… I found God in myself

And

I loved her

I loved her fiercely

Ntozake Shange

[the whole poem can be found here]

 

When the recent interview of the Pope by La Civiltà Cattolica came out in America Magazine, my feminist friends were more disappointed than I was. I thought then of writing a post entitled, “I’m no longer the feminist I used to be.”

Then I reviewed the reasons I have to be a feminist: The news of any woman being raped, beaten, or abused in any way brings me to my knees. I cannot bear wage inequality; or the fact that unborn children are protected but nothing is done for them once born. Finally, I just know that some women are called to the priesthood. So, I still call God Godde.

Several years before I started blogging, I worked on a publication entitled, Gender: A Partnership of Equals. In those days, John Paul II was alive and relatively well; and Cardinal Ratzinger would publish his Letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church on the collaboration of men and women in the Church and in the world, which at the time did, and does today still, make me very angry.

At the time of the book on Gender, I imagined parity among bishops in the Catholic Church (equal participation of women and men) and I already fantasized a pink smoke wafting joyfully above the Vatican.

Time passed. I left my beloved job and found myself with time on my hands. I created a website to give vent to my feminist dreams and frustrations. I longed for a Church welcoming everyone and inviting back those pushed at the margins.

It is then that I adopted the word Godde for God, as a sign of rebellion, dissent, sorrow, and despair. I was, and am, a puny voice in our vast cyber-world. It is my way of communicating with the One who is just and compassionate. A way that may seem childish, silly, and disrespectful to some.

My encounter with Godde was life-changing. I experienced Her while walking my first Camino in 2005. Godde’s presence was everywhere and in everyone. More than that, I found Her in myself and “I loved, and still love her, fiercely,” surely not as fiercely as She loves me.


Godde indeed loves her daughters, made in Her image, and hears their cries for justice. I ’knew’ that the Spirit was going to clean out the Church of all injustice, an injustice growing ever more obvious and less acceptable.

With the Church hierarchy pushing so many of us at the margins and beyond, Godde was in fact walking out with us. It would have felt comforting to be included in the Church, of course. When the inclusion, however, required a profound negation of oneself, one was better off, and safer, left out in the cold.

Comes Pope Francis. The wave of optimism carried me on its crest and I loved it. Here was someone caring for the poor, warning the rich, looking out for those at the margins, seemingly welcoming the LGBT community, inviting the divorced back… If the Holy Spirit can bring this about, She can also change the status of women in the Church for the better. All this seems even more possible now after the revelation of the omission in America Magazine’s translation of the interview with the Pope.

Why stay with the word Godde then? Godde is beyond gender, right? She is neither male nor female. For me, however, over the centuries Godde being male has become the norm, bringing much injustice for women in its wake, both within and without the Church. Until this situation changes, Godde She will stay for me, as a reminder of all that remains to be achieved.

Art: God’s Ecstasy, Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ 

 

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