Radical Feminism Gives Tim Kaine a Distorted View of Women in the Church and in Society
As America gears up for the Vice Presidential debate on Tuesday night, Senator Tim Kaine will be center stage for Democrats as the VP choice for Hillary Clinton. Ironically, Kaine, though placed on the ticket with the first woman nominee, has a distorted view of women, differing greatly from Church teaching. This puts the Catholic VP nominee in a tight spot.
Kaine may be officially Catholic, but his view of women has been tainted by left-wing, radical feminist ideology, which portrays women as victims and without equal rights in the Church. That confused ideology infuses his policy view surrounding women, most especially with abortion.
When Pope Francis visited the U.S. in September 2015, Kaine used his standing as Virginia Senator to publicly advocate for women priests in the media. The Virginia Pilot quoted him as saying, “If women are not accorded equal place in the leadership of the Catholic Church and the other great world religions, they will always be treated as inferiors in earthly matters as well. There is nothing this Pope could do that would improve the world as much as putting the Church on a path to ordain women.”
Kaine’s false characterization of the role of women in the Church discounts the high role women currently hold as well as the deeply complementarity role of men and women in the Church. The implication that the Church treats women as inferiors in both ecclesiastical matters as well as “earthly” matters is incorrect. Today, Catholic women — especially in the United States — hold positions of power in all levels of the Church and also in complementary roles such as in service, communications, law, civil rights advocacy, health care, politics and policy, academics, and the list could go on.
In fact, popes have written much on women — on their dignity, their vocation, and their importance in bringing peace into the world. Pope Paul VI in his 1965 Address to Women writes, “But the hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of woman is being achieved in its fullness, the hour in which woman acquires in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is under-going so deep a transformation, women impregnated with the spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid mankind in not falling.” This call has since been echoed by recent popes including Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis.
Women hold a special place in the Church because of their very being. The love of a woman, in partnership with God, brings new life into the world and brings life back to the world, a healing love. In addition, it is through the faith, humility, and love of a woman that God entered the world as a human being, becoming part of His creation.
Moreover, throughout His ministry, Christ chose women to minister to him at His most vulnerable moments. He imparts major parts of His teachings to women, knowing that they would be receptive to His message. One needs only to open the New Testament to see examples such as the woman at the well, Martha and Mary, the forgiveness of St. Mary Magdalene and her presence at the Cross and the Resurrection, the weeping women on the way to Calvary and many more.
Instead of using the unique gifts God has given women to set the world on fire throughout the centuries, radical feminists chose to follow their desire to become like men and join the patriarchy by setting aside their unique gifts as women. As Alice von Hildebrand writes in her book The Privilege of Being a Woman: “Unwittingly, the feminists acknowledge the superiority of the male sex by wishing to become like men. They foolishly want to alter inequality rather than achieve truth or justice. Femininity is a linchpin of human life; once it is uprooted, the consequences are disastrous. In fact, experience proves that feminism benefits men and harms women.”
And what is the most feminine part that is left behind while joining the virility of men? Women’s fertility. Again, von Hildebrand explains, “Feminism was born the day that the enemy convinced some ambitious women that they will never achieve greatness unless they liberate themselves from the burden to give birth that was so unfairly placed on their shoulders. He convinced them to believe maternity is a jail and it is high time that women free themselves from these unbearable chains.” But what has come from this shedding of feminine fertility through contraception, abortion, and sterilization are lower moral standards, greater infidelity, less respect for women by men, and coercive use of reproductive technology by governments.
By viewing women as victims and joining the radical feminists in their crusade for total equality with men, even at the price of their own fertility, Kaine stands in direct opposition to the Church. He not only leaves behind its pro-life teachings but its teachings on women as well. Kaine’s worldview of women is tainted. Because of this, his policies as Vice-President would advance the radical, feminist agenda rather than a genuine flourishing of American women.