Pope, Christian Conservatives Team Up to Promote Patriarchy
Complementarity: the new separate but equal….
Complementarity is one of those obscure theological concepts that nevertheless casts a long shadow over modern conservative religious thinking. It’s the idea that men and women’s differing and complementary biological roles play out in their respective roles in religion and society, which are separate, but supposedly equal, and divinely ordained.
Pope John Paul II was a big proponent of the concept of complementarity as a core principle of the family, most famously expounded upon in his 1995 Letter to Women, which extolled the “special genius” of women to serve as helpmates to men and society. Like many of the church’s more regressive ideas, however, complementarity has been embraced more enthusiastically by conservative Protestants, who use it to justify the idea that women should be submissive to men, than it is by Catholics themselves.
This Catholic/Conservative Christian confluence was on full display at the conference, organized by Cardinal Gerhard Muller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as, one might suspect, a counterbalance to all the talk of liberalizing influences under Francis. Participants included mega-Pastor Rick Warren, Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput.