Of Catholic Nuns and Punk Prayers

An order of women trained to give of themselves in the name of their God and obey a male hierarchy which is supposed to represent “His” will, challenges and defies their superiors in the name of the true meaning of love and charity, and in the name of their earthly conscience.

A small group of women, some of them mothers, decide to dance and “pray punk” on the steps of the largest Russian orthodox church in Moscow, breaking multiple unspoken taboos and shocking everyone.

These women are my new heroes. Not heroines, the pointedly female hero with attendant female (aka different) characteristics, but all out rock-star heroes. Hooligans in the best sense of the word.

Sometimes it is necessary to break through the social order of the day to bring attention to what has been made invisible. When a rule or tradition serves to entrench a power structure that has become corrupt, it must be challenged. When discourse and education fail, action is the next logical step.

These women did not harm any person or property. But they have threatened the male-dominated order of things. The nuns have moral and spiritual convictions of the truth on their side. The punk prayers have a clear sense of injustice and a break-out creative voice of frustration. Both actions took guts, and both have a sense of a deeper meaning for others.

The American Catholic nuns have rejected the results of a three-year inquiry led by the Vatican, which did not involve a single discussion with the actual nuns. The inquiry suggested the nuns were spending too much time working with the poor and disenfranchised and not enough time opining against sex and abortions. The nuns disagreed. Such defiance is taken seriously in the rigid world of religious governance. This story-line has only begun and it is being played out publicly, giving the nuns the opportunity to be supported by the millions of us who see their truth.

The punk prayers, members of the “Pussy Riot,” a Russian feminist punk-rock collective, have been arrested for “hooliganism” and may face up to seven years in prison for their action. While this action was in defiance of Putin’s autocratic return to power, apparently underwritten by the Orthodox approval, the Pussy Riot is known for their challenge to the patriarchy in general. The over-the-top response gives truth to the threat that men in patriarchal institutions feel by women who dare to be heard and seen. This is doubly true for women who simultaneously challenge the stereotypes that women battle on a daily basis.

The message is this: men in power who claim to hold a moral, political and spiritual superiority, you will be watched, you will be challenged, you will be held accountable by a wider public. And if the Emperor–or perhaps the Pope–has no clothes, it will be spoken out loud, by nuns and punk rocking women alike.

To support the nuns, sign this petition.

To support the punk prayers, sign this petition.

From Heidi Hall at www.compassionandchange.com

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One Comment

  1. Posted May 7, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Both signed.

    That Pussy Riot footage was the best punk thing I’ve seen in YEARS.

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