Friday, September 6, 2013

Poor Pia de Solenni, at least Rapunzel knew she lived in a tower.

But why would anyone expect differently, she is after all - - - a Thomas Aquinas College graduate." So concluded my wife when I asked her to read Miss Pia's article in the National Catholic Register ‘Theology of Women in the Church’ Only Beginning to Be Revealed


But let me back up to before my wife made her comment, and begin at the beginning.

As you may know, Pia De Solenni's article Theology of Women in the Church made the rounds through Catholic blogdom which made it difficult to miss, but unfortunately after reading an online commentary on Pia de Solenni's article, and then afterward the article itself, I came away even more perplexed as to what "Theology of Women in the Church" was even about, and so I asked my wife to read Pia de Solenni's article thinking that perhaps her also being a woman she might be able to discern the point of Miss Pia's article because I couldn't find one, but yet Miss Pia's article was being praised by all the in-crowd popular Catholic bloggers.

I had no more than said the title of the article when my wife, always very practical, asked "why do you care about articles like that? Those articles are never about most women who work because they have to, doing miserable jobs when all they really want is to be at home with their babies. There's nothing fulfilling in being a cashier or all the other jobs most women are forced into because their husbands can't earn enough money . . . . Women shouldn't work, they should be at home having babies. A woman's place is barefoot, nursing her toddler in the kitchen because that is where women want to be and are happiest."

And although I of course agreed with my wife, and true enough she didn't even need to read the article to know that it was for the most part just another article by some elitist Catholic girl wanting affirmative action, nevertheless I did want her to read the article and so I gave my best defense of Miss Pia by saying she's a TAC grad who received a pontifical academies award. To which my wife, and mother of our 6 children asked, "So what? Is she married?

Me :"No. She's not married"

My wife : "And so she doesn't have any children? Having babies out of wedlock and receiving pontifical awards is probably pretty uncommon. Although you never know, they could be like the right to lifers who act as if every unwed mother who doesn't kill her baby is doing something heroic by not killing her baby."

Me : "She says in the article that she doesn't have children"

My wife : "What's the article about?"

Me : "Motherhood and how motherhood doesn't mean having babies, and how saying it does mean having babies is a 'Fascist Salute'"

My wife : "What does that mean?!!! 'Fascist Salute'? Is she saying that a mother caring for her children is some kind of menial thoughtless task? That my mothering my children is some kind of mindless lockstep for the good of the motherland? So not only are TACers arrogant snobs, they're also clueless. The only thing worth having in this world are our children, and to be at home to nurse them and to bath them and to hold them and to watch them grow. Poor Pia de Solenni, at least Rapunzel knew she lived in a tower. But why would anyone expect differently, she is after all - - - a Thomas Aquinas College graduate." And with that she walked out of my studio talking about how she needed to perform the fascist salute of hanging some clothes out on the line.

And a few minutes later my wife came back to add:
"Do radical feminists even use 'fascist salute'? I can't imagine a more offensive in your face slogan. I can't imagine a Catholic using it, or at least I couldn't until now. So Mary saying yes was a 'fascist salute'? What does she say about Mary?"

Me : "She says Mary had better things to do than set the dinner table."

My Wife : "Oh really? Like what? Like being paid to be a scullery maid.? . .
Of course Pia isn't thinking about the work most women actually do outside the home, she's thinking about being an attorney, or a doctor, or a writer or a college prof, or some other elitist profession. But so what? Why is being a college prof. better than setting the table? Since when did Catholic women who should know better start thinking that setting the table is below a woman's dignity?"
"That woman is one more reason why I'm glad Lucy went to a Catholic college and not the secular sellout TAC you were graduated from . . . What's Christendom's motto? "Breath Catholicism"? TAC's motto should be breath vanity and worldliness. That school never met a cardinal, including the heterodox ones, they wouldn't put on the cover of that glossy magazine they send you while proclaiming how wonderful they are because they're in the Princeton Review. . . ."

Although it was hopeless, and my wife had summed up the article fairly well, I did think Miss Pia deserved some credit so I quoted from the article :
If we follow the example of Mary, that means working from within, wherever we happen to be, whether as chancellor of a major archdiocese, a mother home with small children, in business, politics or countless other places. It means recognizing that women bring something to the table by virtue of who they are rather than simply by what they do.
But Miss Pia could not have done worse for herself than using a chancellor of a diocese as an example of the kind of work women should be able to do because having a woman rule over men is a subject my wife knows full well is toxic to an institution such as a diocese, and if Miss Pia doesn't know that women don't belong in a man's domain then what she is in desperate need of is learning the basic differences between men and women.

And saying that women as women bring something to being a car mechanic, or picking fruit, or driving a truck is well, what can be said? Other than poor Pia de Solenni, at least Rapunzel knew she lived in a tower. Or in Pia de Solenni's case, an ivory tower far above the commoners where what she brings to the table is elitism fully disconnected from the reality of the common woman.

If Miss Pia's article is a reflection of what the new theology of women will look like, then there's not much point in writing it because it was written years ago by the early feminists who made the same distinctions Miss Pia is making. Distinctions that helped lead to where we are today because they separated women from their natural place.

Or as Howard Phillips explained
"The Republicans are more respectable than the Democrats. The Democrats will drive us over the cliff at eighty miles an hour - you know wearing tatoos on their body and casual clothes. The Republicans will have a necktie and a sport coat on, and they'll stay within the speed limit, but we're still going over the cliff.
Miss Pia is likewise respectable and she did study in Rome with seminarians and received a pontifical award, and like the Republicans she will stay within the speed limit. And she too will take the unsuspecting over the cliff.

- - - as always, this article is being written, read at your own risk.


  1. Whoa. This is vicious. Can I just say... girls at TAC want to get married and have babies ASAP more than anything. Seriously. I know of one real exception, she wants to be a lawyer and have horses and never get married. Many many many get married immediately after graduating. Pia de Soleni... well, we feel sorry for her. Poor thing, she didn't find that happiness quite so young. She is the outlier. We are not, in fact, pompous asses.. generally. The girls especially display a lot more intellectual humility here I think. M. Becher graduated last year and when she and I were talking she seemed to think Christendom and TAC were pretty similar with views as to married and family life. Surely you know how pro-stay at home mom TACers are from when you went to school here? I'm just a little overwhelmed, and though I think your point about this silly article is legit, I want to defend myself and my girlfriends here. Thanks.

  2. *She graduated from Christendom.

  3. Dear Miss Caitlin,

    I apologize if I in any manner hurt you. The article is directed to an all too common way of looking at the world that I've found among the graduates, especially the more recent graduates.

    If one looks at the school website and its literature, what stands out is a shift in thinking away from a holistic Catholic understanding that was there at the beginning.

    Dig through the literature put out by the school, you will hard pressed to find examples of mothers taking care of children at home, but you will find lots of examples of Pia De Soleni.

    One of my favorite memories is of a classmate who came to school a feminist and wanting to be a professional writer. Her sophomore year she came to the the halloween dance dressed as a mommy. I thought it spoke well of the school on a Catholic cultural level, I wonder if those in the administration would see it the same? Somehow I doubt it.