The SSPX’s rather odd Bp. Richard Williamsom, excommunicated in 1988 for having received episcopal consecration from the late Archbp. Lefebvre without pontifical mandate, has something to say about naming a woman as Doctor of the Church.
You might know that the Church has called three women “Doctor”. To be named a Doctor of the Church, you must be a saint and your life and writings or preaching must reflect something of the Church in her God-given teaching mandate.
Let’s read what Williamson has to say.
My **emphases **and comments.
A few days ago I met in Rome a gracious Roman lady who asked me why in
a sermon several years ago I had been opposed to the papal declaration
of St. Catherine of Sienna as a Doctor of the Church. The problem, I
replied, lies in the confusion of roles.
Recent Popes have
declared three women Saints to be Doctors of the Church: Catherine of
Sienna, Theresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux. Now no Catholic in his
right mind would call in question either the orthodoxy or the great
usefulness of each of their writings. We have only to thank God for
their inspired and intuitive wisdom. Nevertheless for the Pope to
declare them Doctors, i.e. teachers, is to encourage Catholic women to
set up in public as teachers. **St. Thomas Aquinas (IIa IIae, 177, art 2)
has three reasons against this. **[He seems to be basing his ideas on the writings of the Angelic Doctor]
Firstly he quotes St. Paul (II
Tim II, 12): “I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to use authority over
the man: but to be in silence.” St. Thomas distinguishes here public
from private teaching: in the home a mother must teach her children, in
a quasi-domestic setting a woman may well teach, especially girls and
little boys. [A pretty strong argument, since it comes from St. Paul.]
Secondly, any woman set up in public view is liable to arouse unclean desire in men. [This is not really a very strong argument.]
Thirdly, “women in general are not so perfect in wisdom as to be entrusted with public teaching.” [This also is not a very strong argument.]
is in question here is the whole design of God for man and woman as
complementary head and heart of the family. Teaching of a public kind
is a function primarily of the reason, or head, just as teaching in the
home is as much a function of the heart. [Ehem.] True, modern times are
destroying home and family, leaving woman frustrated, with little
alternative but to go out in public, where she does not belong and
where she often – bless her!—does not want to be. But by giving to
women, even Saints, the title of “Doctor”, the **modern Popes are giving
way to such modern times, instead of resisting them.
Aquinas’ three reasons may look old-fashioned, but the question is
whether our new-fashioned world can survive, with women in authority,
making themselves constantly as attractive as possible, and still,
generally, “not perfect in wisdom”. O Lord, grant us some men! Kyrie
Bishop Richard Williamson
La Reja, Argentina
Let’s see if we can have some reasoned and reasonable discussion of this.
Please avoid inflammatory comments. Don’t just vent. That contributes nothing but needless clutter.
I will delete comments that, in my opinion, lead to rabbit holes to skate too close to the edge.