The Christian “Modesty” Movement… You Be the Judge


GAG WARNING: You might want to consider not being quite sober when you read this post. It is enough to drive any NORMAL Christian woman to embrace a less than sober life-style.

The Pink Flamingo has been working on a  prayer journal.  The other day, I came across something that caused me to do some research into the cult that is growing up around Christian “Modesty”, Quiverfull, home schooling, and dominionism.

The whole absurd and almost evil “modesty movement” is based on the fact that men can’t control their urges, constantly think about you know what, and so, all good decent Christian women in the US must eventually be put into burka style cover-ups (like the one in the featured photo – no – it’s not Islamic, it is “Christian).  We must be covered head to toe so those poor pathetic, defenseless men can control themselves.

If the implications were not so chilling, and the entire movement were not gaining ground so quickly, it would be hilarious.  Apparently all these good “Men of God” can think about is sex.  Evidently their minds are so dirty, they want temptation put out of the way.   Evidently they are NOT normal men.  According to the latest study, the average college age guy is not all that consumed with sex and women as are the repressed Christian Patriarchal males.  They think more about food, sleep, and their own personal comforts than they did women.

In other words, men like the ones below, who are leaders in the Christian Patriarchal Movement are a bunch of dirty old men who can only think of themselves and objectifying women.

“...It would seem that there are only two reasons why women dress immodestly:

1. A mind problem.

Women do not think through how they look each day in front of a full-length mirror. They should take a few seconds each morning to quickly check the bustline, backside, slits, etc.

2. A heart problem.

Women are now aware of the messages they give when they wear certain types of garments or wear them are an immodest way. Some women continue to wear immodest apparel or try to hide behind excuses or simply know better but do it anyway. They need to be reminded that the harlot was “subtil of heart.” “Subtil” means “cunning” or “clever.” In other words, she knew exactly what she was doing. Christian women need not be “subtil of heart.”

James 4:17 teaches, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Before you read this, you possibly did not know better….”

I gather men have no responsibility in this world.

Preparing Daughters

Can I use some bad language here.  I really want to do so.  There is a movement afoot (embraced by Michele Bachmann) where women don’t really have a brain in their heads, and men must be the head of the household.  If we wear anything that isn’t something akin to a burka we are leading them astray.  This is just plain stupid.  It is also very, very wrong, bigoted, and dangerous.

“…If you are as most women are, much of the material in this article may be new and strange to you. You may not be able to understand it, and may be reluctant to believe it. Some of the women who have read the manuscript can scarcely be persuaded to believe that the male passions are as I represented them, but the men to whom I have submitted it have fully endorsed it. One of them (a godly man and a preacher) said, “I wish I had about two million copies.” I beg you therefore to believe these things, though you may not he able to understand them. Secondly, I beg you to not be content with a single reading of this paper, but rather to study it thoroughly several times through, so that you may fully grasp and remember all that it says. Then, by all means, act upon what it teaches you. And finally, do everything in your power to teach these things to your sisters in Christ. In so doing you will very much oblige, …”

We are living in a very strange world, where brain-less Ron Paul Bots are discussing the fact that women no longer need the right to vote.  We’ve disenfranchised men because we vote.  As the head of a household, a man should have the vote and not a women.  I guess they will soon demand that only the male head of household be allowed to go out and shop.

It ain’t good.

“…Christian Patriarchy teaches that God institutes a divine hierarchical family order. It holds that a woman must always be under the authority/headship of a man, whether that is her father, her husband, or, if widowed, her son. In addition, Christian Patriarchy teaches that the woman’s place is in the home while the man’s place is the public sphere: men are to provide and protect and women are to care for the home and the children. Quiverfull teaches that families must have large numbers of children, sometimes eschewing birth control altogether, to raise up “soldiers for Christ.” …”

Handmaid of the Lord Designs

Taliban anyone?  Unfortunately, this sort of thing is now going on in mainstream denominations, like the Southern Baptists!

“…Mary Mohler believes there are certain clothes Christian women should never wear. Ever.

Whether it be miniskirts, hip-hugger jeans or skin-tight shirts, Mohler — wife of seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. — believes they should be avoided. Her reason? Christian women have a biblical obligation to dress modestly and reflect holiness.

And she doesn’t believe that immodest clothing is necessary to be fashionable. Mohler spoke about the biblical view of modesty to a group of women at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in a Sept. 24 event sponsored by the Pendergraph Women’s Ministry at the Louisville, Ky., seminary, that included a brief fashion show showcasing inexpensive, modest fashionable clothes.

The world’s attitude toward fashion, Mohler said, should not be the church’s.

“The [world’s] attitude is if you’ve got it, flaunt it,” she said. “Leave as little to the imagination as possible. Regenerate Christian women, I don’t believe, leave home with this attitude. We seek to live godly, holy lives.”

Nevertheless, immodest dress is a problem in local churches on Sunday mornings, Mohler said. Women may not have a worldly attitude about modesty, but because of naivete, carelessness, busy lifestyles or cultural pressures, some women unknowingly dress immodestly, she said.

She told how she once visited a church that had a dress code.

“I applaud them that they have the boldness to have a dress code,” she said. “It’s for members only. But if a strong conservative church like that has a dress code, what does that tell you? It tells you that there are problems even in that setting where people are coming dressed inappropriately to worship.”…”

Modest Swimwear 4U

Those are the head coverings.  Now check out the swimwear.  The only time I could even possibly advocate this is fear of melanoma.  Then again, all you need is sunscreen!

“…We have several reasons why I wear dresses only. The main reason is not to defraud men with the way I dress. If a lady wears pants, a man’s eyes are drawn to a part of her body they should not be drawn to. This can cause a man to have impure thoughts. The same thing with tight, revealing tops or low-necked blouses. We have heard some say, “But he is responsible for his thoughts!” Yes, that is true, but it is also our responsibility as a godly woman to dress in a way that would not provoke those thoughts. Would you be willing to deny yourself the “pleasure” of dressing the way you want to help a brother in Christ? “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend” (1 Corinthians 8:13). We could paraphrase it and say, “If a certain type of clothing make my brother to offend, I will not dress that way…”…”

Modest Swimwear 4U

Please, explain the difference?

Love, Joy, Feminism

“...Dearest sisters...
I seek to encourage you to be feminine, graceful and modest in word, in deed in dress and in manner of living.  I pray to encourage you to embrace femininity, to love your husband and to love motherhood and delight in the precious gift the LORD has bestowed upon you creating you to be a woman and calling you as one of His dear children.  I pray that you will honour the will of God and seek to emulate the qualities He’s given in His Word and celebrate the gift of womanhood by demonstrating it in all manner of speech, dress, lifestyle, as you guide the home and serve your family and guests who come to your table….”

Muslim Swimwear

“…We should seek first to please our Lord in our appearance, and then to please our husbands (or wives). We must also be aware of the effect our choice of clothing may have on those around us. A Christian must be sure her (or his!) appearance is not a stumbling block to others, either as a source of lust or distraction, or as a negative roll model to those whose faith is young. While it is not possible to entirely influence the thoughts of others, a careful analysis of our appearance and the motivation behind what we wear should guide us to appropriate dress and others to a proper thought response.

I have often said we must spend more time looking in the Bible than we do looking in the mirror. Over-adornment in clothing, hair, make-up or accessories often indicates too much time focused on the outside and not enough on what truly matters….”

This is what the men are wearing.

Modest Swimwear 4U

“…So, submission
O, how we long to be submissive and O, how we hate it… How we long to be in control of our lives-yet how we long to be led by a strong man.  We so competently order our homes, our time and our schedules that we think we could easily run the show completely solo…couldn’t we?  Or, could we?  What does God say?  He says we are to submit ourselves unto our husbands as unto the Lord.  We are to live out God’s plan for us.  And if we are married and our husband is still living, God’s design is that the husband is the head of the wife, meaning the wife is to live in subjection to him: and both living in subjection to the LORD. But we fear, don’t we!?  We fear loss of identity, we fear loss of control, we fear being trapped into a life not of our own choosing, we fear being “used,”  we fear being treated poorly or taken for granted, we fear that we won’t be cared for if we allow another to choose for us.  All these fears send strong messages to our husbands don’t they.  If we pull back and refuse to fully submit, we are telling our husband that he is not worthy of our trust. *We* certainly want to be trusted, but we are often unwilling to allow ourselves to submit to the authority God has placed over us and so we behave in a way that not only does not build trust, but actually tears down trust. …”

Modest Swimwear Solutions

I’ve known a few women who believed this way.  One was absolutely miserable until she divorced the you know what.  I know another who attempted suicide an number of times.  I know another who had a spouse who brutally abused her, until she left him.  I have never met a woman who lived the life Pamela Spurling constantly advocates who was happy.  Every one of them I have met were either physically or emotionally abused.

“...For me, my dresses are a daily reminder that  my husband wears the pants in our family and I am created and designed to be *his* help meet…. not the other way around (though he demonstrates sacrificial care and treats me so lovingly). I am continually seeking to wait on him and to not usurp his authority, additionally, I am devoted to protecting my husband’s reputation, and so my appearance is important to what others think of him and his family.  This comes from Proverbs 31.11 and 23 Additionally, I have settled these thoughts… so when I get dressed daily, I don’t give my appearance another thought. This helps me not esteem myself so highly that I constantly check my appearance and it also helps me to remain settled in my thinking… I know that I do not have to apologize or be ashamed of my appearance.  I know that I may need to brush my hair or freshen up, but I don’t wonder if my dress is too short or too tight or too thin or whatever.  This is not at all said in pride or haughtiness.  I have never felt real pretty, but I sure wouldn’t feel feminine in clothing I used to wear. You know what I mean about being settled on an issue?  It’s an issue you don’t fret over… you don’t constantly revise or rethink it.   Every now and then, I get a glimpse of a dress I am wearing and I see it from an angle I don’t see at home and I see that it isn’t quite right, and so I let it go. For this reason, I found it very simple to let go of things I used to consider appropriate.  In all, I try to make or to choose pleasant looking clothes that don’t draw attention to myself and yet look feminine and appropriate….”

I am writing a book about American fashion 1860 -1910.  In order to do this, I’ve gone through about 10,000 photographs,  The book will have about 2100 photos.  Trust me, there is NOTHING in this photo that has a basis in fact.  It is pure TV fiction.  No American girl wore this sort of thing…. not until the far right merged with lala land and went over the rainbow!

The King's Daughters

These are adorable designs, great for a costume party or Halloween.  But, to force a girl to wear this is just plain ABUSE!

The King's Daughters

What is going on here?

Modest Hand Maidens

Try this do-do.  The premise is the fact that Bathsheba is the one who led David astray.  In other words, men are nothing but animals who can’t control their lust.  So, women must go about with high necklines, long sleeves, long skirts (only), no make-up, and long hair worn with a scarf.

“…The same is true, of course, when you dress with the top two or three buttons of your blouse unbuttoned. This looks provocative, even if nothing were actually exposed by it. It looks seductive. It looks to a man as though you must design to expose yourself and tantalize his passions. What else can he think? For what other purpose could you leave two of three buttons of your blouse unbuttoned? Do you say it is for comfort? Because you cannot bear a tight choking collar? I believe you could learn to bear it, as the men of the world do in order to display their stylish neckties. But waive that. It may be legitimate to leave your blouse open at the neck for comfort’s sake, and it may even be modest (depending upon the garment), provided you unbutton one button only. There can be no possible reason of excuse for leaving two or three buttons open. It will add nothing to your comfort. It is simply following a wicked fashion of a wicked world. Your collar will no more choke you with one button open than it will with three. One button open will always be a great plenty for comfort’s sake, and with some blouses it will be too much. If you can leave your top button open, yet not expose your breasts when you bend over and the material of your blouse falls away from your bosom, very well. This may depend upon the nature of the blouse, as well as the size of your bust. But if there is any danger of exposing yourself, you had better button all your buttons. You can scarcely be too careful here, for there is no part of a woman’s body so alluring to a man as her breasts, and when a man sees a woman with the top two or three buttons of her blouse open, he will probably conclude that it is her intention to tempt and tantalize men. Is this the impression you wish to give? If not, button your buttons, snap your snaps, and zip your zippers. And if you happen to bend over a little in front of a man, and he sees your breasts actually exposed because of your large, loose, low, or open necklines, unless he is a very rare man, he will be tantalized by the sight, whatever you may think or intend. Therefore you cannot do as the rest of the world does. Let your neckline be high enough and small enough to be in fact a neckline, and not a chest or shoulder line, and you will be safe. Note well: this means that if the neck hole of your garment is large enough to slip over your head, it is probably too large….”

I guess I’m going straight to hell.  Every blouse I own is low-cut.  I can’t stand anything tight around my throat.  It makes me throw-up.    There are even rules as to how low your neckline can be.

“…4. The skirt or dress with a slit.

We all know there is rarely a time when we can purchase a garment with a slit and find that it is already sewn for us to meet our Christian standards. Perhaps you are thinking, “What’s the harm of a few slits? I wear skirts and dresses. That in itself is a big change for me!”

May I give you a good rule of thumb which will answer the above question. A good rule is that your slit should be no higher than two inches from the floor when in an upright kneeling position. Anything higher than that reveals your thigh. Remember, the harlot reveals her merchandise to drum up business. If your slit is higher than the standard given above, you are giving off this message-“Look at my legs.”

5. The too-low neckline.

It is quite frustrating sometimes to shop for a garment which has a high enough neckline to meet our standards. So, many times we settle for what the stores have to offer because we want to stay in style. We can be in style in a modest way without lowering ourselves to the world’s standards.

Find the “U” right below your neck and at the top middle of your collar bone. Now, place your four fingers closed together at the bottom of your “U.” If skin is showing below your four fingers, your garment is too low. Anything worn with a low neckline draws attention to your chest area. Just remember this: “The lower the neckline, the more curious a man gets.” Surely we do not want to put men in that position. I believe many Christian women are ignorantly doing this. When your neckline is too low, you are giving off this message-“Look at my bust.”

6. The tight skirt or tight-fitting part of a dress below the waist.

The following test will determine if your garment fits too tightly below the waist. Stand in front of a full-length mirror. If your skirt cups under your backside or abdomen, it is too tight. One thing I have seen that is a turn-off and quite unbecoming is panty lines showing through a skirt. If the skirt would have been looser, I would not have had to view this, and neither would our Christian men who are trying hard to keep their minds clean. Also, we want to avoid being sensuous. When your skirt is too tight, you are giving off this message-“Look at my backside.”

7. The modestly dressed woman.

She wears an outfit with a high neckline that is loose-fitting around the bust and backside, yet flattering and pretty, under which are the proper undergarments for those sheer areas of the outer garment. The slit is properly sewn or nonexistent. Our attention would seem to be drawn to only one part of her body-her face. Her clothes are worn in such a way that she has made her acquaintance look her in the eye and see her for the lady that she is. When a woman dresses in such a way, she is giving off the message-“Look at my face.” This should be the only area men want to look at when they see us; however, we determine that….”

A Christian Home

“…We hope that now, if not before, we all see that dress is an area of submission to Christ. Christian women need a mindset of godly modesty in place in their thinking, an awareness that they cannot afford to just thoughtlessly follow every fashion that this world throws up; God’s glory must be considered in deciding how to dress. That’s what’s needed, isn’t it? We freely acknowledge that many Christian women don’t think about the issue and that is a major part of the problem. We don’t attribute ill motive unless there is no alternative. But now that you do know, then start to distinguish between what is smart and what is sexually provocative. The one is fine. The other is not. Love the Lord, love the Saviour. Adorn the Gospel of God our Saviour in all things including dress. The Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died to redeem his people from all iniquity. Shall we not honour him in all things, men and women, and in this particular area of dress, which is particularly applicable to women? Will you not honour the Lord Jesus Christ and love him who first loved you? “Hate evil, ye that love the Lord.” Turn from that which is wrong. Cling to Biblical standards. Delight in the law of God after the inward man and in outward practice and glorify our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen….”

It is quite rare that you find a half-way decent historical perspective on how women should dress, and still be “Christian”.  I am not familiar with Michael F. Blume, but I found this commentary to be very well done.

Keep ’em barefoot, pregnant, and uneducated!

Domestic Felicity

“…By serving her mother, creating a peaceful home atmosphere, and furthering her father’s goals, this young woman is a blessing to her family and to others. Her secret is placing herself under her father’s authority and at his disposal, content in her God-given role. This daily training has another reward—she will be well-fitted for marriage as a help-meet suitable for her husband. Fellow daughters, do you truly work at pleasing your father and helping him to accomplish his goals? Do you enjoy spending time with him? Let us all work on improving in these areas, so we can be a blessing to the world—through our loving service at home!

Where are all the daughters in the Bible? Except for the tragic story of Dinah, the daughters are found in their fathers’ homes. In fact, that was the norm until the 1900s! In our day and age, this may seem like a strange concept, but the fact is still there—for roughly six millennia, young women were under their father’s roof and protection until given in marriage. Psalm 45:13 says, “The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.” The Hebrew word for “within” is paniymah, which means, roughly, “inside,” or “in the palace.” We are all glorious within the palace—our greatest beauty comes when we are serving our father from our home, not running around out in the world somewhere. [1] I encourage you, daughters, to strive to delight in your father and take joy in serving and pleasing him, for then God is glorified, and our culture is transformed.

What are the consequences if we do not embrace this vision of Biblical daughterhood? Initially, if we pridefully look down upon our earthly father or refuse to joyously submit to him, we are casting a slur upon the name and plans of our Heavenly Father. Ultimately, however, we will be unprepared for marriage, and will have to painfully re-learn things like submission, cheerful support, and delighted home-keeping. Obviously, it will sometimes be hard to cheerfully submit to our father’s decisions or plans, but when that happens we can quietly trust our Heavenly Father, since He has pre-ordained all that is happening in our lives. When we are tempted to lose that trust, we can remember Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” How comforting to know that our Heavenly Father will use all situations for our good! Another area that we often are tried in is contentment. How easy it is to long for the spotlight that girls who are on their own have—how easy to wish for less drudgery and more independence—but Psalm 73:2-3 & 18-19 reminds us,…”

It is about serving the husband and the father.

“…On our second Sunday at Boerne Christian Assembly, Doug and Beall Phillips introduced us to a special guest – Jennie Chancey. After the meeting of the church (the worship service), Doug invited Jennie Chancey to formally meet with all the women and talk to them about college. Jennie Chancey began relating why it was so evil for women and girls to go to college, especially outside the home. She related some of her own experiences at King College, where she received a BA in English, but in a way that was intended to warn others not to let their daughters attend institutes of higher learning. On her bio page, (since removed) very near the top, Jennie Chancey lists her educational qualifications for the business she runs out of her home. I guess that degree wasn’t so bad after all!

I was bold enough to ask the obvious: “What do unwed young ladies do all day?” Jennie’s answer, and the answer of every young lady in that congregation was, “Serve her father.” Some had family businesses and that was a great answer. They were working hard all day, learning skills, and helping the family to earn a living. But I know many that don’t fall into that category. Don’t get me wrong, nearly all the young ladies at Boerne Christian Assembly are wonderful young ladies, and would make great stay-at-home wives. But are they prepared to homeschool sons someday? How are their sons going to learn to do great things for the Lord if the moms aren’t educated enough to be able to teach them?…



22 thoughts on “The Christian “Modesty” Movement… You Be the Judge

  1. There’s this from my second favorite saint:

    > But, to force a girl to wear this is just plain ABUSE!

    Depends on the community she’s in.

    Here’s another “vision” of modesty: one’s clothing should not draw attention to itself, but rather to the person wearing the clothing. I would be immodest to wear a tux to work — but I might be immodest NOT to wear a tux on some other occasion.

    Bathing suits are especially problematic. Some draw attention not to the person but rather to the body. These are immodest by either sort of standard. Some are much worse than others, but all bikini style swimsuits offend here. Still, one might reasonably claim that the Modest Swimwear 4U swimwear is immodest — it calls attention to itself. My wife always wore a high-cut one-piece in the water and put on a wrap over that when out. This seems to me the best solution generally in the context of North America, 2011. Those wet-suit looking things are fine too. Men shouldn’t wear speedos.

    When I was a kid, the dress code for girls called for that finger-measurement thing at the throat, and when kneeling the girls’ skirts should brush the floor. Young girls (younger than about 18) shouldn’t wear make up. And absolutely none of those risque t-shirts. (I despise them and I did when I was 18 — I wouldn’t have anything to do with a girl who wore one) This all seems fine to me still today, watching my teenage nieces today struggle with their own identity in the world: they haven’t a good sense of themselves because their “selves” have not been protected first of all by modesty in dress and speech. Look here from paragraph 2520 onward. Their parents have given in to the popular “culture”. I have told a couple of them that if they want to be seen for who they are, they should quit showing off what they’ve got. And that’s what Christian Modesty really comes to.

    The vocation of about 75% of women is “wife & mother”. This doesn’t mean that the education of young women should be limited to cooking — women ESPECIALLY should have a good, solid liberal education (in the John Henry Newman sense, emphatically not in The American Association for the Advancement of Science sense) so that they might properly teach their children, especially their sons. This means Philosophy, Literature, Art, Drama, Mathematics, Greek, Latin, Law & Civics, Theology, History and so-forth. Try Chesterton’s 1910 book “What’s Wrong With the World?” I don’t expect you to agree with everything he says, but see what you think of his analysis tied to “the flight from domesticity” and the proper role or women in the home. Chesterton says that modern industrial organization has forced men to be narrow, but the vocation “mother” demands that women be broad (as in “not narrow”). I find the argument compelling, but of course my opinion can’t possibly count because of my chromosomes.

    There are some signs of hope though, and bad as it is, the Little House on the Prairie Modesty Movement stuff is a sign of it…


  2. Too bad they haven’t read Laura Ingalls Wilder. She was up to the latest on fashion. I’m doing a book on fashion of that era. The “little house” look is a Hollywood invention. I have photos of some of the poorest kids – still aren’t wearing them. I swear I’m going to write a book about this stuff. I’m developing a theory as to why the OT rules came into being. What I find fascinating is the abject historical ignorance of the far right. Pilgrims are shown in somber clothing – which was a Puritan thing, not a Pilgrim thing – they did bright fashionable colors, silks, etc.

    I think a girl should be able to grow up to be a mother and a housewife – or an astronaut. She should have a choice. That’s what our modern world is about. These extreme religious cult types don’t even teach their sons. They pull away from the world to home-school. My sister home-schooled. Her children are extremely well educated, nothing was held back. They were not taken to some horrid outback where they tote water and bath in the river. There are some absolutely horrifying stories out there – part of this world view.

    I look at this the same way I do primitive tribes liberals don’t want to bother. We could be depriving the next Einstein of an education, or wasting the brain of someone may find a way to design a single-stage to orbit. Children should be allowed to learn and grow to their full potential. Martha Stewart was a housewife rising her family. You would be shocked at the number of major lines of processed foods were created by women who were stay-at-home moms in disparate situations. I guess that’s what I find offensive, not allowing a child to be what they want to be by depriving them of a decent education and showing them the world outside. The education these people are getting is something out of a 1790 primer. It is far inferior to what my grandmother Reidhead had in 1890 Minnesota. I have her home economics books. They are fantastic. The material I’ve seen for these cults is backward – for 1890!

    There is a heck of a lot more to this story. It is sick, trust me. I think daughters should not be taught to shave their fathers. There is something just plain sick about teenage girls dating their fathers for a dance instead of a boyfriend. These girls are being kept from the world. Their fathers pick the husbands, who keep them literally barefoot and pregnant. The abuse percentages are staggering. Never doubt that it isn’t a cult.

    Look, if I had a kid, male or female, there would be a dress code, rules, regulations, and chores. They would be taught manners and civilized. My sister taught her three the humanities, science, math, you name it. They could walk into a museum and tell you who the artist was, history, era, and how to look at the painting. They knew the difference between Mozart and Beethoven. They could conjugate in French, Latin, and a dab of Spanish. Their knowledge of dinosaurs and natural history was excellent. They new their astronomy. That is an education!

    There is a heck of a lot more to the “Christian” modesty movement. It is all about controlling women. I suggest you read No Longer Quivering by Katheryn Joyce. I had no idea what was going on in the world until I came across it. I’m reading her follow-up on religious child abuse, which is shocking. I started checking sources. For socio-economic groups, the Amish have some of the highest rates of incest, pedophilia, and abuse of other “Christian” groups. When you hide families from the world, something is wrong.


    P. S. I find that speedos are not offensive, they are hilarious. Men should not wear speedos. They look stupid in them!

  3. As I said, there are a fair number of women whose vocation is other than “wife & mother” but they should never be seen to have a “higher” calling — there isn’t one. A poor mother achieves far, far more than the best astronaut or CEO for that matter. One of the many modern mistakes is using a masculine (and temporal) standard to judge all human achievement.

    Some choices foreclose others: if she wants to be an astronaut she ought not marry. “Single” is a perfectly acceptable state in life for women and men. If she becomes a mother, then she is called to be a mother in the fullest sense whether she likes it or not. And no, I do not let men off the hook.

    I can’t believe you’re using Martha Stewart as any kind of model for motherhood — she’s a great example of the problem I allude to above. Ms. Stewart’s (only) daughter is so damaged she named her granddaughter after Rude Jude, for cryin’ out loud!

    It seems that all polygamist cultures (whether quasi-Christian or not, I am glad you put “Christian” in quotes) suffer the problems you’re evidently ascribing to the (“Christian”) Modesty Movement. Your brush is too broad. I see the so-called Modesty Movement as reactionary as you do. But there is something worth reacting to. The stupid t-shirts I see 25 year old mothers dressing their 9 year old daughters in, not to mention the ones the 30-somethings wear themselves and permit their 16 year olds to wear makes me want to slap them. Oh! and the Halloween costumes! The “princess” crap for three year olds is almost as bad. Thong bikinis, breast augmentation surgery and many other evil modern “choices” must be opposed somehow. I suppose I want to “control women”. Well, of course I do! So do you, Pinky, so do you. Even more, I want to control men.


  4. I come from a family where women have traditionally been treated as equals to men. My great-grandmother Perkins was one of the first women in the state of Minnesota to cast a vote. Her daughters all fought for a woman’s right to vote. On the other side of the family women were equals. We were never treated, ever, in our family like motherhood was the highest calling for a woman. Why does a woman having ambitions other than motherhood preclude them from marriage? Martha Stewart’s daughter said her comment was a joke and people have no sense of humor.

    My family has a history of very strong Christian values, both sides. Never once have I ever heard any member of my family mention “modesty” as a defining term for women’s behavior. Our history is very strong GOP, both sides. As for the “Little House” look, my great-grandfather Perkins’ sister was Mary Ingalls’ roommate in the blind school.

    In other words, the greatest calling for a man is fatherhood. If he wants to achieve something in life, he should not marry and have children.


  5. > Why does a woman having ambitions other than motherhood
    > preclude them from marriage?

    Because motherhood is for about 20 years a 24 X 7 job.

    The best thing a man can achieve in life is to raise his children to be happy and (especially) holy. It is very, very difficult to reconcile this with many, many occupations. The examples “CEO” and “Soldier” come immediately to mind. Apologies to the GOP.

  6. What if a woman doesn’t want children? Are we to be separated from the rest of the world and treated like some sort of monster? Are we to be denied a home and husband because we are smart enough to understand that having children is not for us?

    I think a heck of a lot of people would be a lot better off if they did not reproduce. Just because a woman is married is no sign she wants children. I am not a mother, and never plan to be one. I can’t think of any more horrible career. I happen to know I would be a lousy parent. To me, to be forced into becoming a brain-dead producer of snotty-nosed little brats is a fate worse than death. I don’t really like children, unless they are family. I don’t like babies. I have no maternal instincts. I think if women would refuse to be harassed and pushed into reproducing unless they truly want children, we would have a much better world. (On the other hand, I enjoy working with teenage girls. They are a blast, but spare me from having small children forced on me). Does this mean that I don’t have a right to a home and spouse? I hate to mention this, but some of the most abusive parents I’ve encountered are stay-at-home mothers and some of the best parents I’ve encountered were working mothers. Then again I know wonderful stay-at-home moms, and horrible working mothers.

    Please, show me in the Bible, where we are told that we must have children to be happy and holy. The very first Christian was a woman – a reformed prostitute named Mary. Her sister Martha did not have children. They were some of the closest friends of Christ.

    If you continue down this path, then the only role of a woman is to be a womb, no brain, no life, no shoes, no career – just keep on having those babies, and the Lord will bless you? Sorry, that’s not in my Bible. Were does it say that the best thing a man can do is be a provider for children? There is more to life than having children.


  7. Marriage or, more crassly, sex was made by God for the purpose of bringing new souls into the world in order to be made fit for Heaven. If you are called differently, marriage is not for you. Nobody has a “right” to a spouse. The only reason you think you’re being “denied” anything is because you have (wrongly) subverted the link between marriage and childbearing. You are rebelling against the metaphysics of femininity — it is your non serviam. You have convinced yourself that you could never fall in love with your own children because you have not fallen in love with other people’s children.

    Now, since you think mothers are brain-dead producers of snotty-nosed little brats I’m afraid I’ll have very little more to say to you. If you want to know what the Bible says about marriage and children, read it. You might also discover who the first Christian woman was, and if you read carefully enough, you may even stop slandering Martha’s sister.

  8. I just think there is more to life than having babies. I do find it offensive to think that the only reason we are put on earth is to reproduce. That makes us little more animals. I am not rebelling against children. It just never happened. As I have grown older, I see that there are times when the Lord knows just who should be a parent and who should not. I am one of those women who is not parent material. I am not a baby machine. I think the only way a child should be conceived and produced is by loving parents – married – who will give the child a good home.

    I don’t think women are brain dead baby making machines, BUT – it appears as though that is what the whole Quiverfull movement is all about – making babies and abusing wives. There is a difference between having children out of love, and having 19 kids because there is some irrational mandate from God. Please, show me where that mandate is in the Bible. It does not exist. The only place is Gen. 1:28. If Christ thought that women who did not have children were next to evil, why did he so adore Mary and Martha?

    I reserve the right to like and dislike children the way I like and dislike adults. I find having people push their child on me because they are a child is insulting. Since you don’t know me, you don’t know how many friends’ daughters consider me their “fairy god-mother”. They are individuals I care about – not because they were children, but I cared about them as individuals. I don’t enjoy babies. I am honest. I like kids. I like kids once they are 10-12 and up. They are fun. I have had a blast with boys that age because their minds are so full of science and adventure. I just don’t want children of my own. That does not make me inadequate as a woman. It makes me honest. Nothing is worse than a woman who had a child for status. You have no right to say I don’t love other people’s children. I adore my nieces and nephews. I have been guardian to at least four different sets of children over the year – because they wanted me. I just don’t want my own. You have not right to say I am not feminine, or not of Christ. Life works out the way it does, and that’s it. When you turn your life over to Christ, and don’t have children, maybe the Lord did not want me to have any?

    Do you believe that way? I do.

    I know very well who Martha’s sister was. She was Mary Magdalene, and I am not slandering her. I find her a remarkable person, the example of Christ’s love and forgiveness. She never married. Martha never married. So what is the deal. To say that I am not a Christian because I am an Episcopalian.

    I don’t think mothers are brain -dead baby producers, but to me, your ideas make them that. There are no metaphysics of femininity. I don’t get this at all, then again, I come from a tradition where women were given their “equal rights” during the reign of Richard the Lionheart. One of the first abolitionists in the New World was an ancestor of mine. The first statue of a woman in the New World is an ancestor of mine. The first woman to step inside a state house in the New World was an ancestor of mine. I have other ancestors who were never held back, because of their gender.

    The first Christian woman was Mary Magdalene. She was the first person to see the Risen Christ. At least that is in the Bible I read. She was a prostitute, who accepted Christ as her Savior. I gather that is a little limiting in the world view, that Christ forgives sinners. Of course I read the NRSV. I don’t do the KJV, which was commissioned by a homosexual king who was trying to buy his way into heaven.

    It’s too bad you criticize me, when you don’t know me. You don’t know the years I spent working with children in my church. You don’t know that I was the defacto youth director for nearly a decade – because no one else would do it, and because I had a blast with the kids. You simply don’t recognize the fact that I am a Christian because I am not a baby producer. I’m the single person mothers always dump their teenage daughters on so I can “deal” with them. You don’t know the years I have studied the Bible. You don’t about what I am writing and researching.

    I just think there is more to life than having a family. I have enough faith in Christ to know that He has planned my life, which belongs to Him. If I believe this way, then you have no right to say I don’t believe.


  9. When a professional writer uses language like “brain-dead producer of snotty-nosed little brats”, “baby machine”, “deprived” and the like I should think I ought to presume the words were chosen to reflect her own thoughts and attitudes.

    My ideas do not make women brain-dead baby producers and I think that is clearly demonstrable from what I said in my first comment. I am not talking about the Quiverfull group (never heard of it before today and know almost nothing about it) but I am aware of a broad Modesty Movement among Christians. Leah Darrow is an example. I think you’re you’re changing the subject when you switch between “Quiverfull Movement” and “Modesty Movement”. They simply are not the same thing. Of course, that’s a metaphysical statement.

    I never said there isn’t more to life than childrearing or that only reason we are put on earth is to reproduce, or even that the only reason we marry is to reproduce. I never said that motherhood is the sine qua non of womanhood and I specifically said that “single” is a perfectly acceptable state of life for a woman. I do say that marriage has a purpose not to be subverted and those who are not called to that purpose should not marry. I do say that no temporal good is even equal to much less better than an eternal good, and children are good and they are eternal. Maybe you’re called to be a youth director. If you are, then don’t marry, and make yourself all the more available to the youth you serve by not having competing demands. St. Paul said something about this.

    Mary the Mother of God was the first Christian. “Do whatever He tells you” she said, trusting completely in Him. Peter said “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Could be he first heard it from Mary the Mother of God. It seems there is a difference of reasonable opinion about whether Mary of Bethany is the same person as Mary Magdalene, so I withdraw my charge of slander and apologize for having made it.

  10. I don’t understand why because I basically can’t have children, and am menopausal that I have no right to be loved and have a home and a husband? Am I not as good as your wife? I gather not. I’m sorry, that’s just cruel and perverse. Evidently you don’t understand loneliness and the emptiness a person has when everyone around you has a home and some to be there for them. I can’t imagine anything more ugly and vile than saying I don’t have a right to be loved. What sort of person are you?

    The Blessed Holy Mother was not the first person to see the Risen Christ. Mary Magdalene was. A Christian is someone who sees the Risen Christ. She was one of the first, but not the very first. I think Mary of Bethany and Mary M were the same person. I’m a big Martha fan.

    Go look up the Quiverfull movement. That is my complaint. I have a cousin who had 8 children, before she and her husband discovered they were caused by champagne. She excelled in it. She had children because she came from a big family and wanted a big family. It was not something enforced on her. She is very well educated. When the last one was grown, she went to seminary and has her own church. Their children are all successful adults, very well educated as are their parents. That is not my complaint. My complaint is these people who have one child after another, cannot afford them, almost abuse them through deprivation and poverty. Sorry, that’s not a good thing. Read the book about Quiverfull. The Modesty Movement started via Quiverfull – and came out of a heretical cult.

    I simply cannot believe anyone who claims to love Christ would deny a woman the right to marry because she did not want children. There is NOTHING in the Bible that even hints of this. It is NOT Biblical. There were childless women like Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth who were blessed with babies, but the is absolutely in the Bible that condemns a married women who does not have a child. There is often pity, but no condemnation.

    I have never even heard of something so perverted and cruel before this. This is just something plain weird. There are very few scriptures that even discuss submission of wives. There is the verse in Peter, but the background on the verse is he was getting ready to go to Rome, where his wife, Cornelia, knew he would be executed for his faith. He told her to remain where she was safe. She refused, but followed him. Even his own wife did not follow the rules he created. Oh – and they had no children. With the exception of Christ’s brother, James, I don’t think any of the inner circle of Apostles had children. Some were married, but none had children save James.

    Please, show me the scripture that women should not marry if they don’t want children. Sorry, but it is NOT there. I’ve been looking for the past hour. It does not exist. There is absolutely nothing.


  11. Nobody said that because you can’t have children that you have no right to be loved. Nobody. What I said is if you are not called to motherhood then you should not marry. If you would have to subvert marriage in order to avoid the motherhood you do not want, well, marriage must not be subverted. In unusual cases like yours — if you don’t have to subvert marriage in order to avoid the motherhood you do not want — the consensus of Christian opinion is that you are permitted to marry. St. Augustine (and others) have held otherwise though, you should be aware of this. Catholic spiritual directors would encourage you to adopt a child after you marry because marriage is fundamentally about family (1 man, 1 woman, their children) — if you don’t want to do this you’re probably not called to the married state at all. But if you find yourself lonely and empty then you’re probably not doing what you were called to do.

    It interests me to find you repeatedly equating “home” with “husband” and “husband” with “love” but rejecting the fundament of marriage. On the other hand, you claim there is no metaphysics of femininity so I suppose I should not be surprised. I wonder whether your objection to the Quiverfull group (a teeney, tiny minority of an already small minority of Christians: Protestants) is that they insist on a traditionally Christian view of marriage. I will agree that they are heretical — I always have to chuckle when a Protestant talks about heresy though. Anyway, most heresies amount to an exaggeration of some truth, but they are exaggerating a truth. I strongly suspect you recognize this at some level and don’t like its implication for your own life.

    Chesterton said 100 years ago that ordinary people no longer want ordinary things, when he was an Anglican by the way, and some 20 years before the disastrous Lambeth Conference of 1930 that effectively split the Anglican Communion from the whole Christian tradition concerning marriage. I don’t know what sort of Episcopalian you are but you might seek out a solid spiritual director. Only if you’re willing to be directed though — “coached” as it were. Another thought — in San Antonio you might check out Our Lady of the Atonement — the clergy there will understand where you’re at. Go talk to someone there, they’ll be glad to see you and they’ll be much better equipped to help you than I am. This is the wrong medium for this, it is too impersonal.

  12. I don’t get your perversity about this. You don’t sound like any Catholic I know. One of my best friends is Catholic. She doesn’t believe this way. I’m sorry, but your theology is just plain screwed up. Please, do not presume to lecture me on this subject. I suggest you harass someone else with your abject lack of understanding of the love of Christ. I don’t have time for this today. If you can’t produces any sources for your abjectly insane views, then please, cease.


  13. Oh my. Well it is sad (and a great scandal) that so many Catholics are so poorly catechized, but there you go.

    Every papal encyclical on the topic of marriage and family from Casti Connubii to Humanae Vitae to Familiaris Consortio to Deus Caritas Est are sources for my “abjectly insane views”. As is the story of Onan in Genesis. Jesus Christ’s “the two shall become one flesh” and His prohibition of divorce. St. Paul’s recommendation to remain single. Even Psalm 127 no matter how it is distorted by a fringe element you yourself have identified as heretical. Oh! This is providential: on Marcus Grodi’s Deep in Scripture program today the guest is Patrick Coffin. You should be able to listen/watch online in a week or two (or one of the encores at odd hours). Saint Augustine talks about marriage here. Lookee here! The Catholic Bishops of the USA have built us a handy one-stop shop for sources. Pay close attention to footnotes: references to scripture and the Fathers are everywhere. The teaching and practice of the Anglican Communion and EVERY OTHER CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY before 1930. I think at least synopses of the debates leading up to this disaster exist, and I know there will be a ton of commentary on it from within your own tradition.

