Friday, March 24, 2006

Progress report on "Missing Mary"

I have been reading Charlene Spretnak’s “Missing Mary”. She is a good writer, and what she writes is engaging, but I am finding myself incredibly frustrated and confused at the same time.

Her platform, in almost every way, is what you would expect from your regular US feminist liberal progressive. In other words: old-style feminism, “democracy” in the church, birth control, new age ecology, women’s ordination etc. etc.

But there is one difference: she has wholeheartedly embraced post-modernism’s rejection of rationalistic modernism. So, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment all get their just desserts in her pages. Her rhetoric (this is, in its own way, a work of apologetics) is directed against two bogey men.

The first is not surprising: they are the “right wing Catholic conservatives” who use Mary for their “right wing political agenda” (ie. opposition to feminism, women’s ordination, birth control, democracy in the church, ecology etc. etc.).

The second though is really unexpected: they are the “rationalistic, modernistic, reductionistic” progressives of her own camp who have reduced Mary to a “biblical-only”, “Nazarene housewife”, “ordinary human being”, and who have missed out on the really important thing about Mary: she is the cosmological Great Mother Goddess.

Just reading her account of how Chapter 8 of Lumen Gentium came into existence is a headache for the analytical historian. I am still trying to get my head around this one…

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