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  #1  
Old Feb 3, '10, 7:32 am
ceciliatherese ceciliatherese is offline
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Default saint augustine quote about women

I'd love if someone would explain this quote to me from St Augustine
“Women should not be enlightened or educated in any way. They should, in fact, be segregated as they are the cause of hideous and involuntary erections in holy men.”
As I've been struggling with the early Church's seemingly unequal treatment of women, this quote sort of came as a shock to me coming from Saint Augustine.
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  #2  
Old Feb 3, '10, 7:51 am
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Verbum Caro Verbum Caro is offline
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Default Re: saint augustine quote about women

Cecilia,

In regard to the quote, the first thing is always to verify. If it doesn't have a source, it shouldn't be considered credible. We have writings of St. Augustine. If the quote cannot be placed in context in one of the extant writings then. . . well. . .

Thoughts?
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  #3  
Old Feb 3, '10, 8:00 am
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CatofAlexandria CatofAlexandria is offline
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Default Re: saint augustine quote about women

Verify it, yes. However, even if he did say it, so what? A lot of saints have said things that are not reflective of Church doctrine, and we all know that St. Augustine had his struggles. Women have played a unique and important role in the Church and throughout salvation history. That individual men in the Church have refused to recognize this -- well, that is their own darn fault.
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  #4  
Old Feb 3, '10, 8:52 am
bpbasilphx bpbasilphx is offline
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Default Re: saint augustine quote about women

Assuming that St. Augustine said this, consider the source and his background.

Not everything a saint says is the doctrine of the Church.

And males (of all ages, even infants) have involuntary and unexpected erections all the time. It goes with the territory.

And I'm surethat women have unbidden comparable physiological things, too.
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  #5  
Old Feb 3, '10, 9:40 am
Jesus_123 Jesus_123 is offline
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Default Re: saint augustine quote about women

+Sins against chastity were St. Augustine's downfall prior to his conversion . . . and an area of grave weakness for many long years into his adult life . . . he had a mistress for many years and fathered an illegitimate son before his soul repented and he embraced the faith and was converted from his sinful ways . . . and it was only after persistent prayers of years upon years of prayer for her son Augustine that his mother . . . the Blessed St. Monica . . . saw God's victory in her son's life . . . and the Lord was able to completely convert and save Augustine's immoral immortal soul . . . and sanctifiy (set apart unto God) Augustine's soul . . . and make it useful for His Holy Name's sake for Augustine's good and the good of the whole church . . .

I wouldn't be surprised if St. Augustine had uttered such a quote . . . though not a marvelous reaction it is often human nature to try to find a "scapegoat" for our own weaknesses . . . and blame someone other than ourselves for them . . . rather than to face up to and own our own weakness and repent before the Lord seeking God's forgiveness for our sins and errors in thoughts and actions . . . but I would hope that he repented of such a selfish, self-centered rash false judgment born from his own sinful nature as he grew in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . and embraced the . . . Blessed Virgin Mary . . . our Holy Mother . . . and the knowledge of other holy women as revealed in Sacred Scripture . . . and realized it was his own inclination to sin that caused such an outburst . . . and that this unjust condemnation of womanhood was in itself sinful . . . and not based in the truth of God . . . insomuch as it did not embrace the knowledge of God's creating the personhood of "woman" . . . which God Himself called "good" at the dawn of creation . . . and the holy beauty of God's perfection of holy womanhood is now revealed to us in the person of the . . . Blessed Virgin Mary . . . who was conceived without sin . . . and many holy women and saints have followed in her holy footsteps over the centuries . . .

Both Eve and Adam committed original sin in the Garden of Eden casting mankind into the devestating state of inherited sin and death . . . utter separation from God Who is the Source of all Life . . . it was not just Eve's fault . . . I trust St. Augustine . . . in due season . . . either here on earth in his later years . . . or later on in heaven above . . . has now learned this serious lesson in its fullness . . .

. . . all for Jesus+
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  #6  
Old Feb 4, '10, 3:38 am
Teteli Teteli is offline
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Default Re: saint augustine quote about women

St. Augustine was a man. *shrugs* A good man, a holy man, but a man. And men (in the humanity sense, not the gender sense) tend to want to blame anyone but themselves for their shortcomings.

So, if a man gets "hideous and involuntary erections" in the presence of women, it is easier to blame the women and require them to hide themselves than it is to accept their own weakness and either A) develop the self-control to keep it from happening, or B) learn to put up with it and soldier on regardless.

As a woman, I simply remind myself that I am only responsible for my own actions. If the simple fact of my presence makes someone else uncomfortable, well - that's something they have to deal with. I can't control how they react to me.
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  #7  
Old Feb 4, '10, 3:57 am
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Verbum Caro Verbum Caro is offline
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Default Re: saint augustine quote about women

Teteli and 123,

But St. Augustine didn't say it. Not as far as I can see. It seems completely and wholly made up and attributed to St. Augustine.

If it was made up. . . it doesn't seem worth speculating on why or how St. Augustine could of said it, if you know what I mean.

VC
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  #8  
Old Feb 4, '10, 4:20 am
Teteli Teteli is offline
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Default Re: saint augustine quote about women

Fair enough. Me, when asked to interpret something, I tend to assume the person asking has the right of it, and that the quote in question was actually made by the person it's attributed to - but what do I know?

Given what we know about Augustine's history and his issues with the "fairer sex," the quote doesn't seem too out-of-character. Still, I haven't researched it. It's possible that it's falsely attributed to him. If so, in my response, substitute the name of whoever DID originally say it for the saint's name. The rest of it holds more-or-less true.
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  #9  
Old Feb 4, '10, 4:41 am
KingTheoden KingTheoden is offline
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Default Re: saint augustine quote about women

Part of apologetics is being honest, as our own Karl Keating has written in our materials.

As far as I know, that is a true statement by St. Augustine. In fact, it really doesn't depart much from the 14 centuries that proceeded him. Women were not seen as called for study of letters or much in the way of work.

Contrary to feminist theory, this was not some kind of expression of matriphobilc anger. Rather, it was pretty much the standard practice of virtually all civilizations, the Israelites included. The purpose, in my reading of history, was that of roles (something totally repugnant today, even among some 'conservative' Catholics): Women have a very special intimate relationship with God and are called to fulfill that role perfectly.

The trouble is that some men would take advantage of women or even their wives and act as tyrants. Clearly, this is not a natural relationship God intended.

With the social revolutions of the 1960s and 1970s (with some, um, interesting funding) women were told to 'free themselves' of men (a completely defective statement).

I'm not arguing against education of women, especially given that scarcity of resources is far less of a consideration in the modern era. However, if education is pursued in a manner so as to defy the beautiful role as mother, then there is clearly an objective problem. We can observe this in Europe and the United States with plunging fertility rates (in the US, we are only growing because of Hispanic immigration).

I think that it's sort of a moot point to argue because the Wall Street Journal just ran a fascinating article on the myth of what a college education does. It did not approach the qualitative aspects of one (as we know, virtually all schools are utterly bereft of anything but contempt for God- and the quality of education is rather poor.) It rather focused on expected earnings with the assumption of a lifetime of full-time employment, an impossibility for women assuming children are part of one's life.

Long touted as a million dollar ticket, a college degree on average is now estimated to be worth barely over $250 000 compared to a lifetime of earnings without it. I don't think this even adujusts for inflation (earnings are in the distant future and should be discounted with inflation and wage cuts.)

So, I really would get to upset with this quote about St. Augustine. Certainly we would all agree that some changes that have occured like mixed gyms is a clear, obvious occassion for sin (many women in fact demand separate rooms so they are not oogled.) But again, I think a re-discovery of the deep, special connection with God as a life-bearer (something us men can never have) is important. And remember men, we are called to be ready to die for our wives like Christ died for His Church, so love is not often a silly movie or TV glamor series!
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  #10  
Old Feb 4, '10, 5:06 am
Teteli Teteli is offline
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Default Re: saint augustine quote about women

A big part of the feminist movement that I think a lot of men AND women lose sight of is that it is, in the end, all about how one CHOOSES to lead one's life...

Men have always had the ability to shirk responsibility for their choices and the repercussions thereof. Pre-paternity tests, a man could deny any accountability for a child simply by walking away. Women never had that option. Birth control and family planning options gave women the same freedom that men have always enjoyed; in the same vein, the ability for women to get an education and pursue a career meant that women could live a life for themselves, rather than as an attachment to a man. (Is it a perfect solution? Of course not. A situation where no one takes responsibility isn't good at all. But, harsh as it is, if one gender is no longer willing to pick up the slack when the other gender walks away, hopefully it will lead to a compromise where both genders learn to pick up their share of the burden. Because that will never happen when half the species is quietly cleaning up the other half's dirty laundry.)

