Talk:Catholic Church and women

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Richard, I finally found time today to start reading this proposal. I am going to make some changes as I feel that the current text is a bit too POV (not surprising, given that it is largely taken from existing articles). I may also add some currently-uncited text but will be sure to place {{fact}} tags so that I remember to find the sources for those statements. I may do this over a period of time too; if you don't see me make a lot of changes today it may be because I became distracted - I'll be back. As always, feel free to revert anything I do, although for more substantial reverts it might be helpful to discuss here to make sure that we understand why. Thanks so much for starting this effort! Karanacs (talk) 18:44, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

More than one article here?[edit]

[Following comment copied from User talk:Karanacs] As I try to work with this article, I find that I am hampered by the organization of the article. I am now wondering if there aren't a series of articles that should be written instead of just one. I am thinking that the current article focuses on contemporary issues and I'm not sure how to work in the history of women in the early Church, the medieval Church, etc. I also think there could be an article about feminism and the Catholic Church that would cover topics that might be hard to fit into the current article on Catholic Church and women. If you search in Google Books for "Catholic Church women" and "Catholic Church feminism", you will see some of the sources that lead me to this conclusion. I'd like to get your opinion on how best to organize and cover these topics. --Pseudo-Richard (talk) 23:04, 28 June 2011 (UTC)


This seems entirely written from the POV of modern social sciences. No mention of some key elements:

    • Full retention of Mediterranean cultural attitudes
    • Massive emphasis on virginity
    • Huge cult of female role models, especially Mary & virgin martyrs
    • Great importance of women as converts and promoters of Christianity in Early Christian period
    • By Middle Ages, nuns become unusually prominent and independent compared to most religions Johnbod (talk) 11:44, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
Agreed... any help you can give to improving the article or suggesting related article topics (see above comment) would be appreciated. --Pseudo-Richard (talk) 15:30, 29 June 2011 (UTC)
I've made a first attempt to address some of the deficiencies that you've pointed out. The article is a growing mish-mash but I figure we should work on expanding the content first and then hope that an organization will start to suggest itself. (I know this is backasswards writing strategy but this is Wikipedia so what the hey) --Pseudo-Richard (talk) 16:03, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

No mention of Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, etc.?[edit]

Is this just about how the church influenced attitudes to women? It should be a 2 way street, for women influenced the church too, e.g. the many letters of Catherine of Siena to the pope and how that changed so many things, including the return of Papacy from Avignon etc. And Teresa of Calcutta single handedly changed the attitude towards the Church among millions of people - more than 100 Cardinals in her time. Not that I have time to work on it, but needs to be mentioned I think. History2007 (talk) 13:42, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

I agree. My first problem is developing a list of women to mention in this article. The second problem is figuring out how to organize the article so that this list can be presented in a logical fashion. I don't want to just make it a historical chronology because then the point is kind of weakened. It seems to me that, over the course of history, the women who have had the most influence on the church have been members of religious orders. Should that be the section heading? Or is there some other way to categorize the impact of these women? --Pseudo-Richard (talk) 15:01, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes, unless you are "in the system" you can not affect it - so most of those were in some order. Not necessarily high ranking members, as Teresa of Calcutta started as a simple nun, as did Thérèse of Lisieux. And Thérèse ended up becoming a Doctor of the Church while lots of big name Cardinals waited in line. So the impact has been serious. And it also shows that the Church is open to declaring them Doctors even if they were simple nuns as a start, and lived very few years. History2007 (talk) 18:44, 30 June 2011 (UTC)
By the way, regarding the list of women, the issue of devotions should not be ignored. The "Sacred Heart of Jesus" devotion was 90% due to Margaret Mary Alacoque. So if you look at the thousands of churches devoted to the Sacred Heart, you will see the impact she had. And of course over 100 million people follow the Divine Mercy Devotion of Faustina. Then, there is Lourdes and Bernadette, etc. etc. So the impact via devotions is significant. And devotions drive the church more than encyclicals which typically follow them. History2007 (talk) 19:41, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Anyway, I added Speculum Virginum and Avila to the Medieval section and the only other item there for now would be Catherine of Siena's influence, but can be done any time.

And a section on 17th-19th century needs to be there, because to jump to 20 from Avila is too much of a jump. You can add to it if you have time, or I will add in the next month or two gradually. Not hard to find material.History2007 (talk) 01:37, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

The addition of the Medieval mystics was to the point Richard. I had forgotten all about Julian of Norwich. Now, are there many more in the 17th century? History2007 (talk) 21:13, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Another hopefully helpful suggestion[edit]

I was wondering if anyone has considered adding a section that discusses what women's lives were like in pre-Christian societies? I see it is touched upon with the mention of ancient Roman practices but what about practices in India, pre-Christian America and pre-Christian Europe and Africa? Female sex slavery was commonly practiced in America and Africa. Slavery was a factor of all of these societies. Wives are expected to commit suicide on a funeral pyre in parts of India and the Caste system has been seriously challenged there by vast numbers of "untouchables" conversion to Christianity. Muslim societies might also be mentioned in this article to provide a fair constrast to the quality of women's lives under Christianity compared to Islam where men can have up to four wives, girls can be killed for fraternizing with boys and a woman claiming to have been raped is required to have two male witnesses verify her story. NancyHeise talk 15:46, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Suggested sources: Peter Stark's "The Rise of Christianity" and Alvin Schmidt's "Under the Influence". NancyHeise talk 15:47, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
A good suggestion actually. I guess they used to live somewhat brutal lives, somewhat like the well documented case of Women's lives in "post-Christian" societies... There may be more truth in that joke than one may think, given that these women are now at the mercy of the shaman in white, etc... But jokes aside, Christianity certainly brought respect for women through chivalry as the article hints now, but can be strengthened. History2007 (talk) 16:16, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Now, before we rush to say that Christianity totally freed women from slavery and attract a large amount of deserved criticism, let us remind ourselves that newspaper article after article has documented that Eastern European sex slaves are currently held within an hour drive of the Vatican, and everyone in Vatican City looks the other way. They never see them. History2007 (talk) 16:20, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

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