Thank God, the twentieth century will be known for the emergence of the feminine mind into mainstream consciousness. Before this time that has not been the case, and it is still true in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Christianity must take much of the credit here, and liberals would be honest to admit this. But in general, the feminine and women have been demeaned or dismissed as inferior, even in Christianity, which should have known better.
There were occasional Christians who took Paul seriously when he said that “in Christ there is neither male nor female” (Galatians 3:28). For example, Lady Julian of Norwich (1342-1316), my favorite mystic, calls Jesus “our Mother.” She says, “Jesus is our true mother in whom we are endlessly carried and out of whom we will never come.”
For many Christians, Mary became the archetypal image of the maternal face of God. It was the only way they could break through, especially if they never had a good man in their lives. Many Catholics, especially in macho cultures, actually loved Mary much more than Jesus, or God “the Father,” or the neuter Holy Spirit. It was perhaps bad theology, but it was needed and brilliant psychology.
-Richard Rohr, The Maternal Face of God