After the recent unpleasantness, I've been thinking about one thing in particular. It is an essay from Dale O'Leary on Feminism and the importance of forgiveness. Nearly twenty years ago, Dale recognized the problem in speaking to and with many feminists was their unforgiveness. It is amazing how a bitter seed can grow into a cancer, affecting the hearing and the reading comprehension, and no amount of clarification, explanation or apology will ever be enough. They will declare victory if you cave, but will be still more watchful for the next time you step a toe over the line.
With that in mind, read this from Dale O'Leary and see if it helps make sense of the recent brouhaha:
Before we begin to talk about feminism we need to lay afoundation of repentance. I have given many talks on the this subjectand no matter how careful I am, I find that when I am finished one ortwo women in the audience will be terribly offended by my talk. Theinteresting thing is that they are usually offended by something Ididn't say. I tried to explain the points that disturbed people morecarefully, but frankly to no avail.
Since you may face the same problem, let me explain what I thinkhappens. There has been injustice toward women by men. This should beno surprise to us. The book of Genesis tells us that the first fruitsof original sin were the disruption in the relationship between menand women.
The question is not: Have women suffered? We all agree theyhave. The question is: Why and what should we do about it? To agreethat women have suffered does not force one to agree with thefeminist analysis of what causes that suffering and what should bedone about it. The problem is that suffering creates bitterness andenvy. And feminism breeds in bitterness and envy. This is why when wechallenge feminist analysis of causes and solutions some women reactdefensively, feeling that we are denying our suffering.
Unless each of you repents personally of the sins of envy andresentment, I can tell you quite frankly that you will not be able tohear what I am saying.
Scripture says "Envy thou not the oppressor", (Prov. 3:31). Envy is a serious sin because when we envy we question the perfect wisdom of God's plan for our lives; we think that He denied us some good towhich we are entitled, particularly if we, as women, envy men, or say, heaven forbid, "I wish that I had been born a man." God made us male and female. To be displeased with His decision, challenges God's goodness. Therefore, if you have ever said, "I wish I were a man" repent of it and ask God for the grace to accept the gift of your womanhood.
Second, we must repent of all bitterness, resentment andunforgiveness. We must forgive everyone who has injured us in anyway. There are no exceptions. Every time we recite the rosary, sixtimes we say, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those whotrespass against us". These are not idle words, If we don't notforgive, we are asking God to hold our sins. Jesus said, when hetaught the Lord's prayer, "If you do not forgive others, neither willyour heavenly father, forgive you."
People have strange ideas about forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn'tmean that you have not been harmed; on the contrary, it means theexact opposite, it acknowledges the reality of the harm. Forgivenessis isn't letting the other person off, its letting yourself off.Resentment is re-feeling. You are continually refeeling the hurt.
There are no exceptions, no hurts that can't be forgiven. If youare as innocent as Jesus, if the nails are still in your hands, ifyour persecutors are still standing around jeering at you, you muststill say "Father forgive them."Read the rest of it here.
And to learn a piece of 2nd wave feminist history and how it helps religious feminists be so successful when they get their high dudgeon on, read this from me, written about two years ago.
Addendum: Another essay that is helps fill out the picture is The Women's Movement by Joan Didion .