My name is Mary O. Daly, a common name, because all the Irish families in the world, for several hundreds of years, have named their daughters, and sometimes their sons, after our Lady. When I was in a Catholic high school, I once took a math class with 12 students, five of whom were named Mary. Although the name is less common now, it is a fashion not likely to die while Jesus lives.
Among the innumerable host of Mary Dalys, there is one writer of enviable competence and considerable fame who has a poor reputation among orthodox Catholics. It has been suggested that I alter my own name so as not to be confused with her. I am Mary O. Daly
Still, I cannot leave her the first claim to a name that represents both the Emerald Isle and the Queen of Angels? With your help, I will redeem it.
I live in South Dakota where I have raised five children, meantime sending a few little ones on, and where I have also undertaken my small part towards cultural renewal, first by writing books about sentence diagrams so people can think more clearly, and then by writing the science texts I always wanted while I was teaching my own children. There are also math and history materials and other things in the works. I also print some of the writings of my immediate family, on poetry and science both.
One more piece of background is relevant to the science materials which some people find controversial. I was out of the Church for a period of time, and although I do not discount the role of plain sinfulness in that episode, I maintain that some part of it was related to the incoherence of the common presentation of the relationship between faith and science. Since my return to the Church, I have resolved that nobody in my circle of influence will suffer that particular temptation. They don't.
That is a seminal part of my mission, and not only mine, but one that family connections have made particularly salient because these connections have provided me with an unusual collection of insights that are not generally available together, although each one is in the public domain.
My writing is orthodox, not only in my own opinion and intention, but in the opinion of the diocesan censor where I live. Many of my publications carry the Nihil Ostat and Imprimatur of the Bishop of Eastern South Dakota.
Patriarchy is the first major step, historically, in the liberation of women. A woman always knows she is the mother of her child, and at the moment of birth, so does everyone else. Men can always say, "Who, me?" leaving the woman with the task of caring for the child in every way. It is when a man says, "This one's mine; I'm going to see that he's okay," that a woman gets the support she needs and can have a full and rich life.
It can happen that patriarchy goes astray and becomes mere chauvinism, leaving the woman under the doormat, but as a first step, it is liberating, and we ditch it at our peril.
I also have a strong opinion about women in the sacred precincts.
Again, a major step in women's liberation was accomplished when temple prostitution was rejected by a major world religion, and the cunning idea that sex, particularly sex outside family, is actually a "religious" experience was flatly rejected.
Many women now seek to "enter the temple precincts" as ordained ministers. Part of the reason for this is that women do have religious leadership charisms which are not well able to function in a culture of divorce and Protestantism. The founding of religious orders and the depth of the family or intellectual vocation may be rendered all but impossible in these cultural vacuums, so that the only visible road for women's religious leadership is the men's.
But the great Catholic women of our own and other times in history seem to keep busy without ordination. Catholicism offers women certain opportunities that are hard to come by elsewhere.
There is a solution for those who live "elsewhere": cross the Tiber.