Tuesday, 20 July 2010


Through the lens of continuity, I do find myself looking at books inspired by the Second Vatican Council. Material written around the late 1960s is of particular interest as it can show considerable orthodoxy almost in spite of its desire to seem radically different in its approach. The Jerome Biblical Commentary (1968) is one such example.

I’m currently immersed in Genesis, with Adam and Eve at the Fall, this is because I may be doing some work with Confirmation classes this Autumn and I think it is so important the Fall is dealt with engagingly and properly. I never feel I do it justice. This is the passage I’m currently up against.

Genesis Chapter 3 vs 16
To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows and thy conceptions. In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband’s power, and he shall have dominion over thee.

This is the assistance we get from The Jerome Biblical Commentary (1968) :
The present condition of woman as wife and mother is seen as punishment of the first sin…. man dominates woman in the domestic and social order. Man’s domination, although part of the order of creation is intensified by sin beyond the divinely willed measure.

What is missing from the commentary is any concept that verse 16 is prophesying Eve’s sorrows over the death of her second born at the hands of her first born (and many mothers’ subsequent sorrow over their children). But that doesn’t bother me here. What is of interest is the whole framework into which “Man’s domination” of women is put.

God mentions man “shall have dominion over thee” as a matter of fact (divinely willed), it is NOT a commandment. The Jerome commentary makes it clear that the manner of this dominion depends on the level to which those involved sin. It is giving us an order for society.

I can live with that, surely we can all live with that. Also there is no contradiction with 1 Peter 3, 1 Timothy 2:9-15, Colossians 3:17-19, Ephesians 5:21-28 and 1 Corinthians 11.

Seeking equality is an act of rebellion to this order, and in doing so perpetuates that first sin.

Women can have no authority over men in their teaching and other visible hierarchies within the church. There can be no female priesthood because that would imply equality in the social ordering of the Church on earth where it can’t exist. That our souls are of equal worth in the eyes of God is of no doubt. That women can be and are often more powerful soldiers in the Church Militant is not in question either.

Men rule, for women it is ordained to remain somewhat anonymous and spread the gospel quietly, unobtrusively, submissively and under the eyes of the radar (devastatingly brilliant stuff if done correctly).

Deal with it my feminist friends, the answers are all there in scriptures and commentaries inspired by Pius XII’s modernizing tendencies and the clean breeze blowing through Vatican II!

Eve - Jan Van Eyck


Ttony said...

So, Tigerish, why was it that you and The Tablet decided that it was time to go your separate ways?

Patricius said...

I have tagged you for the Prayer meme

Rita said...


I've not been tagged for ages. Thanks!

Ttony- my Mum always said I should read the Tablet.....

Anonymous said...

Rita, I agree with you here. I would add something I've written about, that is: the element of sin contributes to a thing I have called mutual contempt. It is a thing I have seen and witnessed and read about many times.

Something negative happens to men and women and their relationships with each other when they sin together. Adam and Ever were no exception and they were the first. Just look at how they blame each other when they are confronted by God. And it gets worse from that point on.

There ought to be mutual respect between men and women, for their similarities and their differences, for their respective roles, their abilities and strengths and talents.

But so often there isn't this respect, rather there is contempt and resentment and jealousy. The contempt is manifested at its worst in pornography and prostitution and abortion. At any rate, where there is movement away from God's will, from virtue, from the Order you spoke of, there will be an increase of the mutual contempt.

Rita said...


You're not the only one to mention this "mutual contempt". Faith magazine, which I subscribe to (www.faith.org.uk) has a series of articles by Mgr Cormac Burke on the same theme.

I do find it very positive that the sterile arguments of the past are being opened out and our Faith is finding its voice once again from deep within its orthodoxy and from many different sources simultaneously. This may explain why it is under such attack from those who hate it.

Anonymous said...

I will have to check out the faith magazine site. Hopefully Mgr Burke's articles are online. I'd very much like to read them. Thank you.

As the Pope works with the Holy Spirit to purify the church of the "filth," the voice of the Holy Spirit will be heard more clearly, and the world will manifest more virulently its hate for the truth.

I think there is an uneasy peace with the world when the Church speaks timidly, but when she speaks boldly about Christ, there can be no peace. "I have come to light a fire..." he said.