Can We Talk About Patriarchy?

Since I inadvertently brought up patriarchy, it’s probably a good time to explain my general approach—again. I’ve been rethinking it due to the new developments in this conversation—for example our inclusion of Pope Francis—or maybe I should say his inclusion of us—and my support of a candidate in this presidential election. In the case of the election, I’ve wanted to avoid confusing my opinions with Senator Sanders’s platform. In the case of the Catholic Church I’ve become aware that there are many among us who don’t understand its relevance to the American conversation. I’ve made many futile attempts to answer their objections and I’ve finally had to admit defeat. Instead I’ll explain why I think Americans are fortunate to be invited into the church’s conversation.

I’ve already mentioned the biography of Albert Gleizes. After much study and thought I’ve come to the conclusion that without the presence of the French Church and especially its priests, this story wouldn’t have been so rich and meaningful. Of course the same can be said of the artists and writers.

The priests didn’t lead this conversation—they were a natural part of it because of their closeness to their communities and their interest in the art and culture of those communities. They listened, they invited the artists to teach in a church setting, and they commissioned work. Since reading about this process, the entire French conversation has had a hallowed place in my imagination. Sadly, that world is gone now. It died in World War II. Many people fear that the pre-war confidence in a restoration of order died with the old world. But fortunately, the Church didn’t get the memo, so it continued the conversation.

“In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War there was a widespread desire within the Roman Catholic Church for a change in the way in which the Church was presented to the world—a desire for greater openness and ‘relevance’ to the conditions of modern life. Its most radical expression in France was the ‘worker-priest movement—the movement of priests who, acutely aware of the divorce of working-class life from the Church, became workers, as indistinguishable as possible from their fellow workers, often actively engaged in the political struggles of the class led by the Communist Party.

“In art, the post-war period was characterized by a willingness to use well-known, sometimes controversial, artists, giving them considerable freedom, regardless of their own religious beliefs. The two names most prominently associated with this tendency were Fathers Marie-Alain Courturier and Pie Raymond Régamey, both Dominicans. They were to be behind the church at Assy, in the Haute Savoie, built between 1948 and 1950, with work by Léger, Lurçat, Matisse, Chagall, Bazaine and (especially controversial) a crucifix by Germaine Richier. They were also responsible for Matisse’s chapel—realized for the Dominicans—at Vence (1948-51), and for Le Corbusier’s church at Ronchamp (1955) and his Dominican priory at La Tourette (1960).” ((Debuyst: Le Renouveau de l’art sacré, as cited by Gleizes’s biographer, Peter Brooke))

Previously I mentioned the theological disagreements that arose from Gleize’s adherence to Rene Guenon. However, it’s important to also mention that these disagreements didn’t end the interaction of Gleizes and the Church. Today, many people associate theology with the Inquisition. I’ve read their articles online.  While the the Inquisition was indefensible, some of the worst events in our history have been a result of getting the theology wrong, so I would argue that it’s a force that must be reckoned with. Whatever hope we have of building a new and better world, it will have to be built with an awareness of the relevance of theology, for better or for worse.

I can argue this another way. When I wrote about our [intlink id=”1359″ type=”post”]Ayn Rand[/intlink] episode, I argued against her tendency to define her philosophical machinations as morality. I think it’s shocking that we were being fed the doctrines of Ayn Rand by financial institutions that have no concern for us.   Today there are many people slinging a new and improved world view and hoping to get followers. My point here is that none of our current ideas can be taken for granted simply on the claim of rationality or secularization. And if not for our cultural history I would have had no basis for my argument against Rand.

On a negative note, one concern I have is that the Catholic church takes on a different character depending on its setting and circumstances. I imagine the interwar period in France was a humble time for the Church, and I don’t know if the American Church shares any of the same characteristics, or if it ever did. Thanks to the U.S. bishops, our conversation with the Church has already had a some rude shocks. First we learned that the bishops believe it’s okay to risk the lives of mothers who trust Catholic hospitals to care for them. Second, there was a recent headline about a meeting between the U.S. Bishops and the Mormon Church to discuss shared concerns. Neither of these things increases my confidence in the bishops.

Hermes in India convinced me that the Devil presides over the medical system. Therefore, I can’t take this news about hospital policies lightly.

In addition, I know for a fact that Mormonism is a shoddy pretense of religion that provides wealth and power to a select few. Of course this shouldn’t be surprising since some of its leaders have ties to the Illuminati.

So in case you haven’t lost interest in this article, here’s my suggestion for an approach to the discussion of patriarchy. My objection to patriarchy is its economics, which I call ‘trickle-up economics’. I think greed was the original motivation for the denigration of women and that as long as large amounts of unattached wealth exist in the world, as opposed to being owned by communities (and passed down through mothers), there will be an endless struggle for control of it. I’m sorry to say, Plato’s philosopher-king isn’t coming—just an endless stream of shady characters in expensive shoes. This is the aspect of patriarchy that has to end.

But is a rejection of Plato the same thing as a rejection of the church’s theology, which depends on Greek thought? Not necessarily. Not unless economic inequality is more of a central tenet of our culture that I realize.  I think you have to look at the whole theological process rather than a single set of ideas from twenty-five hundred years ago.

I apologize again for how jumbled this is.  I’ve been trying to talk about this for quite a while and I’m out of patience with it.  Hopefully it makes sense.