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The Protestant Reformation and Women
The Daily Catholic ^ | Marian Therese Horvat, Ph.D.

Posted on 04/13/2004 3:40:11 PM PDT by narses


MID-SUMMER HIATUS ISSUE
July 15 - September 1, 2002
volume 13, no. 104

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The Protestant Reformation and Women

Protestant thinking has altered the landscape of God's rules for the roles of His creations - man and woman. The result has thrown the balance of the natural and supernatural off kilter. With the Revolutionists' intent to demasculate man in today's society, we would do well to realize why and when the balance of Nature, as God intended it, went wrong. The results we are faced with today are merely the decaying fruits of rebellion against God's Will.

    There was a French author, Robert Beauvais, who said, "We all wake up each morning a little more Protestant." The Protestant spirit has dominated the outlook of Western Civilization since the 1500s. It traveled to America with the Mayflower and became the dominant mentality of Early American life. So many social commentators, from Max Weber to Robert Nisbet, have written about how it has been transfused, like lifeblood, into the economic, social and political life of the West. It is natural then, that this revolution had a strong influence on women, and this is the topic I want to address here.

    Sometime ago, I spoke about how the natural and civil rights of women were respected in the Middle Ages [See audiocassette available from Tradition In Action, "The Middle Ages and Women"]. I told how under the influence and protection of the Holy Church and through the practice of virtue, Catholic queens and princesses converted their pagan husbands and gave birth to the Catholic nations of the West. I spoke about their role and impact on local and national affairs, in education and hospitals. Only in the Middle Ages could the simple daughter of a town cloth dyer, Catherine of Siena, exercise the authority to promote crusades, reconcile bandits and counsel her beloved Babbo - Pope Gregory XI. Christopher Dawson, a great 20th century English historian, noted that women at the end of the Middle Ages had a wider share in social life and a greater influence on civilization than at any time in history.

    The role of women changed significantly after the Protestant Reformation.
    How and why this was possible is what I want to examine here.

The Rudiments of Protestantism

    Allow me to first make a brief review of some essentials of Protestant doctrine so that we can look at their effects on women and society.

    From the beginning with Martin Luther and John Calvin, there have been some basic common principles of Protestantism:

    Therefore, Protestantism, with a single blow, cut down all the devotions that provide model ideals for women: Our Lady, St. Anne, the virgins, the martyrs, and so on. Now, there would be only the individual and Jesus Christ.

Consequences: No Intermediaries

    Let's look first at this loss of any intermediary relationships - the Blessed Virgin, the Saints, and the Church.

    In my opinion, the greatest loss to the high status women had gained by the end of the Middle Ages was doing away with the cult and devotion to Our Lady. In the Catholic Church, there is the Kingship of Christ, and also the Queenship of Our Lady. In a Catholic nation, while the king was the father of families, in the household, the man was king of the family. As devotion to the Blessed Mother increased, the role of women likewise took on increasing dignity inside the home and family. Her queenship, similar to the Queenship of Our Lady, was emphasized. Subject to the head, the mother of a family was nonetheless imbued with the rights, dignity, and respect due a queen. This aspect of the mutual respect and dignity suffered a blow with the Protestant reformation.

    By closing the convents and insisting that women marry, Protestantism also stripped the high respect and honor the Catholic Church had always given to virgins. In fact, the religious life for women, like that for men, following the three counsels for perfection that Our Lord gave - obedience, chastity and poverty - was considered a higher state of life. The religious vocation was the higher state of life, because it involved a complete dedication to the true work of God, which in the Middle Ages was understood as the praying of the divine office, which never ceased to be said. Hence, the name laus perenne - uninterrupted praise and glory to God. No, this is not a practical work by today's standards, because it existed first and foremost for the glory of God.

    Further, as religious, they dedicated their lives to assist others, either through works of charity (teaching, nursing, etc) or prayer. These propitiatory prayers and sacrifices had the intermediary action of earning the salvation of others.

    Neither this intrinsic good of prayer for the greater glory of God, nor this intermediary action for the salvation of others was considered "necessary" in Protestantism. Note I stress this word necessary - because one of the characteristics of the mentality that came from the Protestant Revolution is this tendency to reduce everything to the status of a useful good, the bonum utile, and the blindness to the reality of things that can be classified as bona honesta, intrinsic goods. An intrinsic good is something desirable for its own sake and not merely desirable for its ability to help us attain something else. A cloistered convent of Poor Clares, whose life centered around the praying of the Divine Office to give glory to God was the kind of bona honesta rejected by Protestantism. According to Luther and Calvin and all the reformers, convents and monasteries were places for idleness and sin, and the women in convents were either lazy or coerced to be there.

    For man cannot be pure, according to Calvin and Luther's doctrine of depraved man. Of course, we know that the Catholic Church teaches that perfect chastity, in imitation of Our Lord and Our Lady, is possible with the supernatural life. The rejection of the supernatural life led Luther to say something very naturalistic, that most modern man raised with Freudian notions, would agree with: "A Christian body must generate, multiply and behave like those of birds and all animals. He was created by God for that. Thus, where God performs no miracle, man must unite with woman and woman with man."

    So the convents were closed and the women were "liberated." A woman, who as the Bible said, should be governed by a man, no longer had any right to any vocation but marriage. The Church as the Bride of Christ was eliminated. From this came a new tragedy for a woman: that is, the tragedy of not being married. You can see how deeply entrenched this Protestant notion is in our own society with the negative connotations of the "old maid."

Utilitarian views of Luther and Calvin

    So, what should women do? What they were built for, according to founders of Protestantism. Let's go straight to the words of the major Reformers, or rather, Revolutionaries.

    I will quote Luther, the self-proclaimed authority on family, for he said of himself: "Before my day nothing was known, not even what parents or children were, or what wife and maid." Until him, "not one of the Fathers wrote anything notable or particularly good concerning the married state."

    What were these wonderful things he said?

    This: "The saintly women desire nothing else than the natural fruit of their bodies. For by nature woman has been created for the purpose of bearing children. Therefore she has breasts. She has arms for the purpose of nourishing, cherishing and carrying her offspring." Again, the purely natural view of woman. Nothing of the supernatural.

    Or this: "Even though they grow weary and wear themselves out with child bearing, it does not matter; let them go on bearing children till they die. That is what they are there for."

    Calvin said many similar things. In Protestant Geneva, motherhood became a sign, even a precondition, of a woman's moral and physical health. It was impossible for a woman to be good Christian except through marriage and motherhood.

    John Knox, Scottish reformer: "To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion or empire above any realm, nation, or cities is repugnant to Nature; contumely to God, a thing contrary to His revealed will and approved ordinance. Finally, it is the subversion of good order, or all equity and justice." Good bye then to the women who were heads of orders and communities, who exercised such considerable influence in the Middle Ages through the ownership of property and privileges.

    It really comes as no surprise to me that several centuries later, the feminist revolution and emancipation movement found fertile ground for growth, and particularly in the Protestant countries. It was in part a reaction to a distorted view of women, quite different from the view of the Middle Ages, in a Catholic society where there were many outlets for a woman to exercise her influence and capacities.

An exaggerated obedience ultimately leads to revolt

   

In Protestantism, what replaced virginity and poverty as the essential female virtue that signal holiness? For surely it couldn't be poverty anymore - a beggar woman like St. Fina or Margaret of Costello could never be held up as holy with the Protestant notion that the predestined souls can be identified by success in this life. Nor could it be charity like that practiced by St. Elizabeth of Hungary, because good works are no longer necessary, but "faith alone" saves.

    Rather, the essential virtue for women became obedience, but it was an exaggerated obedience with no rule or intermediary, the Catholic Church, to govern its practice.

Patient Griselda

   

I'd like to tell a story that illustrates well a change in mentality that took place from the time of the Middle Ages to the era of the Protestant Revolution.

    The tale of Patient Griselda is related by two famous 14th century authors: the still medieval Chaucer recounts it in his "The Clerk's Tale" from Canterbury Tales, and the early Renaissance writer Boccaccio makes it the tenth tale of The Decameron.

    With Chaucer, it is clear that Griselda is a playful allegory of the virtue of Patience, and is not in any way an attempt to discuss everyday behavior. And just in case someone might be taking the story too seriously, Chaucer says at the end: (permit me to make a loose translation) 'This story is told not for wives to imitate Griselda's actions, for it would be insupportable if they should.'

    However, by time Boccacio repeats the same story in the Decameron, he leaves off this warning at the end. This story actually became popular and was taken seriously as an ideal of perfect obedience the wife owed to the husband in the age of Protestant Revolution.

    It is interesting to see that Protestant fundamentalists still stress this kind of unthinking obedience, ungoverned by any higher law of a Church, in the submission a woman owes a man. This point is driven home in a popular Protestant book, Me, Obey Him? by Elizabeth Rice Handford (more than a half million in print a few years ago). Several years ago, a Catholic woman gave me this book and asked my opinion. And in fact, it has many good points on the hierarchical structure of marriage established by Christ and the submission owed by the wife to the husband. Many Catholic women have also looked to it for "Biblical" guidance, because of a certain vacuum in recent Church guidance on the matter of obedience. Since the Council there has been much talk of complementarity and different but equal roles, but nothing about submission and obedience a wife owes her husband.

    However, there are essential Protestant errors in Handford's book, such as her false reading of the Esau and Jacob story. Further, without sound direction, today's Catholics can become confused over the insistence that Handford placed upon obedience -- to the point that if a wife's husband does not want her to go to Church, she should not go.

    What if the husband asks her to have an abortion? According to Mrs. Handford, you ask God to change your husband's heart on the matter. But if his heart doesn't change, the woman can have the abortion and kill her child, provided she obeys lovingly from the heart every command of her husband (like the patient Griselda). With this kind of fundamentalist interpretation, it is no wonder to me there should be a woman's liberation movement. I don't condone it. I only understand its existence.

    In a Catholic society, the family, for all its importance, does not control the whole existence of its members. There remains a spiritual side of life that belongs to a spiritual society. In it, authority is reserved to a celibate class. A child must be obedient, but has a right to choose his or her vocation.

    In a marriage, marriage is an "order of Love," as St. Augustine says, an order that calls for the primacy of the husband and the willing obedience and ready subjection of the wife. However, as Pius XI says in Casti Connubi, the husband may not command his wife to disobey God's law. And how does the wife know when her husband may be asking her to act contrary to God's will? A well-formed conscience should be her guide. He also distinguishes the subjection of the wife from the obedience that children owe parents.

   

The limits to the Catholic wife's submission are established by the Magisterium of the Church. Without this authority, early Protestantism sought for a new point of authority, and found it in an exaggerated authority of the husband and father, more reminiscent of the Old Testament Law than the New.

    Of course, this Puritanical patriarchal power conflicts with the Protestant principle of equality. Therefore, while first movement of the Protestant revolution would uphold a strict family structure with an exaggerated authority given to the husband and father, the seeds of the revolt would eventually produce a different kind of family structure. It would be the feminist revolution that would demand absolute equality not only in matters of religion and private interpretation, but in every social institution, including marriage.

Another Contradiction

   

Here is another contradiction. While this first Protestant prototype of family emphasized the male and made the family the religious and social base of society, at the same time it struck a powerful Herculean blow to the stability of the institution of marriage itself with the introduction of divorce.

    In the Catholic Church, The Church seals the sacrament of Marriage as an inviolable union. A union so sacred that St. Paul makes it the symbol of the union between Christ and his Church. As St. Frances de Sales said: "God joins the husband to the wife in a union so strong that the soul must sooner separate from the body of the other, than the husband from the wife."

    However, this was not the way Luther and the Protestant revolutionaries interpreted St. Paul's words. Luther was clear about this: Marriage was a civil affair, "something to be ruled by local traditions, without any kind of Christian standard." "A material thing, like any other secular business." It shows how far free judgment may go in dealing with the most sacral of things.

    Was this a good for the woman? Remember, her sole function in society now is marriage and childbearing. Now, further, with the introduction of divorce, she is denied the security and benefits - both psychological and economic - which come from an indissoluble marriage that affords her the security to raise her children without going to work and have a stable home.

