20 Vile Quotes Against Women By Religious Leaders From St. Augustine to Pat Robertson


Peace Brothers and Sisters in Christ. This link was recently shared with me. What are your thoughts?


I would ask for proof (i.e. what documents and where in the document these are written)


WARNING: The link is to “alternet.org” which itself warns against strong content. At the very least turn on your pop-up blocker before following the link.


Don’t fall for the bait. Stay away.



Well, after an unpleasant pop up ad for the DCCC (some political action committee for the Democrat party?), I was confronted with this statement:

“With diatribes about entertainers who invite rape and moms who are destroying America by supporting their families…with ignorant arguments about fetuses that masturbate, and females who might as well if they use contraception, and fetal personhood that trumps the personhood of females…it’s tempting to think that Christian conservatives have reached some new pinnacle of hating women and sexuality”

It appears to go downhill from there.

Quotes out of context do not make a strong argument for anything, but I suppose they sell magazines, or get website hits. :shrug:

What do I think of it? Not much.

Currently, I am more concerned with beginning Ireneaus’ “Against Heresies” having just finished Clement, Ignatius, and Justin’s “Dialog with Trypho” and the story of his and his companion’s martyrdom.

Got to study up to get ready for the next persecution!:thumbsup:

That reminds me, I read all of Clement’s works available in English, and didn’t see that quote that the author attributes to Clement. Perhaps the author was referring to Clement of Alexandria, and not Rome? Or perhaps it was a pseudo-Clement and not what he actually wrote?

Could it be that Clement was misquoted in the article?:eek: Why would *anyone ever *do that?:wink:

And can you believe this? They used to misquote Christians all the time so they could kill them! :yup:

They used to say that Christians were Atheists and Cannibals, and Traitors to the State for not offering sacrifice to the god of the State. :hmmm:

Say, you don’t think someone was doing that on that link, do you? You know, trying to make the opposition look bad by misusing their words, or even making a few up? :smiley:


Oops. Too late. You’re right. :shrug:


Personally, I would love to see a response to this. I have little doubt as to the veracity of the quotes. They sound very damaging and you can see the strain of sexism they represent here on CAF at times, though thankfully in milder forms. We have a suggestion here that all of them are out of context, but that is similar to the fundamentalist insistence on the perfection of the Bible: rather unsatisfying to say the least.

What little (indeed, very little) comfort I take in these statements is that at least half of them are from Protestants, not Catholics. But again, that is only a minor comfort.


For a more balanced view of the history of religious thought about women, see Woman in Christian Tradition by George H.Tavard (see here). A relevant chapter can be found online here. However, it still isn’t all that inspiring. For example:
But while Augustine finds no inferiority of woman at the level of her soul, Thomas extends to her soul the inferiority of her body.


I understand that we are not perfect, we humans, that we don’t always do as Christ would have us do… but how could such thinking be present in the minds of our Church fathers? Did the Holy Spirit not bless them with a greater wisdom? :frowning:


Yes, I’m afraid you won’t find much comfort from St. Thomas on this, although it isn’t quite as bad as the link suggests. Here’s the full context:

Objection 1. It would seem that the woman should not have been made in the first production of things. For the Philosopher says (De Gener. ii, 3), that “the female is a misbegotten male.” But nothing misbegotten or defective should have been in the first production of things. Therefore woman should not have been made at that first production.
. . .
Reply to Objection 1. As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence; such as that of a south wind, which is moist, as the Philosopher observes (De Gener. Animal. iv, 2). On the other hand, as regards human nature in general, woman is not misbegotten, but is included in nature’s intention as directed to the work of generation. Now the general intention of nature depends on God, Who is the universal Author of nature. Therefore, in producing nature, God formed not only the male but also the female.

Obviously, St. Thomas didn’t quite understand modern biology.


I’ve read quite a bit of Saint Augustine, and I highly doubt that he actually said those things.



These boys were amateurs. Try being a woman and working in IT 20 years ago.

Ladies (including the guys) get over it.


