February 18, 2013
“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” (an essay by Mary E. Hunt)
“Patriarchy will get unimaginable amounts of free publicity for the next month as the Roman Catholic Church reshuffles the papal deck,” writes feminist theologian Mary E. Hunt, co-founder of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER). A Roman Catholic herself, Dr. Hunt has long worked for change in the church. In this essay for Feminist Studies in Religion, she argues that “what is needed is a wholesale deconstruction of a hierarchical church and the reconstruction of a community that is based on radical equality.” She points out that as things now stand, the emphasis on male entitlement and male power—so visible in the proceedings and pageantry taking place over the weeks ahead—provides a symbolism that, in Dr. Hunt’s words, “has the pernicious impact of making the male-only power model seem holy. Ditto for the racist, heterosexist dimensions as well, not to mention the Euro-centrism and money assumptions that underlie the proceedings.” She suggests a fourfold strategy for feminists in dealing with the endless media hype. Her four points are well worth taking the time to read, ponder, and practice. You might also want to take some time to read another related article and find out why Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne says the best choice for pope would be a nun.