Monday, October 17, 2011

Religion & Culture

A few interesting tidbits from recent news:

  • A Catholic priest, who supports the ordination of women, was briefly detained after marching on the Vatican to lift its ban on women priests. In Catholicism, women cannot be ordained because, the reasoning goes, Jesus only chose men as apostles. This particular priest is facing dismissal for supporting the ordination of women; earlier this year, Pope Benedict removed an Australian priest for suggesting ordination for women, which the Vatican has made as grave a canonical sin as sexually abusing children.
    • The Middle East today is not a bastion of gender equality, and was less so 2,000 years ago; imagine Jesus having brought along single, unmarried women apostles who were in the presence of a group of men who were not relatives of the women.
    • Until about the time I graduated from high school, girls were not permitted to be altar servers, but it's now very common for girls to assist the priest during Mass. Altar servers were originally candidates for the priesthood.
    • Catholicism is inherently patriarchal, which in many cases is unfortunate. I'm fairly liberal myself, and do not buy into the thinking that because the Church says something to be true, that it should be accepted blindly and without question. I would like to see a lot of reform done such that the Church reflects a more moden, equitable culture that reflects more contemporary views on gender and sexuality.
  • Utah ranks 50th out of the 50 states of women with college degrees. There seems to be a strong correlation between LDS women feeling they need to choose between having a family and completing their education. Family often trumps education.
    • There's intense presssure here in Utah for members of the LDS faith community to get married and start a family as quickly as possible; this especially affects women, since they're the ones bearing the children. I see no reasn to get married before one completes one's undergraduate degree, especially under the age of 22, and especially for women, whose education - or the lack thereof - affects the quality of life for their children, who need to see their mothers as independent, educated, and self-sufficient.
    • I've only been married for about five months, but I have a very good sense of myself; I'm also a bit older so I have a good idea of the financial needs necessary to support myself and my husband. When one goes straight from high school to college, without ever having lived on one's own, without supporting oneself, one can know on one level what it takes to be self-sufficient, but being independent is another matter entirely. Learning to be independent, get a college degree, and navigate a new marriage should not even be considered.
    • Not for nothing, I, and I think Ed as well, was glad that I could bring a basic level of education to our marriage. Why one wouldn't want to bring a basic level of education (whether that be a college degree, or some other manner of post-secondary training) to a marriage is inexplicable.

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