Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Sonja Corbitt

1/28/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

What I found in the Catholic Church was the unique dignity of 'woman' for she is personified in 'The Woman', Mary, the Mother of the Lord.

When I converted - or as we are encouraged to say, came into the full communion of the Catholic Church - I was bombarded by well-meaning Protestant wives who rebuked me for stepping out from under my “husband’s authority” and following my conscience into the Catholic Church.

When I converted - or as we are encouraged to say, came into the full communion of the Catholic Church - I was bombarded by well-meaning Protestant wives who rebuked me for stepping out from under my “husband’s authority” and following my conscience into the Catholic Church.

Highlights

By Sonja Corbitt

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/28/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in Living Faith


BETHPAGE, TN (Catholic Online) - May I say that I am utterly disgusted with inane TV sitcoms that habitually present men as dazed, beer guzzling, bosom scrutinizing oafs who can hardly string two intelligent sentences together, and progressive female politicians who claim to speak and fight for me as a woman?

Granted, Ive had my feminist difficulties with religion and church, my insecurities stemming from male domination in childhood. I understand that baby boomer women have an inherent suspicion of some authority structures and the men who crafted them. I get that.

I appreciate their tirelessness in providing me with the luxury of the vote, the sight of the horizon above the glass ceiling, a job that earns my own money and an education consisting of more than the minutiae of home economics. I celebrate those accomplishments on my behalf and try not to take them for granted.

Woman Oppressed

I remember the perceived insult of what is sometimes called the Scriptural idea that woman was somehow a creative afterthought to man. The claim was that I seemed to exist to assuage his lonely fear and to merely help him while he alone has the capability and right to do all the doing that gets done.

Its proponents misquote this verse from the first book of the Bible, Then the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him (Gen. 2:18). I remember wondering why I must always be a helper rather than a doer in my own right.

Additionally, when teaching the Galatians about one of the most important events in salvation history, St. Paul called the mother of Jesus woman rather than by her name, "Mary." "When the time had fully come, God sent forth his son, born of woman" (Gal. 4:4). This once bothered me. I thought he was only following Jesus example: When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, They have no wine. And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me?" (Jn. 2:3-4). This sounded like marginalization of women to my sensitive ear.

I heard the argument that the Catholic Church oppressed women all the time. As a convert to that Catholic Church the only response I have ever been able to manage to that is simply What?! However, I knew from my own experience that there are strains of Protestantism that are simply archaic by comparison to the Church.

When I converted - or as we are encouraged to say, came into the full communion of the Catholic Church - I was bombarded by well-meaning Protestant wives who rebuked me for stepping out from under my husbands authority and following my conscience into the Catholic Church. Pauls exhortation, intended to deal with a pastoral problem in Ephesus, was misused as a weapon against me. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord (Eph. 5:22) In fact it was wielded against me like a club until I was sorely bruised.

As a Protestant teacher, I had been constantly reprimanded by curious men who found themselves in my religion classes for the very fact that I was teaching the Bible, until one precious pastor defended me. After all, some evangelical Protestants claim that women can only teach other women or children, should not voice opinions in church, and when they want to know something about God they should ask their husbands.

Woman Raised

Conversely, what I found in the Catholic Church was the unique dignity of woman, for she is personified in The Woman, Mary, the Mother of the Lord. The previous examples from St. Paul and Jesus echo Genesis 3:15 where the woman is first seen at the center of salvation: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."

The God who previously spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days has spoken to us by a Son" (Heb. 1:1-2), fulfills the prophecy and comes as a man "born of woman," a final, eternal, saving revelation. The final Word, came from a woman.

This is the eternal and definitive Covenant in Christ, in his body and blood, in his Cross and Resurrection. Precisely because this Covenant is to be fulfilled "in flesh and blood" its beginning is in the Mother (Mulieris Dignitatem, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women, John Paul II).

Rather than intending an insult, St. Paul indicated the profundity of this feminine unique mission with these words, in the fullness of time." God revealed the extraordinary dignity of "woman" and restored her to the elevated place lost through Eves sin, her wrong choice against love. By using the Genesis terminology when speaking of Marys role in the Incarnation, St. Paul hearkens back to the beginning of creation, a beginning that illustrates woman as she was first created to be, in the center of the heart and mind of God and in the communion of the Trinity, and illustrates an intentional new beginning for every woman.

Mary becomes one with God, without a sexual act, but in the deepest possible way, the way of complete self-giving. As both Virgin and Mother, this self-giving, without which one cannot fully find him- or herself - speaks to us women whether celibate religious, consecrated virgins or married, whether we give birth to physical children or spiritual ones. This is why the fathers of the Church so lovingly referred to her as the Second Eve.

This is properly called radical feminism. It gets back to the root, which is what the word radical means. This is the path to authentic power and provides the dignity all women want and some who call themselves feminists simply grasp at. Mary retains her utter uniqueness, because she alone can be one with her Son in the way of a mother and child, and a disciple. At the same time, it opens up a oneness we can all receive by entering into Marys yes as The Woman. We come into the communion of love communicated through a Man, the One who gave Himself up for her (Eph. 5:22) and for each of us, even unto death on a Cross.

I find myself increasingly moved to pity when I hear the ramblings of those of the Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and Camille Paglia ilk, especially those who are Catholic and stubbornly assert that what they call the rights of women should include such things as aborting a human person, whether through a surgical procedure or ingesting a chemical weapon.

In his prophetic letter on the Gospel of Life, the Venerable John Paul II wrote: In transforming culture so that it supports life, women occupy a place, in thought and action, which is unique and decisive. It depends on them to promote a "new feminism" which rejects the temptation of imitating models of "male domination", in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation. (The Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II, Par. 99)

To my fellow sisters joined in what is the real feminist mission, the Mission of the Redeemer of all men and women, let us get to work, the future cries out!

-----

Sonja Corbitt is a Catholic Scripture teacher, study author and speaker. She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit her at www.pursuingthesummit.com and www.pursuingthesummit.blogspot.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Living Faith

Pope says he's willing to speak to Islamic State - says nations are likewise guilty of 'terrorism' Watch

Image of After addressing the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, Pope Francis also told journalists that the threat of terrorism was not the only horror weighing on the world.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Asked about the possibilities of discussion with Islamic State, Pope Francis said, "I never count anything as lost. Never. Never close the door. It's difficult, you could say almost impossible, but the door is always open." The Pontiff went forward to say that ... continue reading


Take the Catholic Online Thanksgiving Challenge! Watch

Image of Reaching out to others is precisely the way to show that we are thankful for what we have.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a holiday filled with family and food, often spent on televised parades and football, and naps after lunch. Kids play in the yard or the streets as everybody generally has a good time. However, this is not the case for millions of ... continue reading


Unborn, terminally ill and elderly are treated as objects in Europe, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of If we uphold the dignity of the person we are acknowledging the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Despite talk of human rights, too many people are treated as objects in Europe: unborn, terminally ill, and the elderly," Pope Francis said. Speaking at the European Union Parliament in Strasbourg, the pontiff said that "We're too tempted to throwaway lives we ... continue reading


Church recognizes six new saints as Pope Francis canonizes in Sunday ceremony, speaking about how we too shall be judged Watch

Image of Indian well-wishers gather at the Vatican for the Canonization ceremony.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has canonized six new saints, two Indians and four Italians, praising their lives as "extraordinary" and reminding us all that we will be judged by how we treat others. VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis recognized six new saints on Sunday, ... continue reading


Pope says church must extend help to immigrants, 'so that all may be treated as children of God' Watch

Image of The world must now recognize the advantages of migration. Host countries get new workers to meet production needs,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking to the 300 participants in the Vatican-sponsored World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants, the Pope says that the Catholic Church "is a mother without limits and without borders." He says that the church must welcome and assist all of God's children, ... continue reading


Feast of Christ the King and Advent: What Does it Mean? Watch

Image of The Church really IS the Mystical Body of the Risen Christ. That Body is inseparably joined to the Head. Jesus Christ is alive, he has been raised, and he continues His redemptive mission now through the Church, of which we are members. As we choose to actually live our lives liturgically, not just go through the motions, we can move through life in the flow of the liturgical calendar. We can experience the deeper mystery and meaning of life, now made New in Jesus Christ, the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6,7) Jesus Christ is King! Jesus Christ is meant to become the Lord of our whole lives, and inform the very pattern of how we live them.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

On November 23rd we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Liturgical Church year offers to each of us consider the creature which is called time, receive it as a gift and begin to really live differently. Yet, for ... continue reading


Two bishops dine and dialogue with peace activists

Image of War doesn't decide who is right, just who is left.

By Tony Magliano

During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops fall assembly in Baltimore, two bishops decided to forego the military chaplains dinner sponsored by the U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains Office, and attended instead a simple supper and discussion on peacemaking. On the evening of ... continue reading


'God always forgives, but the earth does not,' Pope warns Watch

Image of The Pope urged the world's leaders to rein in their greed and help the hungry.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A doomsday scenario in which Mother Nature would exact her revenge is possible, even likely, Pope Francis warns. The pontiff was speaking out against the exploitation of natural resources for profit. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pope urged the world's ... continue reading


Pope Francis' special message: Why Poverty? 'And while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain'

Image of When we give our loaves and fishes to Christ, there is no end to the Good that can come from it.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has asked the world to do more to help those who suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Despite gains made in infrastructure and outpourings of food, too many people with plenty have done too little to help. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With ... continue reading


How do you raise a good, upstanding child? With daily prayers, weekly church attendance and the knowledge of God Watch

Image of Billy Graham, now 96, has reached out to millions with his joyous words of the truth of God and Jesus Christ.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Reverend Billy Graham, the world famous television evangelist and founder and chairman of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has said that the reason the world seems to be in such dire straits is that children are not being raised right. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 15:1-4
1 And I saw in heaven another sign, great and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 7-8, 9
1 [Psalm] Sing a new song to Yahweh, for he has ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:12-19
12 'But before all this happens, you will be seized ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 26th, 2014 Image

St. John Berchmans
November 26: Eldest son of a shoemaker, John was born at Diest, Brabant. He ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter