Feminism, Part III

News: Commentary
by Hunter Bradford  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  August 6, 2021   

Displaced mothers

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Read Part I and Part II of this series.

In part two, I discussed feminism's goal of eradicating the hierarchy willed by God between husband and wife. It wants more though. In this third part, I'll discuss the ideology's endeavor to drive wives and mothers outside of the home. Moreover, the teaching office of the Church, the Magisterium, in the form of a whole slew of papal documents, has throughout history taught time and time again that a Catholic cannot also be a feminist.

Pope Pius XI touched on this a number of decades ago, responding in Casti Connubii to the claim that women ought to be "liberated" or "emancipated" from their role as stay-at-home moms:

This, however, is not the true emancipation of woman, nor that rational and exalted liberty which belongs to the noble office of a Christian woman and wife; it is rather the debasing of the womanly character and the dignity of motherhood, and indeed of the whole family, as a result of which the husband suffers the loss of his wife, the children of their mother, and the home and the whole family of an ever watchful guardian. More than this, this false liberty and unnatural equality with the husband is to the detriment of the woman herself, for if the woman descends from her truly regal throne to which she has been raised within the walls of the home by means of the Gospel, she will soon be reduced to the old state of slavery (if not in appearance, certainly in reality) and become as amongst the pagans the mere instrument of man. This equality of rights which is so much exaggerated and distorted, must indeed be recognized in those rights which belong to the dignity of the human soul and which are proper to the marriage contract and inseparably bound up with wedlock. In such things undoubtedly both parties enjoy the same rights and are bound by the same obligations; in other things there must be a certain inequality and due accommodation, which is demanded by the good of the family and the right ordering and unity and stability of home life. 

The home is truly the woman's "regal throne." It's the unique and irreplaceable genius of the woman which allows her to make a house into a home. Only the woman has this beautiful gift. Feminism seeks a false liberty and an unnatural equality to the detriment of husband, wife and their children.

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Children need their mothers. Babies and toddlers especially need them. In fact, toddlers and babies need their mothers even more than their fathers. I don't at all mean that fathers are insignificant — far from it. The lack of a masculine presence of the father can prove destructive. So don't get me wrong. Both fathers and mothers are important. It's a false sense of liberty and emancipation for the mother to be snatched from her queenly domain. The pope even calls the hellish "emancipation" a crime against the children, husband and even the woman herself. The Roman Catechism, otherwise known as the Catechism of the Council of Trent, promulgated by the Church in 1566, asserts the duties of the wife are as follows:

To train their children in the practice of virtue and to pay particular attention to their domestic concerns. ... The wife should love to remain at home, unless compelled by necessity to go out; and she should never presume to leave home without her husband's consent. Again, and in this the conjugal union chiefly consists, let wives never forget that next to God they are to love their husbands, to esteem them above all others, yielding to them in all things not inconsistent with Christian piety, a willing and ready obedience. 

The basis of this teaching lies in man and woman's immutable, meaning unchangeable, nature. The essence of what it means to be a man or woman never changes. If what it means to be a man or woman never changes, then it doesn't matter if it's 200 B.C. or A.D. 2020 — the nature and essence of man and woman do not change with the times. 

Also, just for good measure, the Roman Catechism decrees that the duties of the husband are the following:

It is the duty of the husband to treat his wife generously and honourably. It should not be forgotten that Eve was called by Adam his companion. The woman, he says, whom thou gavest me as a companion. Hence it was, according to the opinion of some of the holy Fathers, that she was formed not from the feet but from the side of man; as, on the other hand, she was not formed from his head, in order to give her to understand that it was not hers to command but to obey her husband. The husband should also be constantly occupied in some honest pursuit with a view to provide necessaries for the support of his family and to avoid idleness, the root of almost every vice. He is also to keep all his family in order, to correct their morals, and see that they faithfully discharge their duties.