    Even Protestant historians agree that divorce, even though it was rare at the beginning, tended to favor the husband, not the wife. Further, divorce has been a major factor contributing to the present crisis in the family. Today more and more sociologists are agreeing that divorce is detrimental to the children, and has contributed to a narcissist, egocentric society we have been reduced to today.

    I am sorry to say that the Protestant "reformers" are the remote cause for the sin and disorder that have followed in the wake of divorce in our day. Thus one modern feminist professor can teach: "Beginning with Henry VIII's attempts to divorce Anne Boleyn, the Protestant Reformation in England was from the start a reformation of gender and sexual politics."

Marian Therese Horvat, Ph.D.



For past columns by Dr. Horvat in archives, see www.DailyCatholic.org/2002tru.htm



Mid-Summer Hiatus Issue
July 15 - September 1, 2002
volume 13, no. 104
TRUE ECHOES OF CATHOLICISM
www.DailyCatholic.org

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1 posted on 04/13/2004 3:40:11 PM PDT by narses
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To: GatorGirl; maryz; *Catholic_list; afraidfortherepublic; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; Askel5; livius; ...
Ping.
2 posted on 04/13/2004 3:40:48 PM PDT by narses (If you want OFF or ON my Catholic Ping list, please email me. +)
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To: narses
"The spirit of lawlessness came in with the Reformation, and Liberalism is its offspring."
- John Henry Cardinal Newman
3 posted on 04/13/2004 3:50:08 PM PDT by polemikos (Ecce Agnus Dei)
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To: narses
"fertile ground for growth, and particularly in the Protestant countries. It was in part a reaction to a distorted view of women, quite different from the view of the Middle Ages, in a Catholic society where there were many outlets for a woman to exercise her influence and capacities."

This is what I have been teaching my daughter, tho I reached that conclusion based upon my own knowledge of history. Her current heroine is Eleanor of Aquitane.

There is an excellent book about Women in the Middle Ages, which supports this view.

4 posted on 04/13/2004 4:01:09 PM PDT by AMDG&BVMH (')
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To: narses
Interesting article. As I was reading the contrast between Catholic and Protestant ideas on obedience, a parallel situation came to mind: our battle on this forum between the post VII concept of absolute obedience and the pre VII concept of obedience to the Faith and those who keep it.
5 posted on 04/13/2004 4:35:31 PM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah
Good catch, I agree.
6 posted on 04/13/2004 4:36:28 PM PDT by narses (If you want OFF or ON my Catholic Ping list, please email me. +)
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To: drstevej; ksen; RnMomof7; Jean Chauvin; Frumanchu; nobdysfool; snerkel; Alex Murphy; Gamecock
ping
7 posted on 04/13/2004 4:47:44 PM PDT by Wrigley
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To: narses
In my opinion, the greatest loss to the high status women had gained by the end of the Middle Ages was doing away with the cult and devotion to Our Lady.

There's much to be said for this view.

8 posted on 04/13/2004 5:23:50 PM PDT by independentmind
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To: Tax-chick
Later
9 posted on 04/13/2004 5:28:06 PM PDT by Tax-chick (See baby pictures on the Tax-chick page!)
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To: AMDG&BVMH
Are you talking about "Women in the Age of the Cathedrals" or something like that? Or some other book?

I'm struggling with whether I should send this article to a Protestant friend. It can be hard to discern what will be persuasive and what will be offensive. I tend toward the latter view in this case, because the author makes a point of NOT saying "Reformation."
10 posted on 04/13/2004 7:13:30 PM PDT by Tax-chick (See baby pictures on the Tax-chick page!)
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To: Tax-chick
It really ticks me off that the author has to say "Protestant Revolution," and include other extraneous Protestant-baiting language. The quotes from Luther, Calvin, and Knox are so outrageous that a reasonable Protestant with some intellectual background would be, well, outraged. But they're not going to get that far into the article, because the author introduces cheap slurs.

I'm disappointed. This could have been really useful.
11 posted on 04/13/2004 7:28:38 PM PDT by Tax-chick (See baby pictures on the Tax-chick page!)
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To: narses
I'm sorry but I have to admit I giggled my way through most of this article. Dr. Horvat, for all of her education seems to grasp little more than a cliche'd view of Protestant theology generally; and her understanding of such concepts as sola Scriptura and sola Fides in particular are insufficient for her to pass even a 10th grade Religion exam in a conservative Protestant Lutheran or Anglican parochial school.

Please tell me this isn't an honest representation of how little Roman Catholic scholars understand of Protestant theology...please?
12 posted on 04/13/2004 7:44:42 PM PDT by ahadams2 (Anglican Freeper Resource Page: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican/)
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To: narses
This is a vapid hit piece.
13 posted on 04/13/2004 7:47:54 PM PDT by drstevej
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To: drstevej; Tax-chick; ahadams2; GatorGirl; maryz; *Catholic_list; afraidfortherepublic; Antoninus; ..
Our protestant brethern say:
This is a vapid hit piece.

If so, in what way? If the quotes are out of context or in error, please point that out. Dialogue, rather than polemics, would be useful here.

14 posted on 04/13/2004 8:33:15 PM PDT by narses (If you want OFF or ON my Catholic Ping list, please email me. +)
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To: narses
***So the convents were closed and the women were "liberated." A woman, who as the Bible said, should be governed by a man, no longer had any right to any vocation but marriage. The Church as the Bride of Christ was eliminated. From this came a new tragedy for a woman: that is, the tragedy of not being married. You can see how deeply entrenched this Protestant notion is in our own society with the negative connotations of the "old maid." ***

Vapid. As vapid as saying that the cloistered life of Romanism is the cause of rampant homosexuality today.

***The Church as the Bride of Christ was eliminated.***

Really silly.

Cheap Shots and Logical leaps.
15 posted on 04/13/2004 8:38:41 PM PDT by drstevej
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To: narses; drstevej
Our protestant brethern say: This is a vapid hit piece.

I agree. I haven't recently read anything quite this wrong-headed. And it seems particularly ironic that a traditional Catholic would be attacking traditional protestants over an issue where they both agree. As far as the traditional Catholic view of marriage and family, I find support for it almost entirely among protestants. Many of them would find nothing objectionable in "Casti Connubii." Meanwhile JPII is promoting his absurd "Theology of the Body" which is bringing disrepute upon Catholic theology by making it appear that the Catholic position is at variance with Biblical and traditional mandates. Let's be glad that there are some faithful protestant brethren who are doing yeomen's work to preserve the integrity of Christian marriage at a time when Catholics have almost uniformly abandoned it.

16 posted on 04/13/2004 8:41:49 PM PDT by Maximilian
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To: Maximilian; narses
Well said.

I have performed about 100 weddings many of these couples have been married 10 -20 years. To my knowledge 95+% are still married.

I require 6 hours of premarital counseling including the Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis (I am a licensed instructor). I have often refused to do a marriage where biblical principles are violated or the couple doesn't evidence the maturity that marriage commitment requires.



17 posted on 04/13/2004 8:53:16 PM PDT by drstevej
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To: narses
I won't get into the theology.

I will say, independently, that my historical studies suggest that women had it better in the Middle Ages than they did after the Reformation.

For one thing, the religious orders made it possible for women to be educated and to hold influential positions as nuns. After the monasteries were abolished, there was no similar role for women in Protestant religious life.

For another, women seem to have been treated better in matters such as owning their own property. Widows could continue to run their husbands' businesses. Women could hold castles when their husbands were off fighting somewhere else. And so forth.

So, I won't get into the reasons, but it's generally true that womens' rights decreased in the Renaissance and Reformation.
18 posted on 04/13/2004 8:55:12 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: narses; drstevej
You asked for specific criticisms:

1. I would first request full specific citations (including translator and edition) on the various quotes alleged to be from various Reformation 'names'. The specific reason for this request centers on the fact that Luther wrote both serious theology and popular propaganda (as did his Roman Catholic counterparts). Failure of the author to differentiate between the two would allow an equally sleazy response quoting some of the anti-Lutheran propaganda of that era. Of course neither would be an accurate portrayal of the other side's views, but that doesn't seem to have been Dr. Horvat's goal.

