What happens when you bring feminist ideology, selective statistics and the National Board of Catholic Women (an advisory body to the Catholic Bishops Conference), to bear on the problem of domestic violence?
You get a publication with the title: 'Raising Awareness of Domestic Abuse', which I found on Cedar, the recently announced resource for Catholics who experience domestic abuse.
One section, by Prof. Mary Grey, is packed with helpful nuggets such as these:
"..through its institutions, laws and use of power, patriarchy has sanctioned the control of male over female cross-culturally.."
"Frequently Mary the mother of Jesus is used as a role model as 'Virgin-Mother'. In Mulieris Dignitatem, Pope John Paul II wrote that all women are called to be either real mothers or spiritual mothers[....]To assume that motherhood is synonymous with being female and to lump all women together as mothers, while simultaneously idealizing motherhood, only serves to mask the suffering and vulnerability of many reak mothers, And Christianity's frequent stress on the importance of suffering and sacrifice in Christian discipleship makes it worse."
"The Church must be seen to be facing the truth about the violence in womens' lives[...]and overcome the reluctance to face the truth about female sexuality."
And there's more:
"Eradicating the roots of violence means facing the truth about patriarchal structures which maintain this violence. It means querying the subordinate position of women both in Church and society, and exposing false theories of gender and sexuality,"
" Public valuing of women needs to be reflected in the language we use for worship. Sadly, despite a few token changes, the language of liturgy is still exclusive of women.[.....] the tacit message remains powerful: that she is not valued."
Without doubt, the Cedar website has some helpful advice and links for sufferers of domestic abuse, and we would all want battered wives, mothers or girlfriends to get the help and support they need, even volunteer our own support.
But, piggybacking aspects of a rigidly feminist worldview to the tragic problem of domestic abuse, to imply that the Church, in her structure, has responsibility for this evil done by some men (and, incidentally some women), sounds suspiciously like agenda setting.