Kaya Oakes is the author of five books, most recently uncluding The Defiant Middle. Her sixth book, on the limits of forgiveness, is forthcoming. She teaches writing at UC Berkeley.
Posts By This Author
What ‘Drag Nuns’ Get Right About Catholic Faith
Historically, there have been many Catholics who have pushed back against gender norms. But like modern conservatives who focus on the outrageous aspects of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence while ignoring the group’s tireless work caring for the sick, homeless, and poor, the Catholic hierarchy has also attempted to mute the stories of gender-nonconforming people throughout its history. And in doing so, the church hierarchy has often ignored the acts of mercy so central to Catholic teaching.
Do We Really Want Our Government Run Like a Business?
I interviewed a dozen Christian millennials from different denominational backgrounds about these questions, and found that most of them disagree with the idea that government should be borrowing ideas from business in terms of how it operates.
Does Catholicism Have a ‘Man Crisis,’ or is Cardinal Burke Paranoid?
In an online interview this week, Cardinal Raymond Burke said the “radical feminism which has assaulted the Church and society since the 1960s has left men very marginalized.”
But many women will head to Mass this weekend and note that the priest, bishop, and pope have something in common: They are all men, and the power they hold in institutional church structures hardly looks like marginalization.
In spite of Burke’s paranoid opinion that “rampant liturgical experimentation” resulted in men who were “really turned off” by the Mass, women will stand and recite a recently revised Nicene Creed that states that Christ died “for us men.” They will pray to a God referred to only by male pronouns even as God’s gender remains stubbornly mysterious. Even the language of the liturgy negates the presence of women.
Yet Burke is bewildered by women’s “self-focused attitudes” and “constant and insistent demanding of rights.” Women, he said, “respond very naturally to the invitation to be active in the Church.” And yet, when the sanctuary becomes “full of women,” and the parish activities and liturgy are influenced by them, these become “so feminine in many places that men do not want to get involved.”
The fact that Burke gave this interview to a website whose very name — The New Emangelization — may lead many to question whether it is actually a parody, indicates the level of absurdity in Burke’s claims that women have somehow taken over the Catholic Church.
There is also something disturbing and insulting about his ideas concerning the men already in the church.