It doesn't mean that women can't or shouldn't choose to be mothers and/or homemakers. It just means that that isn't the only path available to women - and it means that women aren't the only ones who can pursue that path. Yes, the vast majority of the time, via genetics or predisposition or rearing, women are better suited to raise the children and care for the home. But not always. To me, it's nice to know that people are free to follow the roles that they're best suited for, rather than the roles that other people THINK they should be best suited for.

(This has strayed quite a bit from the original post, and for that I am sorry. But the last post raised a couple interesting points that I felt needed to be addressed.)
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  #11  
Old Feb 4, '10, 5:20 am
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Verbum Caro Verbum Caro is offline
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Default Re: saint augustine quote about women

Quote:
Originally Posted by KingTheoden View Post
Part of apologetics is being honest, as our own Karl Keating has written in our materials.

As far as I know, that is a true statement by St. Augustine. In fact, it really doesn't depart much from the 14 centuries that proceeded him. Women were not seen as called for study of letters or much in the way of work!
Theoden,

Why do you think it is from St. Augustine? It would be a relatively simple matter over the course of years that this quote has been floating around to locate it in his writings, wouldn't one think? But it is never cited to one of his writings.

Why should we think that St. Augustine said or even believed that "women should not be enlightened or educated in any way?" Doesn't that seem odd? I was under the impression that St. Augustine wrote letters to women, correcting things, offering encouragement, offering to send some of his other works. . . etc. I would think that he wanted them to know the truths of the faith, at least.

VC
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  #12  
Old Feb 4, '10, 11:27 am
Jesus_123 Jesus_123 is offline
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Smile Re: saint augustine quote about women


F
ather,

You
open the Kingdom of Heaven
to those born again
by water and the Spirit.

Increase Your Gift of Love in us.

May all, who have been freed from sins in baptism,
receive all that You have promised.

We ask this through our
Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
One God,
for ever and ever.

- St. Augustine

_______



"Lord Thou
hast been our refuge from generation to generation."
Psalm 89:1


. . . all for Jesus+
. . . thank You Dear Lord+
. . . thank you Holy Mother Mary+
. . . thank you Holy Mother Church+
__________________

"But He answered and said,
It is written,
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by
every word
that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

- Jesus
Matthew 4:4
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  #13  
Old Feb 4, '10, 7:16 pm
Friar David, O.Carm Friar David, O.Carm is offline
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Default Re: saint augustine quote about women

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teteli View Post
Fair enough. Me, when asked to interpret something, I tend to assume the person asking has the right of it, and that the quote in question was actually made by the person it's attributed to - but what do I know?
I always ask for a cite when given a problematic text, usually when read in context to the whole text it is drawn from or knowing when it was written can remove any true issues.
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  #14  
Old Feb 8, '10, 7:05 am
Voice of Reason Voice of Reason is offline
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Default Re: saint augustine quote about women

I, an atheist, suspect that this quote is a false attribution made to Augustine to bolster the already obvious and overstated orientation that Christianity has towards women - that they are inferior, defective, seductive, and above all, a magnificent scapegoat. We don't need false quotes from Church Fathers to determine that Christianity purports these views; it's right there in the bible and in old Papal encyclicals. We certainly don't need to blame man, by his nature, where we can blame religion, by its nature, for the hostility it pays women. It's sickening.
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  #15  
Old Feb 8, '10, 7:32 am
Tantum ergo Tantum ergo is offline
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Default Re: saint augustine quote about women

Doesn't it seem the least bit strange that Christianity's strongest and most faithful proponents have been women? (of whom I'm one myself).

If it is such an awful, women-hating institution/philosophy, why have I never found it such? Why do I see the Bible full of God LOVING women--and men, too? Why do I see St. Paul, for all today's hysterical, "submission to husband' quotes, telling men to "Love their wives as they love their own bodies --right there an example which made women EQUAL to men, not subordinate".

Sure there have been people throughout the ages who distorted Christ's teachings and God's word, sometimes because they honestly misunderstood and sometimes for their own gain. So what? There have been women too who did the same thing (gnostics, anyone?). We're so conditioned today to believe that women are ALWAYS the victims of men that we simply don't believe that they ever had the 'power' to victimize men in ANY way. And that's not true. None of us is 'lily white'; all of us have done wrong at some point.

I wish that people would stop insisting that simply because I'm a woman I ought to buy into whatever "society' has deemed is the correct 'view' to take on a subject, whether it's sex, politics, religion, nutrition. . .you name it. I'm not limited to the label of 'woman', thank you very much. I'll make my own informed choice and not be held to the often contradictory 'societal' decisions which 'blow in the wind.'
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