In the latest issue of The Revealer, NYU religious studies professor Angela Zito adds her voice to the debate on Maureen Dowd’s article, “Worlds Without Women,” which I touched upon last week. In my post, “Maureen the Menace Strikes Again,” I briefly critiqued Dowd’s conflation of the oppression of women by the Roman Catholic Church with the sexual abuse of children committed by many of its priests. But in her article, “Imagine This! Or Can a Church Hierarchy Become a Catholic Community?” Zito picks apart another of Maureen’s misunderstandings: maternity.
In response to Dowd’s assertion that the Church “treated children as collateral damage” because its priests “closed themselves off from everything maternal,” Zito writes:
Good as it sounds, imagining that there is something intrinsically present in women’s maternal “nature” that lessens violence around them does not answer why, in homes around the world, mothers and daughters often make no difference when it comes to stopping domestic abuse. In fact, the Irish Central, New York’s Irish American newspaper, gave Dowd a “nothing special about women” riposte.