Top 10 Reasons You Can't be a Christian and a Feminist
These days, some women refer to themselves as “Catholic feminists.” They are trying to reconcile their deeply held Christian faith and values with a new concept called feminism that didn't exist for most of Church history. However, the title feminist is steeped in paganism, and is an emotionally and politically charged term.
If you put a group of feminists in a room, you’d find that they have a variety of beliefs and define the label differently. Feminists fall along a spectrum. It is anything but a unifying designation. Yet, it sounds so politically correct to identify as a feminist, and Christianity teaches that all are equal in Jesus (Galatians 3:28) so why not?
The Bible also says to”take no part in the unfruiful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). It’s time to expose the falsehood of feminism.
1. Feminism is a lie. It declares that women are oppressed by marriage, disrespected, forgotten, and imprisoned by their homes, while women are liberated and equal to men only through working outside of the home. Pope Pius XI warned that “if the woman descends from her truly regal throne to which she has been raised within the walls of the home by means of the Gospel, she will soon be reduced to the old state of slavery (if not in appearance, certainly in reality) and become as amongst the pagans the mere instrument of man” (Casti Connubi, 75). In our society today, glory is given to a woman more for “what she can do” rather than “for who she is.” Motherhood expressed in the home is shunned while climbing the career ladder is praised. Moreover, Venerable Fulton Sheen points out that woman’s “equality” has left her “emancipated as a pendulum from a clock and thereby no longer free to swing, or as a flower has been emancipated from its roots only to wither and die” (Communism and Women, parg 11).
2. Feminism is anti-woman. Many feminists would declare that feminism is about equality between men and women, in the workplace and in sexual “encounters.” Yet, this perceived equality can only be achieved when a woman rejects her God given and natural ability to conceive a child (typically through the use of contraception). In reality, this counterfeit identity is more about “sameness” than celebrating women or men for their unique qualities and contributions. When Pope Benedict XVI was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he wrote, “ In order to avoid the domination of one sex or the other, their differences tend to be denied, viewed as mere effects of historical and cultural conditioning. In this perspective, physical difference, termed sex, is minimized, while the purely cultural element, termed gender, is emphasized to the maximum and held to be primary” (Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World, paragraph 2).
3. Feminism is anti-men so it’s not really about equality, after all. The objective of the enemy is to pit men and women against each other. The more women are championed, through their achievements and sexual liberation, the more men are belittled. Men’s opinions and contributions are not welcomed in the feminist movement. Cardinal Ratzinger observes that for feminists the “first tendency is to emphasize strongly conditions of subordination in order to give rise to antagonism: women, in order to be themselves, must make themselves the adversaries of men” (Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World, paragraph 2).
4. Feminism is anti-family. Despising men aids the anti-family agenda of feminism. Radical feminists celebrate eradicating men from the family. Sperm banks and in-vitro fertilization help to perpetuate the destruction of the family, which God designed. Women no longer need a man to have a “family.” Moreover, feminism encourages women to place an outside career over the care of her family and home. Young children yearn to be in the presence of their mother, and her absence has developmental repercussions on them (See “Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters” by Erica Komisar). Ratzinger points out that “This theory of the human person, intended to promote prospects for equality of women through liberation from biological determinism, has in reality inspired ideologies which, for example, call into question the family, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father, and make homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent. (Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World, paragraph 2).
5. Feminism is pro-death. When contraception fails, abortion is the insurance policy against “unwanted” pregnancies. Having to care for a child makes the professional playing field unequal. Therefore, feminists must be pro-death. Ironically, aborting baby girls (future women), in particular, seems as “anti-woman” as you can get. In striving for “equal dignity” the same feminists declare that the unborn have no dignity. St. John Paul II said, “Contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree… Still, in very many other instances such practices are rooted in a hedonistic mentality unwilling to accept responsibility in matters of sexuality, and they imply a self-centered concept of freedom, which regards procreation as an obstacle to personal fulfilment. The life which could result from a sexual encounter thus becomes an enemy to be avoided at all costs, and abortion becomes the only possible decisive response to failed contraception.” (Evagelium Vitae 13)
6. Feminism is about power. One of the most popular words in society that is often coupled with women is “empowerment.” Striving for power is not at the heart of Christianity. Jesus taught that greatness comes when pursuing service, not power (Matthew 20:28). “He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:11). Christ lived this command out perfectly when he laid his life down for us on the cross, and we are called to become “little Christs” (which is precisely the significance of the word Christian). Married spouses should seek to be in mutual service of each other. Each spouse will serve the other uniquely. Furthermore, becoming a mother means being open to daily sacrifice for the sake of their children. St. John Paul II re
minded us that man “cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself” (Gadieum et Spes 24).
7. Feminism is a contradiction. Behind every “empowered” woman is a disempowered woman. If a woman decides to have a child and a full-time career outside of the home, another woman will have to care for that child, such as a daycare attendant, nanny, aunt, or grandmother. Not all women can achieve empowerment at once! Some women must forgo a lucrative career to care for other people’s kids. Pope Pius XI warned against women neglecting their chief duties as wife and mother for societal involvement or business endeavors (Casti Connubi, 74). He said, “This, however, is not the true emancipation of woman, nor that rational and exalted liberty which belongs to the noble office of a Christian woman and wife; it is rather the debasing of the womanly character and the dignity of motherhood, and indeed of the whole family, as a result of which the husband suffers the loss of his wife, the children of their mother, and the home and the whole family of an ever watchful guardian.”
8. Feminism is rooted in Communism. Notably, one of the goals of communists was to remove women from the home to create a system of collective workers. The goal of the worker state is to replace the family. Pope Pius XI notes that “Communism is particularly characterized by the rejection of any link that binds women to the family and the home, and her emancipation is proclaimed” (Divini Redemptoris, 11).
9. Feminism hijacked some Christian values. Any virtues that feminism maintains, such as human rights, are the same virtues the Catholic Church has always taught. A person who appreciates that aspect of feminism is really just appreciating Christian doctrine, and should identify as a Catholic, not a feminist. Such people are ready to passionately live out the corporal works of mercy like St. (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta, St. Damien Molokai, St. John Bosco, and St. Katherine Drexel did. Venerable Fulton Sheen maintained that “What makes the difference in woman is not therefore a man, but whether certain God-given qualities, which are specifically hers, are given adequate and full expression. These qualities are principally, devotion, sacrifice and love. They need not necessarily be expressed in a family, nor even in a convent. They can find an outlet in the social world, in the care of the sick, the poor, the ignorant—in a word---in the corporal works of mercy” (Communism and Women, 13).
10.Feminism is not the true advocate for women. The Catholic Church is the true champion of women! For centuries, the Catholic Church has been women’s advocate. From the beginning, God chose to place a woman at the center of salvation as Jesus was “born of a woman.” St. John Paul II wrote an encyclical titled, Mulieris Dignitatem (The Dignity of Women). He states that, “both man and woman are human beings to an equal degree, both are created in God's image” (Mulieris Dignitatem, 6). The Church celebrates woman as man’s equal, but not at the cost of her unique qualities. Equality doesn’t mean sameness. Pope John Paul II explains that, “a woman represents a particular value by the fact that she is a human person, and, at the same time, this particular person, by the fact of her femininity” (Mulieris Dignitatem, 29). Pope John Paul II recognizes that, “The witness and the achievements of Christian women have had a significant impact on the life of the Church as well as of society. Even in the face of serious social discrimination, holy women have acted "freely", strengthened by their union with Christ” (Mulieris Dignitatem, 29). In the history of the Church, the greatest saint is a woman, Mary. May she be the true example of what it means to live as a woman!
Christians need to reject the term feminism instead of popularizing some form of the word in the Church. Believers should embrace language that better reflects God’s plan for women: their dignity and particular contributions. One option is to use St. John Paul’s term, “the feminine genius,” or perhaps “authentic femininity.” As sons and daughters of God, we must not seek conformity (Romans 12:2), but be set apart from the world (Psalm 4:3). This should include our words. “They are of the world, therefore what they say is of the world, and the world listens to them. We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us…by this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:5). The word “feminism” is simply not compatible with the Church’s teaching and important insights about the value of “woman.” To continue using the word is a scandal.