There’s no woman so disparaged in Catholic and Christian circles—by men and women alike—as the angry feminist, the perceived man hater, the baker of “rage cookies,” as one popular columnist once described feminist writers. The angry woman is easy to mock. She has no real power. Anger makes us an even more prominent target. I told my counselor that my greatest fear was that I’d become an angry old woman. He answered that sometimes anger is the only healthy response to injustice and abuse. Sometimes anger is what keeps us, and other people, alive.
The anger of prophets, Catholic theologian Elizabeth Johnson said, leads to repentance and renewal. It has “a dangerous edge” because it threatens the powerful who benefit from systems of oppression. But it also “cuts through the despair of those who are suffering.” Righteous anger brings hope to others, not despair.