I must give credit when credit is due and it is due to Maureen Dowd on her recent columns about the Catholic church and its problems. I have often criticized Dowd's school playground approach to politics, her desire to be dominated by strong daddy figures and her readiness to join the boyz in belittling women in politics. But sometimes she gets it:
When I was in Saudi Arabia, I had tea and sweets with a group of educated and sophisticated young professional women.
I asked why they were not more upset about living in a country where women's rights were strangled, an inbred and autocratic state more like an archaic men's club than a modern nation. They told me, somewhat defensively, that the kingdom was moving at its own pace, glacial as that seemed to outsiders.
How could such spirited women, smart and successful on every other level, acquiesce in their own subordination?
I was puzzling over that one when it hit me: As a Catholic woman, I was doing the same thing.
Well, she wasn't doing exactly the same thing. Women in Saudi Arabia are subject to the shariah law, and telling the system that you are "upset" about it can be extremely dangerous. The Catholic church doesn't have the power to imprison a woman who criticizes it (or I'd be in jail). In fact, a woman can leave the church and nothing terrible happens to her. A woman in Saudi Arabia cannot leave the country without the permission of her husband or her father.