Like countless other women who cherish improvement in the situation of women in the United States and throughout the world, I was initially quick to embrace feminism as the best way to secure our "rights" and our dignity as persons. Like countless others, I was seriously misled.
AS a retired professor of English who now and again returns to teaching, I am aware that the work I try to do with my students has less and less in common with what is going on in adjacent classrooms. I regret being out of step, but it is too late to break the habits of a lifetime, and in any case I cannot believe that they are bad habits.
Can one be both Catholic and feminist? Many of us these days are asking the question, sometimes with considerable anguish. The real question, however, is why is this a question at all. Why do so many of us see the relations between Catholicism and feminists as problematic?
From these women and men comes the really bad news for the feminist movement: The overwhelming majority of American women perceive feminism as irrelevant. In their view, feminism is not talking about the women's issues that most concern them and it is not writing a compelling story about women's lives. Worse, it is not writing a convincing story about our world.
Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon led the Vatican delegation to the UN Beijing Conference on Women in 1995. She soon discovered that the working document in Beijing contained defects which corresponded closely to the defects of 1970s' feminism.