under the patronage of St Joseph and St Dominic
By the rivers of Babylon there we sat and wept, remembering Zion;
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The ideology of feminism exercises immense influence over public thought, public utterance and public policy. From it flow innumerable effects in the lives of men, women and, especially, children. This study will deal with the ideology as it affects Catholic life.
But if this is the case why is it that throughout history this equality of rights and talents has not manifested itself? For it is men who have dominated the world stage while women have been the homemakers, the workers behind the scenes. The explanation given by feminism reflects the thought of Karl Marx: it is a class struggle. Women have hitherto been oppressed by men; their rights suppressed. This is why women have been unable to achieve the same status as men in the fields of work and in social and public life. Women must, then, struggle to throw off this oppression imposed on them for so long by men.
So does feminism arrive at its characteristic of antipathy--of war--between the sexes.
Now, subtly, an emphasis appears in feminist thought, an emphasis in favour of the masculine traits and dispositions and against the feminine ones. The movement sees success materially, rather than immaterially. That is, it sees the achievements written on the pages of history as the only desiderata and the hidden things, the things done behind the scenes, as beneath dignity. It exalts pride; it derides humility. So, feminism asserts, the only activities, the only ends worth pursuing are those which men have arrogated to themselves. Women, the thesis proceeds, have been conditioned to believe that they are incapable of performing the activities, of achieving the ends, that men achieve. They must put aside that conditioning. The biological processes which affect women's bodies are only an accident of nature and should not operate so as to inhibit their rights to exercise the equality of talents they have with men. A paradox follows. Feminists are loud in their call for 'women's rights'. But they are not seeking 'women's rights' at all but 'men's rights', that is, the right to conduct themselves as if they were men.
From this one idea, of simple equality between the sexes, the ideology of feminism spreads its influence throughout society. It begins with woman but because she is at the heart of mankind, its effects are far reaching for man; it affects her husband and, even more profoundly, her children. It brings a revolution in the way men and women regard each other, a revolution in the attitude taken towards the marriage act--the act of sexual intercourse in marriage--and a revolution in the family. It effects a fundamental change in society--in dress; in language; in a removal of the suppression of what had hitherto been regarded as immoral and criminal behaviour; in the legal system; in the way clubs and small societies govern themselves. In the academic world it serves to found a philosophy and a sociology; it establishes a theory of history rivalling those of Hegel and Marx; and alters fundamentally the way in which almost every academic subject is taught.
There is an ordination distinctive to man, and another ordination distinctive to woman which determines the relationship of man to woman, and of woman to man. Ordination signifies 'end'--that is, there is an end proper to the man; there is another, not identical, end proper to the woman. This difference in ordination is placed in them by their author. Separate the man from the ordination placed in him, separate the woman from the ordination placed in her, and you do violence to each--and you do violence to society of which they constitute the elements.
Man and woman were not made to war with, but to complement, each other. In particular, woman was made as a helper to man. In the book of Genesis 2:18 we read--' . . the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone; let us make him a help like unto himself.' In Tobit 8:6 the author says--'You made Adam and you gave his wife Eve to be his help and support . . .' In Ecclesiasticus, the Douai-Rheims has it--'Out of [Adam] he created a helper similar to him.' In 1 Corinthians 11:9, St Paul says--' . . it was not man that was created for woman's sake, but woman for man's.' Thus, even in the way they complement each other they are not equal.
God intends his creatures to act in the way that he made them, just as the human maker of an instrument or machine intends it to act in the way in which he has designed it. No one comes into existence as a neuter. Masculinity and feminity are not accidents of nature but manifestations of the Divine Will. God, from all eternity, willed not only that Adam should come into existence but that he should do so as a man. From all eternity he willed not only that Eve should come into existence, but that she should do so as a woman. Masculinity affects the whole of a man's being: femininity affects the whole of a woman's being.
The blindness of feminism arises out of a failure to accept reality. It is one of the many foul fruit of subjectivism, the mentality which has infected philosophical thought ever since Descartes. For subjectivism what matters is not reality but what I think about reality.
