Saturday, February 11, 2006

Benedict and Betty

[UPDATED to add Benedict quote:]

Reading the second of the two quotes on love and sex that the Raving Atheist attributes to Betty Friedan, one would think she'd been listening to her Papa. But actually it's the RA who's apparently been brushing up on "Deus Caritas Est"—and discovered Benedict's feminine mystique.

It's quite stunning to see how little RA had to change the Benedict quote to make it pass as the words of a pre-Third Wave feminist (meaning one from before feminism exalted pornography). Here's the original:

Nowadays Christianity of the past is often criticized as having been opposed to the body; and it is quite true that tendencies of this sort have always existed. Yet the contemporary way of exalting the body is deceptive. Eros, reduced to pure “sex”, has become a commodity, a mere “thing” to be bought and sold, or rather, man himself becomes a commodity. This is hardly man's great “yes” to the body. On the contrary, he now considers his body and his sexuality as the purely material part of himself, to be used and exploited at will. Nor does he see it as an arena for the exercise of his freedom, but as a mere object that he attempts, as he pleases, to make both enjoyable and harmless. Here we are actually dealing with a debasement of the human body: no longer is it integrated into our overall existential freedom; no longer is it a vital expression of our whole being, but it is more or less relegated to the purely biological sphere. The apparent exaltation of the body can quickly turn into a hatred of bodiliness.