Christ said, “Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly” (John 7:24). Political correctness can become a form of pride or hypocrisy when it is done in order to give the outward appearance of assent to a ruling political party. Our assent should always first be to God, and His law.
Christ says, “take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father” (Matthew 6:1). This should lead us to realize that we should do these things not to look good in front of other people, but we should act according to righteousness for righteousness’ sake. Our highest allegiance should go to God and His law, not to human conventions.
The moral law require us to love all people. That means, we have an obligation to do right by every single person we encounter, and to do what is good for them appropriately according to one’s relationship with that person.
But it doesn’t mean we have to like everyone and be close friends with everyone.
It is natural for people to be drawn towards others with whom they feel a close bond, and to tend away from those whom they don’t. There is no sin in this provided it does not violate the obligation that we have to love all people whom we encounter.
On the one hand, we can sin by allowing our natural tendencies to override the duty to love all peoples (for example, shunning the outsider, or favoring the popular while ignoring the unpopular, or catering to the rich while ignoring the needs of the poor). On the other hand, we can sin by hypocrisy in pretending that we have no personal likes or dislikes, and that we equally “like” all people: this is hypocrisy, a kind of “judging by appearances”, where we are instead called to “judge justly”.
The political pressure of multiculturalism can become a form of judging by appearances when it leads us to pretend that we especially like people who are significantly different from us, when in reality we have no grounds for such feelings. Political pressure can create a tendency, for example, for white people to think they should “like” black people, just because they are black. Or, to withhold legitimate criticism, or to act outside of what is appropriate according to one’s relationship with another, just because that other person is of some ethnic minority.
This is hypocrisy. It is to judge by appearances, since our stimulus to act in this way towards a person is determined by nothing more than his skin color, rather than the content of his character.
From Isaiah, we hear this description of Christ:
“Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, But he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide fairly for the land’s afflicted…” (Isaiah 11:3-4).
Following the example of Christ, we too should not judge by appearances, but we should judge justly.
Pillar of Mutual Love #4 speaks of marriage and the reciprocal principle of spousal love that is described in Scripture. Mainly, that a wife is to be subordinate to her husband, and that a husband is to love his wife.
This pattern is really quite simple, and in ordinary circumstances there is very little difficulty with it. Of course, today’s circumstances are not what we would call ordinary, but we’ll get back to that.
The idea that a husband is to love his wife is completely natural. I think it is safe to say that it is nearly a universal constant that a wife really wants her husband to love her, certainly at the beginning of their relationship. Little girls grow up dreaming of falling in love and getting married.
There is something deep about the feminine nature that has to do with being the beloved – the one who is loved beyond what is easy or routine for the lover.
And all of this is ultimately connected to motherhood: that gentle flower, the instinct to give of self for the welfare of a little one, that is so deeply ingrained in the spirits of women. The dignity of woman, her importance to human society, always must be tied back to this motherhood. Otherwise a society risks losing the enormously important contribution of motherhood, and a husband risks failing to show his wife that she is beloved.
On the other hand, the idea that a wife is to be subordinate to her husband is also completely natural. There is a connection to be made in nature between masculinity and authority: in human society, it seems, masculinity creates authority. From the deepness of his voice, and the height of his eyes, to the breadth of his stature, and the strength of his arm, a man’s physical presence speaks of kingly authority.
And this brings us to the central point of the duty of a man to love his wife. It is certainly perverse for a wife to be in authority over her husband, yet the husband’s authority is found most perfectly when he makes it subordinate to the needs of his wife. That is, a man’s headship in his home is most perfect when he uses it for the welfare of his wife.
Here is the key point. The motherly instinct in women to care for the welfare of a little one so carefully and immanently is matched by the fatherly duty of a man to use his authority first for the welfare of his wife, and then for his children.
In this way, we can say that the husband is head of the home, and the wife is its heart.
Without the Lover and the Beloved…
Unfortunately, today is not an ordinary circumstance for the family. Families today are a lot like fish trying to live in contaminated water: many do not survive, but the ones that do often develop strange tumors and other oddities due to the impurities of their environments; few are healthy.
What is most noticeable to me is how much the modern culture has adopted norms that are opposite what is natural for man and woman in marriage: we are taught not to respect our fathers, and fathers are made out to be fools not worthy of respect, anyway; we are taught not to honor the motherhood of women and to ignore their need to be loved by their husbands, and anyhow (we are taught) they don’t want these things anyway.
But surely one of the greatest assaults on the dignity of family life today is directed against women and it consists in this: we are taught that women today are now focused on career and education and other things, and so are finally becoming contributing members of society.
This is the supreme insult, the greatest injustice, against honoring the dignity of family life, but especially the dignity of women. What punishment lies in wait for us, because our culture has done this? It may be that the natural consequence of the thing itself is punishment enough: with having such a view of women, we drive them away, and once they are gone there will be no more children to carry civilization on.
Lent, a Time of Repentance
In contrast to these things, we are called back to the simple formula: husbands love your wives; wives be subordinate to your husbands.
We are entering the time of Lent, a time of penance. Perhaps a good way to start Lent would be to give up all of the barriers that get in the way of allowing us to live this simple formula in our marriages. And, in the process, maybe we can turn things around in the culture at large.
With God, all things are possible.
What are the Pillars of Mutual Love?
They are something. And that is to say they are not nothing.
There is a lot going on in the modern world. A whole lot. And there are people going in all kinds of directions. But there aren’t that many who are moving in a rational, sane direction.
And by rational, I mean moving according to a logic that ties back to the fundamental truth: that is, the world in which we live. Or, to put it better, it is a logic that ties back to the deeper truth of which all the world – in its ebbing and flowing, its mountains and valleys, its oceans and deserts, it’s raging intensity and its peaceful serenity – innately bears an imprint.
For example, I can set up shop and announce to the world that a Toe is a Doe, and a Mow is a Doe, so a Toe is a Mow. And because a Toe is a Mow, then I can take the natural product of the Mow – a Yee – and make switch it out with the natural product of the Toe – the Tee – so that all the Yees and Tees are interchangeable under the Mows and Does and Toes…And soon enough I’ve built a house of logic that appears to make sense, according to some kind of logic.
But who am I to set up shop and define these terms? Or, what truth can they ultimately bear if their source is rooted merely in my imagination?
I say that an idea can ultimately bear no truth, and no good fruit, unless it is rooted in a truth deeper than itself – a truth that existed first.
And this is why. That house of logic that I built out of the Mows and Tees and Does – where does it actually tie into reality? If it does not plug into deeper truths that existed first, then it doesn’t tie into reality. It is an illogical tangent, a figment of some restless wanderer’s imagination. It is irrational.
But there are a lot of people today living according to irrational views of the world. There is a house of logic, so much a house of cards, on every street corner, these days. And there are massive houses of logic…more like mansions of logic, or castles of logic, that dominate a huge percent of the world’s populations.
But they don’t tie into reality…because they are not based on deeper truths.
So, what are the Pillars of Mutual Love? They may not be much, but they are something. In a world where so many voices are teaching things about gender that are irrational, based on invented houses of logic, there is not much saying anything positive – life-giving, encouraging – about gender understanding. This is my attempt to call people back to the deeper truths of the world in which we live, and away from the houses of logic that mislead so many today.
What does it take to get to the moon? Well, first of all, there has to be knowledge of the right course of action. We have to know how to build a spaceship to get to the moon; we have to know how to train the engineers to build it; we have to know how to train the astronauts to fly it.
The second part is that we have to have the strength to actually do it. This might mean having the financial backing to fund it. It might mean having the will power to see it through. Whatever it is, it is the umph that gets the job done.
For young men today seeking to enter family life, it is the same situation. A man in family life is a husband and a father, and this entails a certain responsibility. There is a certain order to the home that is necessary…it is necessary because it is what enables the family environment to operate smoothly for the purposes for which it exists.
The Order of the Home
A father has a responsibility to make sure this order is in place in his home. This order includes, for example, that he be the sole provider for his family. In other words, he has to be able to provide enough income for his family so that his wife does not have to work. If this is not in place, then his wife will be put under an unnatural and unjust pressure to abandon the practice of motherhood in favor of working.
Another example of this order of the home is that the husband and father is said to be the head of it. That means that the husband and father is the one who has the highest authority on what will, or will not, be done in the family. The practical reason for this comes back to the nature of leadership as service, which above all takes responsibility. If the father is not the one who makes the final decision in the family, then he has not taken responsibility for that decision – he has not loved his wife to the fullest extent to which he is called.
A final example of this order of the home is the importance of wives remaining at home. Whether it is career work or not, when a wife is so involved with external things that she has great demands on her time, requiring her to leave the home, this acts as a barrier to the prospect of pregnancy and subsequent motherhood. In addition to this, it can in turn create a temptation to use unjust means to prevent the conception of children. It is the job of the husband, then, to make sure that his wife’s duties to things outside the home are not so extensive that this becomes a barrier to the procreative nature of family life.
There is a Problem
For young men today, however, there is a serious problem. First of all, there is a high risk that they will not have knowledge of the right course of action: they may not know that a man is to be the sole provider for the family, or they may not realize the full implications of the harm this will cause the family if the man is not able to do this. They might not know that they, as men, are to be the head of the new families which they are forming with their wives. They might not know that it is important that their wives not have too many activities that pull them away from the home.
On the other hand, a young man may have some inkling about these things, but he may lack the manly strength to be able to insist upon them in his home. This happens to men when they have not fully developed their masculine natures, or have merely gone with the flow in this regard according to today’s culture. In other words, this is what happens to men when the Principle of Patriarchy is weak.
Caught in the Wheels
There are a lot of young people today who get caught in the wheels of the massive political and ideological struggles of the day.
These are the young men who were never taught the meaning of manhood, or the right order of the home, because these items were incompatible with a certain ideological belief or worldview; they are the young men who are weak in the masculine nature because they have been taught to fear that nature, as the feminists fear it, or because they never had the masculine encouragement to develop it.
These are the young women who buy into all of the feminist propaganda that they are surrounded with, especially in Universities and in the world of career; they are the wholesome young women who were raised well, but came into unfortunate contact with ideological activists who cared more about their ideology than truth, justice, or righteousness.
So, what will it take to get to the moon? A good start is for men to know what it means to be men, and then for them to be men.
There are a lot of Olympic events to watch, and many of these draw my attention. The more directly competitive sports are enjoyable the way that a football game is enjoyable. The high-flying tricks and techniques are amazing to see. But there is one event in particular that draws my attention more: figure skating. I am thinking in particular of pairs figure skating.
I would say it is the supreme sport – the greatest Olympic achievement. I may be biased: I’m not really thinking of figure skating here as a sport, like all the rest of the Olympic events. The topic of this blog perhaps skews my judgment…I am thinking of it as something else, as an image or a symbol of something deeper to the human race.
Calling Our Attention Back to the Beginning
With figure skating, the analogies go way back…back “to the beginning”, I would say. There is something unique about watching a lone man and woman, working together, acting in unison, producing a coordinated, graceful performance that can only really be described as a work of art, a masterpiece.
In a sense, we have the origin of the human race written here, re-enacted before our very eyes with every skating pair we watch. The woman is beautiful; she is graceful; she is like a radiant diamond that the world notices with the purest kind of pleasure. The man is glorious and strong; he is a solid foundation; he guide’s his Lady with ease and care; he carries her, he holds her high so that the entire world can see her beauty.
This image is symbolic, and likewise the Principle of Patriarchy is symbolically represented here. It is found in his height, in the way she looks up to him in order to look him in the eyes; it is in the way he wraps his arms around her after the performance, and she collapses against his chest; it is found in the way he leads in the dance steps, and the way that he must be the one to step forward first in the lifts and the carries, steady so that he can lift her high. He is the sure foundation that must be present in order for her to be lifted off the ice. Above all, the spirit of patriarchy is revealed in the fact that all of this is necessary for the total performance to be successful: it is a will of guidance, of order, of first-things-first, for the greater good of them both.
Likewise, we see the feminine genius at work, in the way that she makes the lifts and carries and spins look so simple and easy: relegating a monumental skill down to the appearance of simple grace so that it is readily accessible to the hearts and dreams of the little ones, looking up at them, hoping someday that they, too, might be able to dance such a magnificent dance. The little girl, that she might someday be so beautiful; the little boy, that he might someday be so strong.
Both the solidarity (the equality) and the diversity (the inequality) of gender shines out clearly in this event through the masculinity of the man and the femininity of the woman. They are joyful; they have given all of themselves in their effort. They are joined in a partnership, a companionship, that is unique, because of what they have accomplished. In the field of the ice, there is respect, there is loyalty, there is trust.
There is indeed beauty in what can be accomplished through the gender complementarity that we were made with: this event is a symbolic representation of it.
The Greatest Creativity
You see, despite often being marred by man’s fallen nature, this pattern is a universal one. From the very beginning, man and woman have been set apart for one another, to be bonded in marriage, to perform a work together that is far greater, far more beautiful, and vastly more creative than anything else they might do apart from one another.
That work is the work of procreation: a moment comes when a husband and wife look at their precious child and fully realize they have helped God in the creation of this child. This “generation” – this generative power – is one of the greatest gifts that God has bestowed upon the created world, and it surely is the supreme creative power in that world.
A man may produce a world-renowned work of art; he may produce a symphony that will be listened to and enjoyed for all the rest of human history; he may invent something of such importance that it will be relied upon for ages and ages to come. But none of this compares to the sheer creative power and ingenuity of the creation of a new life: because creation is God’s domain; because God has ordained that we – husband and wife – will have a special place in that creation of new life; because this new child has an immortal life which will live on for all of eternity, beyond natural death.
To me, then, pairs figure skating has no comparison to skiing, speed skating, bobsledding, snowboarding, etc… These things can be performed with enormous skill and achievement, but they cannot tell the story of something so fundamental as man and woman, as God intended them to be. Yet, pairs figure skating can do this, and it is to this that my thoughts continually return.
“I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose” (1 Cor 1:10).
What I am interested in discussing in today’s post is some of the gender language of the Bible. The passage that I quoted above begins, “I urge you, brothers…”. Yet when we hear this passage read during the readings at Mass, we hear, “I urge you, brothers and sisters…”
I was unable to find anything on the US Conference of Catholic Bishops website explaining the justification for changing the words of Scripture in this way when they are read during Mass. However, my guess is that political pressure, mixed with a legitimate concern that people understand that these Scripture passages apply to all, is what led to this.
We Should Not Forget…
It certainly is the case that these things apply to all. When the First Letter to the Corinthians says, “I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say…”, this of course does not mean that this section applies to the men of the community alone. Likewise, when Christ spoke about the adulterous nature of a man looking with lust at a woman, he was not implying that only men are capable of looking with lust, or that only men will be held accountable for it. As a final example, the Ninth Commandment says, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife”: this does not then mean that the Commandment only pertains to men and a woman is free to covet her neighbor’s husband. It is important for us to have these contexts which explain that men and women are both held to the same moral law.
But we should not forget that the actual formulation of these things is also important. In fact, because it is the way in which the text actually reads, I would say that it is more important. Not more important in the sense that it is better to have these gender-specific formulations than it is for people to live the virtue of chastity…but more important in the sense that people can be best motivated to live the virtue of chastity when it is ordered through this particular formulation of the teaching.
We never hear about the importance of the fact that the text actually says, “I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”, and says, “everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
The importance of this formulation is that it leads us towards the natural order of patriarchy: this patriarchy is natural because it is the primary contribution of human masculinity…it is what men naturally bring to human society when they are fully developed in their masculine natures.
In particular, this formulation of Scripture reminds us that it is men who must be the spiritual teachers. It must be fathers in the home, it must be priests and bishops in the wider community.
When Christ said, “everyone who looks at a woman with lust…”, the fact that he refers to a man looking at a woman should be a reminder to us that men must interiorize the virtues of chastity and purity, living them out themselves. In this way they can effectively transmit these virtues to their families so that their wives and their children can come to the fullest understanding of them. Do Christ’s words still apply to women? Of course. But we are speaking of a certain order for how this teaching is best promulgated in human society.
The Ninth and Tenth Commandments
The Ninth Commandment says, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.” Is it true that a woman must not covet her neighbor’s husband? Yes. But there is something, still, in the way the text is formulated, that we must not forget.
Related to this is an important subtopic. It is true that oftentimes in the ancient world women were treated as the property of their husbands, which Scriptural formulations such as this may indicate:
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house;
you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife,
or his manservant, or his maidservant,
or his ox, or his ass,
or anything that is your neighbor’s.
But notice that, in the actual Commandments as they have been adopted by the Church, there is a separation between coveting a neighbor’s wife, and coveting his property (these are the Ninth and Tenth Commandments). This is an indication of the movement of the Holy Spirit among the Church, guiding her to clarify that the ancient formulations must not lead us to conclude that women are the property of their husbands.
Moreover, there is still a paradigm of order here, in the actual formulation of the Commandments. Domination of women, treating women as property, making women second class citizens – these things are evils, results of man’s fallen nature. But is the temptation of a man to covet his neighbor’s wife the result of a view of women as property? Of course not: this is due to something else.
By the same token, it seems to me that the formulation which is directed primarily towards men does not itself imply the evil of male domination of women. In other words, this Commandment may be just as accurate, each and every word of it, among a civilization in which women are fully honored, in all their human dignity, equal to the dignity of men. That is, if we understand gender properly.
We’ve Sold Ourselves Out of Something Far More Beautiful
The difficulty we have today with having a reading at Mass which begins, “I urge you, brothers…”, is instead our confusion about the meaning of gender. We have thought too little about it; we have been too quick to sell ourselves out of the truth.
What is needed now is remediation on gender understanding. We need to recall the meaning of manhood and the meaning of womanhood, and shake off the wearying protocols of modern forces of political correctness and secular liberalism.
The truth about gender is far too beautiful to waste a moment more living without it!
How can we describe the understanding of one who sees reality for what it is, as compared to those who only see it partially due to obstructions or blindness, usually due to their own internal condition? In other words, what do we think God’s view of his creation is, compared to ours?
Part of what obstructs our view of reality oftentimes is disordered human culture. People are raised in a social culture, and because of this they often grow up thinking their culture is the reality of the world. A certain level of maturity or experience must be reached before one can gain the ability to question one’s own culture.
In the case of modern United States, and Western civilization in general, we have some ideas about gender. We think that these ideas about gender are all based on justice, but in reality a lot of them are based much more on mere culture.
For example, in my last post, I brought up the calls in recent times of the Popes for the presence of women to be increased in areas of public life so that the feminine genius can be manifested in those areas. Governance is one such area. In order to answer this call rightly, we have to abide by the nature of things, which is why I offered this pattern of the king-queen model of social governance: not that we will have a monarchy, but that the men who are in authority should have their families tightly enough involved in that office that their wives, by their mere presence, can have an influence on it.
In some subsequent discussions, it was brought out that during the presidency of Bill Clinton, the idea was proposed that his wife, Hillary, should be “co-president”. This idea was met with much derision: and it should be, because such a thing would be quite unnatural. Nowhere in nature do we find dual-headship.
But this is an example of how our modern cultural understanding of gender is interfering with our ability to recognize the truth: our culture holds to certain patterns that are connected more to culture than to objective justice.
The king-queen model that I described does not mean that a man’s wife becomes an equal officer-holder as her husband. His wife does not become “co-president”. To do this would be to defeat the purpose of the king-queen model since this model exists in order for women to have some bearing on the decision-making processes of a community. But this will only work if such women bring authentic feminine contributions to those processes: a woman who wants to be the president herself is not going to bring the kind of authentically feminine contribution that is so badly needed. No, we need the woman who wants to be a mother, and who is alive in the homemaking spirit, to be present to her husband so that his decisions in matters of governance will honor her and her efforts.
But we have this blindness about us, today. We can’t see how the dignity of women is honored by not making them presidents themselves, creating this “co-president” idea. We are stuck on an unjust element of our culture which says that masculine things are better or more important than feminine things. We are stuck on this snag which, elsewhere in the world, causes baby girls to be routinely aborted or left to die because a male child was preferred.
A whole cohort of unnatural ideas has been promulgated as a result of these things. Everything from the feminist movement’s attempt to make men and women equally present in the workforce, military, and government, all the way to the proposals of those who wish to help the poverty of third-world countries by taking the women from those countries and training them to work like men, to give them ownership of land or other means of production so as to “prove” to the men of the village that they are worthy of respect.
