Fishwrap’s Zagano: The Catholic Church is like an Islamic mob that beats women to death

fishwrapOver at Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) our old pal, and promoter of women’s ordination, Phyllis Zagano has another knee-slapper.

She has a penchant for over-the-top moral equivalencies.  Let’s see her latest cringe-worthy claim: Because the Catholic Church doesn’t ordain women, the Catholic Church is like a superstitious Islamic mob that beats a woman to death.

Obvious, no?  Let’s see how Zagano paints the scene:

Things were pretty much unchanged for women in 2015. In Afghanistan, a 27-year-old female theology student was lynched by a superstitious mob. Elsewhere, a few Catholics continued to argue that women cannot image Christ.

Sticks and stones can break your bones, and words can really hurt you.

One day last February, on the Shah-Do-Shamshira shrine’s Wednesday “women’s day,” Farkhunda Malikzada challenged a fortune teller. She said his lucrative practice of selling tawiz — small pieces of paper with writings — to women hoping for husbands or male children, was superstitious and not Islamic. It turned out the fortune teller was trafficking in more than bits of paper. Months later, investigators found his trade included condoms, Viagra, and quite probably prostitutes.

Elsewhere during the year, a few writers encouraged the notion that a woman cannot image Christ. First proposed in 1975, as an opinion of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding women’s priestly ordination, the so-called “iconic argument” fell from John Paul II’s 1994 edict Ordinatio sacerdotalis. But in 2000, Cardinal Gerhard Müller wove the concept into his book Priesthood and Diaconate, parts of which crept (without attribution) into the 2002 International Theological Commission’s study document on the diaconate.

What they did to Farkhunda is metaphor for what the Church does to women.

She goes on to describe Farkhunda’s horrific death at the hands of members of the Religion of Peace.  More…

That is how it is for Afghan women, derided, despised, abused and sometimes killed for speaking truth to even the most insignificant of power — a fortune teller with a shady business.

How similar is the place of women in Catholicism. To say a woman can image Christ is to risk derision by angry defenders of some imaginary “faith” and genteel avoidance by pampered princes of the Church. Or worse.

[Eye-roll.]

Swap a few things out and see what happens.

If you, a female theology student, say that women can be ordained, you are the brave Farkhunda, defender of true Islam, pointing out the unpopular truth to ignorant, untheological men (= bad) peddling superstition (= “Christianity without ordained women”).  But, when brave, innocent female Farkhunda – Zagkhunda – just tries to be helpful and points out the truth to those men (= bad), she is treated with unspeakable brutality by the blinkered superstitious male (= bad) mob.

No, no.  Not at all self-important.

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22 Responses to Fishwrap’s Zagano: The Catholic Church is like an Islamic mob that beats women to death

  1. benedetta says:

    Yeah, no.

    If you have to condemn the Church by portraying as a lynch mob to make a dissenting theological point, you’re doing Church wrong. Also, theology, advocacy, critique, muckraking. Not to mention, unity, charity, reverencing the body of Christ as a member with others. For me, when I begin thinking about others whom I wish to debate in those terms, I know it’s time for a spa day. Well I don’t really go to spas. You know what I mean. It’s time then to go…to…and get over myself and my prideful dictates towards the communion.

    As a woman I don’t appreciate her minimalism and marginalizing the ways in which women image Christ really beautifully in the Church, from the beginning of the Church, from the first believers…I know this sort of talk can make women bitter and envious and desirous of things we think we should have, I do understand that, but when we consider the great gifts, astounding ways we get to image Christ, it’s sort of a no brainer and laughable to want, well, that.

  2. Kerry says:

    Not sure if she makes more sense, or less than Homer Simpson’s grampa.

  3. Patti Day says:

    I guess Phyllis’ numbers at Fishwrap have slipped following the Christmas season. What surer way to beef them up than by stirring up the fems to spew forth their wrath in the com box. Silly and tiresome woman

  4. LeeF says:

    Just think how happy she could be if she just walked down the street and joined another church that already has changed their doctrines to all that she desires. What is stopping her? Cultural bonds? It can’t be that because the Catholic culture of her forbears is not that which she envisions.

    Perhaps it is because she would just be another person who left the Catholic Church, to join another break-away sect that spawns more break-aways (the fruit of Protestantism is division and more division). She would no longer be a progressive darling of the liberal secular media valiantly fighting against the men who run the Church.

    And she misses the elephant in the room, or rather the women saints in the room that she ignores. Mary, women doctors of the Church, and so on, who have influenced our Faith profoundly and more than most men including popes.

    The really tragic thing is that she doesn’t realize she long ago stopped worshiping the God of Catholicism, and instead bows down to worship an idol of her own fuzzy and illogical conception.

  5. Semper Gumby says:

    Zagano’s anti-Catholic propaganda would warm the vile heart of any Cold War KGB propagandist.

    For the Left it really is all about Wonderful Them. For the death cultists at the Reporter any persecuted corpse overseas is a bounty to be exploited.

  6. Suburbanbanshee says:

    It is an attempted theft of valor, as well as a little appropriation of Third World life by someone who has never had to fight for anything she got.

  7. frjim4321 says:

    Yes, I read this on the 30th when it came out.

    I’ll admit that Phyllis deals in hyperbole. But it’s brilliant hypebole.

    Our benevolent host did not quote the final paragraph:

    There is an awful coda to the stories of Farkhunda and the women who think that they can image Christ. Farkhunda died on March 19, 2015, and gentle Joseph, whose feast it was that day, could not protect her or, it seems, any other woman fighting viral superstition and vicious ignorance. The next day, March 20, 2015 there was a solar eclipse and much of the earth went dark. It still is.

    I like Phyllis. I don’t always agree with her, but I like her very much.

    [She is solidly pro-life.]

  8. benedetta says:

    She is off the rails on the imagery here. Instead of bashing the Church maybe she could bring women mired in a dishonest and entrapped feminism over to the prolife side, which is the only authentic and intellectually honest approach for anyone who styles themselves a feminist. After all, there are a gazillion female babies aborted every year. Maybe even some theologians or Catholic pundits. How awful.

  9. andia says:

    thank you, I have been put in charge o weeding out the books from the Parish Library and you’ve given me another to watch out for. ( Richard Rohr, was another I learned about here.) Bless you for this!

  10. Dimitri_Cavalli says:

    Once upon a time, Zagano had a reputation as a conservative. In the mid-1980s, she was denied tenure in the Communications Department at Fordham University (where I graduated in 1995). She filed a federal discrimination suit against Fordham, alleging she was denied tenure because she is a woman, served as a naval officer (continued to serve as a reservist), and is a devout Catholic.

    Zagano’s suit revealed that the chairman of the Communications Department had written articles for Screw magazine, a pornographic tabloid, under a pseudonym. The university was embarrassed, but it couldn’t fire Gordon because he had tenure. (Northwestern University had never been able to fire Arthur Butz who teaches electrical engineering, despite the fact that he is an open Holocaust denier.)

    National Review, columnist Thomas Sowell, and Cardinal O’Connor all sympathized with Zagano.

    Fordham’s president, Father Joseph O’Hare actually said (perhaps in a letter to the editor to National Review) that Gordon’s writings for Screw could be defended as “academic freedom.” I don’t believe O’Hare was under any obligation to defend Gordon’s writings. He could have condemned them but told the truth that the university was powerless to fire or discipline him. This was one of many cases where non- and anti-Catholic professors would get positions at Catholic colleges and universities, eventually get tenure, entrench themselves, publish and say what they wanted, never get disciplined or fired, and eventually change the character and mission of “Catholic” colleges. (Of course, it was Catholic university presidents who decided to give away the store starting at the Land o’ Lakes Conference.)

    Fordham claimed that Zagano was denied tenure because she did not publish enough scholarly articles which she disputed. Zagano lost her suit, went elsewhere, and the episode is a part of university lore and “post-1960s embarrassing hijinks at Catholic institutions.”

    A couple of pro-life, conservative Jesuits at Fordham told me that Zagano had been in the wrong, that the department’s decision (it was some majority committee vote, not just Gordon’s decision) was justified.

    Whether Zagano changed some of her views (or always held them but were not known to her conservative sympathizers at the time) I do not know.

  11. Semper Gumby says:

    frjim4321: If I may, a suggestion. Some may read your comment and assume you were quite pleased about the author’s exploitation of this poor woman’s brutal death by a mob. Surely that is not the case. Next time, you might explain to the readers what makes this ghastly author “brilliant.”
    Regards.

  12. TheDude05 says:

    Father Jim, even with the last paragraph added she doesn’t disengage from her argument that the treatment of women in Islam and Catholicism are equal. She calls people who don’t believe in female ordination superstitious and ignorant, and evokes the eclipse as a sign of that. Laying aside the infallible doctrines on ordination, to say that being told no and having your opinions ignored is on an equal plane with lynching and honor killings does a disservice to the women fighting for their lives. If she is capable of equating these things in her head, she will next be calling for a safe place at parishes across the country like the students in Missouri ask for theirs on the university grounds. Words can hurt, they can injure your pride, crush your ego, and break your heart, but they won’t kill you. Action kills and I haven’t heard anybody in the Church calling for the pyres to be lit for the heretics as of late.

  13. WYMiriam says:

    “To say a woman can image Christ is to risk derision by angry defenders of some imaginary “faith” and genteel avoidance by pampered princes of the Church. Or worse.”

    Note to Ms. Zagano: “image” as a verb means to reflect or mirror; to be a symbol or type of. Let’s look at that definition a little more closely, using a specific image from history. Jesus Christ celebrated the Last Supper, at which He instituted the Holy Mass and left us the inestimable gift of His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, once (although He may have given that same gift to the people at Emmaus), and after that He died on the cross to save sinners, Ms. Zagano included.

    What Ms. Zagano seems to want, then, is to “image” Christ in that single moment of His life, without realizing that the vast majority of His time was spent in teaching, preaching, healing, prayer, and, I suspect [based on the opening verses of John 3], private counseling at all hours of the day and night. It also means, I suspect, that she shrinks from “imaging” Christ in His total self-sacrifice on the cross (as indeed a lot of us poor humans do). However, if we “image” Christ in the things He spent the majority of His time doing, to the best of our ability, I submit that we wouldn’t have time to even think about the “persecution” of women in regards to being unable to be priests in the Catholic Church.
    ***
    Fr. Jim, you quoted Zagano’s last paragraph, part of which states, “Farkhunda died on March 19, 2015, and gentle Joseph, whose feast it was that day, could not protect her or, it seems, any other woman fighting viral superstition and vicious ignorance. The next day, March 20, 2015 there was a solar eclipse and much of the earth went dark. It still is.”

    Permit me, please, to ask for some insight from you. I do not intend to be confrontational; I simply want to understand:

    1. Does Zagano know that Farkhunda prayed for St. Joseph’s protection? A woman praying to a man for protection — how odd (ironic, that is) that Zagano would choose that argument! Why did she choose St. Joseph, instead of the many women who died as martyrs for the faith? I certainly hope that she wasn’t, heaven forbid, taking a nasty swipe at the good and faithful foster father of the Son of God.

    2. If the Catholic Church is as full of “viral superstition and vicious ignorance” as Zagano apparently thinks it is, do you have any clue as to why she would not flee from it? Or do you think Zagano attaches some other entirely different meaning to that phrase?

    3. Zagano strongly suggests that the (physical) solar eclipse was what caused the earth to go (metaphorically) dark. Does that not in and of itself show that Zagano is the one dabbling in superstition? And if “much of the earth went dark” after that solar eclipse, then logically, that much of the earth was in light before the solar eclipse. Which means, does it not, that what went before (including, specifically, an all-male priesthood) was of the the light, and so Zagano has contradicted herself?

    Thank you for any light you can shed on these questions.

  14. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Thank you Dimitri_Cavalli for your post. Against that particular backdrop, I can see how someone who went through all you described could remain bitter and perhaps remain locked into trying to blame others for events in life which never went the way she wanted.

    I’m willing to bet the overwhelming majority of us who’ve ever been subjected to reading Phyllis Zagano’s diatribes against the holy Church we love – founded by Christ, would encounter very little difficulty in believing that:

    “Fordham claimed that Zagano was denied tenure because she did not publish enough scholarly articles . . .”

    She almost appears to be blinded by her anger when she writes . I honestly wonder if there is any part left of the Catholic faith that she still holds dear (or at least, that she doesn’t hate) – particularly when I read things like –

    “There is an awful coda to the stories of Farkhunda and the women who think that they can image Christ. Farkhunda died on March 19, 2015, and gentle Joseph, whose feast it was that day, could not protect her or, it seems, any other woman fighting viral superstition and vicious ignorance.”

