Good news, fellow feminists! Feminism causes pedophilia and abuse to significant others.

Or at least that’s what Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke said last week. Burke, the highest-ranked American Cardinal during the previous pope’s tenure, says that when women in the Church are feminists, it creates a “man crisis” and pushes men toward reclaiming their masculinity in other ways, like sexually abusing children, peers, strangers and themselves. And his opinions on the LGBTQ community’s involvement in feminism? Equally guilty of harm, especially to children. Yes, the empowerment of marginalized groups causes all sorts of manly issues.

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke in 2006. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service
Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke in 2006. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

Burke, who spoke with The New Emangelization (NOT a typo, my friends), said that in the mid-1970s, men began to express fear of marriage because their prospective wives had “radicalizing and self-focused attitudes … These young men were concerned that entering a marriage would simply not work because of a constant and insistent demanding of rights for women.” In fact, feminism as a whole is chipping away at the Catholic Church, as Burke said, “the radical feminist movement strongly influenced the Church, leading the Church to constantly address women’s issues at the expense of addressing critical issues important to men.” Burke says that while the Church continues to debate birth control and contraceptive options, men’s moral education falls to the wayside, destroying manhood education and making men more likely to harm others.

Throughout the entire interview, which was actually a fascinating read despite its anti-feminist undertones, Burke stays very true to many classic tenants of the Catholic Church – the importance of family, of God in the home and of a healthy individual spiritual life are all evident in the transcript, none of which was surprising or arguable, especially considering it’s a Cardinal we’re talking about. However, from my understanding he strays from classic Catholic tenants, as the entirety of his argument perpetuates victim blaming, or at the least casts blame away from the men causing harm. Women get hurt because they want rights, children get hurt because their mothers want rights or because their same-sex parents want rights. The men who hurt them? Eh, all those rights of others emasculated him. It’s justified.

Of course, straight men aren’t the only ones who hit, or rape. Women and members of the LGBTQ community are guilty, too, but proportionately less than straight male counterparts.

On the other side of Burke’s argument, he blames women for taking the masculinity out of faith. He noted that women become active in the Church, and feminine the place up. “The activities in the parish and even in the liturgy have become influenced by women and have become so feminine in many places that men do not want to get involved,” he said. He later notes that female altar servers in the Church cause boys to be less interested in participating, again turning boys away from the Church, making them bad, immoral men and forcing them to hurt others.

The slippery slope mentality creates ill-feeling toward women becoming active in their place of worship.

I’m not Catholic, and I certainly won’t pretend to be. Identifying with Judaism, we see the same type of apprehension. When my cousin Genna got married in 2013, the cantor at the wedding was a woman. The night before the wedding, I sat in the synagogue Genna’s in-laws attended for the aufruf, and I heard a gasp beside me when the cantor came out. My poor grandmother, not prepared for a female cantor, reflected her generation’s perception of women participating in the synagogue and leading services. Even worse for my grandmother was when the cantor modernized the service, and instead of all the women throwing treats at the bride and groom to wish their marriage sweetness, my cousin and her husband-to-be threw candies to all the children in the audience.

But of course, my grandmother didn’t make the leap that the advancement of women in the secular world was the reason for assault and rape. Apparently only high-profile Cardinals make comments like that.

What do you think? Does feminism hurt religion, or is there room for religion and feminism to blend together cohesively? Tweet us @niner_times with #FeministFriday to join the discussion!

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Eden Creamer was the Editor-in-Chief for the Niner Times from May 2013 through April 2015. She graduated from UNC Charlotte in May 2015, receiving her degree in Communication Studies with minors in English, Journalism and Women's Studies. She now does freelance proofing, copywriting and design in the Charlotte area, and can be reached at edencreamer@gmail.com

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