Women uniquely understand 'truth of man,' philosopher says
by Elise Harris
Rocco Buttiglione speaks with CNA on Oct. 30 2013 Credit: Andreas Dueren/CNA
Rocco Buttiglione speaks with CNA on Oct. 30 2013 Credit: Andreas Dueren/CNA

.- In light of Pope Francis’ call for a deeper theology of women, a leading Italian philosopher spoke of the importance of Edith Stein’s writings on gender, saying that she extracts the essence of human sexuality.

“For women it is easier because they are taught through this experience of pregnancy something about man, about the truth of man that is more difficult for us males to understand and to enter,” Rocco Buttiglione told CNA during an Oct. 31 interview.

Buttiglione, who is currently a professor of political science at St. Pius V University in Rome and who has spent the majority of his career teaching various topics of philosophy, has recently returned from the Franciscan University of Stuebenville, Ohio, where he delivered the Philosophy Department’s annual “Edith Stein Lecture.”

Upon returning from his Oct. 23 talk, entitled “Beyond Descartes: Intersubjectivity as Ground of Knowledge of the Self,” the philosopher spoke with CNA, stressing that Stein’s writings are pertinent to the ongoing dialogue surrounding women in the Church.

Edith Stein – also known as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross – “has already had a part in the inspiration of the documents of John Paul II ‘Mulieris Dignitatem’ and ‘Familiaris Consortio,’” he noted, adding that the saint gives us “very important” insights about women, specifically in the context of pregnancy, which can aid in the development of a deeper theology of women.

“What is the difference between men and women: women can become pregnant, men cannot, and pregnancy is the experience of carrying another person bodily, physically in yourself.”

However, Buttiglione highlighted how “there is an archetypical experience for what it means to be a person,” stressing that “a person is a being who can carry in himself, in his heart another human being in order to help him to reach the fullness of life, in order him to be born in eternal life.”

An important concept of Stein’s which we are able to continue learning from today, specifically in regard to gender, Buttiglione reflected, is that of the essence and true being of man.

“A large part of the discussion in the last centuries in the Church has been the Church and modernity,” he noted, stating that “classical philosophy begins with being,” while “modern philosophy begins with the subject, the ego, man.”

“Now Edith Stein teaches us to begin with man, but not with the abstract subject of a large part of modern philosophy, but with the real existing man,” he stressed.

“The abstract subject is a man who has no sex. While the real human being is either male or female.”

“The transcendental ego,” Buttiglione emphasized, has no connections, while “the real human being has parents, has children. Since the beginning, he is himself, is free, I am myself, I am free, but I am also bound, bound to others, bound to my parents, bound to my wife, bound to my children.

“The richness, the real richness of the life of human being is exactly the fact that he is member of communities, that he united himself, communities, that he is a creator of communities.”

“Edith Stein,” stressed Buttiglione, “gives us a pillar for this new vision of a Christianity in the modern age that tells also modernity not to lose her values, because modernity seems to be going to die.”

Noting how many believe “that the modern age is exhausted,” the philosopher states that “now we can revive the values of modernity…if we accept to ground them on the really existing human being, that man who is the glory of God, the image of God on earth.”

Rocco Buttiglione is also a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies as well as the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, and was a close friend of Bl. John Paul II.

Having originally met John Paul II when he was still a cardinal after publishing a book on the pontiff’s personal philosophy, Buttliglione reflected that the late Holy Father “was really a friend of everybody,” and that those who were close to him “all felt deeply united.”

When asked how it feels to have a friend who will be canonized, Buttiglione jested that “I hope that when the time comes he will say a good word on my behalf.”

Tags: Gender, Philosophy, Edith Stein

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 20, 2014


All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:13-35


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Second Reading:: Col 3:1-4
Gospel:: Jn 20:1-9

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:13-35


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: