Same-sex marriage seems to be the issue du jour for many Catholic blogs and message boards–the one conversation topic, other than abortion, that will get Catholics frothing at the mouth and even capitulating to uncharitable remarks that I won’t repeat here. Yet at the same time, feminism seems to have receded as a point of contention. Even my favorite Catholic blogger–the lovely and orthodox Simcha Fischer–has no problem with wondering whether to call herself a Catholic feminist.
However, I think feminism poses a far greater challenge to Church teaching than same-sex marriage. Acceptance of gay and lesbian behavior is contingent on the triumph of feminism. After all, if men and women are inherently different and serve different functions in the natural order, then it logically follows that both sexes would be needed to make a true marital union, to procreate and raise children, and, ultimately, to create a complete society.
If feminism is correct that there are no essential differences between the sexes–that a woman is basically just a man, albeit one who must be “liberated” from her pesky ability to carry and bear a child–then Church teaching on homosexuality makes less sense, and the distinctions between a man/woman union and a man/man union begin to blur.
This is why I find the concept of Catholic feminism to be a contradiction in terms. Biblical teaching on sex and marriage compels a complentarian framework.