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Marie Meaney

Joined: Nov. 22, 2011

Bio:

Currently living in Rome (Italy) with my husband and daughter, I’m working on a project on totalitarian evil from the perspectives of Simone Weil and Hannah Arendt. My book Simone Weil’s Apologetic Use of Literature: Her Christological Interpretations of Classic Greek Texts appeared with OUP in 2008. I’ve also worked on the topic of infertility, and my booklet “Embracing the Cross of Infertility” (HLI, 2010.) has appeared in an expanded version in German, Hungarian, Croatian and Spanish. Before moving to Italy due to my husband’s work, I was an Arthur Ennis Teaching Fellow at Villanova University from 2007 to 2010. My background is in philosophy and comparative literature.


Most recent posts by Marie Meaney:     (See all of them)


“Boxing” Others

Feb. 17 at 2:35pm | Comments: 11 | Most recent comment: Feb. 28 at 5:25am

I’m not speaking here of a boxing-match or of bullies who like beating up others. What I’m referring to is the widespread human temptation to put others into “boxes”. What makes this so terrible, and yet so tremendously tempting? It can seem an innocent enough pastime. What I tell my spouse or mother, or what I talk about in the inner recesses of the family, won’t hurt anybody, right? I can trust...

The Spirit of Worldliness

Dec. 3 at 4:26am | Comments: 3 | Most recent comment: Dec. 4 at 10:59am

In his homily during his daily mass the other day, Pope Francis warned against the spirit of worldliness. He called it “a fruit of the devil who makes his way forward with the spirit of secular worldliness” (http://www.romereports.com/palio/pope-take-note-adolescent-progressivism-protects-human-sacrifices-english-11629.html#.UouFmsScdya). These are strong words, and we have seen so far that Pope Francis is not afraid of calling the devil by his name nor speaking about the momentous choices each one of us...

When Faith becomes Ideology

Oct. 28 at 3:52am | Comments: 16 | Most recent comment: Nov. 19 at 6:33am

  To speak about faith becoming an ideology seems to be a contradiction in terms, at least to the faithful Catholic. For ideology is a construction, a system covering up and closing one off from reality while giving the false impression of having an explanation for everything; faith, however, is based on truth as revealed by God and is also accessible to reason (in contrast, any kind of belief is called an “ideology” these days, the underlying supposition...

The Temptations of Beauty

Sep. 17 at 3:42am | Comments: 3 | Most recent comment: Sep. 19 at 11:17pm

It seems strange to be talking about beauty as a temptation. Isn’t beauty a ladder to God, a reflection of the good, and a dangerous trap only for those wishing to remain atheists?  The “blue flower” (so termed by the Romantics), which is, among other things, the longing for the re-occurrence of a momentous experience of beauty, became an important step, for example, in C. S. Lewis’ conversion-process. Yet it didn...

Some Reflections on the Spirit of Poverty

Aug. 22 at 10:34am | Comments: 7 | Most recent comment: Aug. 30 at 9:18am

Not many are called to a voluntary life of absolute poverty such as St Francis of Assisi, or Mother Teresa and her sisters.  However, everybody is called to be in some respect poor with the poor in order to exercise true caritas on which, after all, we will be judged (Christ tells those who fed, clothed or helped him in some way in the poor, that they will go to Heaven,  while those who didn’t, are...


Latest comments by Marie Meaney:     (See all of them)


Re: A memoir of spiritual abuse and recovery

Mar. 21 at 2:26pm | see this comment in context

So where I’m coming from here is not to blur the line between abusive behavior and simply wrong behavior, but to see the abusive nature of every sin when one is on the receiving end. I’m simply looking at the experience of being sinned against.  

Re: A memoir of spiritual abuse and recovery

Mar. 21 at 2:25pm | see this comment in context

I understand where you are coming from as well now, Katie. But I think there is a difference between using this as a lame excuse to cover up abuse and seeing that every sin is in some respect abusive. There is a strong difference between the systematic violation of another person’s boundaries, as I pointed out (and you too), and that where it just happens occasionally; I also take your point that the one is much more serious than the other. I guess I was intrigued by EE’s story because it rang true with my own experience. I wouldn’t consider myself as having been part of a dysfunctional family in your sense, Katie, or of a cult. Yet there is something which being sinned against does to one’s soul and psyche. I was struck that its message is “you may not be yourself, but should conform to my wishes” be it when one is the object of anger, lust, aesthetization, judgment etc. (I’m not sure this is the case with every sin, but my prima facie impression is that it is fairly general).

Re: A memoir of spiritual abuse and recovery

Mar. 21 at 6:07am | see this comment in context

The real flowering of the person can only happen through accepting her in her uniqueness. Through abusive parenting, a child is told that the person she is in her specific individuality, is despicable and needs to change. No wonder Esther exhibited some serious symptoms (sucking her thumb, hurting herself to deal with the inner pain she was experiencing); the sad thing is that they were not taken seriously and not seen as an alarm going off. The miracle is that she got out of this cult without turning against God, and became Catholic (I saw this on her blog; I haven’t yet finished her book).

Re: A memoir of spiritual abuse and recovery

Mar. 21 at 6:06am | see this comment in context

I’m trying to think of different kinds of vices: lust, anger, judging others, pride, envy (though with envy it seems like I want to be and have what the other is/has, I actually want to bring him down and not be this wonderful person which grates me) etc. We’re all dysfunctional (since we all have original sin); only love allows the other to fully be himself, accepting him also with his weaknesses (which doesn’t mean I should allow the other to abuse me). So I’m tempted to say that since we are all sinners, we are all to some extent from and in dysfunctional families; the holier the people, the less dysfunctional the family is. Lest I blur the lines though, I think the main difference lies, as you said, in the systematic violation of another. There’s a difference between sometimes losing one’s temper towards one’s children (which is still a kind of violence directed against the other, going beyond his/her misdeed, implying a refusal of who he or she is) and systematically not allowing one’s children to have feelings, opinions and weaknesses of their own.

Re: A memoir of spiritual abuse and recovery

Mar. 21 at 6:05am | see this comment in context

Thanks for pointing out this interesting book and blog, Katie. Your characterization of dysfunctional families and cult-like groups as the “systematic violation of the central features of personhood, i.e. suppression of a person's freedom, autonomy, and conscience” is excellent This expresses itself in dismissing another’s emotions (calling them irrational or wrong, for example), stressing authority to the point that all questions or doubts are treated as disobedience, and demanding a kind of abject obedience which wants to control the other’s emotions and thoughts. This is what defines a cult, as Elizabeth Esther says (I got her book after reading your post), rather than its belief-system.

This got me thinking (and I’m somewhat thinking out aloud): I don’t want to blur the lines here, but isn’t there in all sin a kind of “taking” over of the other person? Isn’t there a wanting to control the other (be it for my pleasure, to cater to my needs and pride) which doesn’t allow him to be himself?

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