Dr. Alice von Hildebrand The discrimination complex

That the "weak sex" has been discriminated against has been the key theme of feminists. They claim that from the very beginning, women have been looked down upon as less intelligent and less talented, (no female Dante, no female Shakespeare, no female Bach, Mozart or Beethoven). History is the history of the great deeds of the male sex. Females are a sort of appendix, to satisfy men's needs, serve them and produce children. There are a few exceptions but the exception confirms the rule.

I have often addressed this topic and challenged some of its outrageous claims, but in all fairness, it is now tempting to look at another side of the picture, and examine whether the “strong sex”  has legitimate reasons for adding its name to the long list of metaphysical plaintiffs.

In other words, haven't they too have been the innocent victims of “discrimination?”    

Let us begin with Genesis. This sacred book tells us explicitly that Adam’s body was made from the slime of the earth: (II. 7), then God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. To have one’s body made of dust does not denote a very aristocratic origin. Then God said: “It is not good for man to be alone,” and He decided to give him a companion worthy of him.  Any close bond between animals and Adam would have been a metaphysical mesalliance - None of them were made to God’s image and likeness.

In contrast to Adam, the woman's body was taken from the body of a human person and made to God’s image and likeness.

Eve is therefore created “knighted.” Why is this never mentioned by the feminists? 
Simone de Beauvoir, the Queen of French feminists, tells us that the woman was only a “second thought,” condemned to be number two from the very beginning. She is there to satisfy the needs of the human male who needed a companion. She is denied whatever is great and noble - namely to put her hand “at the wheel of human progress.” Instead, she “only” produces children, something that a fertile hen does faster and better.
Be it remarked in passing that to be created last can just as well be interpreted as a sign of superiority. The rough draft comes before the final copy.  But let us proceed with biblical teaching.
When Adam, woke up from his sleep and saw Eve, his response was enchantment: “bone of my bone; flesh of my flesh.” He truly saw her as a worthy companion, endowed with equal dignity and nobility. Moses does not tell us what Eve said when she first faced Adam. Being a woman, I know that she too gave a response of joy for his “maleness.” She immediately intuited that he was meant to be her protector; she admired his nobility, his strength,  his chivalrous character. She knew that they were complementary and made for each another. Metaphysically, they are equal.

Complementariness does not mean inequality, as some feminists might interpret it.    
Then Adam honors Eve with a glorious title. He declares her to be “The Mother of the Living.” Can one imagine a more beautiful and more noble title, hinting at a bond between God and the woman, for God is Life.

When Eve gave birth to Cain she exclaimed: “I have gotten a man with the help of God.” What is striking is that Adam is not even mentioned. After all, he was the father of this male child. But Eve gives all the credit to God. This should give us food for thought. The father’s role is crucial, but cannot be compared in importance with the mother’s.

This has been strikingly formulated by Chesterton. He writes: “Nothing can ever overcome that one enormous sex superiority, that even the male child is born closer to his mother than to his father. No one staring at that frightful female privilege can quite believe in the equality of the sexes.” (“What is Wrong with the World,” Sheed and Ward, p. 198).

Why does Eve not mention Adam? A possible explanation is that, unbeknown to herself, she was born a budding theologian and is mysteriously alluding to the theological truth unveiled in the New Testament, that God, and God alone creates the soul of the child, and that it is in Eve’s body that this “fecundation” - the crucial  one, takes place and  produces a human person made to God’s image and likeness.

Let us repeat: Adam is very much in the background.

Are human males not entitled to screaming that they are “discriminated” against, and this in the Bible accused of favoring men from the beginning. Is it not high time for men to raise their voice in protest?

That the evil one addresses himself to Eve and not to her husband has a deep meaning. For once, I dare challenge the views of my revered St. Augustine who wrote that the serpent addressed himself to Eve because she was the weaker one, and therefore easier to defeat. This is bad psychology. Being very astute, the devil knew that Eve had an enormous influence over her husband, and that the “strong sex” would follow suit in whatever decision she made. This is exactly what happened. He offers no objection; he does not remind her of God’s prohibition. He ate the fruit that she was giving him.
Nietzsche made the deep remark that since the French revolution, women have more power and less influence. The latter is more important than the former. Through power, one can “force” people to act in a certain way, influence is much more subtle and deeper: it affects not only a person’s actions but the person himself. The apostolate of “being” (as coined by Dietrich von Hildebrand) is the best way of drawing sinners into God’s holy net. One cannot “force” others to accept truth, but one can irradiate peace and joy and thereby “tempt“ our neighbors to marvel about “our secret.”

In contemporary life (now that some women do make the lime light), they have much  less influence on husband, children and society at large than before. This is one of the very grave problems we are facing. Following in the footsteps of Esau, feminists have sold their birth right for a mess of pottage. Many female Esaus, who today play a key role in politics, neglect husband and children, and contribute to the breakdown of the family - the very heart of any healthy society. Before the feminist poison had spread like wildfire, Dickens sketched a perfect caricature of a grotesque female, Mrs. Jellyby, who neglected husband and children being totally absorbed by her mission to improve the conditions of an unknown African tribe. (Bleak House).
Simone de Beauvoir is right in stating that men have been the great creators in philosophy, science, technology, fine arts. But she wisely conceals her scholarly dishonesty by refraining from mentioning the second Epistle of St. Peter in which the Prince of the Apostles states explicitly that the world will be destroyed by fire.

