Monday, August 5, 2013

Toward A Female Theology: Woman is More Bitter Than Death

Pope Francis is asking for a theology of woman which he says has never been written (In Flight Journalist Interview from Brazil World Youth Day 2013).  Here is one idea which, to many, might seem new: women are dangerous! Beware!

The most mundane book in sacred scripture is Ecclesiastes.  In that most secular of sacred texts there is a clear warning against women!  Ecclesiastes 7:25-30 says

"I have surveyed all things with my mind, to know, and consider, and seek out wisdom and reason: and to know the wickedness of the fool, and the error of the imprudent:
"And I have found a woman more bitter than death, who is the hunter's snare, and her heart is a net, and her hands are bands.  He that pleaseth God shall escape from her: but he that is a sinner, shall be caught by her.
"Lo this have I found, said Ecclesiastes, weighing one thing after another, that I might find out the account,
Which yet my soul seeketh, and I have not found it.  One man among a thousand I have found, a woman among them all I have not found.
"Only this I have found, that God made man right, and he hath entangled himself with an infinity of questions. Who is the wise man? and who hath known the resolution of the word?"

A major element in any feminine theology must include this negative element that was well emphasized throughout the Sacred Scripture, the Fathers and the Scholastics but has been rejected in modern thought.

The author says that he has rarely found a good man; but a good woman, never!  Of course, this was written before the Immaculate Conception.  What is curious is how he found good men if all of the women are depraved, given the fact that all men are also born of women!

This sounds so much like what I once heard in a movie: "All women are whores except my mother who is a saint!"

It is a secular caricature of women which does, however, make a necessary point regarding the ever present danger of disordered sexual desires in every ordinary person.  Concupiscence is the point.  The modern error is to make everything so platonic and deny sin and temptation.  How many disgraces have occurred under the guise of "platonic" relationships!  This very human theme, somewhat appropriated by Christianity, disabuses us (women as well as men) of the modern (and ancient) spell of universal innocence with the resulting neglect of training in virtue!  The truth is that no man is to be trusted (male or female) because all, except Jesus Christ Himself and the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, are sinners, at least stained with the stain of original sin, if not their own sinful stains too.  In this sense we are all whores!  (I am making my way through a book in German by von Balthasar largely on the Church as Whore!, [Wer ist die Kirche] the whore married, saved and purified and made perfect by the Lord, her Husband).  So, of course, in that very ontological sense no one is good.  You cannot trust yourself (regardless of gender).  Trust in Jesus and His mercy alone and entrust yourself to his strength.  As He Himself said, only One is good, the One who came from heaven.

The point is that women are dangerous (aside from any discussion about the defects of men) and so honest men must stay away from them.  They are to be distrusted and must be trained in virtue, hence they should obey in order to be good.  That is a necessary social truth which is present is some form or other in any well ordered society.  You cannot just mix everybody together without great disasters.  Just talk to any parents of a large family in any society.  When they reach adolescence it is essential to separate the girls from the boys for the protection of all!

Could we say that the danger of women is due to the corruption in the minds and hearts of men?  That is part of the issue for sure!  Keeping away is part of forming men in virtue.  This thesis is actually men being honest about the effect of women on them!  To deny it is dishonest and anti-woman because it claims for men a strength that they do not naturally possess.  Women are stronger then men, at least in this.  And this injuction to stay away and beware is a clear admission of that fact.  Hence the danger.  Beware lest you be caught in the trap unawares!

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