Christianity and Feminism Don’t Mix

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by David Gordon  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  July 6, 2020   

Patriarchy is prescribed by God

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For decades, frothy feminist radicals and moderate Christian compromisers have deluged the West with propaganda suggesting that, not only are Christianity and feminism compatible, but that sex-egalitarianism is actually a Christian moral imperative. A generation of rubes has taken the bait.

At this very moment, the Church is scrambling to find ways to expand women's ecclesiastical leadership roles. From July 11–25 of 2020, the Latin American Academy of Catholic Leaders (at the request of Pope Francis himself) will be hosting a sort of symposium reflecting on a "new feminism" — one that will draw women further into public life.  

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Bp. Georg Bätzing 

The German Bishops' Conference, now headed by Bp. Georg Bätzing, is ferociously advocating for women's ordination because many top German prelates view the evolution of the role of women as "the most pressing question we have concerning the future [of the Church]." 

"Catholic" European women are campaigning to reimagine the feminine ideal (contra that embodied by the modest, veiled Blessed Mother) with their Maria 2.0 movement. Stateside, the Association of United States Catholic Priests has earmarked "placing women in Church governance" as one of its top priorities for 2020. 

There's one problem with the attempt to wed Christianity to feminism though: Theological anthropology serves as a diriment impediment to the unholy marriage — an impediment insurmountable even for the well-oiled progressive deception machine. "Christian feminism" is a flagrant lie — it's smoke and mirrors intended to beguile credulous Christian men into an emasculated stupor.

Feminism is anathema to Christianity because Christianity envisions the three societies—ecclesiastical, familial and civil—as founded on patriarchy, whereas the central aim of feminism is patriarchy's total eradication. As such, one cannot graft feminism onto Christianity without fundamentally altering the nobility of Christianity or the ugliness of feminism.

Christianity's View

While Christendom has, from the beginning, acknowledged the equal dignity of man and woman in the eyes of God, we have been careful to distinguish the concept of equality from the concept of sameness. 

While men and women are of equal worth, providence has determined that we have different roles in the Church, in society and in the family. God has ordained that the roles of governing and leading belong to the man; God has bestowed upon man the active, outward role in liturgy, family and society. 

Conversely, woman is crafted to be man's helpmate; her role is to follow, enact and facilitate the rightful decrees of man — not as his slave, but as his companion. She has a receptive, passive role in liturgy, family and society. She is veiled, as the Blessed Virgin Mary; she is not in the limelight, but meekly embodies righteousness and tenderness behind the scenes (see Querida Amazonia, §101).

But we're told that such ideas are "archaic" and "outmoded" — relics of a bygone "sexist" era that must be hastily discarded in our brave new world, right? Such is the prevailing mantra from bellicose feminists, eager to do away with eons of Scripture and tradition in the name of their pathetic 60-year-old revolt. Not so fast. Don't drink that Kool-Aid yet. 

God is immutable — He doesn't change. That which is perfect cannot evolve, since perfection is inherently content (think of the noble gases). As such, neither can God's word nor His will change. This is why it is written, "Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed ... so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2, emphasis added). Because God remains eternally unchanging, if He willed in the beginning that mankind should function as a patriarchy, any societal "progress" that contravenes this framework is worthy of our scorn. 

God did, in fact, order mankind as a patriarchy.

God did, in fact, order mankind as a patriarchy. It is elemental among Bible scholars that, in the ancient world, bestowing a name upon a person or thing was an unmistakable sign of authority over the recipient of the name. Parents name kids, masters name pets, scientists name new species. So it is telling that in the book of Genesis, immediately after God created Eve and presented her to Adam, he presumed to name her: "This is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman" (Genesis 2:23, emphasis added). 

It is worth noting that at this point, Adam and Eve had not disobeyed God, so the world was still unblemished by the stain of sin. In other words, Adam could not have been exhibiting "toxic masculinity" and unacceptably dominating Eve. Rather, "male privilege" was willed by God.

Man's exclusive leadership vocation is further borne out by the events of salvation history. As we know, God called the Old Testament patriarchs to shepherd His people. In the days of the New Testament, Christ invested the Apostles (each of them male) with His divine authority (Matthew 18:18). 

Christ commissioned these princes of the Church to govern, to sanctify and to teach. In turn, the Apostles passed such authority down to an all-male episcopate and presbyterate (cf. Acts 14:23). This was not mere happenstance.

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Indeed, Scripture goes on to explicitly confirm the divine prescription of male headship. In his second letter to Timothy, St. Paul does not mince words panning the notion of petticoat governance: Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. (2 Timothy 12:11–15).

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St. Irenaeus of Lyons

Reinforced by Tradition 

But the case for Christian patriarchy does not rest with Scripture — it transcends it. The ideal of patriarchy slumbers deep within the Christian tradition. A study of Christian writings through the ages proves this.

Irenaeus (AD 130–202), for example, held that "both nature and the law place the woman in a subordinate condition to the man."  His fellow Patristic, Clement of Alexandria (AD 150–215) admonished, "The ruling power is, therefore, the head. And if 'the Lord is head of the man and the man is head of the woman,' the man, 'being the image and glory of God, is lord of the woman.'"

The Angelic Doctor, Thomas Aquinas reasoned of patriarchy that,

Good order would have been wanting in the human family if some were not governed by others wiser than themselves.  So by such a kind of subjection woman is naturally subject to man, because in man the discretion of reason predominates.  Nor is inequality among men excluded by the state of innocence.

A few hundred years later, the Catechism of Trent, promulgated by Pope Pius V, taught that a woman "should never presume to leave the home without her husband's consent" and that she must yield to her husband "in all things not inconsistent with Christian piety, a willing and ready obedience." While the man is to "treat his wife generously and honorably," he has the exclusive duty of ruling his house, as the woman is not "to command but to obey her husband."

Pope Leo XIII confirms the constant doctrine of patriarchy in his encyclical on Christian marriage: "The husband is the chief of the family and the head of the wife. The woman, because she is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, must be subject to her husband and obey him; not, indeed, as a servant, but as a companion, so that her obedience shall be wanting in neither honor nor dignity" (Arcanum, §11).

The woman, because she is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, must be subject to her husband and obey him; not, indeed, as a servant, but as a companion, so that her obedience shall be wanting in neither honor nor dignity.

Since the family is the basic cell of society, what is true for the family is also true for society as a whole. The notion that God destined man to rule over his family in a domestic setting, but that woman is fit to reign over man outside the home is absolutely absurd. Such a suggestion imputes schizophrenic tendencies to the Divine Mind. Thus, Pope Pius X, in an address to a Union of Italian Catholic women given in 1909, quipped:

It is a mistake, therefore, to maintain that woman's rights are the same as man's. Women in war or parliament are outside their proper sphere and their position there would be the desperation and ruin of society. Woman, created as man's companion, must so remain under the power of love and affection, but always under his power (emphasis added).

The same line of reasoning holds true for the ecclesial society as well. One of the primary reasons why women can never ascend to the ordained life is that part and parcel of the ordained life is the investment of ecclesial authority — an authority altogether denied women in the plan of God. Hence, Pope St. John Paul II tells us, in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis §4, "In virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren, I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."

Continuity vs. Capitulation

God, who is pure reason, created an intelligible universe. Since man enjoys a position of headship domestically, he has been endowed with attributes that facilitate his leadership duties. Men have a natural affinity for attributes like fortitude, courage, vision and strength — because such traits make efficient domestic governance possible. Of course, men do not shed such abilities as they cross the domestic threshold; rather, men retain their natural gifts and radiate them into society. 

Conversely, women do not exchange their natural modesty, tranquility, tenderness and warmth for masculine abilities as they step away from the home; rather they bring the beauty of their abilities into the world. God would not demand that women live a double life — a life submissive within the home but aggressively assertive without the home. Such a demand would be capricious and unfair. You cannot spend your day serving as both a general and a private.

There is nothing new about the 'new' feminism. It is a jejune recycling of the errant ideas of the old feminism.

Christian men must be bold and outspoken in reclaiming what feminists have purloined from us — that is to say our headship, our vocations and our very masculinity. We must stand strong in the face of apparent, widespread capitulation by the bishops on the issue of feminism.

The never-ending string of committees being summoned by ecclesiastics to "investigate" (read: arrive at a preordained, egalitarian conclusion) possible new roles for women in the Church, the family and civil society in the 21st century represents a diabolical dalliance with a false and dangerous ideology. It is a policy of appeasement aimed at sating the forces that believe that the Church must waffle on truth to fill the pews. It is a shameful surrender to those who want to make the Church like the world instead of making the world like the Church. 

There is nothing new about the "new" feminism. It is a jejune recycling of the errant ideas of the old feminism. Remembering that the disordered leadership and activity of Eve (the first feminist) and the perverse passivity and receptivity of Adam (the first beta) were the cause of the Fall of man, we must be stalwart in our rejection of gynocracy and in our embrace of patriarchy. And if that means rebuking our bishops as sons would a father, then consider it done.

David Gordon holds university degrees in political science, law and theology. He is co-author (with his brother, Tim) of Rules for Retrogrades: Forty Tactics to Defeat the Radical Left. The brothers Gordon have a forthcoming book on Sophia Press, detailing the impossibility of "Christian feminism." Dave and Tim also co-host a YouTube show and podcast. David Gordon is an associate copy editor at Church Militant.
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