The Left

Feel the Feminists

Altar Boy
Altar Boy
An altar server is a lay assistant to a member of the clergy during a Christian religious service. An altar server attends to supporting tasks at the altar such as fetching and carrying, ringing the altar bell and so on. | Photo: Jill Greenberg | Link | Altar Boy, Religion, Church, Child, Cry, Scandal, Bible,

Apparently they're mightier than I imagined.

I bet you didn't know feminism was the cause of all those child-molesting Catholic priests.

I had no idea myself until I read an interview with U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who explained it all for me. What happened was that feminism overwhelmed the Catholic church and "men who were feminized and confused about their own sexual identity had entered the priesthood. Sadly, some of these disordered men sexually abused minors."

This was part of an interview in which Burke, along with venting about how priests don't punish masturbators enough, vents about all the ways Catholicism has ruined itself by giving in to feminists. "The radical feminist movement," he says, "strongly influenced the church, leading the church to constantly address women's issues at the expense of addressing critical issues important to men."

Somehow in a long discussion that manages to cover many of the burdens of Catholic manhood (like succumbing to masturbation), Burke never gets around to explaining what those women's issues were. Oh, he mentions that allowing altar girls discourages boys from serving -- but why would feminism focus on that rather than, say, changing the church stance on abortion and birth control? And how exactly did feminists exert their power on a hierarchy that's 100 percent male and (at least in theory) celibate?

I wouldn't really care about Burke, except that he's so typical of many anti-feminists. It's part for the course for the antis to blame feminism for everything and everything:
  1. The lack of manly men on television.
  2. The rise in divorce and single-parenthood (because feminists want to destroy families).
  3. Date rape. Because feminists told women to sleep around and when the women realized they'd lost their virtue, they cried rape (blame right-winger Mona Charen for that one).
  4. Sexual harassment. Because feminism made men stop treating women like ladies, and sexual harassment is just guys using foul language loudly in women's presence (Charen again).
  5. Rape. Because if women won't submit to the man, it warps his natural, God-given desire to dominate.
  6. The Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech shootings.
  7. Twenty-something guys not being more ambitious.
  8. Dropping sperm levels in men. An article in Philadelphia Magazine some years back asserted that sperm counts have been dropping for 50 years (at the time of the article) and 50 years ago was the last time more men than women went to college, so there you are!

Naomi Wolf
Naomi Wolf

Naomi R. Wolf, born November 12, 1962, is an American author and former political consultant. With the publication of the 1991 bestselling book The Beauty Myth she became a leading spokesperson of what was later described as the third wave of the feminist movement. | Photo: Naomi Wolf |
What makes anti-feminists so daft? As I've written before, the idea of male-dominated society has been with us so long, a lot of people still think anything else is unnatural. On top of that, anyone who benefits from a sexist system has a vested interest in feeling that changing the status quo is bad. Whether it's the men who want to know they have absolute control over their wives or who don't want to compete with women at work, I'm sure it's very comforting to think that female submission is natural and God-ordained rather than oppressive.

For Burke, the very fact some men are uncomfortable with feminism is proof feminism is the problem: "I recall in the mid-1970s, young men telling me that they were, in a certain way, frightened by marriage ... These young men were concerned that entering a marriage would simply not work because of a constant and insistent demanding of rights for women."

The takeaway is not that the men were sexist or insecure but that feminists were at fault for making the men uncomfortable. Much as columnist Christy Wampole once suggested that men wouldn't be so violent if women showed them more deference.

I'm frankly not sure how many anti-feminists believe a word of what they're saying. Some of them undoubtedly do conceive a link between feminism and whatever problem they're freaking out about. "Feminism happened, then something bad happened, so feminism makes bad things happen" isn't logical, but it's going to appeal to anyone who wants to justify sexism.

Others presumably spew their bilge because there's always a market for anti-feminist writing. So why not spew sexist bull if the money's good? Lord knows, plenty of movies get made that way

But Burke, and everyone else muttering about how feminism has ruined everything in the universe, are wrong either way

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Updated Apr 22, 2017 5:31 AM EDT | More details

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