Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Sonja Corbitt

1/28/2010 (5 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 (5 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 January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Living Faith

The forgotten plight of Native Americans

Image of

By Tony Magliano

When it comes to the harsh difficulties many Native Americans face every day, the saying "out of sight, out mind" hits home. Many people have only a vague sense of the serious past and present injustices suffered by Native Americans.From the very beginning, starting ... continue reading


Andrew M. Greenwell: St. Bonaventure and the Fear of the Lord Watch

Image of You want God's mercy?  Here is St. Bonaventure's advice: avoid sin and develop a healthy fear of the Lord.- Andrew Greenwell

By Andrew M. Greenwell

The Church teaches that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given us as part of sanctifying or habitual grace.  If we are in a state of grace, these gifts are present.  The gifts of the Holy Spirit are similar to supernaturally-infused virtues in that they ... continue reading


Mustard Seed Faith and Living as a Christian in the Real World Watch

Image of The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches. The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened. (Matt. 13: 31 - 33)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

All the images Jesus uses in these parables concern the spreading of the kingdom or reign of God. They are meant to bring home the new reality that comes when we choose to live our call to discipleship and truly begin to cooperate with grace in our daily lives. ... continue reading


VATICAN HELPS THE HOMELESS, plans to provide free showers, haircuts and shaves near St. Peter's Square Watch

Image of Rome's homeless can receive free haircuts, shaves and showers beginning February 16.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican will begin providing homeless people in Rome a place to not only shower, but to also receive haircuts and shaves starting next month, according to Pope Francis' charity office. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - St Peter's Square will open with the ... continue reading


Play with your children, Pope Francis commands fathers Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While some of his comments have provoked controversy, Pope Francis in a private audience this week said something that very few people would argue with. The Pope commanded that all fathers take time to play with their children - and not be so absorbed with work ... continue reading


Archbishop reprimands Catholic lawmaker, says no true Catholic can dissent from church teaching on abortion Watch

Image of Archbishop Cordileone said in a written statement, that

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in a press conference on January 22 at the Capitol, was asked twice whether an unborn child 20 weeks into pregnancy is a human being. Pelosi finally replied that a woman has "the right" to abort her child. Archbishop ... continue reading


Religious persecution uniting Christians worldwide in 'Ecumenism of blood,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"In this moment of prayer for unity, I would also like to remember our martyrs, the martyrs of today," Pope Francis said as he was speaking to members of a number of Christian Churches. Gathered in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls this past weekend, ... continue reading


Andrew M. Greenwell: Jesus is the Heart and the Marvel of the Gospel Watch

Image of Since the incarnation of the Word, the

By Andrew M. Greenwell

If pursued, and pursued rightly (that is, without moral or intellectual prejudice), metaphysics leads us to a threshold, a threshold we might call the limina fidei, the threshold of faith.  Reason takes us to a place where we know God--that He is.  But ... continue reading


Who Are My Mother and Brothers? We are the Family of Jesus Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Through our Baptism, we are invited into the very family of God. When we choose to respond to grace and live in obedience to the will and the Word of God; we enter into an eternal relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We actually become a part of ... continue reading


St Francis DeSales Challenges Us to Live a Life of True Devotion Watch

Image of Today in our Liturgical calendar in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we remember St Francis DeSales (1567-1610). The Saints are all given as examples to emulate. They are our companions on the journey, men and women like us who responded to God's invitation to become like Jesus. They pray for us because we are joined with them in the eternal communion of love. They also put legs on the Gospel, showing us what holiness looks like.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I say that devotion must be practiced in different ways by the nobleman and by the working man, by the servant and by the prince, by the widow, by the unmarried girl and by the married woman. But even this distinction is not sufficient; for the practice of ... 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, Hebrews 10:32-39
32 Remember the great challenge of the sufferings ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 37:3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40
3 Put your trust in Yahweh and do right, make your ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:26-34
26 He also said, 'This is what the kingdom of God is ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 30th, 2015 Image

St. Aldegunais
January 30: Virgin and abess, also known as Adelgundis, Aldegonde, or ... 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