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Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Vocabulary and the Vatican

An astute commentator has pointed out that as a result of my entry about Witnessing to Jehovah's Witnesses, the targeted ads at the top of this blog are, well, targeted to JW sites. So, I have become a reluctant advert for (currently, tis subject to change n all) a Jehovah's Witnesses Singles Site.

I heard a great word on the radio just now. The weather guy stumbled over it, but that didn't detract from its coolness. I give you, specificity. [Bow].

I am aware that this has the potential to become very much an anti-religious blog. I have no desire or intention for this to be the case, but if religious people keep doing stupid things, I will have to keep writing about them.

So, yeah, the Vatican, on women.

I have neither the time, the patience, or the concentration to read the whole of the original document, but the Guardian tells me a lot of what I need to know.

So let's see. Apparently, women's key traits are:

  • Listening
  • welcoming
  • humility
  • faithfulness
  • praise and
  • waiting

How do I do?

Listening? I'm good at that. I have Radio 4 on almost constantly, and I sometimes even pay attention to what it says. So yep, I pass the first test.

So what's next? Welcoming. Well [cough], funny story there [cough, blush]. Ummm. I used to be, I'm sure. But for ages now I've had something close to a phobia about allowing people into my house, so noone comes in, so I don't do much welcoming. Yeah, I know, fuck-up.

Faithfulness. Yuck. To what? If it's to God, I fail. If it's to my partner, I pass. If it's to myself, we're getting waaay too deep.

Praise. What does that mean?



  1. Expression of approval, commendation, or admiration.
  2. The extolling or exaltation of a deity, ruler, or hero.
  3. Archaic. A reason for praise; merit.

tr.v. praised, prais·ing, prais·es

  1. To express warm approbation of, commendation for, or admiration for.
  2. To extol or exalt; worship.

How is that a trait?

I do praise people and things. Just not so often the whole God stuff. Which is probably what they're talking about.

Where were we?

Waiting. There's a bus strike for goodness' sake! If I wasn't good at waiting before, I'm certainly getting more proficient as time goes on.

Seriously though, reading the various details and commentaries on this newly published text does concern me. Women within Catholicism are oppressed and controlled by the patriarchal and misogynist forces within the religion (not to mention within society at large), but it is done so in a veiled way. By stating that the above virtues of women were particularly evident in the Virgin Mary, the Church oppresses women while maintaining the illusion that in fact they are venerating and honouring us.

It all very much reminds me of the extract of the 1950's Home Economics textbook for school girls which makes its wat round the net periodically.

The thing about this Vatican statement which particularly disturbs / confuses me is that they are very much using the argument that women are this way because of biology. That women and men naturally behave differently and have different roles. And yet they are making it a moral argument about whether women fulfil these roles. I guess they are using the going against God-given nature stance, but it is infuriatingly clear that they are desperate to keep women in a submissive, pliable, easily manipulated and controlled state, to maintain their misogyny.