The fact that there are instances of physical abuse by men of women does not prove the feminist thesis that men have always oppressed women any more than the 'henpecking' of husbands by some wives would establish that women have always nagged men. Both physical and psychological abuse are reprehensible but they do not serve to establish philosophical principles. They go to show what Christianity has always maintained, that in the sin of Adam mankind was wounded fundamentally, and that original sin manifests itself in different ways in men and in women.
It is inevitable that a theory which fails to make a necessary distinction, which fails to acknowledge the difference in ordinations between man and woman, will work great harm in the world. And so it has proved.
At base is an attack on the true ordination of human sexuality, an ordination established by its author. If men and women are simply equal, the differences in sex between them are just an accident of nature. There is no element in the act of intercourse which serves to unite husband and wife. Neither is there any necessity that a child should result. Sex is nothing but a means of pleasure and children an avoidable by-product. What follows? Pope Paul VI spelt it out--
It is clear from this that feminism is destructive of society.
The human being differs from other creatures in that to him are given intellect and will. He can choose his ends. He can refuse to act in accordance with his nature. But the inevitable consequence of doing so is unhappiness. For he finds himself divided, his nature directing him in one direction, his choices in the opposite. The feminist is an unhappy person because she denies her nature as woman. She is unhappy too, because of her ambition, her striving, to emulate the masculine. Ambition is always a source of disquiet in the soul, but doubly so when that which is desired is unsuitable to nature, and trebly so in the case of the feminist, because ambition is a peculiarly masculine failing.
To confuse the vocations of man and of woman is the height of folly. To regard one's sexuality as something optional or changeable, or as something that can be ignored, is a great blindness. To think of one's sexuality as nothing more than a way in which one can indulge oneself in pleasure involves a twofold degradation--the degradation of its powers and the degradation of the person.
The separation of the unitive from the procreative elements in the marriage act releases those inclined to perversion to seek sexual satisfaction in homosexual relationships. The tendency to distortion of sexuality, which could be corrected in a sound society, is encouraged by the feminist mentality with its inbuilt confusion about what constitutes masculinity and femininity
Feminism encourages a parody of marriage by seeking to put homosexual relationships on a parity with lawful wedlock. Perversion is given the blessing of legitimacy. Order is disturbed by the introduction of disorder and so operates to further the destruction of society.
Every woman is naturally maternal whether or not a mother. It is contrary to everything she is by nature to masculinise her, to subject her to the control of the masculine society of technicians, of salesmen, of politicians, of those who seek profit and power, organising everything, marketing everything, reducing everything to an instrument for their own ends. The preoccupation with things is a masculine preoccupation containing within itself elements of degradation. But to woman God has given a natural inclination--consistent with the more important function she must perform of bearing and forming children--towards persons. That inclination is more ennobling than is the inclination in man. She is the more sensitive and impressionable of the two. The influence of a woman refines a man. To masculinise a woman is to degrade her. Within his limitations, Carl Jung spoke well when he wrote--
The reason why women have been unable to achieve the same status as men in work and in public and social life is that these fields of action fall peculiarly within the sphere of masculine talents and tendencies--to go out into the world; to engage in battle; to adventure. The fact that some women also exercise themselves in such activities and even excell in them does not disprove the differences in ordination between them, for there will always be exceptions to a rule.
A woman achieves her ends in a different and more hidden way than does a man. Since she is ordained towards persons, she achieves her ends through persons--husband, children, brothers and sisters--not through chasing after the ends themselves. Indeed her ends are these persons and not the things they pursue. Her influence in history is a hidden influence consistent with that humility which, provided it be not removed by evil influences, is her natural adornment. This explains what many find puzzling, namely, why woman has not herself featured largely in history. The truth is that whatever has been achieved by man in history has been achieved by woman.
