Father Knows Best: Theological “Mansplaining” and the Ecclesial War on Women
The ecclesial war on women religious and theologians reveals a dynamic of mansplaining, where male religious elites, threatened by the encroachment of women speaking with authority, react with hermeneutical violence toward those women. This hermeneutical violence, exemplified in the investigation of Elizabeth Johnson, follows Rebecca Solnit's pattern of male-explicative violence rooted in what she calls the “archipelago of arrogance” or, in Catholic terms, the relative isolation of the Catholic clergy from Catholic higher education. The hermeneutical violence is further supported by the Balthasarian theological framework embraced by John Paul II and Benedict XVI, which affirms the church (and thus everyone except the hierarchy) as essentially feminine and therefore primarily receptive of theological knowledge, not productive of it.
Back to Volume 31, Number 2