Are women still considered in a "state of subjection?"


#1

My oldest son recently informed me he strongly believed The Church still actively promoted the idea that women are the “weaker sex” and he pointed to a couple of writings by Thomas Aquinas as proof.

The first quote is “women should keep silent in the churches, for they are not allowed to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. But if they want to learn anything, they should ask their husbands at home. For it is improper for a woman to speak in the church.”

The second quote reads “women are in a state of subjection.”

Does the Church still hold these Aquinas writings as complelely valid?

I listed this in the Social Justice catagory because my son believes this to be an outrage to all catholic women. He further believes not allowing women as priests is a discriminatory practice. I can easily defend the aspect of women not being able to receive the sacrament of holy orders due to their sex, but could use some help on the Church’s perspective concerning the nearly 800 year old writings of Aquinas.

Much Thanks


#2

You said it yourself. Those writings are nearly 800 years old. And writings from a saint (even a Doctor of the Church) are not doctrine. It is his opinion in a particular time and place regarding matters of discipline for the faithful.

Read his stuff about doctrine. It's more likely to be relevant, considering established doctrine doesn't change. But be careful here, too - he theorizes about some things that aren't doctrine as well.


#3

You're son is wrong. The Church and the Saints do not teach that women are the weaker sex. It teaches that they are different. The Saints have always put great emphasis on gender roles, which were attacked viciously by radical feminists during and after the sexual revolution. Don't drink their anti-Christ poison. You cannot disregard 2000 years of writings of the Saints with the notion "Times change". Especially when it is in Sacred Scripture.


#4

Two ways to refute him: 1. Mary ('nuff said :smiley: )
2. St. Catherine of Siena, a papal counselor in the 14th Century


#5

Catholicism is probably the most 'women' oriented version of Christianity out there! How many others even talk about Mary, let alone believe that she (body and soul!) are in Heaven? That a woman's body is so sacred that it belongs in Heaven? No other religion even talks about that. No, Catholicism is very forward thinking indeed!


#6

My personal opinion on this subject in light of this quotes from scripture:
Ephesians 5:21-25

“Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body.
As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her.”

is the following:

A wife should submit to husband as the church submits to Christ. And a husband should be there for his wife as Christ was there for the church.

The question arises, when does that mean, that the wife must jump when the husband says “Jump!”?

This can be answered by thinking about, when the church has to “jump”, when Christ says “Jump!”. One might be inclined to say “Always!”. But when does Christ actually command the church to “jump”?

When checking out what Christ’s commands are about, one sees the obvious pattern, that Christ’s commands are only about matters of spiritual importance. He does not require anything else of the church. And therefore the church has a lot of freedom regarding things with little or no spiritual importance, because Christ did not command anything regarding these. In these matters no submission is possible and submission would even be wrong if Christ would have commanded the church to do something not of spiritual importance, because then He would have burdened the church with unimportant tasks. So submission of the church is only required regarding things that lie at the core of the “aim” of their “relationship” (that “saving souls” task).

Looking at the husband/wife situation this means that the wife is not required to submit to all his commands, but only those of importance regarding their marriage. This would still leave room for lot of commands, but the difference is, that a wife is capable of judging a husbands mind and therefore can not only determine, whether some command is important regarding their marriage, but also whether the husband has given the command out of respect and in desire to protect and further the marriage. Commands ignoring this would be an abuse of his position, just as it would be abuse of Christ’s position if He had commanded “All have to cut off their left hand.”, if cutting off the left hand has no positive impact regarding once standing with God.

That means that a lot of everyday “commands” (aka polite requests) could be flatly ignored by the wife, because they are not “commands” regarding important things (though maybe she should still follow them, if he remebers to say “Please”). And a lot of commands regarding things important for marriage could also be ignored, if the husband obviously has not the good of the marriage and the familiy in mind (E.g. “Lets have sex now, i do not care whether you get pregnant and whether we can handle another child.”).
Considering it is often complex what is good for marriage and for the family, there are very few situations, where the submission is required.
In my opinion only those in which it is undeniable obvious that the husband is acting only with the good of his family in mind and in which his actions obviously are not detrimetal regarding regarding the goal of the well being of his wife and family.

This leads to the following answer:
The question arises, when does that mean, that the wife must jump when the husband says “Jump!”?

When he turns to face the murderous thugs trying to bash in the door to buy her time to bring the children to safety.

Gods will required Christ to lay down his life for the church and due to this reason she should submit to Him.
Gods will requires a husband to lay down his life for his wife and due to this reason (and only under this condition) she should submit to him.

Ask your son, why that is a gender inequality, which is unfair to women.


#7

When I think about this subject, I think about my children.

For example, I tell my children they should stay with me in the store. They are supposed to obey. But *why *am I telling them to stay with me? Because they are little children and I need to protect them. I can protect them if they are with me, but I cannot protect them if they wander away.

It would be wrong of me to use my authority over my children to get them to do all the work around the house while I eat bon-bons and watch soap operas--the position of authority I have over them is related to my job of protecting them and keeping them safe.

In the same way, I (the wife) want my husband to protect me, and I would expect my sons to protect their wives. How can my husband protect me if I do crazy things? So to some extent, my husband is *my *superior--not in the sense of being better than I am but in the sense of being above me in a hierarchy--in this way it means "boss" rather than better than.

In addition, my husband is supposed to guide us spiritually as well as within the household. My husband may decide we need ot eat dinner together as a family twice a week, for example--this is his job. I may explain that the days he has picked don't work well for one reason or another, but just as if my boss came and told me about a new project at work and I would go along with it, so I would work with my husband to get his projects accomplished.

But in the same way, the husband is not supposed to get everyone else to do stuff so that he can drink beer and watch football. He needs to be looking out for the good of the family, and this will involve sacrifice on his part. If he thinks the family needs to eat dinner together twice a week and one day has to be on Monday because of things the others in the family are committed to, he may have to give up watching football that night for the good of his family.

So, the husband's being "in charge" is not necessarily a great position for him, nor is the wife's position of not being in charge necessarily a bad position for her.


#8

Here are some quotes from ECFs about similarities in dignity between men and women long before St. Thomas Aquinas. One cannot by snipping phrases from Aquinas get the entirety of Catholic theology on men and women.


#9

[quote="St_Francis, post:7, topic:283587"]

In addition, my husband is supposed to guide us spiritually as well as within the household. My husband may decide we need ot eat dinner together as a family twice a week, for example--this is his job. I may explain that the days he has picked don't work well for one reason or another, but just as if my boss came and told me about a new project at work and I would go along with it, so I would work with my husband to get his projects accomplished.

But in the same way, the husband is not supposed to get everyone else to do stuff so that he can drink beer and watch football.

[/quote]

Do you think you should submit to your husband, if:

a) he decides something not with the well being of the family in mind, e.g. eat dinner only twice a week together, so at other days he can drink beer and watch TV?

b) he decides something, regarding which you are objectively more qualified than him, and in a way, which you consider harmful for your family, e.g. eat dinner only twice a week together when you know for certain that this will result in your children the other days heading for McD or BKing and getting fat rather quickly?

I do not think that in such circumstances such decisions would have to be submitted to.


#10

[quote="St_Francis, post:7, topic:283587"]
When I think about this subject, I think about my children.

For example, I tell my children they should stay with me in the store. They are supposed to obey. But *why *am I telling them to stay with me? Because they are little children and I need to protect them. I can protect them if they are with me, but I cannot protect them if they wander away.

It would be wrong of me to use my authority over my children to get them to do all the work around the house while I eat bon-bons and watch soap operas--the position of authority I have over them is related to my job of protecting them and keeping them safe.

In the same way, I (the wife) want my husband to protect me, and I would expect my sons to protect their wives. How can my husband protect me if I do crazy things? So to some extent, my husband is *my *superior--not in the sense of being better than I am but in the sense of being above me in a hierarchy--in this way it means "boss" rather than better than.

In addition, my husband is supposed to guide us spiritually as well as within the household. My husband may decide we need ot eat dinner together as a family twice a week, for example--this is his job. I may explain that the days he has picked don't work well for one reason or another, but just as if my boss came and told me about a new project at work and I would go along with it, so I would work with my husband to get his projects accomplished.

But in the same way, the husband is not supposed to get everyone else to do stuff so that he can drink beer and watch football. He needs to be looking out for the good of the family, and this will involve sacrifice on his part. If he thinks the family needs to eat dinner together twice a week and one day has to be on Monday because of things the others in the family are committed to, he may have to give up watching football that night for the good of his family.

So, the husband's being "in charge" is not necessarily a great position for him, nor is the wife's position of not being in charge necessarily a bad position for her.

[/quote]

So according to you women are childlike compared to men?
Or at least wives are childlike compared to husbands?


#11

[quote="carn, post:9, topic:283587"]
Do you think you should submit to your husband, if:

a) he decides something not with the well being of the family in mind, e.g. eat dinner only twice a week together, so at other days he can drink beer and watch TV?

b) he decides something, regarding which you are objectively more qualified than him, and in a way, which you consider harmful for your family, e.g. eat dinner only twice a week together when you know for certain that this will result in your children the other days heading for McD or BKing and getting fat rather quickly?

I do not think that in such circumstances such decisions would have to be submitted to.

[/quote]

Another factor to consider:
If the man is the spiritual head of the family, doesn't that mean that its his job to decide what's moral for the family (much like God in relation to the Church)?


#12

[quote="AngryAtheist8, post:11, topic:283587"]
Another factor to consider:
If the man is the spiritual head of the family, doesn't that mean that its his job to decide what's moral for the family (much like God in relation to the Church)?

[/quote]

From my blog on "Husbands and Wives":

Ephesians 5 22-24 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

This is a very unpopular verse. Mostly because it has been used in the past to make women subservient to their husband, with only he allowed to make decisions. That was not the intent of this passage at all. I will get to that later. First I want to talk bout how the husband is supposed to act.

Ephesians 25-32 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Take a moment and let that sink in. There are a few characteristics that we can look at immediately about how we are to treat our wives. Mainly, we can look at how Christ lived his life for the church. Christ came into this world with one goal, to redeem his people to God. To bring his church into himself. We are after all the body of Christ. Christ LIVED literally for the church. He gave his life, his precious blood, for us. He suffered and died, just for the church.

Well husbands, we've got some serious shoes to fill, don't we. We are to love our wife, even when she doesn't deserve it! Not just when she loves us back, but period! Christ didn't come down for the saints, he came for the sinners! The people who turned their back on him! We have to love our wives, even when we don't particularly like her! I believe every couple has that moment as well. The moment when they are definitely not happy with their spouse. Be it when someone spent a great deal of money, without even consulting the other. Or someone hid something from the other. That doesn't excuse us! We still have to love her!

So what does the first verse tell us then? The one about wives submitting to their husbands? Well it doesn't seem to make sense if you think of marriage as a union, in which you just dissolve it when you don't agree anymore. It's not! Marriage is not something that we just leave when we have a disagreement. Someone has to have the deciding vote. Many people will tell you it's just the man, but it's not. It's God! The man should be approaching God with the problem and saying Father, help me to solve this in your will! Then he should be going to his wife, and saying “You mean more than my own life, what is your opinion in this matter?” Then out of love and trust in the Lord, he should decide. Even if the two members do not agree, they should abide by that decision. Because it was approached with ultimate love for one another, and love for God.

Women love your husbands! Respect them! Help edify them, lord knows we men need our wives support. Men love your wives, more than yourself. No man who loves his wife more than his own life will hold it over her head that he is put in charge of the final vote. He would instead cast that final vote in love for her! Or even step aside and say I love you so much, that we are going to do what you want to to do, even if it's not what I want to do, as long as it's God's will.

Remember Christ came as a servant, he served the church even though he was it's King. You are to be your wives servant, even if you are the head. That's what it means to be spiritually the head, that you have went above your own wants and needs and are looking for hers. Because she is being obedient to God by submitting to you, you must be obedient to God and submit to her!

Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.


#13

[quote="bmullins, post:12, topic:283587"]
From my blog on "Husbands and Wives":

Ephesians 5 22-24 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

This is a very unpopular verse. Mostly because it has been used in the past to make women subservient to their husband, with only he allowed to make decisions. That was not the intent of this passage at all. I will get to that later. First I want to talk bout how the husband is supposed to act.

Ephesians 25-32 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Take a moment and let that sink in. There are a few characteristics that we can look at immediately about how we are to treat our wives. Mainly, we can look at how Christ lived his life for the church. Christ came into this world with one goal, to redeem his people to God. To bring his church into himself. We are after all the body of Christ. Christ LIVED literally for the church. He gave his life, his precious blood, for us. He suffered and died, just for the church.

Well husbands, we've got some serious shoes to fill, don't we. We are to love our wife, even when she doesn't deserve it! Not just when she loves us back, but period! Christ didn't come down for the saints, he came for the sinners! The people who turned their back on him! We have to love our wives, even when we don't particularly like her! I believe every couple has that moment as well. The moment when they are definitely not happy with their spouse. Be it when someone spent a great deal of money, without even consulting the other. Or someone hid something from the other. That doesn't excuse us! We still have to love her!

So what does the first verse tell us then? The one about wives submitting to their husbands? Well it doesn't seem to make sense if you think of marriage as a union, in which you just dissolve it when you don't agree anymore. It's not! Marriage is not something that we just leave when we have a disagreement. Someone has to have the deciding vote. Many people will tell you it's just the man, but it's not. It's God! The man should be approaching God with the problem and saying Father, help me to solve this in your will! Then he should be going to his wife, and saying “You mean more than my own life, what is your opinion in this matter?” Then out of love and trust in the Lord, he should decide. Even if the two members do not agree, they should abide by that decision. Because it was approached with ultimate love for one another, and love for God.

Women love your husbands! Respect them! Help edify them, lord knows we men need our wives support. Men love your wives, more than yourself. No man who loves his wife more than his own life will hold it over her head that he is put in charge of the final vote. He would instead cast that final vote in love for her! Or even step aside and say I love you so much, that we are going to do what you want to to do, even if it's not what I want to do, as long as it's God's will.

Remember Christ came as a servant, he served the church even though he was it's King. You are to be your wives servant, even if you are the head. That's what it means to be spiritually the head, that you have went above your own wants and needs and are looking for hers. Because she is being obedient to God by submitting to you, you must be obedient to God and submit to her!

Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

[/quote]

Actually you appear to think that it is the intent of the verse.
Because in the very same post you say:
Someone has to have the deciding vote. Many people will tell you it's just the man, but it's not. It's God! The man should be approaching God with the problem and saying Father, help me to solve this in your will! Then he should be going to his wife, and saying “You mean more than my own life, what is your opinion in this matter?” Then out of love and trust in the Lord, he should decide. Even if the two members do not agree, they should abide by that decision.

-Now you can say that God has the deciding vote, in practically speaking its the man's (since God seldom just comes out and says what he wants).


#14

[quote="carn, post:9, topic:283587"]
Do you think you should submit to your husband, if:

a) he decides something not with the well being of the family in mind, e.g. eat dinner only twice a week together, so at other days he can drink beer and watch TV?

b) he decides something, regarding which you are objectively more qualified than him, and in a way, which you consider harmful for your family, e.g. eat dinner only twice a week together when you know for certain that this will result in your children the other days heading for McD or BKing and getting fat rather quickly?

I do not think that in such circumstances such decisions would have to be submitted to.

[/quote]

There are times when one's husband, like one's boss, might make the wrong decision. As a wife, I am to support my husband but not be a doormat. In circumstances such as you describe, then I would discuss it with my husband, just as I would hope that he would discuss things with me, but if he were bound and determined, then I might just practice some tough love and let him deal with the consequences of his decision, just as my husband occasionally does for me.

We see the same thing happening in the business world: a boss will make a decision which the subordinate or employee sees is a bad decision. The employee may discuss it with the boss, but there's only so far that the employee can go without being fired, right?

In the business world, we see that *responsibility *is delegated--some businesses even have a sort of map showing who is responsible for what. We would have chaos if the VP in charge of sales suddenly started making decisions that belong to the VP in charge of personnel, no? Sometimes we have to let people face the consequences of their own bad decisions and learn that way if they refuse to listen to us.


#15

[quote="AngryAtheist8, post:10, topic:283587"]
So according to you women are childlike compared to men?
Or at least wives are childlike compared to husbands?

[/quote]

Do you think that a person who has a boss is childlike compared to the boss?

Consider this: a wife owns a small business. There, she is the boss--she makes the decisions, she hires and fires, etc. Her husband is an employee of a big company. He has a boss over him, he is told what to do.

And yet at home, within the family, things are different. There her husband has been put in charge *by God, *Whom it seems you do not believe in, but in Whom *we *believe. I believe that my husband is in charge. I may not be happy about some of his decisions, just as there are things I am in charge of within the family and he may not be happy with some of my decisions.

Consider what would happen within a company if everyone decided that they were in charge!


#16

You bring up a good point here, one which I neglected in my previous two answers.

The husband is subject to *God, *and God sets down the rules of morality. The husband can no more “decide what’s moral for the family” than he can say that cowardice is a virtue and courage a sin.

So, God is like the CEO, the husband is like the VP in charge of training, and the wife is like his assistant, and the children are those being trained.


#17

[quote="St_Francis, post:14, topic:283587"]
There are times when one's husband, like one's boss, might make the wrong decision. As a wife, I am to support my husband but not be a doormat. In circumstances such as you describe, then I would discuss it with my husband, just as I would hope that he would discuss things with me, but if he were bound and determined, then I might just practice some tough love and let him deal with the consequences of his decision, just as my husband occasionally does for me.

[/quote]

What negative consequences would a husband have from drinking beer and watching football?

[quote="St_Francis, post:14, topic:283587"]

We see the same thing happening in the business world: a boss will make a decision which the subordinate or employee sees is a bad decision. The employee may discuss it with the boss, but there's only so far that the employee can go without being fired, right?

[/quote]

Thats only true, if the boss is the sole owner of the buisiness. As soon as someone higher in the hierachy, the employee might try to disobey the wrong orders of his immiediate boss and hope that the on up the food chain will see the mistake as well and fire the immidieate boos.

There are even situations where an employee would be rewuired by law to ignore wrong orders by his boss. E.g. dangerous devices like nuclear power plant, water damn, chemical industry and so on is malfunctioning and boss gives stupid orders making the problem worse. If the employee knowingly followed this orders he could face prison.

And even in the military, where disobeying orders in war time was at least in former times punishable by death, drastically stupid orders might be disobeyed and if the superiors agreed enough with the assesment of the order, the decision to disobey would have been the right just as with the employee (only with more serious consquences).

So i do not know any area of human life, where obviously wrong orders have to be followed. The exception are Gods commands, which are per defintion not stupid and per defintion we would be unable to notice, if they would be stupid.
But as a women is roughly as intelligent as a man, there seems to be no reason for blind obeying.

[quote="St_Francis, post:14, topic:283587"]

In the business world, we see that *responsibility *is delegated--some businesses even have a sort of map showing who is responsible for what. We would have chaos if the VP in charge of sales suddenly started making decisions that belong to the VP in charge of personnel, no? Sometimes we have to let people face the consequences of their own bad decisions and learn that way if they refuse to listen to us.

[/quote]

But in buisiness just as in family there are often others, who must face the consequences.


#18

[quote="carn, post:17, topic:283587"]
What negative consequences would a husband have from drinking beer and watching football?

[/quote]

If there were no negative consequences, what would the problem be?

Thats only true, if the boss is the sole owner of the buisiness. As soon as someone higher in the hierachy, the employee might try to disobey the wrong orders of his immiediate boss and hope that the on up the food chain will see the mistake as well and fire the immidieate boos.

There are even situations where an employee would be rewuired by law to ignore wrong orders by his boss. E.g. dangerous devices like nuclear power plant, water damn, chemical industry and so on is malfunctioning and boss gives stupid orders making the problem worse. If the employee knowingly followed this orders he could face prison.

And even in the military, where disobeying orders in war time was at least in former times punishable by death, drastically stupid orders might be disobeyed and if the superiors agreed enough with the assesment of the order, the decision to disobey would have been the right just as with the employee (only with more serious consquences).

You are absolutely right. And if it came to a situation of immorality or disobedience to God's laws, then the wife would have a different approach.

So i do not know any area of human life, where obviously wrong orders have to be followed. The exception are Gods commands, which are per defintion not stupid and per defintion we would be unable to notice, if they would be stupid.
But as a women is roughly as intelligent as a man, there seems to be no reason for blind obeying.

I myself said nothing about blind obedience--I suggested that the wife discuss things with her husband; I equated the wife with an employee who discussed things with the boss.

But in buisiness just as in family there are often others, who must face the consequences.

All of life is like that. I was not talking about situations in which the consequences of a husband's decision would be so terrible that a wife ought to step in. I was talking about relatively normal people both of whom are Christians, since the original context was Catholic.


#19

#20

[quote="St_Francis, post:15, topic:283587"]
Do you think that a person who has a boss is childlike compared to the boss?

Consider this: a wife owns a small business. There, she is the boss--she makes the decisions, she hires and fires, etc. Her husband is an employee of a big company. He has a boss over him, he is told what to do.

And yet at home, within the family, things are different. There her husband has been put in charge by God, *Whom it seems you do not believe in, but in Whom *we *believe.* I believe that my husband is in charge.** I may not be happy about some of his decisions, just as there are things I am in charge of within the family and he may not be happy with some of my decisions.

Consider what would happen within a company if everyone decided that they were in charge!

[/quote]

What if he ordered you to do something evil or insane?
Like murdering someone or giving away everything to charity (so that there wasn't even enough left to feed the family).


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