Another 23 year-old feminist Catholic malcontent. Currently studying for my MDiv. Aside from feminism and Catholicism, you’ll find stuff here about climate justice, theology, interreligious engagement, leftist politics…
My initial project (on hiatus; stay tuned) was a lectionary series for which I wrote a weekly response (a blog-form homily) to the standardized readings given at Catholic masses.
layperson, not ordained = lay
visionary + revision = revisionary
From my introductory post:
Here’s what I’ve learned from a couple classes about the scriptures as literature at my fancy liberal arts college: Nobody thinks they’re qualified to do anything. One of my profs told me that he thinks divinity schools paralyze their students. They’re told that they’ll never have adequate knowledge of Greek or Hebrew to fully comprehend the text, it’s impossible to know the authors’ intentions, scripture is impossibly layered and full, they’ll never be able to read the centuries (millennia) of prior exegesis, and ultimately, they’ll never know enough to contribute anything worthwhile. That pisses me off.
What’s the point of Vatican II if my own literary and theological education, the tools that are supposed to help me comprehend the text, make me too scared to know the text? What does that imply about the people who don’t have the right tools? What about all the laypeople? What about the illiterate – and that word should be weighted with the understanding that illiteracy is tied to racism, sexism, ableism, classism, etc. Literacy doesn’t equal intelligence. Literacy sure as hell doesn’t equal closeness to God.
The “hermeneutical privilege of the poor” is a concept from liberation theology. It basically says that when the poor read and interpret scripture, their understanding of the text should be considered more valid than the interpretations preferred by those in power. (Who are “the poor”? Roughly, I read “the poor” as “those who lack material and social privilege in this world.”) The poor read from a perspective that is closer to the text. This notion is imperfect, obviously, but I think it approaches a better understanding of who and what the scriptures are for.
I’m a highly educated white woman from the United States, which affords me significant privilege. That said, I’m still scared to talk about this stuff. Misogyny in the Catholic Church is a big deal. Internalized misogyny is also a big deal. This post (and this blog) represents an attempt to relearn and reinterpret text without panicking. I won’t edit rigorously – if I did, I’d never put anything online. I won’t research fastidiously – if I did, I’d never put anything online. I will simply read and respond as a woman, a feminist, a Catholic, whatever – I will respond as I am.
If I profess a reading of text that’s rooted in a politics of liberation, it’s gross and hypocritical to call my own reading invalid. My reading is valid. It’s less about ranking hermeneutics than about saying, hey, I can do hermeneutics, you can do hermeneutics, we can all do this shit! Who cares about pulpits or PhDs?