Archived comments from the post: "Head coverings, again -- for the record" (Musings, May 28, 2007):
Yes, it is up to Catholic women to restore this in the western world. I think it is a beautiful custom; but then, I do not see it as a 'put down' of women or females young and old.
"the practice as a culturally conditioned custom of no abiding significance"
I think this is Father Edward McNamara answer:
McNamara: "reflect transitory social mores which apply only to the specific time and place of the Corinthians."
Maybe, maybe not (Note: "This custom was considered normative and was enshrined in Canon 1262.2 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law"). There is 1st Corinthians Chapter 11 to consider AS A WHOLE, and "the angels", etc. The NAB note on 1 Cor 11:10 is not so encouraging at first sight: "in any case, the connection with 1 Cor 11:9 indicates that the covering is a sign of woman's subordination".
What does this mean? is it accurate, etc?
A custom that, rightly or wrongly, might be (or is) seen as promoting or symbolizing "woman's subordination", is probably not well or highly thought of by women in modern societies, but I do not know for sure. That is my guess.
Here is something apparently from a female Protestant convert to Eastern Orthodoxy, for what it is worth:
I want to hear from the women here. Thanks!
Paul Borealis | 05.28.07 - 2:44 pm | #
Women should humbly veil their own womanly and feminine glory when they are in the presence of Christ.
Andrew | 05.28.07 - 4:05 pm | #
From a mere woman's perspective, I don't like the cognate to the Muslim veil.
Janice | 05.28.07 - 5:17 pm | #
And as long as we're following the 1917 guidelines so strictly, when was the last time (and you can go back to 1917) that you heard of congregations that were composed of men and women worshipping separately?
Janice | 05.28.07 - 7:58 pm | #
And while you're worrying about whether or not I cover my head in church, Benedict XVI has decided to restore the interreligious dialogue department to its former glory. In other words, all is as it was before the Regensburg Address. We're now going to pretend again that Muslims worship the same God we do. Somehow that seems a bit more important than whether I veil myself like a Muslim woman.
Janice | 05.28.07 - 8:00 pm | #
I'm another woman. I love wearing a veil in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. I consider it nothing more than a sign of respect. That said, I do not think ill of women who have chosen not to veil since the Church has said it is not required. (Plus, I know a whole lot of unveiled women who are much holier than I am!)
If you don't go to a traditional parish, it takes a lot of courage to wear a veil, or a strong enough feeling that this is what God wants that you don't care what people think.
I have had numerous parishioners and, sadly, priests, treat me very differently (negatively) after I started wearing a veil. I have gone out of my way to be friendly, and they are starting to thaw a bit, but it has not been easy. These are all people who were very friendly to me pre-veil.
I also have quite a few female friends who wore veils for a while and gave it up. I think the social pressure was just too much for them.
BTW, I am Irish-German, not Latina or Filipina. If I were, I suspect my "idiosyncracy" would be better tolerated.
Robin | 05.28.07 - 8:55 pm | #
"And while you're worrying about whether or not I cover my head in church"
Janice, I assure you that I do not worry. Honest. Please forgive me if I offended.
Paul Borealis | 05.28.07 - 9:02 pm | #
"I also have quite a few female friends who wore veils for a while and gave it up. I think the social pressure was just too much for them."
Why would there be social pressure to give it up? I ask this honestly, because I am unaware of such things. Here I thought it was wonderful. I never thought it was a negative thing for women to cover their heads in Church. You do not see it often in Canada where I live, but it is still around (?). I was a bit shocked today to read the NAB interpretation. Is that what women are being taught? - That they are inferior to males and therefore must cover their heads, or something to that effect?
"woman's subordination" to males? No. Only to God.
1 Cor 11:11-12:
"Woman is not independent of man or man of woman in the Lord.
For just as woman came from man, so man is born of woman; but all things are from God."
"I'm another woman. I love wearing a veil in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. I consider it nothing more than a sign of respect. That said, I do not think ill of women who have chosen not to veil since the Church has said it is not required. (Plus, I know a whole lot of unveiled women who are much holier than I am!)".
Interesting. Thanks for those comments. I am sorry people have made you feel uncomfortable about your way of giving and showing respect. I did not know about the pressure.
Paul Borealis | 05.28.07 - 9:28 pm | #
Is that why nuns do not wear habits (with head covering) anymore?
Paul Borealis | 05.28.07 - 9:40 pm | #
"Is that why *some* nuns do not..."
Paul Borealis | 05.28.07 - 9:41 pm | #
"We're now going to pretend again that Muslims worship the same God we do."
Not to get off topic, but there is undoubtedly a sense in which it can be said that they do imperfectly worship the same God. No doubt in my mind that Mohammed learned from the Jews and to a lesser extent from (probably heretical) Christian contacts in his region, or during his travels for trade, and so forth. I do not have to accept that he was a prophet to notice that the book he was mainly responsible for is filled with some Biblical and other Jewish religious figures, materials, stories and themes, no mater how corrupted or misused.
I do not want to compare Muslim women's hijab with traditional Catholic practices. It is unthinkable to me.
Paul Borealis | 05.28.07 - 10:32 pm | #
Well perhaps it is unthinkable to you, Paul, but it represents the same sort of submission to me. And while we're on the topic, what on earth do men do to show reverence, if that's really what veiling is? Men don't wear hats any more, which they can remove, so what exactly do men do now to show reverence?
Janice | 05.28.07 - 10:44 pm | #
As a simple confession, headcoverings for women is the sort of thing that makes me think taditional Catholics may indeed flirt with fanaticism.
Joe | 05.28.07 - 10:52 pm | #
Robin--LOL, I hear ya.
Thankfully, my rather quirky priest and I get along quite well; we have the same weird, cynical sense of humor. So, even though he's more liberal than I am, he doesn't give me a hard time about the mantilla; he gently ribs me now and then, but then, he gently ribs me (and others) about a lot of things. He's kind of an imp that way.
diane | 05.29.07 - 12:03 am | #
Is this my friend Diane from King? How are ya, dear!
Yes, Paul, I had made the decision to wear a veil after much prayer and meditation on St. Paul. Previously I had not worn one, which is perhaps why I can see the difference in people's behavior. There were several women of a certain age (est. ages 60-70) who simply stopped talking to me and glared at me whenever they saw me. One was a sister! The lay women started again only after I (aggressively, but in a nice way) continued speaking to them anyway. I never could get the sister to give me the time of day again, even though she had been very friendly pre-veil.
One priest began almost recoiling when he looked at me - it was weird! The other priest seemed fine, but he recently gave a homily on how certain types of apparel - including head coverings - were divisive.
I guess you have to be there. We don't have a TLM parish anywhere nearby, so I am talking about a NO parish but not an overly liberal one.
If I hadn't felt so strongly that wearing a veil was God's will for me, all this rejection would bother me a LOT! In fact, I would have ditched it within the first or second week.
Robin | 05.29.07 - 5:53 am | #
Janet, one thought - you ask what men do to show their respect. I hear you.
However, I bet you don't let other people's disrespect stop you from genuflecting, making the sign of the cross, being silent in church, etc. So why should the fact that men don't have hats to take off affect your decision to wear a veil?
(Again, I am not saying that women who choose not to wear veils are doing anything wrong.)
RE: submission, if you haven't already done so, you might want to spend some time prayerfully reading what St. Paul has to say about women. I consider what he says to fit into the category of "hard sayings." Very hard. (I am a 51-year-old divorced female professional, so this is not what I wanted to hear.)
St. Peter also refers to women as "the weaker sex" or "weaker vessels." For many years I tried to interpret this away as cultural, but it bugged me anyway. When I accepted it (w/o necessarily understanding it or agreeing with it), all of Scripture came together for me. The only way I can explain it now is through the concept of complementarity of the sexes - that women aren't meant to be men. Now that I've accepted that, it seems so darned obvious that I can't believe I hadn't seen it before. It explains, just as one example relevant to my world, why professional women have such high dropout rates compared with men. We're the ones with cultural blinders, IMO, not St. Paul or St. Peter. The veil helps me remember that, and I need all the reminders I can get!
Sorry this is kind of rushed - I have to leave now.
Robin | 05.29.07 - 6:12 am | #
With all respect, I know women aren't meant to be men, but I don't necessarily think we're the "weaker sex," either. And I definitely don't buy into the submission thing, either. What I DO buy into is the notion of freedom that the Greek father constantly write about. We are supposed to approach God as free people, not as free men and submissive women. And clothing is culturally conditioned. Nun's habits are a relic of the middle ages. They show witness to Christ and I do appreciate that witness, but they are, nevertheless, a relic of their times. So are head coverings for women. And in view of the utter lack of a complementary male show of respect, I question the necessity of a parallel female show of respect, other than postures such as genuflection, etc.
