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From Liberation Theology to Ecofeminist Theology A Revolution Entrenched in the Church (VI)

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What Will Happen When Ecofeminist Theologians Teach Amazonian Tribes?

In general, pagan peoples who have not known Revelation are marked by customs that contradict morality and good customs, including homosexuality, cannibalism and infanticide. However,  such customs among them lack an ideological justification; they are a fatal consequence of not fighting against the vices of fallen human nature.

The opposite occurs among ecofeminist theologians, who have developed a new morality based on anti-Catholic postulates.

Our latest transcription from the book From Liberation Theology to Ecofeminist Theology deals with the subject of moral subversion in the practices and rites of this new “theology”.

With this installment, we conclude this theme by pointing out the doctrinal premises upon which the ideologues of this current entrenched in the Catholic Church try to base themselves.

We wonder what will happen when these theologians begin to justify all the vices of the Amazonian communities and, worse still, teach them how to attain extremes they still do not practice.

“Ethics and Sexualities”

When ecofeminist theologians speak of “healing” from the body, some readers less familiar with the concepts of this new theology may not know for sure what they mean by “body”.

“Ethics and Sexualities,” issue 46 of the magazine Con-spirando, is dedicated specifically to the topic  and provides important elements to answer this question. Let us remember that this magazine is the publication of the female collective in which secular missionaries participate and which is especially present among religious institutions.[1]

“We are driven by a desire to exercise rights and to demand an ethic that does not censure our pleasure”

We will now reproduce what the magazine disseminates about “ethics and sexualities”. Out of respect for our readers, we will limit ourselves to expose what is not openly crude or immodest.

The article “Can You Teach Me What it Is to Feel Pleasure?” written by Ute Seibert, theologian of the Con-spirando Collective, reports on two meetings about the subject. The first was held in Cajamarca, Peru, and its subject was, “Our Body: Territory of Sexual and Reproductive Rights.”

The theologian begins by describing the “displacement” from Liberation Theology to the theology of ecofeminism: “Women of popular organizations, political activists struggling for decades motivated by a ‘social, political and Christian commitment’ discover corporal work, (self-) healing, spirituality in the body and in nature. They dismantle myths that have sustained the patriarchal and androcentric culture – of which also their political struggles were tinged…. longtime female fighters are now developing their ‘Hetera’, they claim their rights to pleasure…”[2]

Comment: As all ecofeminist theologians of Latin America have said, the field of action changes from the struggle for the poor, who embodied Christ oppressed by capitalist socio-political structures, to the struggle for the sexual liberation of women. The woman is said to be oppressed by the moral and repressive doctrine of the patriarchal Church. The same theologian continues:

“… I participate in the Second Seminar on ‘Sexuality in Contemporary Societies’ organized by the Gender and Society Studies Program of the University Academy of Christian Humanism, on April 7 and 8, 2004 … The question about ethics appears. What is ethics if not the practice of freedom? … In this context, the reflections of the Mexican Graciela Hierro, who postulates an ‘ethics of pleasure,’ seem interesting to me since the right to pleasure is the subject underlying most debates on sexuality and reproduction … This requires knowing your own body and being able to decide about it…”[3]

A Strange Retreat “In which Women Lived Pleasure, Laughing, Crying, Praying, Playing, Dancing”

Monica-Maher-photoIn her article, “The Echoes of Friendship: Perspectives of Pleasure from Honduras,” American theologian Monica Maher [4] describes a workshop-retreat organized by the Community of Mercy in the area of San Pedro Sula, Honduras: “In 2003, The Dream Weavers Program held a three-day workshop-retreat on ‘The Right to Pleasure’ with the aim of enabling women to experience happiness together and reflect on the concept of the right to bodily pleasure. The methodology was very participatory, including a variety of techniques to stimulate creativity and learning from the body: yoga, tai-chi, dance, massage, socio-dramas, drawing, writing, silent rites, sharing in pairs (!?) and group discussion.”[5]

Comment: Ecofeminist theologians, as we will see in the story about several “retreats”, use the same methodology they learned in their years of socio-political activism: 1) raising awareness: you are a woman and do not realize that you do not take advantage or take care your body and your right to pleasure; 2) mobilization: For this reason, we need to come together, know our rights to pleasure and make them effective by demanding the legalization of abortion and sexual rights; 3) agitation: Let us undo the taboos and myths based on the patriarchal and hierarchical Church that has subjected us all the way from Eve and relegated us to ‘domestic confinement’ under the control of morality.

