Sins of the Father: Patriarchal Domination and Feminist Righteousness

Kathleen S. Lowney, Valdosta State University

While the seven deadlin sins are well-known, particularly to Roman Catholics, less well-known are the seven virtues which are marred by each of the sins. While the Roman Catholic Church has never officially pronounced such a list of parallel virtues, many lay traditions of spiritual counseling do offer such a list (e.g., humility instead of pride, generosity instead of avarice, lvoe instead of envy, kindness insread of wrath, self control instead of lust, temperance instead of gluttony, and zeal instead of sloth). But what kind of a human -- what kind of a woman -- would radical obedience to these virtues create? I will examine feminist literature to understand how feminists would critique these virtues as constructing a passive, unassertive woman who takes care of others and never herself. In other words, a "virtuous woman" would be a woman partriarchally oppressed. In conclusion, the paper will contemplate what a set of feminist virtues might be.

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Updated 05/20/2006