Woman is the better part of man and it is for this reason that the Church has consistently applied to her the maxim corruptio optimi pessima--'the corruption of the best is the worst'. If a woman should become corrupted by vice, it is a worse evil than if a man should do so. Woman is the better part of man. This is the reason why the Church in the Sacred Liturgy, has constantly praised 'the devout feminine sex'. This also the reason why, in past ages of the Church, woman has been cossetted and protected. Woman is at the heart of mankind. If she does not carry out the function God has ordained and willed for her mankind suffers in its very foundations.
A woman tends to look askance today at the great gift she is given of being able to bring children into the world. If it is a blessing, she thinks it a mixed blessing. A man is encouraged in his inclination to sexual indulgence to forget the heavy duties that follow on the act of intercourse and to put out of mind the only licit setting in which it should occur, namely marriage. In 1953 the English Dominican, Gerald Vann, remarked the presence of a daemonic force in history. There is a satanic timeliness in the way scientific developments have provided feminism with the means to promote its ideology and to wreak the maximum of havoc in society. For feminism could never prosper save in an environment in which contraception and abortion were made easy. Moreover, the economic systems of the civilised countries of the world have reached the stage where they place such burdens on families that only the most committed husband and wife will take upon themselves those burdens.
The feminist emulates the masculine preoccupation with function. A distinction has always been appropriate between the man who was a good butcher, a good baker, a good candlestick maker--that is, a man who was good secundum quid, good under some respect--and a man who was good simpliciter, that is, simply a good man. Identification with the latter, which is far and away the more important, comes naturally to women. The feminist is obsessed with the former. It is for this reason she wants to hold offices; to get into parliament, to be a barrister, a judge; a government minister; and, if it were possible, to be a priest!
In Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer, the young hero turns the burdensome chore of whitewashing the fence of the family home to his advantage by making it appear to his peers that the performance of this chore was not something to be shunned, but something desirable. In the same way do feminists allow themselves to be misled into thinking that tasks and functions which are peculiarly masculine are something desirable.
It never occurs to the feminist that in her blind striving for 'equality' with the male she may be abandoning the far greater dignity of femininity, or that she is losing thereby the true equality with the male she has always possessed.
It is no accident that television and videos are full of stories of heroes--cardboard cutouts--delusions of their inventors, designed to encourage the viewer to indulge in a fantasy world which will innoculate him from the need to cope with reality. Many men exercise their manhood in a surrogate fashion in this way by immersing themselves in trivialities, sapping their will to cope with the real world.
Under the influence of feminism, a man would rather not marry. He would rather not be a father. Feminism encourages him, playing on the masculine tendency towards things rather than persons, to treat sex as an instrument to his own ends. It aids him further because, in its drive for women to emulate the male, it encourages them to the same stupidity.
Feminism denies the rights of the father. It denies that he is the head of his household. This is in flat contradiction of the nature of the family and of Divine revelation--
Order and direction come from the intellect which the head signifies. As the mother is the heart, so is the father the head of the family. The father is, then, the source of authority in the family. It is inevitable that the loss of the sense of fatherhood leads to a loss of the sense of discipline in the family.
Again, feminism denies to the man the talents which are peculiarly his, notably the vocation of breadwinner. It encourages his wife to go out and work convincing her that she could never be satisfied with the vocation of mistress, domina, in the tiny kingdom of her home.
It is well known that feminism advocates the alteration of the language to remove all those terms which it regards as 'sexist'. It goes to ludicrous lengths to remove any reference to the expression 'man' or its plural 'men', relying on the simplistic assertion that these terms in the language always refer to the male sex. More often in the language, 'man' or 'men' are used to indicate genus--the rational animal--which applies to both males and females alike. In the same way the pronoun 'he' signifies more often than not, man, the genus. The result is that when feminism asserts that all references to the masculine gender in language should be replaced, at no matter what cost to conciseness or felicity of expression, it is working actively to corrupt the language. And since language is the expression of thought, feminism works to corrupt our categories of thought.
Since feminism denies the husband is the head of his wife, by implication it denies that the Church is subject to Christ. This is the reality behind the feminist complaints that the Church is 'paternalistic' and that it represses women. The attack on Christ and on the Church encompasses an attack on the hierarchical nature of the Church: on the Pope, as the Holy Father of all the people of God; on bishops as fathers in their dioceses; and on priests as fathers in their parishes.