    Is she blaming St. Joseph here . . . because that’s only one step away from blaming God ? “No , no . . . ” you say, “she’s just using him as a literary device.”

    Either way, it is a disservice to St. Joseph and to the intercessory power and prominence which God blesses him with in Heaven. She wouldn’t write such garbage if she lived here- within close proximity of St. Joseph’s Oratory and could be reminded first-hand of what a powerful Saint he actually is today. I’m not fooled simply because she places the word “gentle” in front of St Joseph’s name (just before proceeding to belittle it) . . . hardly seems a Christ-like thing to do – which might raise a question like: If you can’t even reflect the image of Christ when referring to the man He chose to love and to be loved by as his legal father, what makes you think you would . . . (fill in the blank here) ?

    Any time I notice myself failing to reflect the image of Christ through my own deliberate efforts, I try to make heading to Confession my priority. I wonder if she still considers this sacrament an option ? The confessional is a great place for healing.

    All this focus on imaging Christ and not imaging Christ , but the image of the writer conveyed to me by the article is more along the lines of one very wounded puppy.

    Patti Day’s post sums it up quite nicely:

    Patti Day says:
    “I guess Phyllis’ numbers at Fishwrap have slipped following the Christmas season. What surer way to beef them up than by stirring up the fems to spew forth their wrath in the com box. Silly and tiresome woman.”

    Amen. Whatever image Phyllis thinks she’s portraying , it is still most definitely a spitting image.

  15. LarryW2LJ says:

    Why do Liberals, and in particular feminist Liberals, always have to resort to hysterical imagery?

  16. Simon_GNR says:

    “…I haven’t heard anybody in the Church calling for the pyres to be lit for the heretics as of late.”

    More’s the pity!!

  17. benedetta says:

    I wonder if the scribes and pundits in our world of Catholic dissent would be interested in a real life story of a mere Catholic woman who is mobbed sometimes to near death in the progressive and enlightened West and not by Islamasists. Film at 11. How much does a story like that pay I wonder. Just curious.

  18. rtjl says:

    “In Afghanistan, a 27-year-old female theology student was lynched by a superstitious mob. Elsewhere, a few Catholics continued to argue that women cannot image Christ.”

    Without agreeing with her, I think I get her point. I think she is saying that in this instance a women clearly has imaged Christ to the extent that she shared in a death/martyrdom similar to Christ’s. I think her comments should be considered a challenge to clarify exactly what is meant when we say that “women can’t be ordained because they can’t image Christ” since it is clear that there are ways that women can image Christ. Given this, it becomes necessary to identify precisely which manner of imaging Christ women are incapable of and ,more importantly, which of those ways, specifically, is essential to the priesthood.

  19. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Yes, she’s pro-life. And yes, she knows how to make sentences. But, c’mon: “Afghan women [are] derided, despised, abused and sometimes killed for speaking truth to even the most insignificant of power …. How similar is the place of women in Catholicism.” This is, AT BEST, ludicrous, at worst, a blatant hateful lie.

  20. mysticalrose says:

    #firstworldproblems

  21. SaintJude6 says:

    I hate to see the liberal feminism of Zagano being given any more space on the internet. Maybe if she hadn’t spent decades wrapped up in pushing this cause, she might have found the true fulfillment that comes from imitating the Blessed Mother.

  22. Dimitri_Cavalli says:

    “And one more thing,” as one my pop cultural influences liked to say.

    Fr. O’Hare argued that George Gordon’s articles for Screw could be defended as “academic freedom.” (I accidentially edited out his first name in my previous post.)

    What would happen if Fordham employees were to clip other pages out of Screw, attach them to department bulletin boards and office doors or send them to female employees and female students? Female employees and students could also sue Fordham, alleging the creation of a “hostile work environment” and/or sexual harrassment?

    Whether Zagano’s experience at Fordham sent her to the arms of the National Catholic Reporter I do not know.

    If anyone is interested, Zagano’s old articles from Crisis magazine (from the 1980s) are online,http://www.crisismagazine.com/author/phylliszagano