Janice | 05.29.07 - 6:23 am | #
I don't wear a veil because I don't have the courage. I know it would be more scandalous for a woman to wear a veil to Mass at our church than it is for those who wear shorts and tank tops or show their bellies! As to being submissive - when I was at school, I remember one of the teachers telling us what Our Lady meant when she described herself as "the handmaid of the Lord". The teacher said that a handmaid was constantly at the beck and call of her master. She had to be constantly alert to her master's wishes and couldn't allow her mind to wander for a second - the ultimate in submission and obedience. Despite what Janice says, I would be willing to bet that if she were convinced it is God's will that she wear a veil she would do so.
ellen | 05.29.07 - 7:34 am | #
. . . when was the last time (and you can go back to 1917) that you heard of congregations that were composed of men and women worshipping separately?
Our parish church is built in the round, with people in pews facing one another across the center axis of the 'nave' (if the church can be said to have a center axis or nave at all). This leads to wrenching incongruities, such as individuals genuflecting towards one another across the center aisle.
But more to the point, it allows people to see one another; and you know what that means these days. It means that you're probably sitting across from some Bubba wearing a tank top and flip flops, taking sips of coffee from his styrofoam Starbucks cup in a cozy with a look of benign indifference. Or across from two or three of those young things with low rider spray-on-tight jeans with glittering rings in their pierced navels. Kinda difficult to find Jesus in the firmament of one's thoughts during the Gloria.
Worshipping separately might not be the worst idea compared with what we've got some places.
Pertinacious Papist | Homepage | 05.29.07 - 7:47 am | #
Nun's habits are a relic of the middle ages.
On that logic, what's to keep one from saying: so are priestly vestments, and priests might as well don business suits?
Pertinacious Papist | Homepage | 05.29.07 - 7:56 am | #
"And in view of the utter lack of a complementary male show of respect"
With all due respect, this attitude of defining yourself and your gender in terms of what men do and don't do is also a relic of its rather degenerate time.
Ralph Roister-Doister | 05.29.07 - 7:57 am | #
That time being the 70's up to the present.
Ralph Roister-Doister | 05.29.07 - 8:00 am | #
I don't wear a veil because I don't have the courage.
Ellen, I hear ya. The pressure to engage in self-censorship and conformity is very real. My wife is probably somewhere near the opposite end of the spectrum. She brazenly wears a veil in our parish church, which, if you've followed my comments, you know is anything but traditional, featuring bongo Masses and such. When she walks in with her white Spanish veil, holding our daughter by the hand with her little head also veiled, the liberal soccer moms are scandalized and the tongues invariably wag. These are the same individuals, mind you, who find nothing scandalous about men wearing flip flops and beach attire to church, or young women wearing low-rider jeans or mini-skirts or people chewing gum or drinking coffee during Mass. Go figure. For my wife, the veil symbolizes the order of things and membership in the Church of the Ages, as opposed to merely this bongo Mass parish.
Pertinacious Papist | Homepage | 05.29.07 - 8:02 am | #
I'll raise a Guiness to your wife this evening, PP!
Ralph Roister-Doister | 05.29.07 - 8:11 am | #
The Virgin Mary always wore a veil. She's the ultimate womanly role model. I encourage you to wear a veil, Janice.
Andrew | 05.29.07 - 9:12 am | #
I find this talk about wearing a veil in term of "courage" rather condescending really. And, Ralph, I'm not talk about women in terms of men, but I think it's all right to say that men really don't do anything to recognize the sacrality of the place they are in. Men constantly talk about what women should do, but never about what they should do, right Andrew? The Virgin Mary wore a veil because that was the custom in her time and her culture. It really doesn't represent the Church of all ages, unless you'd like to see the burkha as the female outfit for women of all ages. Women who want to be veiled are fine with me, but it's a personal decision. And, Dr. Blosser, the real cognate for men and women worshipping separately is the ancient synagogue. If that's what you want to go back to, that's fine, but be precise in your allusions, not just as an alternative to what you don't like about today. No one did it in 1917, despite the suggestion in Canon Law and it wouldn't be appropriate now.
Janice | 05.29.07 - 9:19 am | #
For what it is worth, many of us in Canada do wear toques in the winter, and these should not be worn in Church by males.
For good or ill, the priest at my Mom's parish, during the entrance procession, will every so often reach over and pull them off the young boys heads close to him (in a kind way -his intention according to my Mom, and obvious to all, is to teach and make a small example). Also, many years ago I can still recall entering a Church vestibule and being told by a priest to remove my summer hat! In no way would I ever question that he was within his rights, and he was perfectly right. To me, it still holds true that males should remove their hats in Church out of respect. It seems proper; but is it still being taught?
Paul Borealis | 05.29.07 - 10:08 am | #
Canadian men in toques, indoors.
Obviously, they should not be worn in Church!
Paul Borealis | 05.29.07 - 10:23 am | #
"Nun's habits are a relic of the middle ages. They show witness to Christ and I do appreciate that witness, but they are, nevertheless, a relic of their times. So are head coverings for women. And in view of the utter lack of a complementary male show of respect, I question the necessity of a parallel female show of respect,"
No, they are not a relic from the middle ages, not the way you mean it. They are needed today I think. Catholic Monks and Priests should wear habits, cassocks, roman collars, whatever is appropriate. Janice, is that a "complementary male show of respect"? Or were you talking about lay persons? http://www.ewtn.com/library/PRIE...TS/ RMCOLLAR.TXT
Paul Borealis | 05.29.07 - 10:46 am | #
Paul, I'm talking about lay persons. I appreciate habits and cassocks for those in religious orders and the clergy, but I fail to see any lay male offering any sort of visible sign of respect in church comparable to that which some on this blog are asking women to do.
Janice | 05.29.07 - 10:48 am | #
Joe, your comment about head covering as an indication of traditionalist flirtation with 'fanaticism' is something that would make sense to me only in the sense that any good but not absolutely necessary thing (like bowing one's head at the name of Jesus as a sign of reverence) could be taken to 'fanatic' lengths by being made a litmus test. But I would hardly see that as the case. My wife, for example, knows it's not required or even fashionable at Novus Ordo Masses. In fact, it's considered distinctly gauche in most AmChurch parishes. Yet she (and I as well) consider it sacramentally fitting -- albeit much less fitting at a NO Mass than a TL Mass.
Pertinacious Papist | Homepage | 05.29.07 - 11:51 am | #
. . . men really don't do anything to recognize the sacrality of the place they are in . . .
Aren't you generalizing here? I kiss the floor in front of the Tabernacle. Does that count?
No, Janice, I don't want to go back to the synagogue with separate sides for men and women, although I've visited Orthodox Shabbat services and enjoyed them. Please don't take me adversarially in my remarks. I'm on your side, Janice, if there are 'sides' to be had here. Like you, I want reverance at Mass. I wouldn't insist on veils at NO Masses, though I think the custom attractive and could improve dispositions if revived. I know many women would consider them demeaning and subjugating, but I think this is due to mistaken notions about tradition and contemporary notions of liberation. Much has been lost. We are so oblivious today.
Pertinacious Papist | Homepage | 05.29.07 - 12:02 pm | #
"but I fail to see any lay male offering any sort of visible sign of respect in church"
To me, it sounds like perhaps males must show more respect than females. The Catholic traditional custom still seemingly applies to us. - Fr. Edward McNamara, of Regina Apostolorum university, wrote: "women, unlike men, may still wear hats and veils to Mass if they choose."
Lay females have a choice in this regard. Lay males do not.
I cannot wear my winter toque, or summer hat. But I am fine with that.
Paul Borealis | 05.29.07 - 12:12 pm | #
You write "Like you, I want reverance at Mass. ... been lost. We are so oblivious today." I could not agree more. My comment on fanaticism was not meant in any way as a slam, and the fact you might advocate veils gives me pause to reconsider. However, I can't help but notice that it seems like when it comes to reforms, Catholics seem to have to advocate extremes to get even moderate results. Hence, an awful liturgy needs a latin revival to bring about an improvement. A pierced- and tank top wearing parish needs veil wearers to restoe reverence... I don't know if you see where I am going or not. I guess I think the chance of encouraging veils seems like a reach when Rome won't even mandate kneeling as mandatory...
Joe | 05.29.07 - 12:38 pm | #
You write that: "I know many women would consider them demeaning and subjugating, but I think this is due to mistaken notions about tradition and contemporary notions of liberation. Much has been lost. We are so oblivious today."
What do you consider "tradition" and "liberation." I beg to differ that not wearing a veil is a "mistaken notion about tradition." Veiling women is part of the old notion that women are in control of men's sexual mores. Women must cover their "crowning glory" lest men fall into sin. That's why orthdox Jewish women wear wigs. As to being oblivious, I don't think so. This custom reeks of subjugation; hence my remarks about Muslim women. If veiling is directed toward God, then to be consistent, I would think the priest would hold the ciborium with veiled hands (as he does the monstrance at Corpus Domini) and hold the Scriptures with veiled hands also.
Janice | 05.29.07 - 1:50 pm | #
the liberal soccer moms are scandalized and the tongues invariably wag.
We should not denigrate the venerable sport of soccer by using it in this way.
Women must cover their "crowning glory" lest men fall into sin.
Unfortunate as it may be, this is simply a biological truth of nature. There is no fault on the part of the woman (mostly, some I suppose may wish to attract attention). It is just difficult for men not to notice. It is more a judgment on men's weakness than anything else.
As for the subjugation part - we are talking about veils during Mass, not veils 24/7 like Muslims. For most Catholics, that means barely an hour a week.
The Bard certainly seems to peg our weaknesses with deadly accuracy: for men, its lust; for women, its submission to authority.
c matt | 05.29.07 - 3:18 pm | #
"This custom reeks of subjugation; hence my remarks about Muslim women."
No, sorry Janice. You go too far. I am sorry you feel that way.
"reeks of subjugation"
You are one of those who could make other women feel badly about the traditional Catholic Christian practice, I suspect.
You know, I would hardly call the head coverings I have seen 'veils'. I do not know what Americans call them. They do not cover the eyes or face or mouth. They are more like kerchiefs.
"St. Peter also refers to women as "the weaker sex" or "weaker vessels." [...] It explains, just as one example relevant to my world, why professional women have such high dropout rates compared with men."
Hi Robin, St. Peter was not speaking about any 'high drop-out rates' of 'professional women' in captitalist societies. Whatever he meant, he did not mean that. I am not even sure what 'drop-out' means.
"Likewise, you husbands should live with your wives in understanding, showing honor to the weaker female sex, since we are joint heirs of the gift of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered"
I have always read "weaker" as a general comment meaning on average, generally speaking, males are more physically strong than females, or something to that effect. Males (hushands) used to fight wars, etc to protect family and community. Technology, etc has changed that to a great degree. A woman in a military tank, or with a gun, is as strong as any male.
Maybe my interpretation will not pass the feminist 'reek' test, but it makes sense to me. Women are not inferior - I was never taught that they were inferior - and wearing a head covering in the Church does not make them inferior. It has nothing to do with "subjugation".
Paul Borealis | 05.29.07 - 3:32 pm | #
'high drop-out rates'
I wish I could 'drop-out'. Escape.
Paul Borealis | 05.29.07 - 3:45 pm | #
"'high drop-out rates' of 'professional women' in captitalist societies"
The problem is with the society, not the women.
Paul Borealis | 05.29.07 - 3:46 pm | #
"Women must cover their "crowning glory" lest men fall into sin."
How is a hat or lace kerchief going to change that?
Stop making Catholic tradition sound crazy.
Paul Borealis | 05.29.07 - 3:52 pm | #
Joe, I see what you mean. Thanks for the clarification. Sympatico.
Pertinacious Papist | Homepage | 05.29.07 - 3:53 pm | #
"It is more a judgment on men's weakness than anything else."
Good point. Deal with our own eyes.
Paul Borealis | 05.29.07 - 3:54 pm | #
Sounds to me like Peter is saying "don't beat your wives," only in a nicer way. In the context of treating them with respect as fellow Christians and human beings, he probably does mean weaker in a physical sense, and not to take the fact of being physically stronger to mean the husband is somehow spiritually better or divinely superior.
c matt | 05.29.07 - 3:55 pm | #
"Sounds to me like Peter is saying..."
Hey, well put, c matt. Good interpretation. Thanks!
Paul Borealis | 05.29.07 - 3:58 pm | #
I beg to differ that not wearing a veil is a "mistaken notion about tradition."
That isn't what I said. I said that "many women would consider [wearing] them demeaning and subjugating, but I think this is due to mistaken notions about tradition and contemporary notions of liberation." My wife doesn't always wear a mantilla to NO Masses. I don't consider her on that account having a "mistaken notion
about tradition." What I think silly is the nonsense about veils being part of a repressive patriarchal system. My wife believes in hierarchy and even patriarchy after a fashion, but I can assure you that, Daughter of Torquemada that she is, there's not a shred of anything repressed in her.
Veiling women is part of the old notion that women are in control of men's sexual mores.
Pertinacious Papist | Homepage | 05.29.07 - 4:03 pm | #
"A woman in a military tank, or with a gun, is as strong as any male."
Just as deadly too.
Paul Borealis | 05.29.07 - 4:06 pm | #
Equality of worth does not mean identity of role, as even biology teaches us. Here we have much more to learn from an enlightened retrieval of St. Paul than we do from our contemporary biblical higher critics' deconstructive marginalization of his writing as culturally myopic and irrelevant. Sacramental realism excludes Ockhamistic nominalism.
There is nothing even in The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church of the Pontifical Biblical Commission (1993), despite its generally condescending tone towards Biblical Fundamentalism, that entails a rejection of Leo XIII's statements on the Bible in Providentissimus Deus (1893). Nothing needs to be taken more cum grano salis than the blithe notion of "progress" in Biblical interpretation since Vatican II. The field is a bog and a slough.
Pertinacious Papist | Homepage | 05.29.07 - 4:22 pm | #
Well, I don't know why you cite a "condescending tone toward Biblical fundamentalism" as a problem. Biblical fundamentalism is wrong. Anyway, I'm sorry I can't be as ritually pure and meticulous as all of the rest of you, but I'm sure God loves me anyway.
Janice | 05.29.07 - 4:59 pm | #
"In the context of treating them with respect as fellow Christians and human beings, he probably does mean weaker in a physical sense, and not to take the fact of being physically stronger to mean the husband is somehow spiritually better or divinely superior."
Actually St. Peter said nothing about women being "weaker vessels." Rather, he said, "Husbands, love your wives and dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife AS TO the weaker vessel." So, he was talking about wives only, not all women, and he didn't say, "Wives are weaker than husbands" or "The wife is the weaker vessel." Rather he said, "Give your wife honor the way you would give honor to a more fragile or delicate vessel." Just as we treat precious, delicate things with extra special care, so St. Peter commands husbands to give that kind of honor to their wives. The relative physical strength and body size of women is completely irrelevant to St. Peter's point, which is valid for all husbands even if their wives are stronger and healthier and smarter than they are -- and to latch onto his words to justify any notions of female inferiority to men (and many have) is to completely and utterly miss his point.
Jordan Potter | 05.29.07 - 5:36 pm | #
Veiling women is part of the old notion that women are in control of men's sexual mores.
I think you miss the point - the notion is not that women are in control of men's mores, but that men are woefully not.
I have the impression that you interpret the wearing of the veil as a sign the Church sees each woman as a Jezebel in the making from whom men need protection. Nearly the opposite is the case - it is the man's unfortunate tendency to obectify women by their sexual role that much of the Church's teaching regarding chastity and modesty seeks to rectify. In part, the wearing of the veil serves this purpose (at least for one hour a week).
Wearing the veil should also be an outward sign of an interior disposition. That disposition being one of reverence and humility before God and His Church. It has nothing to do with being subjugated to 'The Man'.
As for equivalent male signs to show such reverence and humility, unfortunately there are not many, because men in general no longer wear hats. Those that do (usually baseball caps) do remove them as a sign of reverence and humilty. Dressing nicer would also be good.
c matt | 05.29.07 - 5:54 pm | #
Just as we treat precious, delicate things with extra special care, so St. Peter commands husbands to give that kind of honor to their wives. The relative physical strength and body size of women is completely irrelevant to St. Peter's point,
Well, I am not stating it as Magisterial teaching, so I could be completely off.
c matt | 05.29.07 - 6:01 pm | #
This subject has surely been beaten to death, but I feel a need to clarify a few things I said this morning when I was in a hurry:
1-Janet, I do not believe, and did not intend to imply, that women are inferior to men. But I don't see any way to get around what Sts. Peter and Paul say about women's subordinate STATUS in this world without "picking and choosing" Sacred Scripture.
2-Also, although I do think it takes courage to wear a veil for the reasons already stated, I do not contend that women who don't wear veils lack courage.
3-Paul Borealis, all I meant to say (and probably didn't say it well) re: women in the workplace was that there are a many signs, even in the egalitarian, professional world, whose premise is that men and women are completely interchangeable, that feminism is wrong and that Sts. Peter and Paul are right. Female dropout rates seemed to me to be a quick and easy illustration of this.
Robin | 05.29.07 - 8:22 pm | #
Not to be silly and light-hearted for a minute, but what happens when a congregation worships itself in a parish on the half-shell?
Chris Garton-Zavesky | 05.29.07 - 8:38 pm | #
Your insistence on the inferiority of women in the world reminds me a bit too much of the protestant evangelical notion of women being subservient or subjugated to their husbands. It's also based on a fundamentalist reading of Scripture.
Janice | 05.29.07 - 10:21 pm | #
Janice, may I ask if you see any differences between the traditional Protestant evangelical/fundamentalist notion of women being subservient or subjugated to their husbands and the traditional Catholic beliefs and practices regarding the subjection of wives to their husbands that has prevailed from the time of Christ until just last century? And if you see differences, what those might be?
Jordan Potter | 05.29.07 - 11:12 pm | #
Hello Jordan Potter
You keep me on my toes. I am not a Biblical scholar, as is obvious. I like your interpretation, it may well be right. Is it your own exegesis, or did you read it before? Thanks!
I liked what c matt wrote because I thought it was an interesting moral application (Christian husbands, "don't beat your wives"!) of what I thought part of the text was getting at. In this regard, just to show that my intentions were good, and that I was not completely wild (I hope) and dishonest when I wrote, "I have always read "weaker" as a general comment meaning on average, generally speaking, males are more physically strong than females, or something to that effect", - here is the interpretation from the so-called Orchard commentary - 'A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture', 1953. (H. Willmering S.J., "The First Epistle of St. Peter", on III 7):
"Husbands are to dwell with their wives, and their association with them in the home is to be 'according to knowledge', i.e. with a just recognition of the relative positions of husband and wife. They should make allowance for the natural physical weakness of women, and give them the regard which is due to them as 'co-heirs of the grace of life', i.e. equally destined to share eternal life. Such an attitude will help a man at prayer; when wives are unjustly treated, husbands may expect their prayers to go unheeded." (Page 1179).
Paul Borealis | 05.30.07 - 12:17 am | #
I must say against myself, I couldn't wear the veil being the only person at Mass doing that because I couldn't stand the looks of everybody, but I really miss it because when I was a little girl I had one and remember my mother and grandmother wearing one too.
Then everything went away: the veil, the priests dressing properly, the kneeling to take communion, etc.
I believe it's time now to wipe all those wrong things that happened in the end of the sixties.
paula luckhurst | Homepage | 05.30.07 - 4:42 am | #
"I know it would be more scandalous for a woman to wear a veil to Mass at our church than it is for those who wear shorts and tank tops or show their bellies!"
I understand you so well.
What a strange world we are living in!
Mrs. Blosser: congratulations on wearing the veil, you and your little girl. And thanks to your husband for being supportive.
paula luckhurst | Homepage | 05.30.07 - 5:11 am | #
You are painting with much too broad a brush. Consider, for example, St.
St. John Chrysostom's Homilies on Ephesians. He writes: "What sort of union is it where the wife trembles before her husband? What sort of pleasure will the husband himself enjoy, if he lives with a wife who is more a slave than a free woman? The wife is not a slave, but a second authority, having authority and honor equal to her husband's in many respects (Hom. 20.6)."
He also writes:
"What if a husband is moderate but his wife is wicked, carping, a chatterbox, extravagant (the affliction common to all womankind), filled with many other faults, how will that poor fellow endure this daily unpleasantness, this conceit, this impudence? What if she is discreet and gentle, on the other hand, but he is rash, contemptuous, irascible. . . . What if he treats her as a slave, though she is free, and considers her no better than the maids-in-waiting? How will she endure such duress and violence? (On Virginity, Against Remarriage, 59-60)."
You might consider that Pope John Paul interpreted Ephesians 5.21-22:
". . . is to be understood and carried out in a new way: as a "mutual subjection out of reverence for Christ" (cf. Eph 5:21). This is especially true because the husband is called the "head" of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church; he is so in order to give "himself up for her" (Eph 5:25), and giving himself up for her means giving up even his own life. However, whereas in the relationship between Christ and the Church the subjection is only on the part of the Church, in the relationship between husband and wife the "subjection" is not one-sided but mutual."
In the CDF document, "On the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World (May 31, 2004), Joseph Ratzinger not only cites Mulieris dgnitatem, but goes even further. He writes: "To look at Mary and imitate her does not mean, however, that the Church should adopt a passivity inspired by an outdated conception of femininity In reality, the way of Christ is neither one of domination (cf. Phil 2:6) nor of power as understood by the world (cf. Jn18:36). . . . Far from giving the Church an identity based on an historically conditioned model of femininity, the reference to Mary, with her dispositions of listening, welcoming, humility, faithfulness, praise and waiting, places the Church in continuity with the spiritual history of Israel. (#16)."
Mr. Potter, if you hold to the subjugation model of evangelical protestantism, which is not that of the Catholic Church, nor was it the model of early Christianity, represented here by Chrysostom, you are not truly reflecting a Catholic appreciation of women.
Janice | 05.30.07 - 10:22 am | #
You know, Mr. Potter, exegetes in the Catholic Church have never read the Scriptures in a fundamentalist manner. In previous ages, they lacked certain exegetcal tools, to say nothing of certain historical and scientific developments, that might have aided them in establishing certain benchmarks for exegetical criteria. What you perceive as a commonality between Catholic exegesis and 20th and 21st century protestant fundamentalism is only that. Protestant fundamentalism ignores history and science and limits itself to a certain interpretation of the Word. You might revisit the early Christian exegetes, particularly Irenaeus, Origen (who set the standard in exegesis for the Church in general and the Eastern Church in particular), Augustine and the rest of the Fathers and consider whether they ever interpreted the Word of God in a "fundamentalist" manner. They did not.
Janice | 05.30.07 - 11:11 am | #
"I like your interpretation, it may well be right. Is it your own exegesis, or did you read it before?"
Paul, no, it's not my own interpretation. I learned it from a fundamentalist minister named Fred Kellers back in my pre-Catholic days. He just took a look at what the text said, and instead of casually or carelessly prooftexting the "weaker vessel" to justify male superiority, as many people have done, he paid attention to the actual grammatical structure of the sentence. Far from a statement like, "Women are the weaker vessel, guys, so be gentle with the poor dears," St. Peter actually puts his emphasis on what husbands (not all men, but specifically husbands) are to do towards their wives (not all women, but specifically their wives) -- give honor to them as one gives honor to the weaker vessel.
"I liked what c matt wrote because I thought it was an interesting moral application (Christian husbands, 'don't beat your wives'!) of what I thought part of the text was getting at."
Well, surely "Don't beat your wives" is included in his teaching, but St. Peter isn't just issuing a proscription of domestic violence. He is handing down a comprehensive and positive instruction on how Christian husbands are expected to relate to their wives. "Dwell with them with understanding . . . that your prayers be not hindered." Lousy, jerkish, abusive husbands don't get a ready audience with the Most High.
"here is the interpretation from the so-called Orchard commentary - 'A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture', 1953."
The Orchard commentary explains it very well, I think. In my pre-Catholic days, I once heard a marvelous and memorable sermon on this text, explaining how husbands and wives both need to be aware of the innate, God-created biological, psychological, and emotional differences of male and female and to "dwell with one another" in light of that understanding.
Jordan Potter | 05.30.07 - 1:55 pm | #
"You are painting with much too broad a brush."
Janice, I didn't know I was painting at all. I was just wondering what you think the theoretical and practical differences are between what most Catholics believed and practiced (at least until recently) regarding the submission of wives to their husbands vs. what you referred to as a Protestant fundamentalist "subjugation" model.
"Mr. Potter, if you hold to the subjugation model of evangelical protestantism, which is not that of the Catholic Church, nor was it the model of early Christianity, represented here by Chrysostom, you are not truly reflecting a Catholic appreciation of women."
Well, I should think it's pretty obvious from what I've posted here that I don't hold to a "subjugation model," at least in so far as I know what you mean by "subjugation model." I think you're referring to notions of male superiority and female inferiority, the idea that women may not work outside the home or run a business or be an employer of men, or even worse, may not own property and must always be subject either to their fathers or their husbands or some other male relative. But of course not all fundamentalist Protestants entertain such notions. Quite a lot of them don't.
As for the Catholic view, I find it expressed most clearly by Pope Pius XI in Casti Connubii (which I find entirely in agreement with John Paul II and Benedict XVI's statements on the same):
26. Domestic society being confirmed, therefore, by this bond of love, there should flourish in it that "order of love," as St. Augustine calls it. This order includes both the primacy of the husband with regard to the wife and children, the ready subjection of the wife and her willing obedience, which the Apostle commends in these words: "Let women be subject to their husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ is the head of the Church."
27. This subjection, however, does not deny or take away the liberty which fully belongs to the woman both in view of her dignity as a human person, and in view of her most noble office as wife and mother and companion; nor does it bid her obey her husband's every request if not in harmony with right reason or with the dignity due the wife; nor, in fine, does it imply that the wife should be put on a level with those persons who in law are called minors, to whom it is not customary to allow free exercise of their rights on account of their lack of mature judgment, or of their ignorance of human affairs. But it forbids that exaggerated liberty which cares not for the good of the family; it forbids that in this body which is the family, the heart be separated from the head to the great detriment of the whole body and the proximate danger of ruin. For if the man is the head, the woman is the heart, and as he occupies the chief place in ruling, so she may and ought to claim for herself the chief place in love.
28. Again, this subjection
Jordan Potter | 05.30.07 - 2:13 pm | #
28. Again, this subjection of wife to husband in its degree and manner may vary according to the different conditions of persons, place and time. In fact, if the husband neglect his duty, it falls to the wife to take his place in directing the family. But the structure of the family and its fundamental law, established and confirmed by God, must always and everywhere be maintained intact .
29. With great wisdom Our predecessor Leo XIII, of happy memory, in the Encyclical on Christian marriage which We have already mentioned, speaking of this order to be maintained between man and wife, teaches: "The man is the ruler of the family, and the head of the woman; but because she is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, let her be subject and obedient to the man, not as a servant but as a companion, so that nothing be lacking of honor or of dignity in the obedience which she pays. Let divine charity be the constant guide of their mutual relations, both in him who rules and in her who obeys, since each bears the image, the one of Christ, the other of the Church."
Jordan Potter | 05.30.07 - 2:13 pm | #
"You know, Mr. Potter, exegetes in the Catholic Church have never read the Scriptures in a fundamentalist manner."
True, although prior to the 20th century almost all Catholic exegesis was of a sort that the late Fr. Brown and his ilk would deride and dismiss as "fundamentalist." In that regard, they tend, I think, to use that broad brush you were talking about.
"What you perceive as a commonality between Catholic exegesis and 20th and 21st century protestant fundamentalism is only that."
Janice, if you would kindly extend to me the courtesy of taking a look at what I've posted in this discussion, I think you will find that I did not assert commonality, but rather asked you to clarify your view of what the differences are.
Jordan Potter | 05.30.07 - 2:19 pm | #
Well, I don't know why you cite a "condescending tone toward Biblical fundamentalism" as a problem. Biblical fundamentalism is wrong.
Most Americans have little idea of what historic American 'fundamentalism' is. It has nothing to do with what's bandied about as "fundamentalism" in the media or even in Catholic university circles. It has everything to do, rather, with evangelical Presbyterians responding to problems of modernism in the world (see "The Five Points of Fundamentalism: What Are They Good For?" and George Marsden, Fundamentalism in American Culture [Oxford UP, 2006]) -- an undertaking with which Catholics ought to have every sympathy. In fact, I would largely contend that Catholics today have a great deal to learn from historic Protestant fundamentalists such as B.B. Warfield and J. Gresham Machen. Machen was one of the founders of Westminster Theological Seminary, where I earned my Master's in Religious Studies. He was a Princeton University 'fundamentalist' and an intellectual giant -- nothing like the caricatures the media portray under that rubric. He also authored the brilliant book, Christianity and Liberalism, which the American journalist, Walter Lippmann praised as sine qua non reading for all American intellectuals in his book A Preface to Morals. Biblical fundamentalism of this variety -- the original variety -- has a great deal to commend it. In terms of it's definition, Pope Leo XIII would probably be classified as a "Biblical Fundamentalist."
Pertinacious Papist | Homepage | 05.30.07 - 2:24 pm | #
Read the whole of Mulieris dignatetem and On the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World. They are orders of magnitude in development from Leo XIII and Pius XI. Although in many ways I revere Pius XI, his anthropology is out of date (through no fault of his own, but times have changed). And if you read John Paul and Benedict XVI (especially Benedict XVI) as being in total agreement with Pius XI's statements on women, then you need to reread them, because you missed the points the last two pontiffs made.
Janice | 05.30.07 - 2:25 pm | #
You also missed the advanced in the historical-critical method that have been made in the interval between Pius XI and Benedict XVI.
Janice | 05.30.07 - 2:25 pm | #
I wonder whether your reading of Catholic tradition on theological anthropology isn't selective. Like I say, I wonder; I don't know. On the one hand, you appeal to ancient writers like Chrysostom, as well as recent writers like JPII and Benedict. But on the other hand, you dismiss other writers, like Pius XI, as having "out of date" anthropologies. It just seems to me that someone could call this begging the question.
I also have the impression from some TAN publications I've read in the past that the Catholic anthropology and view of husband and wife isn't that far removed from the view you would condemn as 'fundamentalist.' These are only impressions, which I have no way of backing up with documentation at the moment. However, it has always been my impression that most Protestant views about 'headship' and the like ultimately derived from Catholic tradition. It would be interesting to see solid research on this.
Pertinacious Papist | Homepage | 05.30.07 - 2:51 pm | #
"Read the whole of Mulieris dignatetem and On the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World."
I already have.
"They are orders of magnitude in development from Leo XIII and Pius XI."
No, they seem to merely restate what Pius XI said using somewhat different language.
"Although in many ways I revere Pius XI, his anthropology is out of date (through no fault of his own, but times have changed)."
If Pius XI's anthropology is out of date, then why does it restate what the Church had always believed until that day, and agree so well with what John Paul II said in Mulieris Dignitatem? (This is perhaps an oversimplification, but John Paul II was talking about women as women, whereas Pius XI was talking about men and women in light of Christian matrimony and vice versa.)
Janice, are you sure you understand what Pius XI said about the unchangeable moral law regarding the submission of the wife to her husband?
"You also missed the advances in the historical-critical method that have been made in the interval between Pius XI and Benedict XVI."
How would those advances call into question what Pius XI said or bring about an essential change in what the Church had believed and taught always, everywhere and by all?
"On the one hand, you appeal to ancient writers like Chrysostom, as well as recent writers like JPII and Benedict. But on the other hand, you dismiss other writers, like Pius XI, as having 'out of date' anthropologies. It just seems to me that someone could call this begging the question."
Well put, Dr. Blosser. You said it better than I could have.
Jordan Potter | 05.30.07 - 3:16 pm | #
You obviously haven't read Cardinal Ratzinger's statement on Men and Women in the Church and the World. He doesn't even bother with Ephesians 5.22 because it is outdated anthopology and he is far more generous in his treatment of women and their potential than many of the comments I have seen on this blog. If you want to see Catholic theology, in this case, as similar to evangelical protestant theology, be my guest.
No, it's not a case of different language only. If Joseph Ratzinger is now disregarding Eph. 5.22 and John Paul had completely recast its interpretation then something different is going on. Pius XI held to the conventional treatment of Eph. 5.22. You can't simply sweep every different under the rug as "saying the same thing using different words." That's sophistry.
Janice | 05.30.07 - 4:06 pm | #
"He doesn't even bother with Ephesians 5.22 because it is outdated anthropology"
So you're saying the Holy Scriptures teach false doctrines and errors?
Janice, I can synthesise and reconcile the words of the Holy Spirit, of Pius XI, and John Paul II without a great deal of difficulty. Why do you seem to be seeing an irreconcilable contradiction? Mulieris Dignitatem in particular really does a stellar job of laying out the basis for what Pius XI said about what it means that the wife must submit to her husband.
Anyway, the Church can't say one thing for 2,000 years and then start saying something completely different. Doctrine develops and deepens -- it can't be abandoned in favor of a different doctrine. Otherwise the Church would be fallible and a teacher of error.
Jordan Potter | 05.30.07 - 5:50 pm | #
Thinknow: if "Wives, submit to your husbands" is outdated anthropology, then why isn't, "Wives, honor your husbands" outdated anthropology too? Is it okay for wives to treat their husbands with disrespect now, because St. Paul was trapped and blinded by the culture of his day when he said that?
Jordan Potter | 05.30.07 - 5:53 pm | #
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booster seat law | Homepage | 05.30.07 - 5:54 pm | #
I'm beginning to suspect that I'm not going get an answer to any of the questions I've been asking Janice. I have asked her to explain what she sees as the differences between the perennial Catholic doctrine of a wife's submission to her husband and what she terms the fundamentalist subjugational model. So far all I've gotten in response is Janice expressing fears I adhere to the fundamentalist model and dismissing as outdated any scriptural or subsequyent Catholic statements that agree, or seem to Janice to agree, with traditional Protestant teaching. But I'm still waiting to find out what Janice means by the subjugational model (let alone what she means by fundamentalism). . . .
Jordan Potter | 05.30.07 - 6:28 pm | #
Oh my. Before reading Janice's comments, I didn't think it was possible, but now I have been mugged by reality: there are such people as Feminist RadTrads. The world is indeed a monstrous and amazing place.
Anonymous | 05.30.07 - 6:30 pm | #
Returning to my earlier question about Eph. 5:22 and allegedly outdated anthropologies, we can elaborate further on how outdated Eph. 5:22. St. Paul commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loved His Bride the Church. But could it be that St. Paul was laboring under an outdated christology and an outdated ecclesiology as well as an outdated anthropology? Maybe, just as wives no longer have any obligation to submit to their husbands, husbands need no longer love their wives as Christ loved the Church?
Jordan Potter | 05.30.07 - 6:32 pm | #
Ah yes, the good old Legionaries. Always reliable at knocking down Catholic customs as 'culturally conditioned.' Is this the same McNamara who systematically addressed every one of the liturgical abuses put into place as official permissions since the Council justifying and soothing people over them? You remember the Zenit series right? Communion in the hand, wine glasses, altar girls...each of them tumbling down. Good company men those Legion boys.
Hilary | Homepage | 05.30.07 - 6:59 pm | #
" This custom reeks of subjugation;"
Janice, when you said you do'nt see the issue as one of 'courage' for women to wear veils, perhaps you had not listened to yourself. It is precisely this kind of hostility from women, the kind that emanates in laser-like beams of hatred, that makes the wearing of a veil for most women who want to do it an act of courage. It takes a lot of gumption to reject not only the feminist principles that seem to rule everyone's thought these days, but to withstand the glaring hatred of the women who define their self-worth according to those principles and no other.
It is a sign of contradiction, you seem to be saying, and you don't like it.
Well, perhaps that is a good thing.
Hilary | Homepage | 05.30.07 - 7:10 pm | #
Anonymous: you're an ________________ [edited by Siteowner for rudeness: see Da Rulz #1]. At least identify yourself. And I'm hardly a radtrad. You can't possibly know what you're talking about or you wouldn't identify me as a "trad" anything.
You've got a fundamentalist mindset, especially when it comes to Church teaching.
You write: "Anyway, the Church can't say one thing for 2,000 years and then start saying something completely different. Doctrine develops and deepens -- it can't be abandoned in favor of a different doctrine. Otherwise the Church would be fallible and a teacher of error."
You persistently confuse fundamental Church teaching with matters such as anthropology and science, things that can change (and, no, I'm not talking about human dignity, or the right to life here or the inherence of all Truth in Jesus Christ). I'm talking about issues like the change in society, e.g., from the patriarchal Roman type, signified by the Haustafeln represented in the Deutero-Pauline epistles (Colossians, Ephesians). This was also influenced by Aristotelian views on the essential inferiority of women. This was not held (at least, not consistently) by Plato, who influenced the Greek Fathers more than did Aristotle. Aristotle held that because women could not produce semen, they were inherently inferior to men. Hence, men supplied the substance of the soul, women only the matter. Aristotle also believed that men had superior intelligence. These notions passed into the Roman intellectual tradition, notably Cicero and others and were fed into the Christian tradition of the Deutero-Paulines. Women were best suited as wives and mothers.
It is NEW that Cardinal Ratzinger writes:
"Although motherhood is a key element of women's identity, this does not mean that women should be considered from the sole perspective of physical procreation. In this area, there can be serious distortions, which extol biological fecundity in purely quantitative terms and are often accompanied by dangerous disrespect for women. The existence of the Christian vocation of virginity, radical with regard to both the Old Testament tradition and the demands made by many societies, is of the greatest importance in this regard. Virginity refutes any attempt to enclose women in mere biological destiny. Just as virginity receives from physical motherhood the insight that there is no Christian vocation except in the concrete gift of oneself to the other, so physical motherhood receives from virginity an insight into its fundamentally spiritual dimension: it is in not being content only to give physical life that the other truly comes into existence. This means that motherhood can find forms of full realization also where there is no physical procreation. . . . It means also that women should be present in the world of work and in the organization of society, and that women should have access to positions of responsibility which allow them to inspire the policies of nations and to promote in
Janice | 05.30.07 - 7:13 pm | #
"Veiling women is part of the old notion that women are in control of men's sexual mores."
PP, this is one of the feminist movement's set pieces. Boiler plate, they call it. They assert that the "patriarchy" subjugates women by blaming them for the lust of men. It is a neat little twist. They say that the Church created a double standard, telling women to be attractive to their husbands, but then blaming them for lust. Of course, the other half is the weird assertion that the Church never held men accountable for their own behavior, holding women responsible for the entire show.
A bit of self pity, if you ask me. It is a common theme in anti-Catholic feminist-inspired films.
Hilary | Homepage | 05.30.07 - 7:14 pm | #
I'm not a "feminist," at least not in the conventional sense. I just don't need the condescending "holier than thou" rhetoric from you and others who want to wear the veil. Just wear it and shut up already.
Janice | 05.30.07 - 7:16 pm | #
The fear part of it is the key. Anger, hostility, are usually products of fear and feminism has taught women from birth that men are enemies, that the Church is interested only in 'subjugating' them, turning them into breeding slaves.
It comes out pretty clearly in Janice's increasingly shrill accusations. I recognize it because I was rasied on it. It takes a heap of grace and a pretty determined mind to discard these assumptions. It places most modern women in the Church in a very uncomfortable spot. They clearly want to be Catholic, have an instinct for the good as does anyone. But the voice of the world, ie; the feminist world, is in there all the time nagging at her with contradictions.
Janice, like so many modern women, has clearly been on the one hand taught to hate and fear the Church as an engine of oppression and slavery, and on the other have a natural and holy attraction to the Church as the source of truth goodness and joy. I see it a lot with women who consider themselves 'conservative' Catholics. They like to think they have found a comfortable compromise position where they feel pretty good about their feminist principles, (largely unconscious I suspect, or at least unexamined) and their adherence to the Faith. They are usually the ones who react like screeching harpies when they see a woman wearing a mantilla or obeying her husband.
I went through it with the birth control issue. I had been taught from earliest childhood by my hippie upbringing that motherhood is equal to slavery and permanent degradation. The schools reinforced it with messages about using 'safe sex' in order to avoid the disaster of having a child.
It was tough, but when I had finished examining the Church's teaching, it simply made more sense and was obviously motivated by love and the dignity of the person. Feminism is motivated, as far as I can understand it, by a trinity of envy, fear and lust.
Hilary | Homepage | 05.30.07 - 7:27 pm | #
"You've got a fundamentalist mindset, especially when it comes to Church teaching."
That's an insult, BTW, Mr. Potter, in case you missed it.
Hilary | Homepage | 05.30.07 - 7:33 pm | #
"You've got a fundamentalist mindset, especially when it comes to Church teaching."
How can you be sure when you still haven't told us what you think fundamentalism is?
Janice, I'm beginning to think that to you "fundamentalism" is thinking that the Church teaches the truth . . . .
"You persistently confuse fundamental Church teaching with matters such as anthropology and science, things that can change"
How have I done that? It seems to be your contention that the perennial doctrine of the New Testament, the Church Fathers, and the Popes is not doctrine, but is just a matter of science and anthropology (by which you don't mean Christian beliefs and theology regarding the nature and dignity of mankind, but changeable human cultural norms and customs). However, so far all you've done is make that contention -- you haven't done a thing to prove it. Instead, all you're doing to repeating your contention and branding those who believe the perennial doctrine as "fundamentalists." Fr. O'Leary thought I had a fundamentalist mindset too, simply because I believed what has been taught and believed always, everywhere, and by all, and what is supported by the consensus of the Fathers. You're starting to sound like him.
"I'm talking about issues like the change in society, e.g., from the patriarchal Roman type, signified by the Haustafeln represented in the Deutero-Pauline epistles (Colossians, Ephesians)."