No human creation will survive this universal disaster. The invention of “the bomb” makes this prediction terribly real. A powerful atomic bomb can, within seconds, reduce the world to ashes. Apparently cockroaches alone would survive.

What should be mentioned is that every single child to whom a woman has given life, having an immortal soul, will escape this universal cataclysm. A bomb can destroy matter, not the soul. Are not males once again, being discriminated again? Their accomplishments are essentially time bound. All their “works” will perish. There will then be a new heaven and new earth, and a much better one.

It is typical of prejudice on principle (as exemplified in Simone de Beauvoir) that she is an expert at finding biblical quotations that are very critical of women. Let me mention  only two: “I would rather dwell with a lion and a dragon than dwell with an evil wife” (Sirach,  25-26) and further: “from a woman sin has its beginning and because of her we all die” (ibid 24.)  But why omit the very beautiful quotations found in the Holy Book: “Do not deprive yourself of a good and wise wife for her charm is more than gold.” (vii, l9). They are many more. Selective scholarship is a subtle form of intellectual dishonesty.    

More in Dr. Alice von Hildebrand

Men who have caught the “discrimination complex” have more reasons for grievances. Being the “strong sex,” why is it that the great duel is between Eve and the serpent: “… I will put enmity between you and the woman ...”(Gen III, l5). The same theme is echoed in the Apocalypse when the dragon and the woman are confronting each other. The male sex is supposed to be the strong sex, “the fighting sex;” yet in the drama of redemption, the “weak” sex is in the foreground. That Satan’s head will be crushed and that the woman crowned with 12 stars will play a crucial role in this final victory, once again, the woman is assigned a key role. How are we to explain why they do not object to the fact that they are clearly denied the key role?
All these “grievances” dwarf when it comes to the New Testament. St. Luke tells us that an Angel of the Lord appeared to a young virgin, whose name was Mary, and in God’s name, offers her to become the mother of the Savior, the God-man. She questions him “how can this be? I know not man.” Gabriel assures her that in the human male will lay no role whatever in the miracle which will take place in her as soon as she gives her consent. The Liturgy is explicit: “Templum Dei factus est uterus nesciens virum" (vir in Latin refers exclusively to the male sex). The male sex is excluded. The Liturgy is explicit: “becoming Man without man’s (male) aid.” (Gueranger, p. 376; “Antiphon of the Circumcision”). Once again, the primary role assigned to the woman is strikingly formulated by the Liturgy; “O God who placed salvation in the hands of a Woman.”

Where is the human male in this supreme moment? St. Joseph is not present, and is not even informed of the earth-shaking event that has just taken place in his betrothed‘s body.

This is indeed ground for feeling discriminated against. Moreover, this young virgin is the only creature since the Fall born without the stain of Original Sin. She is Tota Pulchra; she is the creature God loves most, she will be declared the Queen of Angels, upsetting the hierarchy placing these pure spirits above all human persons. She is the one in whose body God, through the Incarnation, is reconciled with man, for her blessed child is both God and man; she is the one in whom body and soul - at war since the Fall - sing the same song of gratitude; she is the one whose love for St. Joseph  as reconciled man and woman, whose common sin had profoundly harmed the peaceful love that God had originally created between them.

The feminists who do not enjoy being defeated will retort: What about the priesthood?  This seems to be a formidable trump in the feminist camp. A few remarks are called for. All women without exception are meant to be “mothers” (whether married, widowed, not married, consecrated virgins).  There is a metaphysical bond between woman and life established by God himself and this why any law allowing abortion (i.e. a woman‘s right over her body) is the greatest Satanic victory that has taken place since original sin.

A very small percentage of men are called to be priesthood. God gives this honor to those whom He handpicked for this unfathomable privilege. St. Paul writes: “But one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God just as Aaron was.” (Epistle to the Hebrews, V, 4). When one reads these inspired words, one cannot help but marvel at some nuns who do not hesitate to declare that they feel worthy to be ordained. To say: “I am not worthy” is a much safer road to God than to make the arrogant claim that, of course, one is worthy. 

Mary being born without sin, is the one creature whose very existence is not only a constant source of  joy to God, but whose body and soul are sacred. Receiving the awesome sacrament of the priesthood, does not make the priest holy, even though it challenges him to become holy. Nothing short of holiness is required.

Alas, how many today are conscious of this call? When the priest pronounces the words of Consecration: This is my body; this is my blood” he is acting in persona Christi. It is no longer Father Brown; it is Christ himself who operates the miracle of the transubstantiation. Man can forgive an offense done to him personally; he cannot forgive sins. Hence the “scandal” of the Pharisees when Christ said; “Thy sins are forgiven thee.”  But priests who have received this ineffable dignity, should pray daily that they might become holy, for the striving for holiness is required of priests in a very special way.

(Column continues below)

Mary does not have to strive for holiness. She is holy.

Moreover, every priest needs a mother; this is so true that Christ, the priest par excellence has a mother, but no human father. Priesthood and maternity are so complementary that they cannot be united in one and the same person.

May these few thoughts open the eyes of Esau females, who feel that they have been discriminated against, and raise their fist against heaven which has “only” given them the honor to give life - a life which, alas some of them, now feel entitled to extinguish. May God have mercy on a sex which so favored, despises the divine gift, and opts for a mess of pottage. 

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