Catholic church does teach that man in his patriarchal role is the natural family leader, in the context of a loving family.)

        The Catholic church does not teach that a woman is at fault when she gets raped if she was dressing immodestly, hanging out at bars, or any other sort of possibly sinful behavior. In fact, the Catholic church does not teach that a rape victim is at fault under any circumstances. Certainly, the Church teaches that it is sinful to dress immodestly or drink too much – for both man and woman. But we are all sinners and we can all be forgiven. Dressing immodestly does not make it a woman’s fault if she is raped.

        I read Libby Anne’s piece, and I actually agree with a lot of the things she said. It is a horrible thing to blame the victim for a crime that is committed against them, and the Catholic church says nothing to the contrary. Libbey Anne says, “Don’t wear this. Don’t act that way. Don’t go to this place or that, don’t go out alone or after dark. The threat of rape serves to police women’s actions, behaviors, and lives.” I am arguing that women should be able to to all of these things without the fear of being raped because the good Catholic men around should protect them from anyone who tried to rape them – even if the women were drunk off their ass and dressed in a short skirt.

        • Sophias_Favorite

          I’m pretty sure you’re responding to Karen, and not me, because you’d have to be totally misreading me to think I’m saying that.

        • Claude

          I’ve known several rape victims. There were no “good Catholic men” or otherwise to come to their rescue. Women (and men) should be wary and learn self-defense.

        • Karen

          I do think that Catholic doctrine in practice makes women inferior to men, but that is not what I am arguing in this post. Catholic doctrine teaches that the feminine role is “nurturing” and “receptive,” which requires women to be passive. The feminine role is narrow and very restricting, since women who are active are, by definition, not feminine.

          I do NOT think that the Catholic church explicitly argues in favor of rape. I do think, however, that the men who control your church don’t actually think through the consequences of their doctrine. If men are family leaders, then they have the right to enforce that authority, and many men will conclude that they have the right to beat their wives. Many men think that they have the right to punish women who do not conform to the passive role the Church allows women to have, and those men use rape as a tool to enforce this hierarchy of genders. It is not the intent of the Church, but it is a reasonable result of its doctrines and dogmas.

          • Cal-J

            “I do think that Catholic doctrine in practice makes women inferior to men, but that is not what I am arguing in this post. Catholic doctrine teaches that the feminine role is “nurturing” and “receptive,” which requires women to be passive. The feminine role is narrow and very restricting, since women who are active are, by definition, not feminine.”

            Well, no, a Catholic understanding of femininity is not the same thing as passivity, and certainly not equated with the idea of weakness that your comments imply. A better-made point is that femininity is closer to being, rather than doing (if you view the latter as superior to the former, there’s really nothing I can do to help you besides point out you’ve bought stock in your enemy’s idea). Other feminine traits are security, perception, understanding, mystery, and wisdom. Wisdom in particular is God’s creative agent.

            “I do think, however, that the men who control your church don’t actually think through the consequences of their doctrine. If men are family leaders, then they have the right to enforce that authority, and many men will conclude that they have the right to beat their wives. ”

            And the Catholic Church teaches that this is wrong. That people misunderstand or don’t actually follow the teaching of the Catholic Church is not a good argument against the actual teaching when properly understood.

            “Many men think that they have the right to punish women who do not conform to the passive role the Church allows women to have, and those men use rape as a tool to enforce this hierarchy of genders. It is not the intent of the Church, but it is a reasonable result of its doctrines and dogmas.”

            And now you’re equating the rape of wives and mothers with the logical result of proper Catholic teaching, at which point you will have to provide proof. Where, exactly, do men cite Catholic teaching as an excuse for rape?

            Secondly, the Church allows both men and women to have all kinds of roles, but it understands that certain roles (mother and father) take precedence over certain career choices, as it has always done.

        • http://www.facebook.com/daptak Debbie Ptak

          THANK YOU MIKE!!!!!!I LOVE YOUR LAST PARAGRAPH>GOD BLESS YOU.

    • Barfly_Kokhba

      I strongly disagree with the notion that women have better personal hygiene.

    • http://www.facebook.com/daptak Debbie Ptak

      NO! not the Catholic doctrine,the media ,hollywood with thier violent movies showing woman getting raped beaten etc,rap songs with their degrading lyrics about women.violent pornogrophy ,some reality shows calling women sluts W….s,and the women taking it.singers who beat their girlfriends the boys see this stuff then think its ok to abuse women.domestic abuse.please put the blame where it belongs.GOD BLESS YOU GOD HAVE MERCY ON US ALL

  • Nick

    Hey Marc, I’m a Protestant fan of your blog, and a fan of free will, but I’m not sure I’d go with you to the point of “a marvelous potential for the entire human race to love each other, to never sin, and to never, ever reduce ourselves and each other to objects of use.” Because, well, influences ARE a big deal, the biggest of which is a fallen human nature. Man doesn’t enter the world as a neutral entity who can arbitrarily select whether to do good or evil. He enters the world in active rebellion to God, and must be turned around by a free response to God’s grace. Save God’s grace, he CAN’T do good.

    • Chris

      In this way as a Catholic I have to agree with you. There are many, many good points in Marc’s post, many of which are true. We DO have this power, but through Jesus Christ and His grace. Humans ARE responsible for their choices, which are ALWAYS influenced by something. (My apologies for the excessive capitalizing, it’s for emphasis). But sin and concupisence are essential truths in this world; we fight against sin and struggle with it. As you said, Nick, we don’t come into this world neutral.

      Mind you, Marc is right that we do have this potential. I say this due to the fact that we are made in the image of God, and through Jesus Christ and His grace we are conformed to His Image and in this way really can do good in this life. However, this potential cannot be separated from God. Thus, we Christians can both say with gladness that “With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.

      We do have free will, though we are severely wounded by original sin. We can do good, but true good deeds arise from Jesus Christ and the Gospel working through people. I think what Marc is saying is that we’re called to be lights to the world, and in this way we can set those people we meet on fire for God, who is Love and who wants others to know Him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/balf11 Brian Formica

    I spent some time in “Big Red” during my first Early Experience in the Franciscan Education program. And something I tell all my students is that THEY are responsible for their own actions. Trust me, Steubenville knows about the college on the hill. And although my beloved campus and its students are far from perfect, all the love in the world (aka the Son of God) cannot *force* anybody to do anything. John 3:19 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (somebody slap me if I took that out of context).

    The students at Franciscan give much of themselves through their various ministries and missions. That said, there’s plenty more work to be done.

    Also, thanks for the punch to the face. It does me some good time and again, and it was nice to be reminded of our capacity for good.

    • http://www.facebook.com/garrett.johnson.3150 Garrett Johnson

      Being a former student, I agree here with Brian. The fact that we have the opportunity and responsibility to be “Ministers of Reconciliation” doesn´t mean that others have to accept it. Obviously we need to continue to strive to do better, and in my humble opinion the University´s mindset is at times a bit ¨bubble like.” Nevertheless, even the greatest example of holiness wont guarantee others accepting it… There are plenty of things that we are guilty of in our day to day life in that we need to improve, we have to be careful not to add on Crosses that aren’t ours to carry.

  • http://www.scribd.com/bluaquarius BluAquarius

    You are not the first one Marc to thing twice about the role that Franciscan University has failed to play in the Steubenville Rape Story.

    Now of course I am not saying they are responsible in anyway for what happened. But I look at the Saint that they model themselves after and one does begin to wonder: what would Francis do? Would he set back and let the town tear itself apart?

    As FUS has gained in National stature via their resistance to Obamacare, it seems they have forgotten their roots. They use all that land and pay no real estate taxes to the city, state or county, so I guess that makes them their own little world.

    Until of course someone decides to change all that.

  • Karen

    This article does a better job of explaining my point.

  • Karen

    Huffington Post article that is even better. Gender binaries encourage me to use rape to enforce the subordinate status of women. Catholic doctrine has an exaggerated gender binary.

    • Barfly_Kokhba

      You know what has an even stronger gender binary than Catholic doctrine? “Reality.” As in the the purely material physical world, in which men and women are simply born different. In fact, without the civilizing effect of Religion or Natural Law based on a transcendent morality which seeks to an even higher reality than the purely physical one into which we are all born, women would suffer far more marginalization, degradation and abuse. If you can’t understand that then you should conduct a more through personal and historical study of pagan or atheistic societies and see how well women fared or fare in those. And among the civilizing religions of world history–from Confucianism to Hinduism to Judaism to Islam–the Christian Church has, by FAR, the strongest tradition of protecting and even venerating women.

      • Karen

        Culture can emphasize or mute the differences between men and women. Cultures influenced by the Catholic church impose far greater distinctions between men and women than Protestant cultures do. (Compare the years women received the vote in Protestant countries in Europe to Catholic ones as one example.)

        • Barfly_Kokhba

          Culture CANNOT “mute” the differences between men and women and, no offense, it is an insane and pathological fantasy to think that it can. Again: the difference between men and women are codified into nature and DNA. Nothing can “mute” them. Blame evolution, blame Mother Nature, even blame God (may He have mercy on you if you must) but that is R-E-A-L-I-T-Y.

          What you mean to say is that social and government policies can attempt to “ignore” the differences by punishing those who acknowledge them. Sure they can, and we see how well that is working out all around us: A single motherhood epidemic; a culture permeated with the sexual exploitation of women; men who feel no guilt and experience no social stigma from walking away from their girlfriends, wives, mothers and children; boys who learn how to be “men” from violent video games and movies and wind up as marginalized anti-social throwaways, and also resentful toward women and misogynistic because of it. Those are all outcomes DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTABLE to the poisonous and decadent idea that the differences between men and women are meaningless and can just be papered over and voted away.

          The Catholic Church, rather than ignoring the differences between men and women, celebrates and venerates those differences. We sanctify motherhood, chastity (i.e. respect for women’s bodies), grace, aesthetic beauty, and the protection of women’s honor.

          Claiming that protestants somehow respect women more because in our modern era some few particular protestant denominations attempt to deny the reality of gender differences is silly (I admit that you will have to expound for me on the details of historical gender-differentiated voting rights in relation to denominational geographic distribution. I am ignorant on that topic. But please do so, sincerely. I’d love to hear it.) You do realize that “Chauvinism” is simply the French word for “Calvinism,” right? Not exactly known for being big on women’s lib, those Chauvinists.

          But claiming that, compared to a Catholic ethic, a pagan or atheistic or secular culture engenders greater respect for women is beyond silly–it is demonstrably zany.

          If you love and respect women, in all their true and glorious femininity, Catholicism is the only way to go, honey. Come home to Jesus.

          • Claude

            There’s so much culture war nonsense in this screed it’s hard to know where to start, but for one thing, there’s no “epidemic” of single mothers; the rate has been more or less flat for decades. The data on violent video games is inconclusive, but the fact is that as consumption of these games skyrocketed the homicide rate declined. That is not to say that single motherhood isn’t a problem, or that violent video games don’t (or not) have a coarsening effect on people, but no need for hyperbole.

            As for women’s suffrage, the chronological top ten are:

            1893 New Zealand

            1902 Australia (except for aborginal women)

            1906 Finland

            1913 Norway

            1915 Denmark

            1917 Canada (except for Native American women)

            1918 Austria, Germany, Poland, Russia

            1919 Netherlands

            1920 United States

            1921 Sweden

            The notion that equal rights advocates deny differences between men and women is a canard. It’s simply that these differences are irrelevant to issues such as the right to vote and the right to equal pay. And what the heck is “true and glorious femininity” anyway? Give me a break.

          • Justin

            In 1917, the only Canadian women to be enfranchised were those who had immediate relatives serving in the military. Prime Minister Borden wanted to enact conscription, but had to win an election in 1917 before the Military Service Act could be enforced. He believed that women whose male relatives were in Europe would be likely to support conscription and would therefore vote for him. Giving women the vote in Canada was therefore more of a political manoeuvre than anything else. One of Borden’s opponents said that the voters did not choose the government; the government chose the voters. The franchise was not expanded further until after the 1917 election, which Borden won.

          • Claude

            Very interesting, thanks for that!

          • Barfly_Kokhba

            Claude, you are the textbook stereotype of an effete self-styled liberal “culture warrior” who tries to obscure common sense behind a shroud of “data,” none of which supports anything you’re trying to say. Pornography and violent movies/television exploded in America in the 1970′s, at which time there most definitely was a sharp increase in crime. But correlation does not equal causation, or else we could conclude that the assault weapons ban of the Clinton-era 1990′s contributed to the significantly higher murder rate during that administration, couldn’t we?

            And I’m curious: how many single mothers, teenage pregnancies and broken homes with fatherless children is an “acceptable number” to an Ivory-tower keyboard sociologist such as yourself? 500,000? A million? Go to a black neighborhood and tell them there’s no problem with broken families or fathers abandoning their children. Tell ‘em you’ve got the data to prove it.

            And your simple little David Letterman list of dates of suffrage has exactly zero to do with my question, which was the geographic distribution of religion/non-believers at the times of enfranchisement. But using your own list we can see that predominantly Anglican and Catholic countries (New Zealand and Australia) were the first, followed by a country where Evangelical Lutheranism is actually the state religion, with 77% of citizens still adhering. But anyone who has a lick of common sense or has visited any of these countries will tell you that your list is meaningless in terms of total factors affecting quality of life for the majority of women. As Mark Twain once said, “There are lies, there are damn lies, and there are statistics.”

            Finally, “equal pay and voting rights” has exactly zero to do with the agenda of “culture warriors” like you who seek a 2,000-year old religious tradition to ordain women to its priesthood. Your entire argument is nothing but obfuscation, rhetorical dodges and straw men.

          • Karen

            And you are a typical troglodyte conservative who dismisses actual evidence – the ‘shroud of data’ – that contradicts your unsupportable prejudices with insults.

            Claude demonstrated that Protestant countries welcomed women as participants in public life long before Catholic counties did.

          • Barfly_Kokhba

            He did absolutely nothing of the sort. He produced a simple list of thirteen countries and ten dates. Anyone who thinks that this illuminates some profound socio-historical truth is a simply a fool.

            You’re seeing what you want to see, and your political hatred is blinding you to plain reality. I’m not going to re-hash the many facts and obvious simple truths which I have already elucidated for the purpose of prolonging this pointless discussion.

          • Karen

            Translated: Barfly is losing the argument so he’s going to leave.

          • Claude

            Oh my. Offering a few observations makes me an “ivory-tower sociologist”? Where do you get this stuff, from Rush?

            “Go to a black neighborhood…” The gall. (How do you know I’m not black?) Go moralize yourself to the black community about how the disgraced Catholic Church is the panacea for its problems. Good luck with that! It’s clear what I actually said means little against your propensity for self-righteous drama.

            I offered that list without comment, since though Karen may well be right, I’m not certain. So your reaction is a bit hysterical.

            Your last accusation is likewise intemperate. I spoke of equal rights in the generalized, historical sense of all liberation movements. But you are right that I support the ordination of women, regardless of their ability to sing and dance.

          • Barfly_Kokhba

            Thanks for the first real laugh of this discussion. Call it the power of prediction, Claude. I close my eyes and visualize the kind of person who would write the sort of drivel you’ve posted here and see and an ideological twin of Adam M. Smith, the oblivious wealthy white liberal who recorded himself harassing a Chik-fil-A drive-thru employee in the name of “social justice.” I will pay you $1,000 if you are not a middle-aged, upper-middle-class white man.

          • Claude

            Man, I could use that thousand bucks!

          • Karen

            So, if political and economic rights aren’t the proper measures of women’s well-being, what factors are appropriate?

          • Barfly_Kokhba

            You’re begging the question, because you have done absolutely nothing to demonstrate that Catholic culture or pre-dominantly Catholic nations have in any way lagged behind other cultures or religions in terms of ‘political and economic rights” for women. Indeed, everything written thus far shows exactly the opposite. You simply ignore the facts and continue to repeat your inane talking points.

          • http://www.facebook.com/daptak Debbie Ptak

            WAY TO GO I LOVE YOUR POST,ITS TRUE GOD BLESS YOU

        • Cal-J

          “(Compare the years women received the vote in Protestant countries in Europe to Catholic ones as one example.)”

          Okay. In 12th century France, women could own property in their own name, keep those names when they married, vote wherever and whenever men could, operate trades, and of the literate minority of the age, half the population consisted of women.

          That’s according to Regine Pernoud, former curator of France’s National Archives.

          In other words, Catholic France had all that right up until the Renaissance, when people started thinking that ancient Roman laws and customs were good things again, which restored the diminished status you see in women in later periods.

  • Emily

    Superman….. IS NOT A HUMAN BEING!!!!!!!!!….He is an alien from Kyrpton. Well, anyway…. great post :)

    • Emily

      dkfhsdlkjfhdsgjk Krypton ***

  • Cherelynn

    Well holy moly this post sure has hit a nerve in some spots and a bonk on the head in other. You have written a great post with a firm and level argument. Good job. I enjoyed reading. Keep it up.
    Sincerely,
    Cherelynn
    http://makeupuniversity.blogspot.com

  • Alisha

    Thank you so much for this. I just heard of this horrible event tonight and was feeling lost and depressed about it and this summarized EXACTLY what I thought (even before the event was referenced, I was thinking how much it applied to the event and reflected some comments I had posted on it). I wrote to a friend “Where is the Catholic response to rape culture?” Aside from what we know to be true, why is it that I can find a ton of feminist but not so culture of life sites opposing rape culture but none that are Catholic? I do hope that Steubenville University will respond (or has responded) in some concrete visible way – an outreach to the highschool of some sort.


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