It is interesting to know the dynamics of this retreat to see how the consciences of Honduran participants were shaped according to this scheme. “The workshop began with exercises designed to put women in touch with their five senses, opening them to pleasurable experiences of sound, sight, touch, taste, smell. An introductory ritual was followed by an experience of self-consciousness … ‘most women do not feel well in their bodies, they do not love or appreciate themselves’ … Pleasure? Women do not know it.’”

Comment: So far, the report on the retreat describes the process of “raising awareness” among participants, probably women without much theological or cultural preparation. Little by little, they will become aware of the lack of fullness of their bodies, their ailments, traumas and guilt complexes, and consequently will gradually discover sensory pleasures accompanied by rituals and yoga sessions.

However, the “theological” dimension of the exercises is still lacking. This is what the American ecofeminist theologian says next.

“At first some divided pleasures between those of the body … and those of the spirit … However, after further reflection they affirmed the body is the ‘house of the spirit’ and all the pleasures experienced within a being, ‘body, soul, spirit’ … Women illuminated the relationship between spirituality and pleasure by writing about the three words: ‘God’, ‘I’ and ‘pleasure’ … Nelly said: ‘They taught me that you are a God who is everywhere, but your being was never related to the enjoyment of my own body … Now I know with certainty that you, God, are the source of pleasure … therefore, I know that I cannot and should not renounce the right to be happy by enjoying and experiencing the source the pleasure that is my body.’” [6]

Comment: According to this kind of “prayer,” of one of the retreatants, which certainly followed a path directed toward that conclusion – for otherwise it would not be emphasized — the God to whom she refers is confused with the body. She calls both God and her body “sources of pleasure”. The ethical conclusion that women draw from this retreat is that one cannot and should not renounce the right to pleasure, as it would be to renounce God.

Note also the challenging nature of this prayer, “They taught me that you are a God … but they never related you to the enjoyment of my own body.” Therefore, those who taught her (priests, catechists, etc.), deceived her.

A long way from this retreat, another ecofeminist theologian, the Spaniard Pilar Yuste, teaches the same doctrine: “We are a body and only from this reality can we articulate our religious experience, our liberation, our happiness … Our [Catholic] tradition has denied and branded as sin everything related to the body in a way that even provokes laughter now, but which…continues weighing like a lead ballast which is toxic, besides being heavy … It is the weight of a moral theology that brands as sin any relationship that is not within heterosexual marriage … One of the causes of this situation is the Body/Soul dualism.” Consistent with this doctrine, Yuste is an assiduous speaker for homosexual organizations and favors such behavior within ecclesiastical organizations in Spain.[7]

However, the abyss of error does not stop there, “an abyss cries for another abyss,” says the Scripture. Let us get know the conclusions of another ecofeminist participating in that retreat.

Baubo’s Subversive Gesture

 In the magazine of the “Colectivo Con-spirando,” Judith Ress, a Maryknoll lay missionary and ecofeminist theologian, expounds about other forms of the right to pleasure:

“Last year (2003) I participated in a Retreat on female repression (and above all of female sexuality) in our modern culture guided by a great friend … Jungian Rachel Fitzgerald[8] … and since the Jungians always work on myths … she introduced us to Baubo so that we could inquire about body.”[9]

In order to be able to understand the Baubo myth in a decent fashion, we will use an excerpt the same woman religious quoted in her article: “The only reference we have to these mysteries come from the fathers of the Church, who of course were shocked by these ‘profane’ rites. According to St. Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD), during the Eleusian mysteries, Baubo (a maid of Matemira), raised her dress and exposed her whole body in a scandalous manner.”

As the reader will see, the retreat consists in demonstrating that for this new theology, the Greek myth of female nudity, and especially of the most intimate parts, is a healing.

Thus, the woman religious states, “Baubo’s gesture of lifting her skirt and exposing … is not a pornographic or ‘filthy’ act as the patriarchal view has held for more than five thousand years … Patriarchy, especially when it is assumed by Christianity, came to have an obsessive concern about the alleged ‘lust’ of women and has tried to crush any manifestation of female sexual energy that is not under male control.[10]

The missionary continues her appalling story on the retreat by stating that, “When women come together without the presence of men, there is a force of our sexuality that is difficult to repress. In general, although patriarchal norms sharply inhibit any expression of our sexual energy among ourselves (like Baubo’s gesture), in special moments when we ‘escape’ from control we are together alone and there ‘breaks out a party of jokes, trick-playing, stories, songs and spicy dances.”

To clarify the story, the missionary feels obliged to say that, “I am not talking about lesbian parties. I’m talking about meetings among women where we feel very comfortable in the presence of the others.” [11]

As a conclusion of the retreat, Ress says, “During the retreat with Rachel, we experienced Baubo’s salvific laughter … And have seen her vulnerability, her gesture of … which is both humble and challenging and which, according to Rachel, is ‘a paradoxical sign of female transforming power that is not ‘power over’ but power to bring about profound change.”[12]

“Being a Lesbian of Just Being Autonomous?”

But since disorderly passions and errors are not satisfied except in their morbid and worst extremes, Ress’s explanation that “I’m not talking about lesbian parties” is immediately denied by an article in the same issue of the magazine titled, “Being a Lesbian or Just Being Autonomous? It is written by Kena Lorenzini, introduced only as “a psychologist and photographer living and working in Santiago, Chile.”[13]

Regarding one of the dogmas of this new religion, which is the negation of “duality,” Lorenzini states, “I cannot help but wonder why an emphasis has been placed on the difference between those who basically make up the human race, women/man: are we not really the same? Are we not human? … and if you want an equal body, do you not want what is human?”[14]

Finally, Lorenzini says, “what is really in question is compulsory heterosexuality. Sexualities are diverse; heterosexuality is just one of them.”[15]

[13] ‘I live my sexuality without a surname and politically declare myself a lesbian to defend certain principles,’ Kena Lorenzini clarifies. The psychologist, photographer and member of Breaking the Silence magazine assures that this journey was not simple: “At age 28, I had my first sexual experience with a woman and at that time I did not assume myself as a lesbian because it was like being a wayward, sick woman. So I omitted the concept and said, ‘I fell in love with a woman,’ a euphemism that protected me. Today, at age 46, being a lesbian and therefore different is all the same to me.”

With this change of mentality, Lorenzini analyzes the legalization of same-sex couples: “The central issue is one of equality before the law, something that in is not fulfilled our country. We ‘abnormal’ ones have the same obligations as the rest of the citizens to pay taxes or to produce but do not have the same rights as the heterosexual population, for example, to be a family, and that cannot be; if someone wants to get married, why not. If you are a common and homosexual Chilean, you cannot’” (Cf. La Nación, June 6, 2005).

The main thing, according to Lorenzini, is to ensure equality beyond talking about marriage or regularization of de facto couples. Basically there must be differences with the heterosexual population.

“Rite of Engagement”

As could be expected, in the issue devoted to “Ethics and Sexualities,” the missionary Judith Ress translates and publishes a rite of engagement between two lesbians, composed by the American Diann Neu, “author of many books on feminist liturgies,” who points out, by way of introduction: “I recently used this rite for a marriage between two same-sex persons – a lesbian couple – I invite you to use it to make your own rites of engagement.”

The formula, “I invite you,” is a way of indicating that the ritual can be used for any type of “sexual orientation.” Below are a few excerpts to show how they instrumentalize Catholic liturgy.

“Preparation: Find a place that reflects your values … a community center, a garden, patio … get a table and cover it with one of your favorite blankets. On the table, put candles, flowers, rings, wine, bread or other symbols that have a special meaning for you.”