Why can we not understand that the things of women are just as important as the things of men? Is it so hard to conceptually understand that a woman engaging in the spirit of motherhood to the fullest extent – remaining at home with her child, taking care of the home in which her family lives, teaching her children about religion and the world around them, assisting other women in these same tasks – is doing a vitally important work, without which the family unit, and society as a whole, will crumble?
It is cultural ignorance that causes these things to not be recognized, that causes the idea of the “co-president” to be formulated, that causes this preference for masculinity to the rule in modern society.
In my last few posts, I have been addressing the call of the popes in recent times to increase the presence of women in public life, so that the feminine genius can be more greatly manifested in those areas. Two of the prime areas that are cited are the workplace – the subject of my last post – and in the decision making processes which direct communities and nations. This latter area is what I am writing about today: how to increase the presence of women in matters of governance so as to allow the feminine genius to be manifested in that governance.
As we begin this discussion, it is important to express again that the subject of this post is not an affirmation of the political feminist, who wishes for women to make up equal parts of government, and governing bodies, as men.
There are a couple of reasons why our approach to increasing the presence of women in governing matters cannot follow the same path as the political feminist. The first reason is that the path of the political feminist is one that is committed to denying the reality of the feminine contribution to human society. Those who hold to this view, whether they realize it or not, are supporting a worldview which regards masculinity as better or more important than femininity, and seeks to make women more like men. On the contrary, what is needed is for women to become more like women: in doing so they will make the greater feminine contribution.
The second reason why the path of the political feminist cannot be our path is that it violates the Principle of Patriarchy. Pillar of Mutual Love #7 tells us that authentic masculinity produces patriarchy in human society. Patriarchy, purified of the way it has been abused in world history, simply asserts that it is masculinity which primarily brings headship and authority to human society, and consequently it should primarily be men who represent headship and authority. It is quite contrary to this to be in favor of a movement which would put men and women equally in positions of social governance. Moreover, those who reject on principle this concept of patriarchy are actually rejecting the masculine nature itself. This is, we duly note, an unhealthy and unnatural condition. No, we need men to be strong in their masculine natures, and this means we need men to be in positions of authority and social governance, not women, unless circumstances prove it necessary.
We Look to Our Mother
We look, then, beyond the horizons of politically correct, modern liberal thought, to a more complete answer. We look for an answer that fully incorporates both men and women, in all their masculinity and their femininity, in a unitive model that will give the greatest breadth and the greatest balance to human civilization.
In fact, for this particular question of how to increase the feminine genius in matters of governance in human society, we look to Our Mother, the Virgin Mary, whom we call both Mother of God and Queen of heaven.
When we petition God in prayer, we are coming before the divine Authority, asking that He grant us a request. In doing this, we often also pray to Mary, that she will intercede for us. When we ask Mary to intercede for us, we are asking her to bring our petition to God directly, herself: in a sense, we are rallying all of the support we can get in coming before the Authority with our petition.
Mary is not the Authority to give us the judgment we seek herself, but she is the closest one to that Authority, since she is Mother of God and Queen of heaven: if anyone can sway His judgment, it will be her. Because Mary is a woman and, in particular, our mother, she bears this feminine genius which offers a unique ability to hear and have a heart for us, her children. She listens to us, recognizing our honest, troubled circumstance, and then brings our petition to God directly, for us. If the King Himself is not inclined to give us the judgment we seek, we have a better chance of receiving that judgment if the Queen is on our side: if Mary asks it of Him, He will be much more inclined to grant us our prayer, simply because it is she, with whom He has such a close bond, who is asking it of Him.
This pattern is our guide in understanding how to increase the presence of women in the decision making processes of public life. It is indeed a necessary thing, because, as we have heard, it is necessary for the feminine genius to be manifested in all areas of public life, in order for human society to be balanced properly in its direction. But it must be done in a manner that honors the nature of things, especially the nature of gender, which God has established in us.
Marriage, Family, and Social Governance
The most effective way that we can accomplish this is, again, by making the family more directly involved. Before the modern era, governance of a nation was accomplished by a ruling family: mainly this was a king, and usually there was a queen as well. Obviously, this is not how things generally work now.
Yet, restoring monarchy is not the necessary conclusion from this. Rather, the necessary conclusion is that our ruling mechanisms must be transformed away from being accomplished by individualist cells and towards family bodies. For example, we have a President: when he sits on the seat of judgment, his wife should be next to him, and their children present also. This is not to say that the wife is “President” also, but it is so that she is involved in the matters of judgment, and able to add a word to her husband, and to the court, if she sees fit. It is the king-queen model, which brings us this benefit of making the ruling body one in which both masculine and feminine contributions are readily heard.
It is also important to note that this carries with it the nature of the Principle of Patriarchy: just as Scripture tells us that “the husband is head of his wife”, and just as the king-queen model implies, the husband must be the ultimate Authority. There cannot be a married woman as president, her sitting in the king position, with her husband sitting next to her in the queen position. This would be quite contrary to the nature of things.
This same model should exist for any governing body that governs an entire cross-section of a community. The President of the United States is such an example. Another example would be governors of states; another example, mayors of cities. The same would apply for the head family of a social group of families gathered for some purpose, and maybe, in some circumstances, even for a CEO of a large corporation.
The point is that authority structures should exist at all levels of a society, and each of these authority structures should be in the form of the king-queen model, accomplished through marriage, and incorporated into family life. This will have the benefit of allowing the feminine genius of women to be manifested in all areas of social governance, while still honoring the nature of things, especially the nature of gender.
When the popes have spoken about the need for women to be present in public areas social life, in order for the feminine genius to be manifested in those areas, one of the primary places they have cited is in the workplace. From them we have seen repeated calls to ensure the presence of women in the workplace.
Significantly, we should note that this guarantee of the presence of women in the workplace is not primarily about the particular scenario – quite real in many circumstances – where a woman must be able to get a job to provide for herself and her family. Single mother homes, and other circumstances, usually of poverty, are examples of this. Though this particular scenario is important, it is not the primary reason we need the guarantee the presence of women in the workplace. There is another reason that is more central, and that is so that the feminine genius can be manifested in the workplace.
As we have seen, Pillar of Mutual Love #5 calls for a culture in which wives remain in the home. What we will be exploring here is how this pillar also satisfies the need for women to have a presence in the workplace, so that the feminine genius can be manifested there.
The Nature of the Call
It is important to realize exactly what this call for the feminine genius to be manifested is about. In the first place, it should be clear that the kind of good order which we are seeking is only possible in the pursuit of all virtue and justice, and the grace to able to pursue, and even practice, all virtue and justice comes from Christ. Consequently, though we talk about moral issues, and how to address them, it should be clear that the only way to properly address any moral issue is through the advance of virtue, which is only possible in the fullest extent through Christ and his Church on earth. We need the grace of Christ to be able to do it to the most effective degree. This does not mean that all must be Catholic, but it does mean that a truly Catholic culture has to be a central element to the community.
In the second place, we need to recognize that this pursuit is not an affirmation of feminist political agendas which seek to make women more like men. Notice that the reason we need the presence of women in the workplace, and in other areas of social life, is so that the feminine genius can be manifested in those areas of social life: not because of the political feminist idea that women should be in career the same as men; not because of the political feminist idea that women should be in public office the same as men. To put it another way, the presence of women in these places is not so that we can outfit them like men, but instead it is so that they can simply be women, and be women above all in these places: we need the authentically feminine contribution in these places. Not the pseudo-feminine-masculine contribution of the woman consumed by political feminism, but the authentic feminine contribution that only an ordinary, feminine woman can contribute.
So, where do we best find the ordinary, feminine woman?
The need for the presence of women in the workplace can be understood partly by a comparison of the nature of family life, and how it has changed in the past hundred years. For a significant part of human history, the work of the family that a man engaged in was done, more or less, on his own property. He was not with his wife – that is, standing next to her – all day long, but neither was he a significant distance away for long periods of time, making him inaccessible to the family while he worked. Today, that has all changed.
In some ways, we can trace the degradation of the modern family back to the point at which men started leaving the home to do their work. It should not be hard to realize, then, that the objective for us now is to integrate a man and his work back into family life. In the modern context, the only way this can reasonably be done is for the family to be integrated into the workplace.
In doing this we accomplish two purposes: first, we integrate the masculine, fatherly presence back into ordinary family life, while still preserving the function of fatherhood, and this will have enormous benefits for the health of the family; secondly, we allow for the feminine, motherly presence to be integrated back into the workplace environment, and this corresponds to the need for the feminine genius to be manifested in that workplace environment.
This does not mean that both husband and wife will be working as employees of the job: no, the importance of wives having their priorities ordered towards the home, as described by POML #5, is paramount. Instead, we need to see how women can have these influences on an environment merely with their presence, and their natural contributions resulting from that presence.
The Necessary Direction
In general, what is needed is for a re-integration of family in public life. Part of what will combat the individualist tendencies of our culture is for children to see how the daily work of their parents is incorporated into the family context.
Some types of work, especially in the information technology industry, allow for work formats where employees can work from home. In one sense, this kind of thing is going in a positive direction, because it allows for a man to be present to his family all day. He will be apart from them while he is working, but not so far away that he is inaccessible should some important event occur where his presence in the family is needed.
At the same time, however, this is not enough to satisfy the other requirement: the manifestation of the feminine genius in the workplace environment. In order to satisfy this requirement, we need the wife and mother to be able to have some influence in the workplace of her husband, so that her feminine contribution can have some effect on that workplace.
Working out how this will be possible in practice, given the state of affairs today and how things are presently arranged, is something that will have to be developed. It seems, however, that one of the central elements required for it to be possible is for family life to be integrated into work life, in some way. Another required element is that there has to remain a distinction between husband and wife, such that the wife is still devoted to the homemaker’s priorities, and the husband is still devoted to the priorities of work, even though they are both present to the family and to the workplace. Furthermore, all of this has to be done in a way such that the family is not constantly changing home locations: the home is in a way part of the family, and needs to remain fairly consistent, especially so that the homemaking function is not lost.
As a general rule, we can say that, in these times more than ever, the family has to remain together: the workplace has to become, in part, a family-place.
In recent times, we have heard a continuing call from the Popes for an increase of the presence of women in public life so that the feminine genius can find expression in all areas of public life. It is important for us to be able to understand this call rightly.
We have discussed elsewhere that gender gives us a framework for a direction of human civilization. If a society is not constructed from the rightly ordered masculine and feminine contributions of its people, then it will quickly become out of balance, making moral atrocities ripe for occurring. Whether it be the imperialistic, warmongering nation, a society in which infanticide, abortion, and contraceptives are regularly employed, or a society for which unjust inequalities or slave trades are defining characteristics, these are the kinds of evils that can become central to a civilization if it is out of balance in its purpose.
We know from the Principle of Patriarchy that men naturally bring governance and authority structures to human society. They do this naturally, and they do it well. But we also need the feminine contribution in these things so that direction in a civilization is the product of a truly gender-complimentary approach. This guards against the imbalances produced by a civilization lacking this complementarity of gender. This is being voiced in the modern call for the feminine genius to be made manifest in all areas of public life.
Homemaking and the Feminine Genius
Pillar of Mutual Love #5 asserts the importance of a culture in which wives generally remain in the home. How can this fit with this call for women to be present to a wider degree in public life, so that the feminine genius can be manifested in all areas of public life?
The key to understanding this is to recall that the purpose of the homemaking culture among wives is not to restrict wives to a specific space (such as the home) but it refers to their priorities. In particular, it refers to the need for the feminine contribution in the home.
If the Principle of Patriarchy is the consequence of authentic masculinity in a human community, then the feminine genius is the consequence of authentic femininity in that community. For the wife and mother, expression of this feminine genius is found most logically in the work of homemaking.
Nonetheless, as I have described before, what is needed is an understanding of this homemaking that has interactions with the world through the home: interactions that are based upon the heart of a mother, that carry with them the spirit of the homemaker, and that are not based upon the masculine functions of men. So, we can say that the life of the homemaker should include certain interactions with, and presence in, the workplace, and in other areas of public life. We might say that for the homemaking woman, the wider community is her extended “home”, within the jurisdiction of her homemaking efforts.
Obviously, there still must be a general lifestyle in which wives are in the home, otherwise we lose the soul of what homemaking is. But a society in which the home permeates more and more of the daily functioning of that society, rather than being buried off in secluded suburbs, is one that will allow a steady interchange and flow of men and women, without causing their respective purposes and natural functions to be lost.