    So, there you go. Sources I hope you have time for someday. Even more, I hope you can go find someone to talk to in person.

  14. “…The encyclical opens with an assertion of the competency of the magisterium of the Catholic Church to decide questions of morality. It then goes on to observe that circumstances often dictate that married couples should limit the number of children, and that the sexual act between husband and wife is still worthy even if it can be foreseen not to result in procreation….”

    I gather you did not read what I wrote that I was early menopause, post menopausal, and could not have children anyway. According to YOUR providing of material, this does NOT preclude marriage. “...The ‘natural reasons of time or of certain defects’ are universally accepted as meaning menopause and infertility. This paragraph thus means menopausal and infertile couples may morally engage in intercourse, even though there is no possibility of children resulting from the act, as long as it is done for serious reasons, and not merely as a contraceptive….”

    No where does this say that it is an absolute. What part of the word “POSSIBILITY” do you not understand? “… The gift of a married couple to one another must include the possibility of children. Couples should exercise “responsible fertility.”
    5. Sexuality and procreation are not something merely biological.
    6. If a man and a woman love one another and wish to express their love through their sexual powers, this must occur in marriage.”””

    If I go by Psalm 127, because my father only has two daughters, he is not blessed with a heritage. That is what it says.

    What Patrick Coffin was discussing was about birth control. St. Augustine did NOT suggest that marriage was only about the begets and the begots, but about preventing adultery and fornication. I gather you don’t mind a person having sex outside of marriage, because that is what your are suggesting.

    “...I know of course that simply saying thank you is not enough. Unfortunately, we are heirs to a history which has conditioned us to a remarkable extent. In every time and place, this conditioning has been an obstacle to the progress of women. Women’s dignity has often been unacknowledged and their prerogatives misrepresented; they have often been relegated to the margins of society and even reduced to servitude. This has prevented women from truly being themselves and it has resulted in a spiritual impoverishment of humanity. Certainly it is no easy task to assign the blame for this, considering the many kinds of cultural conditioning which down the centuries have shaped ways of thinking and acting. And if objective blame, especially in particular historical contexts, has belonged to not just a few members of the Church, for this I am truly sorry. May this regret be transformed, on the part of the whole Church, into a renewed commitment of fidelity to the Gospel vision. When it comes to setting women free from every kind of exploitation and domination, the Gospel contains an ever relevant message which goes back to the attitude of Jesus Christ himself. Transcending the established norms of his own culture, Jesus treated women with openness, respect, acceptance and tenderness. In this way he honoured the dignity which women have always possessed according to God’s plan and in his love. As we look to Christ at the end of this Second Millennium, it is natural to ask ourselves: how much of his message has been heard and acted upon?….This journey must go on! But I am convinced that the secret of making speedy progress in achieving full respect for women and their identity involves more than simply the condemnation of discrimination and injustices, necessary though this may be. Such respect must first and foremost be won through an effective and intelligent campaign for the promotion of women, concentrating on all areas of women’s life and beginning with a universal recognition of the dignity of women. Our ability to recognize this dignity, in spite of historical conditioning, comes from the use of reason itself, which is able to understand the law of God written in the heart of every human being. More than anything else, the word of God enables us to grasp clearly the ultimate anthropological basis of the dignity of women, making it evident as a part of God’s plan for humanity….” John Paul II

    I gather you don’t recognize the greatness of JPII. What you are saying is in abject disagreement of what he wrote. He’s on his way to becoming a saint.

    “…This statement in Genesis 3:16 is of great significance. It implies a reference to the mutual relationship of man and woman in marriage. It refers to the desire born in the atmosphere of spousal love whereby the woman’s “sincere gift of self” is responded to and matched by a corresponding “gift” on the part of the husband. Only on the basis of this principle can both of them, and in particular the woman, “discover themselves” as a true “unity of the two” according to the dignity of the person. The matrimonial union requires respect for and a perfecting of the true personal subjectivity of both of them. The woman cannot become the “object” of “domination” and male “possession”. But the words of the biblical text directly concern original sin and its lasting consequences in man and woman. Burdened by hereditary sinfulness, they bear within themselves the constant “inclination to sin”, the tendency to go against the moral order which corresponds to the rational nature and dignity of man and woman as persons. This tendency is expressed in a threefold concupiscence, which Saint John defines as the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life (cf. 1 Jn 2:16). The words of the Book of Genesis quoted previously (3: 16) show how this threefold concupiscence, the “inclination to sin”, will burden the mutual relationship of man and woman.

    These words of Genesis refer directly to marriage, but indirectly they concern the different spheres of social life: the situations in which the woman remains disadvantaged or discriminated against by the fact of being a woman. The revealed truth concerning the creation of the human being as male and female constitutes the principal argument against all the objectively injurious and unjust situations which contain and express the inheritance of the sin which all human beings bear within themselves. The books of Sacred Scripture confirm in various places the actual existence of such situations and at the same time proclaim the need for conversion, that is to say, for purification from evil and liberation from sin: from what offends neighbour, what “diminishes” man, not only the one who is offended but also the one who causes the offence. This is the unchangeable message of the Word revealed by God. In it is expressed the biblical “ethos” until the end of time.33

    …The personal resources of femininity are certainly no less than the resources of masculinity: they are merely different. Hence a woman, as well as a man, must understand her “fulfilment” as a person, her dignity and vocation, on the basis of these resources, according to the richness of the femininity which she received on the day of creation and which she inherits as an expression of the “image and likeness of God” that is specifically hers. The inheritance of sin suggested by the words of the Bible – “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” – can be conquered only by following this path. The overcoming of this evil inheritance is, generation after generation, the task of every human being, whether woman or man. For whenever man is responsible for offending a woman’s personal dignity and vocation, he acts contrary to his own personal dignity and his own vocation.

    …By speaking and acting in this way, Jesus made it clear that “the mysteries of the Kingdom” were known to him in every detail. He also “knew what was in man” (Jn 2:25), in his innermost being, in his “heart”. He was a witness of God’s eternal plan for the human being, created in his own image and likeness as man and woman. He was also perfectly aware of the consequences of sin, of that “mystery of iniquity” working in human hearts as the bitter fruit of the obscuring of the divine image. It is truly significant that in his important discussion about marriage and its indissolubility, in the presence of “the Scribes”, who by profession were experts in the Law, Jesus makes reference to the “beginning”. The question asked concerns a man’s right “to divorce one’s wife for any cause” (Mt 19:3) and therefore also concerns the woman’s right, her rightful position in marriage, her dignity. The questioners think they have on their side the Mosaic legislation then followed in Israel: “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” (Mt 19: 7). Jesus answers: “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so” (Mt 19: 8). Jesus appeals to the “beginning”, to the creation of man as male and female and their ordering by God himself, which is based upon the fact that both were created “in his image and likeness”. Therefore, when “a man shall leave his father and mother and is joined to his wife, so that the two become one flesh”, there remains in force the law which comes from God himself: “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” (Mt 19: 6).

    The principle of this “ethos”, which from the beginning marks the reality of creation, is now confirmed by Christ in opposition to that tradition which discriminated against women. In this tradition the male “dominated”, without having proper regard for woman and for her dignity, which the “ethos” of creation made the basis of the mutual relationships of two people united in marriage. This “ethos” is recalled and confirmed by Christ’s words; it is the “ethos” of the Gospel and of Redemption.

    …In all of Jesus’ teaching, as well as in his behaviour, one can find nothing which reflects the discrimination against women prevalent in his day. On the contrary, his words and works always express the respect and honour due to women. The woman with a stoop is called a “daughter of Abraham” (Lk 13:16), while in the whole Bible the title “son of Abraham” is used only of men. Walking the Via Dolorosa to Golgotha, Jesus will say to the women: “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me” (Lk 23:28). This way of speaking to and about women, as well as his manner of treating them, clearly constitutes an “innovation” with respect to the prevailing custom at that time.

