Kate Whittaker Cousino

Joined: Dec. 6, 2011


During Pope John Paul II’s 1984 visit to Canada, I manifested my first bit of personalistic insight at the age of three, when I said to my mother “Do you know why I love that man? It’s because he loves me!” As an adult, I’ve only grown in my love for the person and thought of John Paul II. Other profound and formative influences on my life and thought include Catherine de Hueck Doherty, John Henry Newman, G.M. Hopkins, Frances de Sales, and my mother’s aphorisms.
I am a graduate of Ave Maria College, MI, and lived in the US for nearly a decade before returning to my ‘home and native land’ of Canada with three children in tow. I now combine freelance copy editing and proofreading with full-time parenting and part-time philosophical pondering.

Most recent posts by Kate Whittaker Cousino:     (See all of them)

Telling the truth about ourselves

May. 29 at 4:02pm | Comments: 1 | Most recent comment: May. 29 at 7:18pm

I want to propose a definition for modesty that seems to me to fit all of the best, most common-sense ideas of dress and modesty, while avoiding the traps some fall into which make it such a difficult virtue to talk about. First of all, I want to reject any definition that defines modesty strictly in terms of a negative: "Modesty is avoiding tempting others to lust. Modesty is avoiding drawing attention to your sexual attributes. Modesty is not standing...

“A Tower that will Pierce the Clouds”

Apr. 10 at 9:45am | Comments: 0

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a book called An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. I'm not sure what kind of advice I expected to read from this former commander of the International Space Station, someone who did countless interviews from space (including being interviewed by William Shatner) and whose space-earth duets and extraterrestrial performance of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" received millions of views on YouTube. There...

Marriage and Freedom

Mar. 22 at 10:28pm | Comments: 7 | Most recent comment: Mar. 26 at 3:57am

A few days ago, a young engaged woman, Emma Smith wrote a piece on Catholic exchange called Marriage is Work. The take-away, as it came across to me and, apparently, others, was that failed marriages indicate a failure of the spouses to work, and that the primary advantage of a Catholic marriage is that Catholics do a lot of marriage prep, and that the sacramental nature of marriage gives you a sort of supernatural guarantee that, as long as...

The Poor are Persons

Jan. 19 at 3:17pm | Comments: 2 | Most recent comment: Jan. 22 at 1:24pm

Unfortunately, I haven't had much time to do any of my own writing lately. However, I ran across this piece today, and felt that it should be shared here, even if with minimal commentary or gloss: A number of years ago, a friend of mine said that if Christ were not in me, it would not be worth his while loving me. What an interesting comment to offer a friend! Of course one could hear this in a number of...

Parenting Persons

Dec. 13 at 9:03am | Comments: 6 | Most recent comment: Dec. 15 at 6:28am

I’ve been a mother for almost 9 years, and I’ve been discussing motherhood and parenting for longer still. When you’re a mother, parenting is both the easiest and most perilous topic to broach. Easy, because parenting can create a common bond between people who otherwise would have nothing in common—and if you’re as inept at small talk as I am, it is always a relief to have a common interest to...

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Re: The problem with "consenting adults"

Nov. 22 at 12:12am | see this comment in context

Canada's criminal laws regarding prostitution were struck down a year ago by the courts after a challenge to them as endangering the health, wellbeing, and rights of the prostitutes. Parliament was given a year to rewrite the law. I know there was some push in some arenas to go to full decriminalization. Instead, we adopted (very recently--just this past month) a law very similar to Sweden's. It remains to be seen if we will be as good at implementing it as Sweden seems to have been. But I do see it as a great good for both men and women because it acknowledges that no, buying sex is not just another kind of commerce. 

Re: The problem with "consenting adults"

Nov. 22 at 12:07am | see this comment in context

I seem to recall that there was more awareness of the effect of power differentials on consent in the early days of second-wave feminism. Remember the "All sex is rape" line often (inaccurately) attributed to Andrea Dworkin? But Dworkin and MacKinnon (who was also accused of equating sex with rape) were maligned precisely because they were interested in how the structural and cultural inequalities between the sexes affected things like sexual roles, expectations, and consent.

MacKinnon said that rape trials could not be just until they adopted female conceptions of consent and coercion rather than merely male ideas of what levels of force or coercion are acceptable when assuming consent (reading accounts of rape trials from 40 and 50 years ago makes me profoundly grateful for the work women like Dworkin and MacKinnon did, regardless of their flaws). On a much smaller scale, there was a lot of talk over the catcalling video that made the rounds a few weeks ago, and a lot of men said, "Most of those guys were just probably trying to be friendly." But the power differential is precisely what makes it feel threatening rather than friendly for the woman being catcalled.  

Re: Further Lessons from Dubay’s Authenticity: Two ways of ‘knowing’

Sep. 22 at 3:17pm | see this comment in context

Sam, I think my reaction is more of wariness for a line of discussion that I've experienced as serving as an apologia for men to behave poorly towards others.

So, while it is complimentary to hear (as I have heard before) that women are more naturally attuned to the person and to nurturing, I'm more interested in the question of how men become attuned to the person--it can't possibly be very far out of reach, since we have countless examples out of written history, biography, philosophy, and literature of men who have this heart. 

I had someone explain to me a while back that they are "Just not as empathetic as other people." It was expressed with a kind of fatalism, as though it were a concrete and unchangeable aspect of their personality, that they could fake their way around but not change. I reflected afterwards that this revelation couldn't have any value at all to this person unless it were accompanied by the understanding that everyone has the capacity for empathy, just as everyone has the ability to starve and silence that empathy, and that a person can foster the traits and virtues they find themselves lacking.

Re: Further Lessons from Dubay’s Authenticity: Two ways of ‘knowing’

Sep. 20 at 7:36pm | see this comment in context

I suppose it doesn't ruffle my feathers when these differences are described as strengths; mainly it irritates me when they are used to delineate or excuse limitations--whether to disourage or excuse one or the other sex from attempting to attain a thing. 

As an aside, I've had the rather interesting experience of having been described (approvingly, and more than once) as a woman who "reasons like a man." It's an odd compliment to receive because of course I reason as a woman--since I am a woman, I can't really do otherwise. I'm never quite sure whether the speaker means that they don't expect rational analysis from women, or that something about the way I engage in analysis seems particularly masculine. 

Re: Further Lessons from Dubay’s Authenticity: Two ways of ‘knowing’

Sep. 20 at 10:49am | see this comment in context

Every once in a while, I hear someone argue that some particular way of thinking or feeling or emoting or whatever is particularly female, and thus something we should not expect men to be attracted to. 

This always rings false to me, since we really only have male sources for pretty much every major movement, trend, school of thought, philosophical idea, etc. for all but the last two centuries, and male thinkers and writers remained dominant for much of that period as well. Which means that for any particular type of thought or expression named, you will usually be able to think of more male examples than female, making it difficult to really argue the 'maleness' or 'femaleness' of the type of thought or expression.

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