“Opening prayer: (at this time someone shares a prayer created especially for the occasion)

“Readings: (The couple chooses two of their favorite texts or poems to be read in this part of the ceremony)

“Exchange of vows between N. and N.: I want you, N., to be my partner and promise you the following: I will be faithful to you and honest with you; I will respect you and trust you; I will help you, listen to you, and take care of you.

“I will share my life with you in abundance and scarcity, in sickness and in health; I will support you and encourage you to share your gifts…

“Exchanging rings: The couple exchanges rings and each other when placing the ring: N., I give you this ring as a sign of my love, as a symbol of the communities to which we belong, and as a remembrance of the vows and commitments we made tonight.

“Declaration: With the power of life, which exists in me and in us as a community, I declare N. and N. united as a couple in life, in love and in spiritual integrity…”[16]

Comment: When you reach such moral baseness, when such stories are published in a magazine that circulates without any type of objections in ecclesiastical circles, one wonders if diocesan authorities are aware of such aberrations, and if they are, why have they done nothing to warn about or prevent their dissemination. There is no record of any measure; all we know is that the Confederation of Religious Orders of Chile considers her “prestigious” and gives thanks [to God?­] for her existence.[17]

Excerpts from the book, Desde la Teología de la Liberación a la Teología ecofeminista. Una revolución enquistada en la Iglesia. Download in Spanish here.

  • [1] “After having published 45 issues of the magazine, to which an average of 400 people and institutions subscribe each year, we have the perception making a systematic contribution to the reflection of contingent issues both in Chile and in countries of Latin America and  the Caribbean” (Cf. Con-spirando, no. 46, p. 66. As of September 2010, the magazine Con-spirando has been replaced by the publication of two semi-annual books.
  • [2] Cf. “Con.spirando”, N° 46, April 2004, pp. 2 to 13.
  • [3] Cf. Ib. “Con-spirando”. N° 46, pp. 3-4, “¿Me podrían enseñar qué es eso de sentir placer?” [Could You Teach Me What This Feeling Pleasure Is All About?]
  • [4] “Mónica Maher is an American feminist theologian who has worked with grassroots women in Honduras for many years. This article is part of her doctoral thesis”(Cf. Ib. “Con-spirando” N° 46, p.14.
  • [5] Cf. Ib. “Con-spirando” N° 46, p. 14 a 19, our question mark.
  • [6] Cf. Ib. “Con-spirando” N° 46, p. 19.
  • [7] Cf. Revista del Centro Evangelio y Liberación, . According to the blog “La Cigüeña de la Torre”, Pilar Yuste has lectured at the Casa de la Iglesia of Jerez; the Spanish Catholic Action considers her as “lecturer at their 2010 updating course in Alcalá de Henares and also as a speaker at Pastoral Journeys held in 1999.”  The same source adds that “on February 6 of this year (2010) we find her giving a lecture on ‘feminine theology’ … at the headquarters of CRISMHOM , that is of male and female homosexual Christians. (We also) find her as lecturer at the Journeys of the 20th Anniversary of Catalonia’s Gay-Lesbian Coordinator  on October 21, 2006, with the meaningful title of ‘A Future Rose for the Church?’ Cf. La Cigüeña de la Torre @
  • [8] “Rachel Fitzgerald, a Jungian psychologist, lives in California … has made important contributions on female archetypes to our school of Spirituality and Ecofeminst Ethics (2000-07).” Later on, we will find this Jungian searching for the “black goddess”.
  • [9] Cf. “Con-spirando”, n° 46, abril 2000. “El gesto subversivo de Baubo” [Baubo’s Subversive Gesture], pp. 35-38.
  • [10] Cf. Ib. “Con-spirando”, n° 46.
  • [11] Cf. Ib. “Con-spirando”, n° 46.
  • [12] Cf. Ib., our emphasis.
  • [14] Cf. Ib. “Con-spirando”, n° 46, p. 46.
  • [15] Cf. Ib.
  • [16] Cf. Ib. “Con-spirando”, n° 46, pp. 54-55.
  • [17] Cf. Calendar of the month of Mary, Conferre 2009.
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