    This becomes even more explicit in regard to women whom popular opinion contemptuously labelled sinners, public sinners and adulteresses. There is the Samaritan woman, to whom Jesus himself says: “For you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband”. And she, realizing that he knows the secrets of her life, recognizes him as the Messiah and runs to tell her neighbours. The conversation leading up to this realization is one of the most beautiful in the Gospel (cf. Jn 4:7-27).

    Then there is the public sinner who, in spite of her condemnation by common opinion, enters into the house of the Pharisee to anoint the feet of Jesus with perfumed oil. To his host, who is scandalized by this, he will say: “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much” (cf. Lk 7:37-47).

    Finally, there is a situation which is perhaps the most eloquent: a woman caught in adulterv is brought to Jesus. To the leading question “In the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?”, Jesus replies: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her”. The power of truth contained in this answer is so great that “they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest”. Only Jesus and the woman remain. “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”. “No one, Lord”. “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again” (cf. Jn 8:3-11).

    These episodes provide a very clear picture. Christ is the one who “knows what is in man” (cf. Jn 2:25) – in man and woman. He knows the dignity of man, his worth in God’s eyes. He himself, the Christ, is the definitive confirmation of this worth. Everything he says and does is definitively fulfilled in the Paschal Mystery of the Redemption. Jesus’ attitude to the women whom he meets in the course of his Messianic service reflects the eternal plan of God, who, in creating each one of them, chooses her and loves her in Christ (cf. Eph 1:1-5). Each woman therefore is “the only creature on earth which God willed for its own sake”. Each of them from the “beginning” inherits as a woman the dignity of personhood. Jesus of Nazareth confirms this dignity, recalls it, renews it, and makes it a part of the Gospel and of the Redemption for which he is sent into the world. Every word and gesture of Christ about women must therefore be brought into the dimension of the Paschal Mystery. In this way everything is completely explained.

    …The attitude of Jesus in the episode described in John 8:3-11 is significant. This is one of the few instances in which his power – the power of truth – is so clearly manifested with regard to human consciences. Jesus is calm, collected and thoughtful. As in the conversation with the Pharisees (cf. Mt 19:3-9), is Jesus not aware of being in contact with the mystery of the “beginning”, when man was created male and female, and the woman was entrusted to the man with her feminine distinctiveness, and with her potential for motherhood? The man was also entrusted by the Creator to the woman – they were entrusted to each other as persons made in the image and likeness of God himself. This entrusting is the test of love, spousal love. In order to become “a sincere gift” to one another, each of them has to feel responsible for the gift. This test is meant for both of them – man and woman – from the “beginning”. After original sin, contrary forces are at work in man and woman as a result of the threefold concupiscence, the “stimulus of sin”. They act from deep within the human being. Thus Jesus will say in the Sermon on the Mount: “Every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt 5:28). These words, addressed directly to man, show the fundamental truth of his responsibility vis-a-vis woman: her dignity, her motherhood, her vocation. But indirectly these words concern the woman. Christ did everything possible to ensure that – in the context of the customs and social relationships of that time – women would find in his teaching and actions their own subjectivity and dignity. On the basis of the eternal “unity of the two”, this dignity directly depends on woman herself, as a subject responsible for herself, and at the same time it is “given as a task” to man. Christ logically appeals to man’s responsibility. In the present meditation on women’s dignity and vocation, it is necessary that we refer to the context which we find in the Gospel. The dignity and the vocation of women – as well as those of men – find their eternal source in the heart of God. And in the temporal conditions of human existence, they are closely connected with the “unity of the two”. Consequently each man must look within himself to see whether she who was entrusted to him as a sister in humanity, as a spouse, has not become in his heart an object of adultery; to see whether she who, in different ways, is the cosubject of his existence in the world, has not become for him an “object”: an object of pleasure, of exploitation.

    This is an event without precedent: that a woman, and what is more a “sinful woman”, becomes a “disciple” of Christ. Indeed, once taught, she proclaims Christ to the inhabitants of Samaria, so that they too receive him with faith (cf. Jn 4: 39-42). This is an unprecedented event, if one remembers the usual way women were treated by those who were teachers in Israel; whereas in Jesus of Nazareth’s way of acting such an event becomes normal. In this regard, the sisters of Lazarus also deserve special mention: “Jesus loved Martha and her sister (Mary) and Lazarus” (cf. Jn 11:5). Mary “listened to the teaching” of Jesus: when he pays them a visit, he calls Mary’s behaviour “the good portion” in contrast to Martha’s preoccupation with domestic matters (cf. Lk 10: 3842). On another occasion – after the death of Lazarus – Martha is the one who talks to Christ, and the conversation concerns the most profound truths of revelation and faith: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died”. “Your brother will rise again”. “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day”. Jesus said to her: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world” (Jn 11:21-27). After this profession of faith Jesus raises Lazarus. This conversation with Martha is one of the most important in the Gospel…. (In other words, we are not to be caught up in the DOMESTIC but in the Lord!)

    …All this has already been considered. The Letter to the Ephesians once again confirms this truth, while at the same time comparing the spousal character of the love between man and woman to the mystery of Christ and of the Church. Christ is the Bridegroom of the Church – the Church is the Bride of Christ. This analogy is not without precedent; it transfers to the New Testament what was already contained in the Old Testament, especially in the prophets Hosea, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Isaiah.48 The respective passages deserve a separate analysis. Here we will cite only one text. This is how God speaks to his Chosen People through the Prophet: “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be put to shame; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the Lord has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God. For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer. … For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you” (Is 54:4-8, 10).

    Since the human being – man and woman – has been created in God’s image and likeness, God can speak about himself through the lips of the Prophet using language which is essentially human. In the text of Isaiah quoted above, the expression of God’s love is “human”, but the love itself is divine. Since it is God’s love, its spousal character is properly divine, even though it is expressed by the analogy of a man’s love for a woman. The woman-bride is Israel, God’s Chosen People, and this choice originates exclusively in God’s gratuitous love. It is precisely this love which explains the Covenant, a Covenant often presented as a marriage covenant which God always renews with his Chosen People. On the part of God the Covenant is a lasting “commitment”; he remains faithful to his spousal love even if the bride often shows herself to be unfaithful.

    ….Rereading Genesis in light of the spousal symbol in the Letter to the Ephesians enables us to grasp a truth which seems to determine in an essential manner the question of women’s dignity, and, subsequently, also the question of their vocation: the dignity of women is measured by the order of love, which is essentially the order of justice and charity.58

    Only a person can love and only a person can be loved. This statement is primarily ontological in nature, and it gives rise to an ethical affirmation. Love is an ontological and ethical requirement of the person. The person must be loved, since love alone corresponds to what the person is. This explains the commandment of love, known already in the Old Testament (cf. Deut 6:5; Lev 19:18) and placed by Christ at the very centre of the Gospel “ethos” (cf. Mt 22:36-40; Mk 12:28-34). This also explains the primacy of love expressed by Saint Paul in the First Letter to the Corinthians: “the greatest of these is love” (cf. 13:13).

    Unless we refer to this order and primacy we cannot give a complete and adequate answer to the question about women’s dignity and vocation. When we say that the woman is the one who receives love in order to love in return, this refers not only or above all to the specific spousal relationship of marriage. It means something more universal, based on the very fact of her being a woman within all the interpersonal relationships which, in the most varied ways, shape society and structure the interaction between all persons – men and women. In this broad and diversified context, a woman represents a particular value by the fact that she is a human person, and, at the same time, this particular person, by the fact of her femininity. This concerns each and every woman, independently of the cultural context in which she lives, and independently of her spiritual, psychological and physical characteristics, as for example, age, education, health, work, and whether she is married or single.

    The passage from the Letter to the Ephesians which we have been considering enables us to think of a special kind of “prophetism” that belongs to women in their femininity. The analogy of the Bridegroom and the Bride speaks of the love with which every human being – man and woman – is loved by God in Christ. But in the context of the biblical analogy and the text’s interior logic, it is precisely the woman – the bride – who manifests this truth to everyone. This “prophetic” character of women in their femininity finds its highest expression in the Virgin Mother of God. She emphasizes, in the fullest and most direct way, the intimate linking of the order of love – which enters the world of human persons through a Woman – with the Holy Spirit. At the Annunciation Mary hears the words: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you” (Lk 1:35)….” JP II

    No where does John Paul II say that marriage is only about having children. He talked about holy virgins, but if you don’t understand the historical context – that women were NOT allowed to remain virginal until the Church allowed them to exercise an early version of women’s rights, then you don’t comprehend what JPII was discussing. Then again, I am increasingly aware that most people who consider themselves “conservative” are woefully ignorant when it comes to history. Thank God we will soon have a president how was a history professor!

    GOLLY GEE: It looks like moi, the pathetic little Episcopalian sinner know more about this stuff than you, the self-righteous Catholic does….who knew …..
    “….Hence she came to be called “the apostle of the Apostles”.38 Mary Magdalene was the first eyewitness of the Risen Christ, and for this reason she was also the first to bear witness to him before the Apostles. This event, in a sense, crowns all that has been said previously about Christ entrusting divine truths to women as well as men. One can say that this fulfilled the words of the Prophet: “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” (Jl 3:1). On the fiftieth day after Christ’s Resurrection, these words are confirmed once more in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, at the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete (cf. Act 2:17)….” Oh, JPII said this. He was a pope.

    John Paul II was all about the dignity of women and the equality of women. I suspect, had he not been in such bad health, he would have agreed that women should be ordained as priests and deacons. There is nothing in his writing that says a woman should only marry to have children. That the purpose of marriage was about children. He states that it is about mutual love. Then again, John Paul II was all about love. Evidently I may know a little more about the Bible and the Church than you do. But, I’m a lowly woman, right, not married, single, no children, etc. According to John Paul II’s writing, you have no business pushing me around or damning me to the life of being single. God created us in His image. We are equals. Durn, don’t you just hate having your own theology slammed in your face like a chocolate creme pie?


  15. > According to YOUR providing of material,
    > this does NOT preclude marriage.

    I didn’t say it did. I specifically said the opposite:

    In unusual cases like yours — if you don’t have to subvert marriage in order to avoid the motherhood you do not want — the consensus of Christian opinion is that you are permitted to marry.

    This has been your pattern through this whole discussion. I hope you can find someone local you can talk to if you’re interested.

  16. I don’t understand what gives you the gall to assume I need “help” or someone to talk to. I find your authoritarian approach to be counter-productive. How many Christians who are not as strong and well versed in their faith as am I have you harmed? How dare you pick and choose and edit what you think I should believe? You impose your patronizing assumption that I don’t know anything. I may not be a theologian, but I am not uneducated. Being a Christian is about John 3:16. That is the bases of faith. When you add additional opinions that are post Biblical then you are promoting the opinions of others, not necessarily the Lord. Before your dialogue, I was leaning toward Catholicism. Forget that. You have shown me the rank underbelly of a great religion. Catholicism is a beautiful religion. I find your version of it contrary to everything I’ve ever known about it – other than the Inquisition.

    What is so tragic is the fact that you appear to be so bound by legalese, and the your version of what a Christian is, that I truly think you need to get back down to basics. Try reading the Bible without the Church Fathers, canon law, Vatican II, etc. Just get out the Bible and read it. You might discover that your version of things is a little different from what is actually part of the Word of God. The Anglican faith is based on a Three Legged Stool: Scripture, Tradition, Reason. You are good on the tradition, but seem to be a bit lacking in scripture and reason. We are not mind numbed robots. We are creatures created in the image of God with the power to think for ourselves. Try a little less Augustine and a little more C. S. Lewis.

    Christ is about love, kindness, and forgiveness. The one group of people he disliked the most were the professional religious class. He preferred sinners to saints and kindness to rules and regulations. Dogma is designed to control people. The Church tried it for centuries, but never seemed to go beyond a certain point. Your determination to impose your ideas about who I am remind me about what I was reading last night for the devotional I am writing. I suspect more people have been killed, abused and lives destroyed by the Catholic Church, in the name of “Christ” than any other religion. I suspect the Lord has been using you in a strange way. Your attitude has shown me that I doubt if I can ever be a part of a denomination where such patriarchal dogmas exist.

    John Paul II wrote that men and women were equal in the eyes of the Lord. If you believe this, and I don’t think you do, then women have the right to be ordained as priests, bishops, deacons, and cardinals and event the pope. Until such dogmatic orthodoxy changes, there will always be abuse. Until priests have the right to marry, the Church is not going to get the best and the brightest.

    If John Paul II is correct, then women have the very same rights as men. They can have families and be astronauts – all at the same time. I know you think it is acceptable for a woman to be a teacher and a parent, so why not an astronaut and a parent, or President of the United States and a working mom – and wear a bikini if she can get away with it!


  17. Although I think I’ve articulated the Catholic Tradition (and indeed the practice of all Christian communities of any note before 1930) reasonably well, as I said, this medium is far too impersonal for a discussion of Christian Morality and Theology especially concerning a topic so obviously charged for you. I remind you that you asked me about it though. I am reasonably sure you’d hear about the same thing from “High-Church” Episcopalian clergy. Shoot: even in 1957 CS Lewis had trouble getting an Anglican priest to witness a marriage to Joy Gresham. What you’d hear from others in your communion I won’t hazard a guess.

    If you want to know what the Catholic Church (or the Anglican Communion for that matter) teaches about marriage, chastity, or modesty and why, the best thing for you to do is go find a local resource. FWIW, I suggest to you former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande, Jeffrey Steenson. He is now a Catholic evidently living in Rio Rancho, NM. If you don’t want to know or think you already know, well, pax Domini vobiscum.

  18. Now you’ve overstepped. I know Jeffrey Steenson. He is a very nice man who would NEVER NEVER NEVER EVER treat a person the way you have treated me. Jeffrey knows Christ. We’ve had some excellent talks on the subject. We were all sick when he resigned as bishop. Our church is High Church, but you don’t know that, either. I just asked for you to produce scripture to prove your point. You cannot – beyond Genesis.

    Do you believe in Christ, that He died on the Cross – John 3:16?
    Have you ever read 1 Corinthians 13?
    Are you familiar with the Sermon on the Mount?

    Pat Boone once wrote that he’s lived his life in the House of the Lord, but never met the Master. Do you know the Master? I do.

    Who are you and what are your credentials?
    Do you know anything about the Church post 1930?

    Most of my dearest friends are priests. Bet you did not know that, either. I know the difference between High Church and Low Church. I know about the Catholic Church, which is what shocks me about your antediluvian ideas. When I mention these things, you can’t respond, only condemn.

    Heck, I half the Episcopal priests I know are divorced. I spent 3 years working as our parish secretary. No one ever condemned my low-cut blouses or jewelry. One of our priests asked me to make some jewelry for her. They never criticized a person who was a working mother or a stay at home mother. They were too busy talking to people about Christ, praying for those in need, and attempting to help out in the community by caring for those in need. They did not have time to damn people who did not live up to an antiquated way of the world. They were far too well educated. The Episcopal priests I have known (with 1 exception) have been about Christ’s love and winning souls, spreading His love, and being decent, loving, kind people.

    You have not answered my questions about Christ, scripture, or love. Do you know Christ as your personal savior? Have you dedicated your life to Him? Do you believe the Lord leads your life?

    Just asking.


  19. Oh, you already know him. Great. Maybe you can ask him to comment here. I’m sure I’d learn something.

  20. Honestly, I live in New Mexico. I never see anyone dressing like this. All the people I know wear low cut tight blouses and the new really tight tights pants. Where on earth do you live? Where in New Mexico are people dressing like this? I really want to know where because I have never seen what you say is the majority of the people here.

  21. I did NOT say it was in New Mexico. I have lived in New Mexico since 1998 and have never seen anything this stupid, either. People do wear things like this, elsewhere.

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