Patriarchy is not the source of all evil

55 Responses

  1. Derrick Kourie says:

    I am trying to get my head around what the good cardinal is saying. As far as I can see, this is his argument:

    1. Modern man (as opposed to woman?) has become violent in reaction to feelings of inadequacy aroused by pressure to be politically correct. His violence is provoked by the rhetoric of the feminist agenda.

    2. The reason for the continual conflict between men and women is that we play the blame-game—Adam blamed Eve who blamed the serpent. Malema blames Zuma who blames Verwoerd. And those who are PC blame patriarchy for the ills of women.

    3. God intends men and women to be partners.

    4. The way to overcome this conflict and tension is by “responding positively to God’s act of compassion, mercy and love in sending his Son Jesus as the Saviour”.

    But there seems to me to be a sort of circular argument here. Is the cardinal saying that it is the fault of those who blame patriarchy for the ills of women that men have become violent/ Is he saying that militant feminism causes men to be violent? Isn’t that belief just another form of the blame-game?

    I have no doubt that militant feminism does indeed threaten some males. But the causes of male violence are surely multidimensional and complex—hardly reducible to a single factor like militant feminism. If anything, male violence seems to be highest in those sections of society where women are least vocal about their rights.

    I am in full agreement with the good cardinal when he enjoins us to take responsibility for who and what we are and do. That is, indeed, at the core of all healthy adult relationships. It ought be taught as the core of all marriage preparation courses and as part of the life-skills imparted in schools. And the cardinal is absolutely right when he points out that it is so much easier to accept myself when I recognise that I am infinitely loved and cared for by God, despite all my faults and failings and blamings.

    Obviously, then, the headline is correct: patriarchy is not the source of all evil. But that does not mean that every form of patriarchy is justified. Nor does it mean that the church should be complacent about the role that women are “permitted” to play in it.

  2. Mark Nel says:

    Hi Derrick

    “Is the cardinal saying that it is the fault of those who blame patriarchy for the ills of women that men have become violent/ Is he saying that militant feminism causes men to be violent? Isnt that belief just another form of the blame-game?”

    I get the impression that what is being said is that we live in a world where, because patriarchy is blamed for so many evils, being ‘the man’ may be perceived as an unacceptable role. So men, subconsciously, may feel less inclined to assume the role that God intended that men should have in society. Therefore the tendency to blame patriarchy for various evils has had the unintended consequence of discouraging men from being men.

  3. P.R.Margeot says:

    Indeed,G-d had a plan, a role, for His creatures, man and woman, he had an Order established.Then came ‘modern’ man who knew better, then came the feminist movements which also apparently knew better than G-d. Upset the balance and find chaos.

    Ordinary Catholics may not be aware than their traditional Catholic brothers and sisters accept G-d’s plan wholeheartedly in that in all traditional families, the husband is the head of the family. Let me hasten to say that I do not know of one single wife who complains about this natural situation. They are all well-balanced, happy wives and mothers, and are very often the rock of the family. I know a young mother of 7 children who is an amazing child of G-d, such an example, such a virtuous woman than I often think that she is a perfect example of what G-d intended for his creatures. That family is blessed(they have a good and strong man at its head), I know that much, and I would not be surprised that they will have the supreme joy of having a priest from one of their sons. And possibly one of their daughters will join the religious life later.

    This is just to say that whoever upset G-d’s plan will pay the consequences. Heaven knows we have been paying in the past 40 years…Having said that, exciting times are coming to the Holy Church.

    Introibo ad altare Dei.

  4. Derrick Kourie says:

    @Mark: I guess that your interpretation is probably part of what the cardinal is saying, although he does seem to bring male violence into the equation. I guess that PRM’s notion that the man should be “the husband is the head of the family” is also part of the cardinal’s message—although these words are never used.

    But all of this begs the question. What does it mean for “men to be men” or that “men should be the head of the family”? How should virtuous men behave that is different from the behaviour of virtuous women? Both should be prayerful, loyal, virtuous, compassionate, concerned for others, generous, devout, co-operative, etc. We have become increasingly aware that strengths and weaknesses are not necessarily gender-determined. For example, some women handle the family finances better than their husbands and some women are higher income generators than their husbands. On the other hand, men may make excellent chefs and may be wonderfully gifted in child-rearing and home-making.

    It seems to me that what we have to role-model to our children of both genders, is that we need to be decent human beings, whatever our gender; that we need to treat everyone—male and female—with respect; that the macho models and values the world offers for males are not really very masculine; that the obession with appearance offered by the world to women is profoundly superficial; etc.

    In other words, it seems to me that, in Christ, we find the freedom to transcend both the traditional and contemporary roles imposed on our respective genders by the conventions of the world; that Christ wants us to have the freedom to develop that talents the He has given us, and to deploy those unselfishly to the benefits of others. The great women saints down the centuries have consistently insisted on transcending the tradional roles laid down for women of their day. I think for example of Blessed Mary Ward, who opposed the civil and religious authorities of her day and insisted on educating women, thus founding the Loretto Sisters. Catherine of Sienna played the role of a diplomatic intermediary and papal advisor in trying to reform the church and have the pope return from Avilignon. Theresa of Avila, Mother Theresa and Dorothy Day are more examples of women breaking out of traditional moulds. And I have just learned that within the next few weeks, the pope is about to declare St Hildergard, who wrote theological, botanical and medicinal texts, a Doctor of the Church in two weeks time.

    At the end of the day, I just don’t get it. I don’t know what “patrimony” is supposed to mean in this discussion. For me, we are all called to be saintly people in whatever state we are and with whatever talents we have. Gender should never be an excuse to limit someone’s exercise of their God-given talents. I see no difference between imposing limitations on people because of their gender and imposing limitations on people because of their race. In so far as patrimony means a kind of gender-based racism, I am against it. But if it means freedom for all to be whatever Christ calls them to be, then I am for it.

  5. Mark Nel says:

    The point is that it is not patriarchy that is to blame for evils and there is nothing wrong with patriarchy. We know that women are equivalent to men in all respects and that they are equally capable of doing much of what man can do and vice versa. One does not have any greater importance than the other. However men have a role in society, in the family, etc., as do women. Some of the roles cannot be taken on by the other. For example a man cannot conceive a child. A women cannot make herself pregnant, if we keep to basic examples without delving in to areas that will cause a debate entirely of its own. We cannot continue to blame patriarchy for the evils that men commit, be it towards women, children or each other. We cannot continue to blame patriarchy for the oppression of women. Patriarchy is not the problem! Sin is the problem! It is sin that makes man think he can force himself on women. It is sin that makes man think he can leave his wife and child, hungry and alone, and go off with another women. It is sin that makes man think he can treat his wife and companion like a slave and not an equal partner. It is sin that makes man think he can pay a women for sex. It is sin that makes a man think he can trade in women for mail order brides and sex slaves. Its not patriarchy! So let’s stop blaming patriarchy for all the evils and injustices committed by men against whomever. Let’s target the root of the problem. Until we get to the root of the problem, we are simply unable to cure the disease.

  6. Derrick Kourie says:

    Off course, all moral evil is due to sin. My problem is that I do not know what is being defended when one says “patriarchy is not to be blamed for evils…”. Let us agree to extract everything that oppresses women and is sinful out of the term “patriarchy” and what is left? It seems “roles” are left.

    Other than the obvious matter of physiologically constrained roles related to childbearing, what roles may men not undertake that only women may do and vice-versa? Frankly, I can’t think of any offhand. I can think of many roles that women in general are more inclined to undertake than men, and vice-versa. But I see no moral reason to prohibit exceptions in either direction. These roles are, by and large, purely a matter of social convention and orthogonal to moral considerations.

    So what, precisely, is being defended by the claim that patriarchy is not the cause of evil?

  7. Vincent Couling says:

    A possible answer to your concluding question, Derrick, is the defence of the idea that only men are called by God to the ministerial priesthood in the Catholic Church …

    Perhaps this is made implicit in the statement by His Eminence that the politically correct cry out that “Woman must be equal to man in everything and in every way possible!”, which is followed by the question “But is that the truth?”

    Our Catholic hierarchical structures are among the most patriarchal governance structures remaining in the world today. Some are reluctant to change that fact, or to even allow for rational adult debate and dialogue around this issue. They would like to coat this reality with as much castor sugar as possible.

    After all, patriarchy is not the evil … political correctness is! Such dualistic thinking can often disappear in a puff of smoke by realising that the setting up of such polar opposites is a mental construct of imagined extremes that needn’t have any grounding in reality. After all, for many aeons, it was politically correct to hold that patriarchy is a God-given design intrinsic to the universe … males are born for leadership roles, women for subservient roles … males are born to dominate, to rule, to penetrate (after all, it is self evident that they are physically and mentally superior, and let us not forget that they have penises) – while women are born to be meek and submissive, in everything from daily work to social commentary to relationships to lovemaking. Some political commentators have even argued that fear of gay relationships has, at heart, to do with fear of disassembling traditional gender-based roles. Who is the dominant and who is the submissive? How can there be an equal partnership in all things, from earning money to doing household chores to making important decisions to the very act of lovemaking? Isn’t this an undoing of the God-given natural order … which will tear the very fabric of society asunder? (One begins to see the patriarchal fears which led to what is expressed in Leviticus 18:22.)

    Is patriarchy really such a nebulous, ill-defined concept? Isn’t it really quite a simple concept? Isn’t it, at heart, the idea of rule (of a family, a tribe or a community) by the eldest (or most powerful – whether physically, financially, intellectually, et cetera) male?

    Do we really think that it is inappropriate for a woman to rule, or for a collection of elders, both male and female, to rule? Do we really think it inappropriate for women to receive an education, or to vote? Or to make important decisions for themselves or others? It is really not that long ago that such a situation was the case. Wives were literally the property of their husbands … even the idea of a wife being raped by her husband was beyond the pale, since the wife should respect the “marital rights” of her husband, and be submissive to him. The wife was a baby factory, and the husband would spend his most important social time in the company of other men, discussing manly issues such as politics, philosophy, religion, commerce, war, empire building, et cetera. Women were simply not permitted to participate in such lofty pursuits.

    Perhaps, as our societies become more democratic and egalitarian, those few remaining institutions that continue to have distinctly patriarchal power structures will begin to fear that they might seem anachronistic in the eyes of ordinary people. Perhaps the male leaders of such patriarchal systems will begin to write articles trying to justify what many have come to believe is unjustifiable: that only males may fulfil leadership functions in society (or in certain communities).

    As time passes, it is probably going to require sprinkling with more and more castor sugar to make swallowing such arguments palatable.

  8. Mike Braum says:

    @Derrick: Start with the position that “this man loves me and is bringing something to mind that he thinks is important that I hear”.
    Then there is nothing to get your head around, or to win. You are just listening to a man who loves you, telling you not to fall for the polically correct view of patriarchy being to blame for all the world’s ills.
    Isn’t that a good thing?

  9. Mark Nel says:

    As usual, exactly what the Cardinal has stated we should not do, has been done. Patriarchy has eventually, in this discussion, also become the scapegoat. Patriarchy is blamed for a view that some people hold regarding women and their positions in society. Patriarchy is being blamed for women being raped by their husbands. Patriarchy is being blamed for men treating women like a baby factory, and goodness knows what else!

    It is not patriarchy that is the cause of all these ills but insecure selfish people who have no respect for the equal rights of women and, in all likelihood, probably have no respect for the rights of any other people in society either. There is nothing wrong with Patriarchy! Patriarchy has an invaluable role in society and its removal or elimination will be detrimental for society. There are enough studies to show the impacts of absent fathers, etc.

    Significantly, but always true to form, the ordination of women is also introduced into the discussion. Patriarchy is not the reason that the ordination of women is not permitted! This is a wonderful conspiracy theory that has only one purpose, to grab the attention of people, particular those in the secular world, and help the proponents of this cause to focus attention on the subject. It is a disingenuous argument.

    Provocative statements like women being excluded from ordination by a male dominated hierarchy, for their own selfish reasons, are made by individuals who have no interest whatsoever in reasonable dialogue. These individuals are focused entirely on selfishly using any available opportunity to press home their personal agenda, with little or no consideration for the common good.

    Provocative statements like these are also frequently used to silence opposition voices. Consider the accusation that one must be homophobic if one has an opinion against gay marriage. Many people certainly won’t have the courage to step into the arena and express their opinion, if it means that they will automatically be branded homophobic. Better to stay out of it. It is no different to being intimidated by a man holding a gun, who asks you politely for your car and your valuables. Neither you, or your neighbour, or anyone passing by for that matter, is likely to get involved, no matter how strongly they feel that the man with the gun is wrong!

    I must say this: Homosexual acts are opposed to an absolute moral truth and no amount of time or noise can change an absolute moral truth. The subject of the ordination of women has been deemed a deposit of faith that cannot be changed, no matter what theologians or some priests or laity may think, because it is ultimately not for them to decide. Jesus didn’t say to the theologians: “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16)

    Now, maybe we can get back to discussing how constantly blaming patriarchy for the evils in society, is affecting the self image of men. Maybe we can discuss how we go about positively influencing the understanding of Patriarchy so that men become the kind of men Christ asks them to be. For once, lets stop making this about own selfish personal agendas.

  10. Derrick Kourie says:

    @Mark: My problem remains: I still don’t know what you or the cardinal mean by the term “patriarchy”. My dictionary defines it as:

    1. a form of social organization in which the father is the supreme authority in the family, clan, or tribe and descent is reckoned in the male line, with the children belonging to the father’s clan or tribe.

    2. a society, community, or country based on this social organization.

    PRM has been very forthright, and affirmed that the husband should be the head of the household, even though he has not spelled out what such headship entails. But I am not sure that this is what you or the cardinal mean by the term.

    It sounds as if you are saying that “patriarchy” is (or could be) a good thing. But what is the thing to be defended? What is this thing whose understanding you wish us to positively influence, “so that men become the kind of men Christ asks them to be”.

    I have tried to indicate above what I understand Christ wants us to be as men, and that is to treat everyone, male and female, with equal respect and dignity and love, etc. But I don’t see how that positively influences patriarchy. If anything, treating everyone in this way would tend to undermine patriarchy in the dictionary-defined sense.

    Vincent has pointed to a plausible explanation (the most likely, I suspect) of the cardinal’s meaning: That there is a God-ordained ordering of nature which assigns the priestly role to men only. Let us leave that assertion aside for the moment, controversial as it may be. I would like to know whether there are other roles (apart from physiologically imposed roles) which should be reserved exclusively for men in the cause of positively influencing patriarchy.

    Supposing we retain the priestly function for men only—why not just ditch everything else that comes under the term “patriarchy”?

  11. Mark Nel says:

    Derrick I see what you are getting at. Maybe the problem lies in associating patriarchy with authority. Instead maybe patriarchy is a more of a natural role that man takes depending on circumstances, just as matriarchy is a natural role that a women takes in given circumstances. Its not about who is in control. Its about what we contribute, but not in the sense of who earns the money, type of contribution. Contribution in the sense of what do I naturally bring to a family and what does my wife naturally bring to the family and how does that contribute to the common good of the family.

    If a women is the breadwinner and the husbands contribution to family life is more along the lines of what traditionally is considered a women’s, it does not change his patriarchal role. He still fulfills a natural patriarchal role and his wife still performs her natural matriarchal role. This doesn’t mean she earns the pay cheque and he decides how to spend it. That’s making it about control and authority again. She decides or maybe they decide how to spend. It actually doesn’t matter, its not about that. Its just the natural role that the two different sexes play in the family. Its instinctive. My wife and I have never had to debate our roles, it all just flowed naturally. When we act, we act always for the common good of each other, our child, our broader family, and, hopefully, the common good of our friends and society, using what just comes naturally to each of us.

    The problem with the example of priesthood is that it is based on the concept that ordination, seen from a purely secular point of view, confers power and authority. Yet what ordination does is confer servitude. Our Lord washed the Apostles feet. He told them to wash the feet of others. He made the patriarchs servants. Men caring for others. Not about ruling and dominating others. That caring serving role that ordination confers requires decisions. Decisions, inspired by God, that are about what is for the common good, not decisions to make people subservient.

    Personally, I think that the desire for ordination of women is rooted in pride. It is a secular outlook that is demanding something that is not there to be demanded. It is not a right like voting, being the CEO of a company or getting a degree. Not even men have any right to ordination. Only the Church has the right to confer ordination. Ordination will never be a personal right.

    Patriarchy is taking responsibility for that which I naturally can, always with the purpose of ensuring the common good of everyone. Matriarchy is the same. Together, not one dominating the other, the world works beautifully. Without both, society breaks down.

  12. Derrick Kourie says:


    For the record, I happen to differ from you on the issue of women ordination, but I do not wish to debate that theme here. In my opinion, it generates too much heat and deflects from more fundamental concerns.

    No-one can differ from the noble sentiments in your last paragraph. I like the fact that you have in effect eliminated the distinction between patriarchy and matriarchy: everyone should “take responsibility for that which they naturally can, always with a view to the common good.”

    The corollary of what you have said is, of course, that I should not prevent others from deploying their talents towards the common good. Even more pertinently: If I am in a position of authority and thus called to manage how the common good is attained, then part of my obligation is to maximally call upon and deploy the talents of all who can and who wish to, in order to further the common good.

    That, of course, is very difficult to do if you are culturally and systemically constrained from doing so, and I suggest that our church authorities have some distance to go in fulfilling their obligations in this regard. I agree with the implications of your closing sentence: when people are not taking responsibility for that which they naturally can, and thus not maximally serving the common good, society begins to break down. I suggest that this is happening under our very noses in our church.

    Also for the record, I disagree with the cardinal’s assertion that PC has got everything to do with male violence, brutality and callousness. In that context, I think that patriarchy is a red herring. And I do not think that being concerned about the church’s underutilisation and lack of co-option of its female talent (indeed of its lay talent) should be dismissed as political correctness. Neither is it a matter of political correctness to be concerned when significant groups of people feel alienated from the church. Concern about such issues should be construed as loyalty and love, not of antipathy or political correctness. Charity demands that these voices be listened to with sensitivity and understanding.

    In summary, I think the church has massive systemic problems, not easily attributable to individual popes or bishops who, for the most part are dear and devout men.

    Let me close with a brief story. I recently attended the funeral Mass of an aged relative. The the celebrant was a family friend—the recently departed Bishop Pascal Rowland. He had the good sense and courtesy to make his sermon (a beautiful one) very short, so that there was ample time for the eulogy aftwards. This was given by the niece of the deceased. The subsequent comment of a dear priest friend of mine (who shall remain nameless here) struck me forcefully. In paraphrase, he said: If only the Church was willing and able to leverage the manifest talents of women such as the lass who gave the eulogy, it would blossem and be completely transformed!

    I think he is right.

  13. P.R.Margeot says:

    Would one be correct to say that, prior to 1965, there was hardly, if ever, any talk of women’s ordination ?

    It seems to that idea came out vigorously after the council and has not gone away ! All the Authorities need to do now is to re-confirm, re-affirm, that the question is settled in the Catholic Church. They need not be afraid any more to offend this one or that one or that group. That question is part of the revolution’s ideas and ideals. We know that the Revolution has been stemmed, that the Church is heading towards sanity and calmer waters, that the errors of Modernism and Liberalism( two serious errors denounced by the Popes, condemned by them) are slowly being dealt with.

    We know that the Authorities are still scared to talk loudly : they fear the wrath of progressives and they fear the scandals of the past 30 years would be thrown to their face. The Authorities can rest assured that they can go ahead and do their duty without fear. In fact, the Catholic flock expects them to act decisively, strongly, without fear or hesitation. Basically, what still needs to be done now by the Church Authorities, is to start the mopping up operation. Cleansing the Church, purifying the atmosphere, passing the message to the revolution that the Church is now taking charge of its life with the help of all decent Catholics. Her ultimate goal is evidently to help Catholics (and non Catholics and non-Christians) to save their souls. That goal will only be achieved once the Church makes full use of the traditional mass, returns to her Tradition and traditions. The Catholic Church is traditional.

    The atmosphere needs to be purified.

    St Michael will help us in this titanic struggle to regain the ground lost the evil one.

    A suggestion : why could not the prayer to St Michael be said again at the end of all low masses?
    As it was before the council. Let’s go for it ! Catholics would be interested to know that this prayer is still said at the end of all low masses in all traditional Catholic churches in the world.

  14. Vincent Couling says:

    PRM, a member of the schismatic Society of Saint Pius X, now speaks on behalf of the Catholic flock? PRM knows what the Catholic flock expects? What utter arrogance.

  15. P.R.Margeot says:

    One does not like the idea of purifying the Church, of bringing more orthodoxy to church life and liturgy. One belongs to a certain camp that labels any opponent, any one opposing their progressive and liberal ideas as homophobic, as racist, (and soon, we will hear about so and so being anti-semitic !! Watch this space) Good grief.

    But the breeze is turning, soon the wind of real change will blow,and soon some will run in circles looking for a good priest to confess their sins.

    On two things the Holy Church will not budge : the ordination of women and the marriage of homosexuals in the church. It would appear that these two ideas are pivotal to the edifice of the progressives. It seems strange that the latter have not comprehended the teaching of the Church, they seem to believe that they have a good chance of seeing their ideas prevailing. Hmm…

    In the meantime, Catholics aspire to the day when more orthodoxy will come to the Church. It will take some time, admittedly. The evil one is rubbing his filthy hands in glee when he sees some people pushing for these wild ideas which are not Catholic in any way. We pray to St Michael, our Protector and guardian of the Church.

    We also pray for many holy Priests.

    Salus animarum suprema lex

  16. Vincent Couling says:

    Who labels any “opponent” as homophobic, as racist, as anti-semitic? I have never called anyone homophobic unless they have indulged in demonstrably homophobic utterances. You are free to quote instances where I have written something that contradicts this claim … good luck!

    You seem to be aligned with Mark’s thinking above: “Provocative statements like these are also frequently used to silence opposition voices. Consider the accusation that one must be homophobic if one has an opinion against gay marriage.”

    I, for one, have /never/ labelled anyone as homophobic simply because they have an opinion against gay marriage. But why bother with what I have actually done, written or said … let’s indulge in a thoroughlly dishonest smear campaign. That’s the Christian Spirit, hey!

    I have consistently appealed to the findings of empirical research. I am quite open to debate and dialogue … but will freely rebut any opinion that appears to contradict the findings of empirical research (such as the mischievous claim that homosexuality and paedophilia are linked) … if a strident rebuttal based on cogent reasoned argument is taken to be a silencing of opposition voices, especially by those who would have called for a //real// silencing of opposition voices (through active censorship), well, I can’t help those feelings, now can I!

    I really have no desire to get into a ding-dong with Mark or PRM … I would rather stick to arguments that personal ding-dongs.

    Mark, “Patriarchy is not the reason that the ordination of women is not permitted!” is quite a claim … but is it /demonstrably/ true? I really wonder …

  17. Mark Nel says:

    Is demonstrably not true? I really wonder …

  18. Mark Nel says:

    Of course its demonstrably true. The only basis that anyone has for claiming that patriarchy is to blame for the failure to ordain women is an unprovable conspiracy theory compared to the Church basing its decision on Sacred Tradition!

  19. Vincent Couling says:

    So what is the basis for forbidding the ordination of women to the priesthood? What is the theological justification for this prohibition?

  20. Paul says:

    Love between man and woman often clash , because each party will define love in it’s own unique way .This is because people are different (ineqaulity)
    St Augustine said that God created men inequal , because He wish for His creatures to practice charity .
    The problem today is well , how long is a peice of string ? When you realise that you are being made a fool of , what are your options .Is the victim a christian , and is his priest telling him that no servant is greater than his creator ( Christ who endured it first ) ? What about satan and hell ?

    If you look at the Lonmin problem , it is becoming very clear that satan is at work here , especially now that it has been exposed that the employer have been charging them half of their salaries , just to employ them ?????

    If men can be that evil , then you can expect war , men will eventually resort to violence , when your children are dying anyways .The other truth in the Lonmin saga , is that the so – called self-defence by the police was also instigated by this billionare , one of the richest men on earth , because he had so much to hide .

    If one man can be so evil , and have no regard for human life , and we had a pope who said that hell is empty , I think satan changed the sign on the outside of hell to ” Welcome ” .

    Unless powerfull church-men admit that a handfull of billionares are opressing the masses , because they are influenced by the fallen principalities and powers , then those who are supposed to be on your side are actually of no use , because they do not see a crisis . The big crisis today is a man vs his creator crisis , the one true religion has been shaken by its foundations , men are no longer placing their faith in the church .

    Perhaps it can change when the cardinal publicly denounce those corrupt thieves , like the so called freedom fighter Cyril Ramaposa , who is opressing the poor .

    Why would the Church need big titles like Bishop , or Cardinal , are they perhaps to defend God’s little ones against the big ones ?

  21. Vincent Couling says:


    Have a look at the Catholic Encyclopedia entry at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15687b.htm

    Here we read the following:

    “The female sex is in some respects inferior to the male sex, both as regards body and soul.”

    “With truth does the writer on education, Lorenz Kellner, say: “I call the female sex neither the beautiful nor the weak sex (in the absolute sense). The one designation is the invention equally of sensuality and of flattery; the other owes its currency to masculine arrogance. In its way the female sex is as strong as the male, namely in endurance and patience, in quiet long-suffering, in short, in all that concerns its real sphere, viz., the inner life””

    “… a complete social equality would nullify this purpose of the Creator. Evidently the intention at the basis of the differences mentioned is to force the complemental union of the two sexes as a necessity of nature. Accordingly, notwithstanding the equal human dignity, the rights and duties of the woman differ from those of the man in the family and the forms of society which naturally develop from it. ”

    “If the two sexes are designed by nature for a homogeneous organic co-operation, then the leading position or a social pre-eminence must necessarily fall to one of them. Man is called by the Creator to this position of leader, as is shown by his entire bodily and intellectual make-up. On the other hand, as the result of this, a certain social subordination in respect to man which in no way injures her personal independence is assigned to woman, as soon as she enters into union with him.”

    “It should be emphasized here that man owes his authoritative pre-eminence in society not to personal achievements but to the appointment of the Creator according to the world of the Apostle: “The man . . . is the image and glory of god; but the woman is the glory of the man” (1 Corinthians 11:7). The Apostle in this reference to the creation of the first human pair presupposes the image of God in the woman. As this likeness manifests itself exteriorly in man’s supremacy over creation (Genesis 1:26), and as man as the born leader of the family first exercised this supremacy, he is called directly God’s image in this capacity. Woman takes part in this supremacy only indirectly under the guidance of the man and as his helpmeet. It is impossible to limit the Pauline statement to the single family; and the Apostle himself inferred from this the social position of woman in the Church community. Thus her natural position is assigned to woman in every form of society that springs necessarily from the family. This position is described by St. Thomas Aquinas with classic clearness (Summa theol., I:92:1, ad 2um). This doctrine, which has always been maintained by the Catholic Church, was repeatedly emphasized by Leo XIII. The encyclical “Arcanum”, 10 February, 1880, declares: “The husband is ruler of the family and the head of the wife; the woman as flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone is to be subordinate and obedient to the husband, not, however, as a hand-maid but as a companion of such a kind that the obedience given is as honourable as dignified. As, however, the husband ruling represents the image of Christ and the wife obedient the image of the Church, Divine love should at all times set the standard of duty”.”

  22. Vincent Couling says:

    This was the view around the late eighteen-hundreds … is it still to be our view today? Is this the sort of patriarchalism that the cardinal might have a nostalgia for?

  23. Vincent Couling says:

    Incidentally, as regards patriarchy and the question of womens ordination, there is quite a large body of literature out there … some essays are readily available via the internet.

    I know that merely posting this link here might cause PRM to have a complete nervous breakdown, but I cautiously take the risk: see “Patriarchy and the Ordination of Women” by Ruth Barnhouse at http://www.womenpriests.org/classic/barnhou2.asp

  24. Vincent Couling says:

    For the perspective of another woman, see “Female Ordination: A continuing struggle with patriarchy” by Joliene Wade at http://seekinguncertainty.blogspot.com/2012/01/female-ordination-continuing-struggle.html

  25. Vincent Couling says:

    Another relevant article from Ameriga Magazine in the mid eighties is “Women in the Church since Vatican II” at http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=11898

    Perhaps us men need to start listening to the perceptions and experiences of women in this regard?

    Or is “man,” “called by the Creator to this position of leader, as is shown by his entire bodily and intellectual make-up,” the only one sufficeintly competent to proclaim on the matter?

  26. Vincent Couling says:

    Incidentally, Mark, if we look at some historical facts, the first women students at Cambridge University were examined in 1882 (around when the Catholic Encyclopedia entre was written above), while women were only full members of the university in 1948 … Harvard University only admitted women students to graduate programs in the 1940s. These are hard facts, patriarchal facts.

    Today, there are generally more female than male students at universities, and the reason for this? The girls seem to outperform the boys on average. So much for the stereotype of the male as the intellectually stronger sex!

    And what about universal suffrage? It was in 1893 that New Zealand became the first country in the world to achieve universal (i.e. male and female) suffrage.

    Some food for thought … personally, I’m not into comparing patriarchy with political correctness. I’m simply into egalitarianism … much like St Paul … there is no longer male or female … why not? Because of Jesus Christ! (Gal 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”)

  27. Vincent Couling says:

    And while I’m at it, Mark, might I point out that the overwhelming majority of men were NOT in favour of universal suffrage, or of allowing women entry into universities … there was a decidedly fierce struggle by women to overcome these entrenched patriarchal privileges … privileges that were apparently considered to be ordained by God when bestowing certain fundamental differences in men and women … after all, the female sex is in some respects inferior to the male sex, both as regards body and soul.

  28. Vincent Couling says:

    Dear Paul,

    Here are some choice quotes from St Augustine … I seem to recall that Mark objected when I said that some men regarded women as baby factories … here’s one who apparently did just that!

    St. Augustine, De genesi ad litteram, 9, 5-9
    “I don’t see what sort of help woman was created to provide man with, if one excludes the purpose of procreation. If woman was not given to man for help in bearing children, for what help could she be? To till the earth together? If help were needed for that, man would have been a better help for man. The same goes for comfort in solitude. How much more pleasure is it for life and conversation when two friends live together than when a man and a woman cohabitate?”

  29. Vincent Couling says:

    St. John Chrysostom, On Priesthood, VI, ch. 8
    “There are in the world a great many situations that weaken the conscientiousness of the soul. First and foremost of these is dealings with women. In his concern for the male sex, the superior may not forget the females, who need greater care precisely because of their ready inclination to sin. In this situation the evil enemy can find many ways to creep in secretly. For the eye of woman touches and disturbs our soul, and not only the eye of the unbridled woman, but that of the decent one as well.”

    St. Jerome, Commentary on Ephesians, III ch.5
    “As long as a woman is for birth and children she is different from man as body is from soul. But when she wishes to serve Christ more than the world, then she will cease to be a woman, and will be called man.”

    St. Albert the Great, Quaestiones super de animalibus XV q. 11
    “Woman is less qualified [than man] for moral behavior. For the woman contains more liquid than the man, and it is a property of liquid to take things up easily and to hold onto them poorly. Liquids are easily moved, hence women are inconstant and curious. When a woman has relations with a man, she would like, as much as possible, to be lying with another man at the same time. Woman knows nothing of fidelity. Believe me, if you give her your trust, you will be disappointed. Trust an experienced teacher. For this reason prudent men share their plans and actions least of all with their wives. Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison with his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she herself cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one’s guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil…. In evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man. Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good.”

    St. Albert the Great, Quaestiones super de animalibus XVIII q.1
    “The north wind strengthens the power, and the south wind weakens it… The north wind leads to the generation of males, the south wind to the generation of females, because the north wind is pure and dries out the exhalations and stimulates the natural force. But the south wind is moist and heavy with rain.”

    St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica I q. 92 a. 1
    “Woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence, such as that of a south wind, which is moist.” (This idea is actually from Aristotle.)

    St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II-II q.149 a.4
    “Sobriety is most requisite in the young and in women, because concupiscence of pleasure thrives in the young on account of the heat of youth, while in women there is not sufficient strength of mind to resist concupiscence.”

    St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II-II q.70 a.3
    “The reliability of a person’s evidence is weakened, sometimes indeed on account of some fault of his … ; sometimes, without any fault on his part, and this owing either to a defect in the reason, as in the case of children, imbeciles and women, or to personal feeling … “

  30. Vincent Couling says:

    I cannot resist posting from Garry Wills’ book entitled “Papal Sin”:

    “It is not so much that women are clamouring to become priests (especially as the priesthood currently exists), but the perpetuation of this ban [against the ordination of women] keeps alive the whole ideological substructure on which it is based. It is the last fierce bastion where the great Christian lie about women has entrenched itself.”

  31. Vincent Couling says:

    And here’s just a snipped from St Bonaventure’s patriarchal reasons why women cannot be ordained as priests …

    “2. Likewise, no one is capable of taking up Orders who does not bear the image of God, because in this Sacrament man in a certain way becomes God, or divine, while he is made a participant in divine power. But man by reason of his sex is “imago Dei”, the image of God, just as it is said in the eleventh [chapter] of the first [letter] to the Corinthians. Therefore in no way can a woman be ordained.”

  32. Vincent Couling says:

    Makes you think, doesn’t it!

  33. Paul says:


    The Blessed Virgin Mary was not a priest , if it was the will of God , or if He did not mind it , SHE would have been it .

  34. P.R.Margeot says:

    How much energy, work, thoughts can be wasted on a subject that is not going to take-off: there will be no ordination of women in the Catholic Church. Admittedly, many denominations admit women as ministers.

  35. Helen says:

    What a thoroughly unpleasant article. Thank goodness for Vincent researching all the equally offensive, repressive and regressive snippits from key texts and MEN who shaped the church. I feel sorry that those outmoded attitudes are still the perspective we need to start debate from. Patriarchy is the cause of the problem. Insecure men who inhabit patriarchical so ieties are not able to function in the sort of beneign, all wise pater familias role patriatchy tells us theuy naturally are, and so they develop into a man who is too weak or too forceful. Not placing pressure on men to assert themselves as the “leader” is part of the feminist response.

    Oh and women can inpregnate themselves and each other. Those of you asserting they can’t seem to forget that Dolly the sheep’s daughter was able to procreate. That made men, not wom en, technically obsolete.

    I feel the article was written simply because a chauvanist is fed up hearing about equality. Quite sad considering the abuse endured by too many women in this country. If we all stopped complaining about the bad things men did to the women they had dominion over, do any of us really believe things would improve?

  36. Mark Nel says:

    I think the facts of the matter are that these various causes feed off one another. I’ll support gay marriage if you will support the ordination of women. If you support euthanasia then we will jump on board and support your cause for contraception, or IVF. We’ll support lowering the age of consent to 14 if… and so the lists can go on. Absolute morals. The truth. These things are simply irrelevant in these grand schemes. Its about driving selfish agenda’s and making as much noise as possible, without stopping for a moment to consider TRUTH!

  37. Vincent Couling says:

    Run out of arguments, have you, Mark? ;-)

    I would say that each moral question needs to be considered in the light of both faith and reason, using the best scientific knowledge available at the time … and should our knowledge deepen, well, the matter might need to be revisited.

  38. Vincent Couling says:

    One final observation from me before I bow out of this thread for good …

    It is amazing how those who might have benefited most from the patriarchal agenda can crow about how natural and instinctively “right” their lives seem, while these self-same men can whinge endlessly about how selfish others are when they try to carve out some human flourishing for themselves and others who have been sidelined (often by patriarchal civil laws, claimed by these Great Men of God to be derived from Divine Law itself).

    It is amazing how these patriarchal men can claim to know the fullness of absolute moral truth (i.e. claim to be God!), when even St Paul realized that this is a nonsense: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

    Upon reflection, it doesn’t seem all that crazy to suggest that patriarchy might have been the most selfish human agenda yet to have been inflicted upon the human race. Perhaps, after all, patriarchy /has/ been the source of great evil!

  39. Vincent Couling says:

    PS Just one tiny factual illustration of the great evil of patriarchy (lest the claim be considered pure conjecture, even in the light of all the evidence posted above as regards women):

    The 1866 instruction of the Holy Office (signed by Pope Pius IX) which declared that Slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery . It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given.

    Pope John Paul II asserted slavery to be intrinsically [i.e. always and everywhere] evil and objectively disordered [Veritatis Splendor #80].

    So much for patriarchal Catholic men being in possession of absolute moral truth!

  40. Mark Nel says:

    Patriarchy is not evil! People are!

  41. Mark Nel says:

    Patriarchal men are not alone in their knowledge of absolute moral truth. The whole Church is. Women and men!

  42. Vincent Couling says:

    Incidentally, PRM, It would appear that the SSPX Revolution has been stemmed, that the Church is heading towards sanity and calmer waters, that the errors of a rejection of important aspects of the Second Vatican Council (serious errors denounced by the Pope, condemned by him) are slowly being dealt with … indeed, it would be folly for members of SSPX to attempt to speak on behalf of all Catholics everywhere!

    see http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/pope-tells-sspx-traditionalists-they-must-accept-second-vatican-council

    Pope tells SSPX traditionalists they must accept Second Vatican Council
    Sep. 27, 2012
    By Alessandro Speciale, Religion News Service

    Pope Benedict XVI has reportedly told members of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X they must accept the Second Vatican Council, a move that might seal the fate of years of negotiations to bring the group fully back into the Catholic fold.

    The Italian religion news portal Vatican Insider reported Thursday that society Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais revealed at a conference in France on Sept. 16 that Benedict wrote a letter “with his own hand” to the group’s superior, Bishop Bernard Fellay.

    According to Tissier de Mallerais, Benedict stated in the June 30 letter that the society, “in order to be truly reintegrated into the Church,” must “truly accept the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar Magisterium.”

    Vatican sources confirmed the report’s accuracy.

    Benedict’s bottom line would most likely be unacceptable for the society, bringing to an end the pontiff’s effort to heal a decade-long schism in the Catholic church.

    The society rejects the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), including church acceptance of ecumenism and religious freedom, and its rejection of anti-Semitism.

    The pope sought to heal the rift first by liberalizing use of the traditional Latin Mass in 2005, then by removing the excommunication of the SSPX’s four bishops, including Bishop Richard Williamson, a vocal denier of the Holocaust, in 2009.

    After three years of doctrinal talks, the Vatican submitted a final offer to the group June 13. The society still hasn’t officially responded, though leaked documents slammed the offer as “clearly unacceptable.”

  43. P.R.Margeot says:

    The Holy Church under the good Pope is heading towards calmer waters and errors will be dealt with gently but firmly. Liberals and progressives (and revolutionaries) know that their time is counted. Sanity will come back. The M.O.A.T. will gradually take its rightful place, the Church will stand firm on the question of the ordination of women and the marriage of homosexuals.

    The traditionalists will continue the good work they have started, they will continue to offer the Mass of all time to the world, they will continue to offer the sacraments and help save souls. The truth will come out inevitably. Truth and error cannot mix. We need more news of the Priestly Society of St Pius X. That Society is now on the map, it is mentioned everywhere, it is now recognized as a very useful cog in the Church machinery, it is part of the Church, its sons are the most valued defenders of the papacy. The Pope knows who will defend him when he is under attack from the progressives.

    The progresives’ time is limited… They are like a locomotive without steam….they are dying out…they are exhausted….in their desperation they may become reckless. Catholics know better. Their Catholic instinct will tell them who to beware of. They will keep the traditional values of the Church. They will keep their rosaries and the faith.

    They will also pray for those who cannot see the Light yet. They will kneel down and ask that the Pope does the consecration of Russia.

    Salus animarum suprema lex

  44. Vincent Couling says:

    Yet another nail was hammered home into the coffin of Patriarchalism last week, this time by the former (female!) President of Ireland, Mrs Mary McAleese.

    Church ‘isolated on homosexuality’
    Friday September 28 2012

    The Catholic Church is becoming increasingly isolated in its attitude to homosexuality, former president Mary McAleese has warned

    Mrs McAleese believes while the Vatican is losing its argument on its teachings, some youngsters in Catholic schools are left battling an internal conflict. She said the numbers of young men who have died by suicide is galling, with gay men one of the most at risk groups.

    “They are the victims, one, of homophobic bullying; they are also frankly highly conflicted,” said Mrs McAleese, who is studying canon law in Rome after her 14-year term which ended in November.

    She said the vast majority of children in Ireland went to Catholic schools, where they would have heard the church’s attitude to homosexuality.

    “They will have heard words like disorder, they may have heard the word evil used in relation to homosexual practice,” said Mrs McAleese.

    “And when they make the discovery, and it is a discovery and not a decision, when they make the discovery they are gay when they are 14, 15 and 16 an internal conflict of absolutely appalling proportions opens up.

    “They may very well have heard their mothers, their fathers, their uncles, aunts, friends use dreadful language in relation to homosexuality and now they are driven into a space that is dark and bleak.”

    She warned that with more debate, and greater research, the Catholic Church “is going to become increasingly isolated in its attitude to homosexuality” and gay people’s civil and human rights.

    The former president met the Papal Nuncio Charles Brown, who represents Pope Benedict XVI in Ireland, shortly after Easter to specifically draw his attention to the issue. But she fears the issue will not be tackled until the “omerta” or code of silence on the issue is broken.

    She also said the child abuse scandals have left “a massive hallowing out of trust” in the church’s Episcopal leadership, but she believes it lost its grip on society years before as it insisted on obedience in a world where people were becoming increasingly educated and had access to other opinion.

  45. Mark Nel says:

    This absurd. It cannot be allowed to continue. Vincent uses every single opportunity, no matter how unrelated, as an opportunity to manipulate the subject towards an attack on the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. Vincent needs to get a personal Blog but this simply cannot continue where this newspaper serves as his personal platform to drive his agenda to legalise gay marriage and attack the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.

  46. P.R.Margeot says:

    Wise words, sound words, all is said on the subject. It is indeed high time that the Authorities take action.

  47. Vincent Couling says:

    Actually, Mark, the former president of Ireland is making an excellent point about the effects of Patriarchy and its visible consequences in our contemporary social life. Her comments are decidedly most impactful and relevant on a discussion of patriarchy. Your attempt to pretend that this is unrelated to a discussion of the evils of patriarchy is dismissed with the utter contempt that it deserves.

    Yes, PRM, it is high time that the Authorities took action. Lives are being lost. The former president or Ireland is urging the Authorities to take action. To dismantle the patriarchal systems that continue to allow evil to fester in the world. To break the “omerta”, the code of silence, that is a fruit of our inheritance of patriarchal systems in our societies today.

    Perhaps the Authorities could also take action to ensure that SSPX schismatics don’t use this site to leverage sympathy for their cause in bringing scandal by attacking the Second Vatican Council?

    If we are authentically pro-life, then we will not shy away from these most pressing social issues, which are the rotten fruits of patriarchal power structures. Let us allow the rot to be excised, let us allow for a new spirit of flourishing which embraces all … especially the marginalized. Let us follow the Gospel, the Way of Jesus Christ. Let us pay heed to the Gospel reading of yesterday … a reading about inclusivity, about breaking down the walls of elite clubs … about the very undoing of patriarchal systems which divide and exclude.

    PRM uses this site to drive his personal SSPX agenda, Mark, and you don’t tackle him, do you. A little one-sided and agenda-driven yourself, aren’t you! Take the beam out of your own eye before turning to the mote in your neighbour’s. (Incidentally, I did a search of the word “gay” on your blog, and came up with so many hits I begin to wonder who is obsessed about this issue. The bile, the venom, the hatred is quite visibly apparent. I’m not at all surprised that you want me to be censored from this site … how very sad, how very agenda-driven, how very contra-Gospel.)

  48. Malcolm says:

    Vincent you are a joke.

  49. Vincent Couling says:

    No, Malcolm, I am not … a joke is something done to excite laughter or amusement … in point of fact, Malcolm, I am being dead serious about matters of life and death, matters for which we should all be gravely concerned.

    Mark rails on his Blog about things like “There has never been any doubt in my mind that that the biggest cause of sexual abuse of minors, by Catholic priests, was their homosexual tendencies.” Now I understand why Mark came back to comment here … because the findings of empirical research contradict his opinions, and expose them for the base, vulgar lies that they are (see https://www.scross.co.za/2012/08/seeking-the-truth/ )

    Mark has an agenda, Malcolm. He loves to rail against the agendas of others, but he has an agenda himself. In my opinion, it is a despicable agenda. A partiarchal agenda. He wishes to do what a patriarch does: have an inner core of select males decide which is the appropriate agenda, and censor anyone else’s view!

    I prefer an egalitarian approach … let each express his/her view. Let there be debate and dialogue. Let the current scholarship inform us in making appropriate choices. Let us rule and govern by a broad consensus (the very stuff of democracy) – yes, I know it has its flaws, I am not naive. But it is, to my mind, a far better approach that ruling by edict, by fiat, by a patriarchal inner circle who can ignore scholarship on a whim.

    I consider my role to be that of a thorn in the flesh … I won’t go away (unless the authorities //of the newspaper// demand that I do), and I will be an inconvenient reminder of the ills that are affecting our contemporary church life. I will not allow a bunch of would-be-patriarchs to silence me.

    I will be true to my prophetic calling till my last breath, so help me God!

  50. Malcolm says:

    I am not sure who your so called prophetic call is from Vincent? Quite frankly people eliminate themselves, for the strangest of reasons and causes.

    Do not intend to dwell on that, other to say, look at the political religious aspect of suicide bombing and the blame game. You appear to be using the same tactic blaming others to justify a twisted logic.

    Let point out your childish logic, when something is intrinsically wrong, do not proclaim Church teaching least you upset sensibilities.

    What is clear, is that the love of God and salvation is extended to all, our rebellion is our own.

    Now, we can ether promote revelation or reinforce rebelling, which is your approach, Vincent?

    Well now, look how Childish your logic, is.

    “PRM uses this site to drive his personal SSPX agenda, Mark, and you dont tackle him, do you. A little one-sided and agenda-driven yourself, arent you! Take the beam out of your own eye before turning to the mote in your neighbours. (Incidentally, I did a search of the word gay on your blog, and came up with so many hits I begin to wonder who is obsessed about this issue. The bile, the venom, the hatred is quite visibly apparent. Im not at all surprised that you want me to be censored from this site how very sad, how very agenda-driven, how very contra-Gospel.)”

    That statement of yours is not only the logic of a child, but borders on the pathetic. You are no hero Vincent, you are just one of many who see themselves in some self appointed prophetic role, proclaiming to the masses, that we should hear you and not our appointed priests.

    You are a joke Vincent, you are doing nothing new, there have been many before you, and there are many now, and in the future it will be the same.

    And you know what Vincent, the Church will always be there, like a city on a hill, its lights shining in the darkness, proclaiming the same message of salvation, as it has done for thousands of years.

  51. Malcolm says:

    Which is, reform and belive in the Gospel.

    That belief is not an opinion, it is not it might be. It is rock solid revelation from the One who is the creator of all things.

    When God our Father the Almighty, says a thing, then He wants us to belive it, no ifs or buts.

    There is no jokes about that. (no calamari about that)

  52. Vincent Couling says:

    “Quite frankly people eliminate themselves, for the strangest of reasons and causes.”

    Your might be quite right, Malcolm, I might be a joke. But at least I’m not a sicko.

  53. Malcolm says:

    Well Vincent, you might very well be a sicko, you do have a protensity in bring up dirt, and flying to desenters to bolter your logic, anyway its not my place to make the call, and not your place to exzonerate yourself.

    Yet another exzample of your twisted logic

  54. Malcolm says:

    Bolster not Bolter.

    Here is an oppertunity to take one teeny point in your last post Vincent.

    What you are essentially saying is; thankyou that I am not like others or like Malcolm..

    To compare your logic as child like, is not a fair reflection on children, it should read like the logic of some angry children who have lost a sense of justice.

    Your definition of a joke, well the second point is apt, “amusing.”