Could the Roman Catechism be any more beautiful and unambiguous? The husband may not, under any circumstances, treat his wife heartlessly or dishonorably. Ever. She is his companion, not his slave. In that same breath with which it commands husbands to not be tyrants, the Catechism also declares the wife ought to pay particular attention to her domestic duties, love to stay at home, be submissive to her husband, and yield to him in all things consistent with Christian piety. Pope Pius XI faithfully hands down this teaching of the Church in his encyclical on the reconstruction of the social order, Quadragesimo Anno:

Mothers, concentrating on household duties, should work primarily in the home or in its immediate vicinity. It is an intolerable abuse, and to be abolished at all cost, for mothers on account of the father's low wage to be forced to engage in gainful occupations outside the home to the neglect of their proper cares and duties, especially the training of children. Every effort must therefore be made that fathers of families receive a wage large enough to meet ordinary family needs adequately.

Notice that the pope mentions women working, but says it must not be to the neglect of her office of mother and wife at home. Also, the context and framework in which I am writing is between a husband and wife. Many, if not all of the magisterial quotations and scriptural passages are in this and no other context. Any reasonable person would realize that a single woman has to work. These passages are not directed towards single women, but married women, and especially those with children. Any job that distracts and draws a mother's attention away from her husband and kids must be rejected. He even goes so far as to call it an "intolerable abuse." If she does work, it should be inside the home or in its "immediate vicinity."

Children need their mothers. Babies and toddlers especially need them. In fact, toddlers and babies need their mothers even more than their fathers.

In addition, both the husband and the wife have duties, but the duties ought not be the same. Pope Pius XI mentioned this in an earlier cited encyclical, but he's not the only Holy Father to do so. Pope Leo XIII echoes this sentiment in his encyclical on rights and duties of capital and labor, Rerum Novarum: "Women, again, are not suited to certain trades; for a woman is by nature fitting for home work, and it is that which is best adapted at once to preserve her modesty, and to promote the good bringing up of children and the well-being of the family."

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This only makes logical sense. Men and women are different, and the difference is not merely physical, but also spiritual. The physical difference reflects and embodies the spiritual difference and complementarity between men and women. Men's bodies are more fit for physical, grueling labor than women's bodies are. It's no coincidence that over 90% of bricklayers and construction site workers in the United States are men. Further, reminds Rules for Retrogrades, it's precisely the complementary differences between men and women that attract them to each other:

The natural force that arises in that space of inter-sexual admiration may only be described as attraction, a beautiful phenomenon that cannot exist without male-female differences. The natural law ensures that, on account of stark sexual differences of body and soul, men and women have indispensably different roles to play. Thus are they drawn to one another. Women are attracted to the strength, assertiveness and activity of good men; men are attracted to the fealty, gentleness and receptivity of good women. Along those lines, males attract females through leadership, just as females attract males through fealty. Natural complementarity dictates a beautiful "fit" between men and women. 

How could their duties in the domestic Church not reflect men and women's inherent physical and spiritual differences and complementarity? Pope Leo XIII, in a different encyclical, Arcanum, writes:

Secondly, the mutual duties of husband and wife have been defined, and their several rights accurately established. They are bound, namely, to have such feelings for one another as to cherish always very great mutual love, to be ever faithful to their marriage vow, and to give one another an unfailing and unselfish help. 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. Since the husband represents Christ, and since the wife represents the Church, let there always be, both in him who commands and in her who obeys, a heaven-born love guiding both in their respective duties. For "the husband is the head of the wife; as Christ is the head of the Church. ... Therefore, as the Church is subject to Christ, so also let wives be to their husbands in all things."

Pope Leo XIII knew the roles of husband and wife are not up for debate. They have already been defined, he said, and therefore, simply just need to be heeded and obeyed by us sons and daughters of Holy Mother Church. His words reaffirm the Church's teaching that the father is the head of the wife — and "chief" of the family — and that the wife owes obedience to her bridegroom.

Any job that distracts and draws a mother's attention away from her husband and kids must be rejected.

In a relationship, as in a war, there cannot be two commanders. If that were the case, there would be constant infighting and commands would never be obeyed. A body cannot have two heads. For this reason, the Holy Father declares, the husband commands and the wife obeys. The Church has always, does today, and will continue to recognize a hierarchy between husband and wife. Part IV of this series will discuss how the greatest human person of all time, the Blessed Virgin Mary, might have something to say about feminism.

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