Saturday, August 22, 2009

Afghanistan's "Family Law," Western Mores, and Catholic Teaching

Working on another blog this evening, I ran across a short piece in a Reuters blog: with some of the funniest wordplay I've run into in some time. More about that in "Exploding Wieners, Awful Wordplay," Apathetic Lemming of the North (August 22, 2009).

As I said, the piece was funny: but the story behind the photo is anything but.
"...The photo comes from Reuters, and is part of a rather under-reported '...rally protesting against Afghanistan's "Family Law", which diminishes women's rights in Afghanistan, near the Afghanistan embassy in Kiev August 21, 2009. Authorities in Afghanistan passed a law permitting men to deny their wives food and sustenance if they refuse to obey their husbands' sexual demands....'
('Topics / Women's-Rights / Photos ' Reuters, via The Wall Street Journal (August 21, 2009))...
(Apathetic Lemming of the North)
From what little has gotten into the news about that new law in Afghanistan, it sounds like the powers that be in Afghanistan have a long way to go before they catch up with western culture's habit of treating women as people.

What?! A Catholic Man Sticking up for Women's Rights?!

Sort of. As a practicing Catholic, I can't support abortion-on-demand, lesbian marriage, or any of a number of other "rights" which have been demanded - and, in some cases, recognized.

On the other hand, as a practicing Catholic, I can't approve of that 'give me what I want or I'll starve you' law. Not that my preferences make any difference: Afghanistan's a long way from where my vote counts.

I'll have to come back to this general topic someday, and discuss it in more detail.

The bottom line is that the Catholic Church does have rules, and does recognize that women aren't men. And vice versa. That's 'oppressive' by some definitions. Even so, Catholic history includes quite a few women like St. Catherine of Siena, doctor of the church.

"Doctor of the church" is "...a title conferred on 33 saints who distinguished themselves through the orthodoxy of their theological teaching". (Princeton's WordNet) WordNet is a pretty good resource, but that time they have the tail wagging the dog. Doctors of the church are Catholicism's heavy-hitters, who helped define what orthodox theological teaching is. There's a bit more about that in a footnote in another post.

But Don't Catholic Husbands Lord it Over Their Wives?

Some, sadly, do. But that's not what the church teaches.

This gives an idea of what a Catholic man can expect from marriage:
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her"
(Ephesians 5:25)
I converted after marriage - but before signing on, I'd agreed that the household would be run as a Catholic household. And I knew what that meant for me.

In the event that my death would serve my wife, I had explicit instructions: to serve my wife. Even if I died as a result.

You don't have to believe that. But, as I've written before, my responsibility ends when I've presented what's so. What you do with the facts is up to you.

Related posts: Background:

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.