Ah, I forgot, you don't believe that St. Paul wrote all of the letters that Christians ever since the first century A.D. have believed he wrote. On that one I will stick with the ancient tradition and the weight of history and common sense, and leave the modern scholars to their arrant and unprovable speculations. But let's never mind all that, since Colossians and Ephesians are inspired and inerrant even if St. Paul didn't write them, but some other guy who had the same name as St. Paul. You prefer to demote those New Testament passages that teach things you don't believe. Well and good. But let's go back to your comment about "change in society." Perhaps you noticed that Pius XI already addressed that issue in Casti Connubii:
"Again, this subjection of wife to husband in its degree and manner may vary according to the different conditions of persons, place and time. In fact, if the husband neglect his duty, it falls to the wife to take his place in directing the family. But the structure of the family and its fundamental law, established and confirmed by God, must always and everywhere be maintained intact."
As for your assertion that the so-called Deutero-Pauline Epistles are influenced by Aristotelianism, that's a nice just-so story without a shred of evidence to support it. There's nothing in St. Paul's writings about women being essentially inferior to men, about women's inability to produce semen making them inferior, about women supplying the matter while men supply the so
Jordan Potter | 05.30.07 - 9:15 pm | #
soul, about men having superior intelligence, or about women being best suited to be wives and mothers. Those things don't appear anywhere in the New Testament, and you'd think at least one or two of them would show up if there was really this influence you assert. St. Paul bases his doctrine of marriage and his discipline and doctrine regarding women in the Church upon the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Old Testament, not the notions of Aristotle.
"It is NEW that Cardinal Ratzinger writes:"
Hardly. The only thing in that discourse that might conceivably be said to be "new" is his statement, ". . . women should be present in the world of work and in the organization of society, and that women should have access to positions of responsibility which allow them to inspire the policies of nations." But then, Regine Pernoud's studies have shown that even that isn't new, but is actually a medieval notion, and something regrettably suppressed or obscured during and after the Renaissance. But as for the rest of his comment, it merely restates what the Church has always believed about women. Pius XI makes similar affirmations in Casti Connubii.
Jordan Potter | 05.30.07 - 9:18 pm | #
"That's an insult, BTW, Mr. Potter, in case you missed it."
I didn't miss it, Hilary. Janice and I have taken a ride on this merry-go-round before (not this topic). She is a very intelligent and gifted student of theology, but her patience wears thin pretty quickly with folks like me, and then come the snippy comments and barbs. For my part, it then becomes a temptation hard for me to resist to start to tweak and smirk at her, which seems to drive her even further up the wall.
And so it goes . . . .
You know, I haven't even stated my opinion about chapel veils yet, even though that's the ostensible topic of this discussion. For the record, I rather like them, and my wife has worn one on occasion. When the children are small, though, they keep yanking it off, so usually she doesn't wear one. As for whether women *should* wear one, I think a good case can be made that it is a good thing if women did, but I leave it to Mother Church to resolve this debatable matter as She sees fit. Far more pressing that chapel veils would be the widespread immodest and ugly dress that both men and women wear when they go to meet the King of the Universe in Holy Mass. When we get that problem solved, maybe we can decide what to do about chapel veils.
Jordan Potter | 05.30.07 - 9:28 pm | #
Gosh, maybe the Catholic Church should just close up shop. None of us agree anymore.
What does 'submit' mean?
Don't tell me a wife must 'submit' when a husband is an unloving, unfeeling, angry, selfish, abusive, ignorant bigot boorish boozer, a cheater, demanding and using the money for a new car and toys for himself, while his wife and children go without. He has her running in circles, keeps her down, insults her, uses her as a personal slave or object, for sex and everything else that pleases him; he gambles with his buddies on sports events and at cards, squandering their future, while she worries, cooks and cleans the floors and toilet with an old worn-out toothbrush.
"In fact, if the husband neglect his duty, it falls to the wife to take his place in directing the family." If Pius XI said that, he might be right.
Paul Borealis | 05.30.07 - 9:57 pm | #
You're reading a lot into my rejection of veils and I think it's projection on your part. I don't compromise my faith, in any way. And I'm not a feminist, at least in the sense that you've described it. You Catholics who left or compromised in the past and then returned are the ones who are the most adamant about "traditionalism" as opposed to tradition and slavish ritualism. I guess it's an attempt to make up for the years in abeyance from the Church or something.
I've never had anything but love and respect for the Church and I've always been happy to be a Catholic. I wasn't born during the "glory" days of feminism. I don't think I've been oppressed by male patriarchy. I simply made the remark that veiling is akin to that worn by Muslim women. And that is simply true. And, if you read ALL of the posts here, I also made the point that if the veiling is done with respect to GOD, then the priest and others at the altar would want to veil their hands when they held the Scriptures or the host. I also said that men do nothing comparable to show respect when they enter a church. That's also simply a fact.
You are the one who is lost in the feminist miasma and when it comes to "anger and fear": well I guess it takes one to know one.
Janice | 05.30.07 - 9:59 pm | #
"I simply made the remark that veiling is akin to that worn by Muslim women. And that is simply true. And, if you read ALL of the posts here, I also made the point that if the veiling is done with respect to GOD, then the priest and others at the altar would want to veil their hands when they held the Scriptures or the host. I also said that men do nothing comparable to show respect when they enter a church. That's also simply a fact."
And nearly everything you said above is false, even insulting, and proves to me that you have not read or understood the many good points made here.
Paul Borealis | 05.30.07 - 10:25 pm | #
Those 130 theologians in Germany and Austria are revolting.
A whole new crop of them are growing up in America.
Paul Borealis | 05.30.07 - 10:31 pm | #
Mr. Potter, What a pity. Another hyper feminist theology student. I suppose a fundamentalist, then, is merely a believer. The worst kind.
No, Janice, I wasn't 'reading' anhyting into your rejection of veils. I was merely reading your posts. Shrill denunciations of "fundamentalism" whenever you come across someone saying something that implies belief. Standard boilerplate feminist anti-Catholicism. Seen quite a bit of it over the years. One tends to learn the signs.
hilary | Homepage | 05.30.07 - 10:43 pm | #
I find it amusing also that you tell me to shut up about wearing veils, when it was you that started the shrieking.
hilary | Homepage | 05.30.07 - 10:44 pm | #
Protestant fundamentalism, SSPXism, and Eastern Orthodoxy look better and better each moment.
Paul Borealis | 05.30.07 - 10:51 pm | #
I can't 'submit' to the post-Vatican II Church. I'm cooked.
Paul Borealis | 05.30.07 - 10:53 pm | #
". . . if the veiling is done with respect to GOD, then the priest and others at the altar would want to veil their hands when they held the Scriptures or the host."
Their hands are anointed during ordination, partly to consecrate them for holding the Host. Anyway, the priest is alter Christus and acts in persona Christi, unlike the laity, so what may be fitting or mandatory for the laity is not necessarily fitting or mandatory for the priest. (This distinction, by the way, is directly related to what St. Paul said about the mystery of man and wife having to do with the mystery of Christ and the Church.)
"I also said that men do nothing comparable to show respect when they enter a church. That's also simply a fact."
Yes, but that raises the question of whether they *should* do something comparable, or if there is something regarding the divinely-created distinctions of the sexes that makes veils fitting for Christian women but inappropriate or unnecessary for Christian men.
"Don't tell me a wife must 'submit' when a husband is an unloving, unfeeling, angry, selfish, abusive, ignorant bigot boorish boozer, a cheater, demanding and using the money for a new car and toys for himself, while his wife and children go without."
Indeed, as Pius XI said:
"This subjection, however, does not deny or take away the liberty which fully belongs to the woman both in view of her dignity as a human person, and in view of her most noble office as wife and mother and companion; nor does it bid her obey her husband's every request if not in harmony with right reason or with the dignity due the wife; nor, in fine, does it imply that the wife should be put on a level with those persons who in law are called minors, to whom it is not customary to allow free exercise of their rights on account of their lack of mature judgment, or of their ignorance of human affairs. But it forbids that exaggerated liberty which cares not for the good of the family . . ."
Pius XI evidently does not endorse a "subjugation" model (assuming I gather what Janice means by that).