Feminism is responsible for the continuing failure of discipline in the Church. The source of discipline in the family is the father. The source of discipline in the Church is the Pope ('the Father') and the bishops. These have failed to exercise discipline effectively within the Church since the celebrated speech of Pope John XXIII opening the Second Vatican Council on 11th October 1962 where he said--
In setting up mercy in opposition to severity, Pope John ignored the fact that the condemnation of error is itself a work of mercy. Feminism was not the cause of this papal overthrow of principle but feminism has profited by it. Consistently, over the forty years since the opening of the Council the bishops of the Church have failed to apply their disciplinary powers and the Church has suffered enormously by it. The Pope's failure here is only matched by the naïvity of his expectations concerning the integrity of fallen modern man. Subsequent events have rendered his assessment embarrassing reading.
The attack on the Church may be seen also in the influence of feminism on the nun. Feminism works to remove all that pertains to the feminine in her thoughts, words and actions. She turns away from the particularly feminine inclination to contemplation, to prayer, to obedience to the Church--to everything that leads to holiness--to making herself available to help anyone at any time. She becomes preoccupied with function; with always doing something; with seminars. If she is to be seen, it may only be by appointment. When dealing with problems she suppresses the intuitive inclination of femininity in favour of the masculine analysis. The modern activist nun could be confused with a business executive or a social worker. Her relationship to God, which would have flourished through the proper exercise of her vocation of femininity, becomes stunted, and her religious vocation slowly withers to a shadow of what it should have been. She is thus disposed to become infatuated with any passing pseudo-religious fad, especially if its proponents condemn the Catholic Church for what they perceive to be its anti-feminist attitudes, or for its upholding of the dignity of virginity.
The feminist within the Church is obsessed with function. She wants to perform offices, the offices that men perform. She wants to be a priest, or at least, she wants the priesthood to be open to women. No woman will ever be ordained a priest in the Catholic Church. It is not possible. The Church's constant teaching on this question was confirmed by Pope John Paul II infallibly on 22nd May 1994 in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.
Our Blessed Lord told us how to guard ourselves from false prophets when he said (Matthew 7:20)--By their fruits shall you know them. What are the fruits of this ideology? First, it is founded in intellectual confusion: A necessary distinction is denied, a problem posed and a simplistic solution given. Secondly, it is characterised by certain lies: i) that what feminists desire is 'women's rights', when they desire the very opposite; and, ii) that language must be changed so that it is 'inclusive', when what is desired is the very contrary, language which is exclusive.
Thirdly, there is the evidence, set out above, of the enormous harm this ideology does at every level of society. Fourthly, it engenders a spirit of hatred between the sexes. Finally, feminism sees no value in subjection or obedience to another, dispositions which are essential to religion, since subjection and obedience are owed to God. It confuses subjection with degradation. It is inimical to humility. In its most virulent manifestations, it is characterised by anger and rebellion. The feminist is dissatisfied with her lot. She is never content. She is always asking 'Why?' She will not serve! This characteristic, of non submission, is the devil's catch cry--Non Serviam!
Mother Of God--Antithesis Of Feminism
She who prophesied correctly that all ages would call her Blessed, stands for all ages, including our own, as the embodiment of humility and self-effacement. She is the model for all women.
May the prayers of the Blessed Virgin serve to awaken the hearts and minds not only of Catholics but of all men and women that they may understand how great is the evil of this ideology.
 Humanae Vitae, 25.7.1968, n.17
 C.G Jung, Contributions to Analytical Psychology, Kegan Paul, 1928, p.169
 cf., Pope Benedict XV, Natalis trecentesimi, Letter to the Superior General of the Ursulines, 27.12.1917.
 In his prescient book, The Water And The Fire, reprinted by Fontana Books, London, 1961.
 Address to Women of Catholic Action, October 1945.
 Quoted in Inter Insigniores, Declaration on the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 15.10.1976, fn 11