Mary of Nazareth, Feminism and the Tradition
Thought: Fordham University Quarterly
Although the controversy between the Vatican and liberation theologians has at times generated a certain rancor, it has fostered nonetheless an invigorating and clarifying discussion of issues central to the future of the Church. The same cannot be said, unfortunately, for another area of controversy that raises equally critical issues. We refer to the current absence of serious conversation between professional Mariologists and those feminists for whom Mary's place in the Church is sadly indicative of the place of women in general. The traditional approach to Mariology has contributed, in the view of a number of prominent Christian feminists, to the subjection of women.
According to Rosemary Haughton, much traditional Mariology makes Mary "a means to keep women in their subordinate place, for ... with all her glory, she is always obedient, she is not 'ordained,' she is the busy but submissive, patient and suffering auxiliary who can intercede but not decide: the ideal priest's housekeeper" (The Recreafion of Eve 119). In other words, the qualities valued in Mary are those that serve to keep women subordinate to men in both the social and the theological orders.
Even when Mary is explicitly praised and glorified as a model to which all people may aspire, the model reinforces women's inadequacies.
Copyright © 1990, Fordham University Press
Fordham University Press
Cadegan, Una M. and Heft, James L. S.M., "Mary of Nazareth, Feminism and the Tradition" (1990). History Faculty Publications. 59.