Jordan Potter | 05.30.07 - 10:55 pm | #
I apologize for bringing this up again, but I think it bears repeating. My beloved grandfather was a charming Irish man, but he had a long-time mistress with whom he had several children. He was "an unloving, etc.....boorish boozer". My grandmother "submitted" by choosing to stay with him so that she would be there when he died and she could get the priest for him and he would have the chance of final repentance. That showed an incredible strength and supernatural vision of the Sacrament of Matrimony and God's plan for husband and wife. My grandmother no longer had great human affection for my grandfather, he had hurt her too much, but she took her vows seriously and was willing to lay down her life for his salvation.
ellen | 05.31.07 - 8:10 am | #
"Pius XI evidently does not endorse a "subjugation" model (assuming I gather what Janice means by that)."
I do not know what Janice means anymore. For someone who loves the old writings of the Church Fathers, and the Holy Catholic Church, she does not give our Catholic heritage, liturgical culture and customs a fair chance or place, not even in an improved understanding. She appears to be a proponent of so-called Aggiornamento at it's most destructive, and worst.
Mr. Potter, thanks for the quote from Pius XI! Very interesting. Such things could go far to help modern women (concerning marriage) realize that Catholicism/Christian faith is not the enemy of their rightful God-given liberty, reason, dignity and rights.
Paul Borealis | 05.31.07 - 9:10 am | #
I noticed this at Jimmy Akin's. What it tells me is that the Vatican was letting stuff go some time ago (1976).
"Another objection is based upon the transitory character that one claims to see today in some of the prescriptions of Saint Paul concerning women, and upon the difficulties that some aspects of his teaching raise in this regard. But it must be noted that these ordinances, probably inspired by the customs of the period, concern scarcely more than disciplinary practices of minor importance, such as the obligation imposed upon women to wear a veil on the head (1 Cor 11:2-6); such requirements no longer have a normative value."
I think the crisis/storm was so severe, and fear of the ship sinking was so real, things were frantically and foolishly thrown overboard - but with this some important ballast was lost, and items of value.
Paul Borealis | 05.31.07 - 9:51 am | #
Or, the Vatican let the Aggiornamento Iconoclasts have their way.
Paul Borealis | 05.31.07 - 9:52 am | #
Who is that Muslim woman with the Pope?
Just joking. Sorry if I offended anybody.
Wow, what was the First Lady thinking?
Paul Borealis | 05.31.07 - 9:57 am | #
"Ah yes, the good old Legionaries. Always reliable at knocking down Catholic customs as 'culturally conditioned.' Is this the same McNamara [...] Good company men those Legion boys."
Hilary, perhaps it is wrong to blame them for repeating, regarding women's head covering, what the 'Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith' already said in 1976.
Paul Borealis | 05.31.07 - 10:10 am | #
Apparel (mostly but not exclusively feminine) befitting the modern anthropology:
(1) tight, clingy tops
(2) tight, clingy bottoms
(3) jewelry jewelry everywhere
(4) trowelled-on makeup
(5) false everything
(6) skin skin and more skin
(7) sandals and painted toenails
( apparel festooned by product logos, sporting team logos, numbskull messages, etc
(9) styles deliberately chosen to insult and scandalize
(10) cell phones
Only one reason for this in Church: the primacy of self-expression.
As a corrective I would suggest full body mantillas. Perhaps emergency vending machines could be installed in the vestibule.
Ralph Roister-Doister | 05.31.07 - 11:23 am | #
"the primacy of self-expression"
Well, why not? When the liturgy is itself an enabler of self-expression on the congregational level, why should individuals in that congregation refrain from it?
Ralph Roister-Doister | 05.31.07 - 11:25 am | #
You obviously haven't read Cardinal Ratzinger's statement on Men and Women in the Church and the World.
Janice, do you like doing this? Do you like presuming and making me feel slighted? What makes you think I'm not intimately familiar with not only Benedict's writings on women, but JP2's and Edith Stein's and Sr. Prudence Allen's, but simply drawn slightly different conclusions from yours?
He [Benedict] doesn't even bother with Ephesians 5.22 because it is outdated anthopology and he is far more generous in his treatment of women and their potential than many of the comments I have seen on this blog.
This is a not only a tendentious interpretation of Eph 5:22, colored by dubious historical-critical assumptions uncritically taken over from liberal Protestantism, but a tendentious interpretation of what constitutes 'generosity' towards women and the motives of commentators on this blog. So far I haven't seen anybody supporting the tradition of head covering for women (1) insisting on their necessity, or (2) interpreting them as symbolic of the demeaning subjugation of women. I don't know what's got you so agitated unless it's fear of pluralism or the extension of toleration to those who desire freedom to worship according to the older Catholic custom. Has anyone here asked YOU to wear a veil or hijab?
Pertinacious Papist | Homepage | 05.31.07 - 11:49 am | #
It is NEW that Cardinal Ratzinger writes ...
Janice, for the life of me, I find nothing 'NEW' in anything Cardinal Ratzinger writes here that isn't said in other ways by JP2, Edith Stein, St. Chrysostom and the other Church Fathers, forsooth. The vocation to virginity is hardly a new concept as an alternative to biological motherhood, even if the language in which this is couched has changed over time (e.g., the personalist phenomenological language of JP2, as opposed to the essentialist language of Thomas and the natural law tradition).
Pertinacious Papist | Homepage | 05.31.07 - 12:15 pm | #
Apparel (mostly but not exclusively feminine) befitting the modern anthropology:
11) Tattoos (they need some art on their skin, and this might qualify as apparel due to its preponderance).
Anonymous | 05.31.07 - 1:46 pm | #
Perhaps emergency vending machines could be installed in the vestibule.
My priest has a rack with free veils that women can use for the Mass. They don't get to keep them unless they buy them. So not having one isn't an excuse. I think it actually encourages women to wear veils when they see others. Heck, if I were a woman, I'd wear a veil too.
Andrew | 05.31.07 - 2:48 pm | #
First I've come upon these postings...
Janice, I see you are up to your old antics.
1 Corinthians 11 always seemed so clear-cut to me. But then again, living among Protestant fundamentalists, befriending SSPX Catholics and attending an indult parish (and occasionally SSPX, and even the Greek Orthodox one weekend when Masses were cancelled by the bishop) makes me too rigid and unenlightened to talk to.
By the way, the "custom" went from the time of St. Paul (in nearly all the Catholic world) until the 1970s.
Seems like a pretty universal and long-time custom to me.
1 Corinthians 11... It's great meditation, and great to deconstruct, right Janice.
By the way and for the record, my wife and two daughters wear a veil to every Mass. Novus Ordo weekday, indult Sunday and SSPX Sundays if/when we travel.
They recognize that God is truly and really and abidingly and substantially abiding and present in all of these parishes, so their manner corresponds likewise.
Also, being pro-life Catholics, they know that God veils all things that are sacred--the chalice, the tabernacle door--so they veil their heads as temples of the Holy Ghost (boo!)and as a pro-life, true feminine witness.
Mary's veiling was merely a product of her time?
You mean today she would wear see-through tops, bare her mid-riff and go bra-less (or wear a push-up?) and have that tattoo thing on her lower back? Interesting, Janice. Interesting...
1 Corinthians 11 Oh, and by the way, my wife and daughters know that the Bible is the Word of God and is inerrant.
As for my boys and I, we never wear shorts to Mass and we NEVER cover our heads (1 Corinthians 11) and we try not to wear tennis shoes or jeans.
That is what we do. We don't wear tight or revealing clothing, and since women do not react the same way to these things as men do, it is rarely a problem at most parishes I attend.
Women's dress, on the other hand... Thanks to the "enlightented" Britney Spears, the baptized Catholic...
Brian Mershon | 05.31.07 - 2:55 pm | #
I simply made the remark that veiling is akin to that worn by Muslim women. And that is simply true.
What do you mean by "akin"? The Koran is "akin" to the Bible - they both are books that contain God's word (well, one does, anyway, but the other also purports to). Yet they are hardly the same thing. Veiling in Muslim culture and veiling at Mass are about as "akin" as the Koran and Bible.
If the Church did have something comparable for men to wear, I'd go for it. Jewish men wear yamukas, maybe we can come up with something similar (of course, ours would have Nike swooshes, a Ralph Lauren Polo pony, or the Steelers logo)?
c matt | 05.31.07 - 4:20 pm | #
Not directed at Janice or anyone in particular, but it just occurred to me - the same people who would scoff at those wearing veils as an external sign of an interior disposition (piety) have no problem with wearing all sorts of other external signs of interior dispositions and being darn proud of it (rainbow sashes come to mind).
c matt | 05.31.07 - 4:25 pm | #
For the record, here is our discussion of a year ago: "On the hermeneutics of fittingness: head coverings for women" (Musings, Saturday, April 8, 2006).
Pertinacious Papist | Homepage | 05.31.07 - 8:13 pm | #