Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
September 5, 2005
WCR Letters to the Editor
Reduce stress, reduce violence
I read in the Calgary Herald recently that our new pope, Benedict XVI, is totally against feminism. I can understand his stand, but at the same time one must recognize that "women's liberation" came into effect as a result of their centuries-old oppression and subjugation by men.
Today perhaps more than ever women are being abused and mistreated by men in Western society, obviously because of the domination of secular values where money is god and traditional (religious) family values are not well respected or nurtured.
Even when people in the West were "religious," women were oppressed by the male-dominated society because even in the Bible they did not have much worth. Today in traditional cultures in most parts of the world women are still treated like servants, children or playthings by men.
Hence, side by side with criticizing feminism, the Catholic Church also needs to find ways and means to deal with and prevent abuse and violence against women (and children). So far, only the secular society is taking it seriously.
I understand that one of the most important causes of such domestic violence is the tremendous amount of stress faced by the average male (and female) in our modern Western fast-paced society.
Such a state of affairs is the result of our need due to peer pressure to maintain a very high standard of living.
Hence, if we Christians/Catholics voluntarily lower our standard of affluence and reduce the accumulation of material wealth to a moderate level, we will have far less stress and more inner peace and tranquility, enabling us to get along better with family members.
We have a duty to worship God rather than money and thus serve as role models for our children as well as for secular people and non-Christians in peaceful family life and integrity.
I feel that it is mainly because of spousal abuse that a lot of women decided to earn their livelihood independently from haughty and arrogant men who did not have much respect for the former's role as homemakers.
So if Catholics/Christians, especially boys, are trained to place God ahead of wealth and material possessions, they will grow up to be respectful of God's commandments and also of women.
I myself have been afraid to be financially supported by a man (husband) for fear of being abused.
The fact that I got a lot of education was not because I was ambitious or a feminist; I was pressured into a career-centred life by my well-educated father. He was evidently unhappy about the treatment of women in traditional cultures like India (where I come from).
So he forced us (his five daughters) to get a university education and a job so that we could stand on our own two feet and also not be a burden on him to pay large sums of money as a dowry.
But now that I am retired from a career that I did not really want, I am able to worship God full time by praying for seven hours every day.
Rita Hyma Araujo, PhD
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