Sunday, March 3, 2013

Maureen Dowd gets a twofer: She degrades our Blessed Mother and disrespects the Pope in the Same NY Times essay

Maureen Dowed
Photo Credit: NY Times
Maureen Gets a Twofer!
This is the Lenten season, when Catholics  say the stations of the cross--the stations of the cross that mark Christ's walk through Jerusalem on his way to Calvary.

The crowds mocked Jesus on the day he was crucified, so perhaps it is appropriate for Catholics to be mocked during Lent.  We've certainly endured a lot of scorn in recent weeks, particularly in the op ed pages of the New York Times.

Maureen Dowd's essay in today's Sunday edition is the Times's latest attack on Catholicism.  Titled "How Mary Feels About Being a Virgin," Dowd's article highlights the literary work of Colm Toibin, a gay lapsed Catholic who wrote an irreverent play about Mary--our Blessed Mother.  As Dowd explains,Toibin's Mary is not a virgin and does not watch Christ die on the cross. Instead, Mary runs away from the crucifixion, and she resents Christ's disciples for trying to make her appear more nurturing than she really is.

Dowd interviewed Toibin for her essay, and she was able to get a quote out of him that hints that Pope Benedict has a deep affection for his private secretary, whom Toibin described as an exceptionally handsome man. "An 85-year-old man having such a beautiful companion with him morning and night to talk to and with," Toibin is quoted as saying. ""It's like the end of a novel. It's what all of us want for ourselves, straight or gay. It's better than sex."

So Dowd got a twofer.  She was able to  degrade Mary and disrespect the Pope in one brief essay!

Katharine Drexel
It is ironic that Dowd's essay appeared in the Times on March 3rd, the Feast of St. Katharine Drexel.  Drexel, as every Catholic should know, grew up in the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century, the daughter of one of America's wealthiest men. While still a young woman, she gave up a life of ease and pleasure, became a nun, and founded a religious order dedicated to serving African Americans and Native Americans. 

Although St. Katharine lived a life of poverty, she retained control of her wealth, all of which she donated to advancing mission of her religious order. She used part of her money to found Xavier University in New Orleans, the only Catholic University for African Americans. Today, Xavier can boast that it has produced more African American graduates who have gone to medical school than any other American university.

St. Katharine Drexel lived a long life of service--she died at the age of 97. Like Maureen Dowd, Mother Katharine was a good writer; and like Maureen Dowd, she wrote a lot.  But you can search through Mother Katharine's letters and diaries and never find an unkind word or a snarky comment. 

Within the last month, the New York Times has repeatedly published disrespectful articles about Catholicism. But it is Lent, and Catholics should accept this disrespect as a penance for our sins and the sins of our Church, which are many  Today, let us take heart in St. Katharine Drexel's feast day, secure in the knowledge that St. Katherine is in heaven and is praying for us.


Maureen Dowd, How Mary Feels About Being a Virgin. New York Times, March 28, 2013, Sunday Review Section, p. 1.

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