Feminine genius leads to Our Lady
Editor PATRICK NOVECOSKY writes that the Catholic Church has always elevated women . . .
Despite the cries of secularists that the Catholic Church keeps women down by not ordaining them to the priesthood, the exact opposite is true. The Church has always been a champion of the “feminine genius.”
The early Church recognized the pivotal role of Our Lady in salvation history. The Third Ecumenical Council in 431 was held in a church dedicated to Our Lady. Council Fathers condemned Nestorius who questioned the title of Mary as “Mother of God.” The Church went on to hail the “first disciple” under many titles, including Queen of Heaven and Earth. As the model for all Christians, she is the one who Revelation says will crush Satan.
But what about women in our day and age? There has been no greater champion of modern women than St. John Paul the Great, who was elected after decades of modern “feminism” wreaked havoc on our culture. He responded with the “Theology of the Body,” his first major teaching given during 129 Wednesday audiences from 1979 to 1984. The Theology of the Body is a response to certain distorted ideas fundamental to the sexual revolution.
Christ “assigns the dignity of every woman as a task to every man,” John Paul said at his general audience on Nov. 24, 1982, “and simultaneously … he also assigns to every woman the dignity of every man.”
He continued in 1988 with the apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem on the dignity of women. The letter advocates the complementary roles of men and women in line with the philosophy of new feminism. He went a step further with his 1995 Letter to Women in which he appealed to all states, nations, and institutional organizations to improve conditions of work and life for women around the world.
Tom Monaghan was intent on following John Paul’s lead when, in founding Legatus in 1987, he insisted that spouses (most of them women) be granted full membership in the organization. Over the years the number of female executive members has grown rapidly. More women have taken leadership positions at the chapter level and on Legatus’ board of governors. (Click here for a related story.)
Men and women are equal in dignity and worth, the Church teaches, but they’re also different on purpose as part of God’s plan for humanity. While the world seeks to keep women enslaved with contraception, abortion and other vices, we recognize women’s irreplaceable gifts. As John Paul II wrote: “The Church sees in Mary the highest expression of the ‘feminine genius’ and she finds in her a source of constant inspiration.”
PATRICK NOVECOSKY is Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief.