Posted by: L. E. Barnes | May 2, 2010

Sunday Snippets–A Catholic Carnival

Each Sunday, blogger RAnd, at This That and the Other Thing, hosts Sunday Snippets, where you can check out various Catholic blogs on both religious and mundane issues. If you’re a Catholic blogger, please post a link to your own site on RAnd’s weekly Sunday Snippets page.

Here are a few of my recent posts.

We are still in mystagogia, during which those who entered the Church at Easter continue their initial Catholic education. Today our class discussed examples of prominent women in the Bible. We talked about how the Bible doesn’t hold back on presenting people “warts and all”; for instance, one of our class leaders spent time going over the story of Tamar and Judah in the book of Genesis. (For anyone not familiar with the story: Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah, one of the sons of the Hebrew patriarch Jacob. One day, she disguised herself as a prostitute and fooled Judah into having sex with her, and she became pregnant with his child. I remarked that this story, along with other biblical stories, would today be perfect material for a lot of TV talk shows!) Yet Tamar is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Other women mentioned in Christ’s genealogy include Rahab (who was an actual prostitute in the city of Jericho, yet she hid the Israelite spies and was therefore, along with her family, spared when the city was destroyed) and Bathsheba (who became David’s wife after he committed adultery with her, got her pregnant, and then arranged for her husband to be killed in battle–but she became the mother of King Solomon).

An elderly lady in a writing workshop I once participated in wrote a piece about these biblical stories; she wrote that they might explain why Jesus was so kind to “fallen women” (such as Mary Magdalene and the woman caught in adultery in John chapter 8): after all, Jesus had several “fallen women” in his own ancestry. But such is the power of redemption–God took these situations and caused good to come out of them.

For us Catholics, Mary is the preeminent woman of the Bible. Protestants, unfortunately, have too often downplayed or just about ignored her–mainly, if not completely, as a reaction to Catholic veneration of her. The last chapter of Peter Kreeft’s book Catholic Christianity deals exclusively with the Blessed Mother, and he acknowledges that “[m]ost devout Protestants find the Church’s teachings about and devotions to Mary the single most objectionable thing about the Catholic religion.” Yet in fact, the Church simply sees in her the working of God’s grace. As Kreeft says, “Mary can no more rival Christ than the reflection of a face in a mirror can rival that face.” And as Mary herself says in the Magnificat, she is who she is precisely because of the Lord’s grace. The Church holds her in such high regard because she is the “queen mother” and as such can intercede with her Son on our behalf. Again, the Old Testament story of Bathsheba provides a biblical precedent for this. Solomon exalted his mother and would listen to her petitions. (I once heard a biblical scholar talk about how in the ancient Near East, the queen mother held a very important role, and was something of a power behind the throne.)

Mary is also a perfect example of how women actually hold a high place in Catholic tradition. Yes, only men may become priests (both because they stand in persona Christi–and Christ was a man–and because Christ ordained only men to be his apostles), but women are a vital part of the Church and have made tremendous contributions to it. So the Church is not a misogynistic institution.

May is the month of Mary, by the way. Fitting since Mother’s Day is in this month (next Sunday, in fact!), and Mary is, in a way, the Mother of the Church.

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Responses

  1. I am writing this in answer to your question about my book. Here are links to reviews and testimonies of my book and also my publisher page that includes a free excerpt.

    reviews – http://thethirdfloorwindow.blogspot.com/2008/10/book-review.html

    publisher page – http://booklocker.com/books/3608.html

    Thanks for asking! God bless!

  2. Thanks so much for this post. Now I am going to have to research more about the queen mother in the ancient Near East! Very informative.

    • Glad you liked it. Catholics’ love of the Blessed Mother is so misunderstood by Protestants–and I should know, as I used to be Protestant and thought that Catholics were guilty of, or at least came dangerously close to being gulity of, the sin of idolatry.

  3. Do you teach RCIA? I used to, have been teaching 6th grade Catechism of late.

    • No, I simply assist with the RCIA at my parish, mainly by helping with the group discussions and blogging about the classes.


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