Among the dumb and evil things on the internet…

I’ve seen some pretty dumb things on the internet.  I’ve seen some pretty evil things on the internet.  I’ve seen things that are both pretty dumb and pretty evil on the internet.

This has to be right up there with the dumbest and the worst.

Our friend the Motley Monk posted this.

From the “Stretches credulity” file: The Virgin Mary’s purity is offensive to victims of rape…

The bizarre title of a recent Washington Post op-ed caught The Motley Monk’s eye:

                “Our culture of purity celebrates the Virgin Mary.
As a rape victim, that hurts me.”

The op-ed’s author, Ruth Everhart, has concluded that the Advent season sets Mary up as a problem.

Why? Mary’s purity.

How so? Everhart aruges:

  • Mary sets “an impossibly high bar….Now the rest of us are stuck trying to be both a virgin and a mother at the same time.”
  • It isn’t really Mary’s fault, in Everhart’s opinion. The Church has manipulated Mary into a model of purity. She writes: “Mary is not responsible for what we’ve done to her story. Church culture has overfocused on virginity and made it into an idol of sexual purity. When it comes to female experience, the church seems compelled to shrink and distort and manipulate.” Everhart asks Mary: “How do you feel about what the patriarchy has done with you?”
  • For some people, “vaginas are inherently dirty,” Everhart states. “They can never be purified. And isn’t that the definition of hopelessness? Does it bother you that half of the human population is condemned to hopelessness because their body parts can never be pure?”
  • Christians are also at fault for people feeling sexually dirty. She writes: “Maybe the church could ask body-owners to weigh in about their experiences. Most people have thoughts and feelings about their sexual selves. Having a body is complicated. It involves trial and error.
  • It’s foolish to teach young people the virtue of purity or to appreciate abstinence before marriage. Everhart observes: “We want to pretend sexuality is something we can lock in a box and keep on a shelf. But a lockbox won’t work. Neither will a chastity belt or a purity ring. Certainly not the abstinence pledges they make young folks sign.”

Reading Everhart’s op-ed, The Motley Monk’s first thought was that Everhart is hurt and angry. And, as a victim of rape, she has every reason to be. Very sad, indeed.

How is Everhart coming to terms with the anger stirred in her by the Virgin Mary’s story? Everhard has become a pastor.

Could it be that this op-ed is more evidence of “faux news” on the part of the Washington Post?

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  1. I pray that our Dear, Blessed, and Most Pure Mother prays for this woman! Just when I thought I’d heard it all, someone comes up with something like this. I just can’t imagine having a brained that is wired in such a way. But for the Grace of God go I.

  2. katholos says:

    Well, well,well. I got curious and looked up Everhart’s Facebook page. Shebis a Presnyterian pastor. I wonder if she is newly-minted. Could explain her abysmal lack of knowledge of what the Catholic Church actually believes and teaches about the Mother of God. Poor Calvinists. Seems we still have a long way to go in some of our discussions with our separated brethren, Shame on the Washington Post for printing such a biased and distortef piece.

  3. katholos says:

    Arrgh, should of course read “she is a Presbyterian pastor.”=

  4. hwriggles4 says:

    Quote for the day:

    “Everything on Facebook is true.”

    – Dr. Richard Feynman, PhD. (1918-1988)

  5. un-ionized says:

    katholos, the Presbyterian seminaries routinely teach things about the Church that are not true, especially the ones that have experienced a diaspora of graduates to Catholicism. Some of them pretend to teach about Catholicism but a close look at their materials shows they are not. I know people who are Presbyterian pastors and I sat in once on a Presbyterian Sunday school program where the ex-Catholic pastor told us that the Church teaches that we are re-crucifying Jesus at Mass, etc. So nothing has changed.

  6. Lepidus says:

    That explains it! On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we say “Sing of Mary”. Like with many songs, I find myself singing the “wrong” words because they want to make everything politically correct. Couldn’t figure out what’s wrong with being “pure” and “undefiled”, but know we know….

  7. MrsMacD says:

    I used to wonder what, “offenses committed against the Mother of God,” were.
    Oh the wrath of God is fierce. Who would dare insult His Holy Mother? Envy? But how can you envy the one to whom you owe your own chance at heaven? Shouldn’t you be happy that she be given every grace and blessing? Holy Mother Mary, have mercy on this poor lady!! Convert her! Change her heart!!!

  8. donato2 says:

    As Flannery O’Connor observed over 50 years ago, “purity” has become a dirty word.

  9. the little brother says:

    Only the evil one attacks Most Holy Mary, esp.@ Christmas!!!
    … & we continue to be divided in these, the End of Times.
    He is coming. This time He will not be spit upon.

  10. deaconjohn1987 says:

    Our Lady gave us the Five First Saturdays Devotion to her Immaculate Heart. When asked why:
    Our Lord Himself gave the answer to Sister Lucy in 1930:

    My daughter, the reason is simple. There are five types of offenses and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary :

    1. Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception;

    2. Blasphemies against Her Virginity;

    3. Blasphemies against Her Divine Maternity, in refusing at the same time to recognize Her as the Mother of men;

    4. The blasphemies of those who publicly seek to sow in the hearts of children, indifference or scorn or even hatred of this Immaculate Mother;

    5. The offenses of those who outrage Her directly in Her holy images. Here, my daughter, is the reason why the Immaculate Heart of Mary inspired Me to ask for this little act of reparation . . (May 29,1930) At our parish we have this devotion monthly, all year around.
    Deacon John

  11. Ann Malley says:

    …I’ve had Catholics tell me that St. Maria Goretti shouldn’t be acknowledged for her heroic defense of purity. Why? It “offends” rape victims, etc.

    Seriously, this kind of communistic tamping down of anything outside of status quo so as “not to offend” is nothing more than the pursuit of control. And zero speaking of the truth.

    Can’t say you’re happy because it could offend those who aren’t. Can’t teach others how they may come to love God because, well, some just don’t want to love anything and others being loving marginalizes others. Can’t have a large family because, well, it will abrade those who are suffering infertility problems so, if you must, hide the kids, etc.

    I’m for turning toward Our Mother Mary and asking her to crush the head of the serpent whose tickling the ears of not just her children, but those who would presume to teach them. Word is she is more terrible than an army in battle array. And she has premier access to all the best the best God’s grace has to offer ;^)

    Oh, Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

  12. PostCatholic says:

    I read the original article. I didn’t see much about it to call “evil.” I wonder how many people read what she wrote and made it to her final three paragraphs, where she talks about redemption and the Incarnation.

  13. katholos says:

    I read the article. Everhart is a bit confused. To wit: “I’m convinced of this: Mary is not responsible for what we’ve done to her story. Church culture has overfocused on virginity and made it into an idol of sexual purity. When it comes to female experience, the church seems compelled to shrink and distort and manipulate.” Mary’s virginity has nothing to do with evil views of human sexuality. In fact, surveys have shown that because of their incarnational spirituality Catholics have a higher view of sex than many Protestants with their suspicion of the physical. The first Council of Ephesus, fighting the view of Nestorius that Mary could only rightly be called the mother of Jesus, thereby denying the subsistence of his human and divine nature in one Person, declared Mary to be the Mother of God, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, fully God and fully human, but without sin. By a singular act of unmerited grace God prepared Mary to be the bearer of the Eternal Word. That Mary freely accepted the invitation to be the Mother of God in no way denies that Jesus is her savior as well as the savior of the world so beloved by God. And yes, that is a very significant difference in the way that Mary is viewed by Presbyterians and Catholics. I was raised in a family of Catholics and Lutherans (and am still delighted that Luther continued to defend the perpetual virginity of Mary) and one of the major factors that brought me into the Catholic fold was my observation that wherever the significant role of Mary was dismissed or downplayed a similar deconstruction happened to a Christian tradition’s Christology. I recently witnessed the sad spectacle in my area of a group of Protestant clergywomen, members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, marching in defense of abortion. How times have changed.

  14. That Guy says:

    I too read this unfortunate blather, and was comforted to see that all the comments I’d read at the bottom of the online version agreed with me. So I added my thoughts to the mix for posterity. Pray for this woman, and those in her “flock”

  15. Suburbanbanshee says:

    If you read her essay, and if you read descriptions of her memoir, Ruined, you will see that a lot of her problem with “purity” is really her problem with the old evangelical purity ring/promise movement, which included a lot of stupid but well-intended ways of talking about sex. Unfortunately, she took these stupid things, and many other stupid well-intended things she overheard from others, and internalized them all as either indictments of herself, or as exact and accurate explanations of Christian theology. She seems to have gotten past some of it, but never talked about her rape to anyone or did much to deal with it.

    So then she mentioned it to her daughter, one fine day, and of course the poor kid said something random. And the mother took it hard, just like the other stupid and well-intentioned things. But this time the mother started writing books and doing presentations on how Christianity was totally wrong about women (albeit she does seem to have some sort of idea that Jesus is trustworthy, which shows that she isn’t totally off the deep end).

    So yes, it does all seem to be coming from trauma and anger, but it also seems like she hasn’t done any research to find out what Christianity through the ages has said about rape and virginity. I don’t see anything about St. Augustine’s teaching that a virgin raped is still a virgin in God’s eyes, and that rape does not destroy anyone’s purity or chastity, any more than being mugged destroys someone’s honesty. And to be honest, you can read all sorts of “feminist” theologians without learning most of the basics about Church teachings, particularly the comforting and useful ones.

    So yes, she seems to be someone who has been ill-served by her Christian community and seminary, but it also seems that she kept her trauma a deep dark secret from most of her post-college friends and acquaintances. Maybe her book is more coherent than the essay, or maybe it is taken from her book without enough explanations of the excerpt.

  16. GAK says:

    Among the faithful, virginity signifies the integrity of Christ’s spousal love for his Church. Marriage signifies the fecundity of Christ’s spousal love for his Church. (See Aquinas.)

    Sure, Ruth can get worked up about virginity, but then she should also be getting worked up about married people having kids. The fullness of marriage (the fullness of fecundity) includes rugrats.

    Being a virgin unless God asks otherwise of you, and being married with kids unless God asks otherwise of you, are two sides of the same coin. Isn’t raising children and putting other little lives before your own also an “impossibly high standard”?

    (And, of course, marriage is fecund if the couple isn’t blessed with children, but the fullness of fecundity includes them.)

  17. JohnE says:

    Noticed the use of Everhard and Everhart in the last paragraph. Pray that her heart isn’t ever hardened.

  18. Sonshine135 says:

    It’s foolish to teach young people the virtue of purity or to appreciate abstinence before marriage. Everhart observes: “We want to pretend sexuality is something we can lock in a box and keep on a shelf. But a lockbox won’t work. Neither will a chastity belt or a purity ring. Certainly not the abstinence pledges they make young folks sign.”

    Nothing and I mean nothing makes my blood boil more than this. On one hand, liberals make this statement in their infinite illogic, throw condoms, birth control, and abortifacients at our children, and tell them to have at it because they cannot control themselves. Then they want to cry about rape and violation on the other. The same illogic is used with the homosexual movement. Somehow, focus is made on the person’s tendencies, but it is never acknowledged that the person could somehow live a chaste life.

    I taught chastity as a religious educator with a registered nurse who helped out at crisis pregnancy centers. It is the only thing that works. Preservation of purity is virtuous and something to strive for- like holiness. It isn’t an offense against rape victims, because a rape victim logically is a victim. It is just nonsensical- like blaming a murder victim for their own murder while they did everything to prevent it.

  19. DanS says:

    What would I say to a person such as this? I would say that I am sorry that she was treated in such a way. I am sorry for all the bitterness she feels inside herself. I am also sorry that she feels belittled by Mary because Mary is merely a perfect reflection of her son our God and savior. This person is really trying to compare herself to God not Mary. We all lose in this comparison. So why did God make us in the first place? He made us so He could love us but we are not forced to receive His love. He waits for us to love Him but He does not force us to.

    Human sexuality mirrors this same exchange in true love. True love is a free giving of total self to the other and a free receiving of the others gift. The difference between love and lust is that lust is all taking instead of giving. God does not give rules to hold you back. God tells you what will happen when you do something to hurt yourself (and others). I may want to fly and I may not like gravity but if I jump off a high cliff I will die.

    In my whole life in the church I have very seldom heard the subject of human sexuality be discussed in any detail with one exception. Saint John Paul II spent five years talking about human sexuality in great detail as a bible study. This was referred to as “Theology of the Body” You will not find a discussion of sexuality anywhere that is better than this or written with more love. It is the ultimate love story about God, man and woman. It is also the story of sin and forgiveness. When I read this it gave me a different perspective of my marriage. I saw my wife’s beauty grow in the eyes of my heart. I wish I had read a book like this when I was young. I would pray that this person would read this book.

    I would also pray that Mary would bring her Son’s peace to this person. Once I prayed this prayer to a hopeless friend not long before he died. I did not expect what happened. We must all pray for her

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