Silence

atrotl

catherine-of-siena-from-womenpriests-orgMedieval anchorites sought silence, yet Julian of Norwich feared ‘being silenced about her visions.’ (64) And though feminists fought silence, as women gain access to positions that are traditionally male–doctors, lawyers, CEOs, politicians, generals, even the priesthood–the expectation is that the position’s masculinity and women’s silence will remain. However, for example, ‘rather than pressing for the ordination of women,’ some ‘church activists are advocating a long hard look at the very idea of the priesthood and the hierarchical model it presumes. One of the subtler aspects the debate over “voice” and “silence” is that there is an immense difference between having permission to speak and enjoying the hope that someone might actually listen to you.’ (64-65) Indeed, feminists urge females to ‘find your voice; tell your story, make yourself heard.’ (85) Yet, as Flinders (author of At The Root Of This Longing) writes, feminists value silence too in the form of attentive listening, and mystics value voice in the form of prophecy or reform or inspired teaching. (88) image from womenpriests.org.

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