Perhaps there was ignorance about the nature of women in various writings throughout the centuries, but you can find Catholic quotes praising women or viewing them equal to men too among the ECFs, not only about glorious Mary, or such as this sampling:

*It is true that in the Church there is an order of deaconesses, but not for being a priestess, nor for any kind of work of administration, but for the sake of the dignity of the female sex, either at the time of baptism or of examining the sick or suffering, so that the naked body of a female may not be seen by men administering sacred rites, but by the deaconess. (St. Epiphanius, Against Heresies ca 374 A.D.)

[F]or in the compound nature of man we may behold a part of each of the natures I have mentioned—of the Divine, the rational and intelligent element, which does not admit the distinction of male and female; of the irrational, our bodily form and structure, divided into male and female: for each of these elements is certainly to be found in all that partakes of human life. (Gregory of Nyssa, On the Making of Man, ca 380)

When therefore you see an harlot tempting you, say, My body is not mine, but my wife’s. The same also let the woman say to those who would undermine her chastity, My body is not mine, but my husband’s. (John Chrysostom, Homily 19 on 1 Corinthians, ca 400)

For this expression marks the multitude of their sins, and their state of disorder and confusion; led away with various lusts. He does not accuse nature, for it is not women simply, but such women as these, that he blames. (John Chrysostom, Homily 8 on 2 Timothy, ca 400)

How is this? A woman again is honored and proclaimed victorious! Again are we men put to shame. Or rather, we are not put to shame only, but have even an honor conferred upon us. For an honor we have, in that there are such women among us, but we are put to shame, in that we men are left so far behind by them. But if we come to know whence it comes, that they are so adorned, we too shall speedily overtake them. Whence then is their adorning? Let both men and women listen. It is not from bracelets, or from necklaces, nor from their eunuchs either, and their maid-servants, and gold-broidered dresses, but from their toils in behalf of the truth. (St. John Chrysostom, Homily 31 on Romans, ca 400)
Unto the modern era, such as Pope Leo XIII’s 1880 encyclical Arcanum on marriage. :wink: And certainly JP2’s Theology of the Body speaks with very high praise of womanhood and the mutual companionship and relation of men and women.

Church history and views on women

I have no doubt many of them are true; however, when I searched for the very first one (attributed to St Clement of Alexandria), I cannot find a reliable source for it. Others are taken out of context and obsure the meaning of the author.

I have no doubt that some of these quotes are acurate, and more could be found. But they demonstrate the more general societal views of the time towards women, more than founded religious doctrine. I can’t defend some of these views, but neither do I feel that they ought to be taken as a reflection on the Church as a whole.


Of course, but even the Holy Spirit cannot censor every word said or written by every Church leader, not even a ECF or a Saint. :slight_smile:


Disclaimer: I didn’t click am am not going to.

But I’ve seen the gist of it before.

The blunder amatuers often make when reading historical quotes is to fail to evaluate it against the standard of its own day rather than against the standard of today (this isn’t relativism, as I’ll explain). Christianity isn’t a magic bullet and has never claimed to be. Everybody here knows that the reception of Grace doesn’t turn you into God’s puppet. We’ve got free will and suffer the effect of sin. We all make blunders, then and today.

But the mark of christianity is that in every era in which it has existed, it has been a force tending to move the culture in a positive direction, a more moral and upright direction compared to the larger culture in which the church exists.

Christianity came upon a world in which women were things to be owned and used by men, not persons with their own dignity and worth in societal measure. That was the starting place. Without the idea of innate human dignity and knowledge that both man and woman were created by God in His own image, why would one expect that Western society would EVER have moved beyond that stage? Islamic culture hasn’t!

Modern critics take history for granted, but this is madness. Bad as much of history was, it could certainly have been worse. Still could. More and more today the culture is again accepting the idea that women are objects that exist to be the playthings of men. We haven’t come as far as we like to think.


sometimes I wonder if this is more St Thomas trying to understand biology and how things come up to be and this being a consequence of.his inability to look inside the body. There are several people who argue based on his writings that St Thomas was pro abortionist but again when he speaks about it it seems like he is mostly trying to.figure out biology and that he just didn’t know because he didn’t have the resources at the time. I wonder if this goes along the same line

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