I’m in a rather unique position since I am the only male asked to take part in this adventure into New Feminism. I am not the only male who is involved with New Feminism – after all, the term New Feminism has developed out of Pope John Paul II’s Letter to Women. As New Feminism encourages respect for the feminine and the feminine voice, it is important for the movement to do just that, but it is also invaluable to have voices like mine join in so as to show the movement is one of universal value and importance. It was for this reason I quickly accepted the invitation to take part, and hope that what I provide will help show the universal value of New Feminism by showing the historical precedents which have helped shape where we are today and where we can find ourselves in the future.
I am a single male, Byzantine Catholic, PhD Candidate in Historical and Systematic Theology (hopefully, nearing completion). I was not always a Catholic – I was chrismated (confirmed) on Pascha (Easter) of 1995. I was raised a Baptist, though in a family which was very spiritually independent and did not go to church services often in my youth. I was raised to have a strong personal devotion to the Christian faith – indeed, I was dedicated to God by my mother as I was born, because the doctors had told her she wouldn’t be able to have more children after my sister was born, and she was thankful the doctors were wrong. This dedication, I am sure, especially by such a loving and caring mother which I have, has been the spiritual glue which has kept me sane.
It is through my theological and historical studies that I have come to New Feminism and it is these studies which I hope to bring forward here. Intellectually, I have found myself shaped through a wide range of sources, including, and not limited to, Pope John Paul II, St. Edith Stein, Hans Urs von Balthasar with Adrienne von Speyr, Vladimir Solovyov, Sergius Bulgakov, and Paul Evdokimov. As a Byzantine Catholic, I have a great interest in exploring and developing insights from the East but also from the West, and find that this interest in bringing the “two lungs” together is similar to the interest and desire to help bring about the mutual promotion of the masculine and the feminine which comes from New Feminism.
I have seen, first hand, the great feminine genius speaking through spiritual giants such as Hildegard von Bingen (who might soon be recognized as a Doctor of the Church), St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Bridget of Sweden, and St. Edith Stein. I have seen the work of and promotion of great women like St Macrina, St Monica, St Helen, St Olga, St. Clare of Assisi, New Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth, and Dorothy Day. All of them demonstrate something of the glory of the feminine, and have helped provide proof of the need for the feminine voice in the world; we would, as Christians, find ourselves greatly diminished if such voices had no impact in the development of Christian thought and action in the world, just as I would be much poorer for it as well.
What I will be writing on here will come from my explorations in the history and development of theology, relating historical or theological ideas to New Feminism. In doing this, sometimes what will be brought forward will need some contextualization: a person who has done some good or promoted a good idea which touches upon an issue and concern of a New Feminist might not be easily understood as such until we see it in its proper context. What is good at a certain time and date, what was a step forward, could be seen today as a step backwards from where we are at today, and so this is why it will be necessary to remember that, when dealing with history, things will be messy and uneven, especially in regards to the respect due for the feminine.
I hope people will enjoy what I have planned. I think there will be some surprises along the way.