I’m asking this on behalf of brethrenboy. He deserves a solid answer on this one so I decided to make a whole new thread on it.
The website here: shc.edu/theolibrary/resources/women.htm
has a bunch of quotes from early saints that seem to portray women as wicked, worthless and vile creatures.
How did the church truly feel about women in these times? Are these quotes bogus? Are they being misrepresented. I of course hope they are, yet for someone who wants to convert to catholic (bretherenboy) I think that they could sway a person in the other direction if misunderstood. Here’s a few of the quotes, and please look at the website too.
St. John Chrysostom
“The whole of her bodily beauty is nothing less than phlegm, blood, bile, rheum, and the fluid of digested food… If you consider what is stored up behind those lovely eyes, the angle of the nose, the mouth and cheeks you will agree that the well-proportioned body is merely a whitened sepulcher.”
St. John Chrysostom, On Priesthood, VI, ch. 8
“There are in the world a great many situations that weaken the conscientiousness of the soul. First and foremost of these is dealings with women. In his concern for the male sex, the superior may not forget the females, who need greater care precisely because of their ready inclination to sin. In this situation the evil enemy can find many ways to creep in secretly. For the eye of woman touches and disturbs our soul, and not only the eye of the unbridled woman, but that of the decent one as well.”
St. Jerome, Commentary on Ephesians, III ch.5
“As long as a woman is for birth and children she is different from man as body is from soul. But when she wishes to serve Christ more than the world, then she will cease to be a woman, and will be called man.”
Petrus Cantor (d. 1197)
“Consider that the most lovely woman has come into being from a foul-smelling drop of semen, then consider her midpoint, how she is a container of filth; and after that consider her end, when she will be food for worms.”
St. Albert the Great, Quaestiones super de animalibus XV q. 11
“Woman is less qualified [than man] for moral behavior. For the woman contains more liquid than the man, and it is a property of liquid to take things up easily and to hold onto them poorly. Liquids are easily moved, hence women are inconstant and curious. When a woman has relations with a man, she would like, as much as possible, to be lying with another man at the same time. Woman knows nothing of fidelity. Believe me, if you give her your trust, you will be disappointed. Trust an experienced teacher. For this reason prudent men share their plans and actions least of all with their wives. Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison with his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she herself cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one’s guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil… In evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man. Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good.”