2. Notice how the author fails to differentiate even between Lutheran and Calvinist theology while completely ignoring every other portion (including *ahem* Anglican *ahem*) of the Protestant Reformation. To attempt to put this in Roman Catholic terms, it is the equivalent of saying that SSPX, conservative mainstream Roman Catholics, post-Vatican II activists, and w-a-y left 'liberation theology types' are all really the same and thus we can take any portions of any of their writings as a genuine reflection of what all true Roman Catholics believe. Really. I'm not trying to be inflammatory here - that's really the way the article comes across, and that's really the level of diversity the Dr. Horvat appears to be intentionally ignoring.

3. For a better Protestant understanding of the basics of some aspects of some portions of Protestant theology (including such concepts as sola Scriptura and sola Fides I would suggest you might want to look at the Anglican "39 Articles of Religion" (with the proviso that the 3 articles mentioning English sovereignty are considered null outside of the UK) they can be found at

http://www.episcopalian.org/efac/39articles/39art.htm

another good basic explanation, from a Lutheran, rather than Anglican, perspective is Luther's Small Catechism which can be found at

http://www.bookofconcord.org/smallcatechism.html

you will notice conflicts between the two. When you do please refer to point 2. above. You will also notice that since I lack intimate familiarity with either Calvinist or Baptist theologies I haven't been able to provide pointers to either. None the less, they vary from both of the above in significant and diverse ways - perhaps Dr. Steve J. can be of assistance in these areas.

As you can see from the above shortcomings, the entire article is fatally flawed and contributes nothing toward either Roman Catholic understanding of various portions of Protestantism, or vice versa. To the informed Protestant reader it comes across with all the validity and substance of the average New York Times "john kerry would make a great president" editorial. I just hope this doesn't do anymore damage than some of the uneducated 'fundamentalist' anti-catholic threads we see around here from time to time.
19 posted on 04/13/2004 9:26:55 PM PDT by ahadams2 (Anglican Freeper Resource Page: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican/)
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To: drstevej
Dr. Steve, this author, whatever her other lapses, does accurately describe the content of "Me? Obey Him?", which is a very popular tract among well-meaning Christian women. This book teaches that a woman has no moral duty other than to obey her husband (or her father, if she is unmarried).

Do you consider this a "Biblical principle?" Is it consistent with what you teach in your premarital counseling?

Thanks for your time,
Cy
20 posted on 04/14/2004 5:01:32 AM PDT by Tax-chick (See baby pictures on the Tax-chick page!)
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To: narses; Wrigley
"In Protestantism, what replaced virginity and poverty as the essential female virtue that signal holiness?... Rather, the essential virtue for women became obedience"

I can't believe this article would argue that it is better to keep a woman a virgin and in poverty than just simply be obedient to her husband. And the author feels this is what started women's lib?!? Is this the National Equirer of the Catholic Press?

But what's worse, judging from some of these posts is that some of you believe it!!! This is prove positive that you Catholics are so gullible and will believe anything that comes out of some Catholic approved printing plant.

21 posted on 04/14/2004 6:08:04 AM PDT by HarleyD (For strong is he who carries out God's word. (Joel 2:11))
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To: Tax-chick
I have not heard of the tract.

***This book teaches that a woman has no moral duty other than to obey her husband (or her father, if she is unmarried). ***

Not sure what this means.

The number of times I have asked my wife to "submit" to my decision as the head of the home, I can counrt on one hand (29 years of marriage). In each of those cases I had listened to her perspective carefully enough to be able to articulate it to her in such a way that she knew I had "gotten" what she was saying.

Knowing her perspectives, I asked her to "submit" to my decisions for reasons I explained to her. My wife is a strong personality (scores in the 85 percentile on dominant in the T-JTA) but in each of these cases she has "submitted" to my decision without dragging her heels.

Knowing she will "submit" to me puts me under the pressure to ask it only when I would feeel comfortable explaining to the Lord why I asked her to do it. I am accountable to Him.

I have shared that approach with the couples I have counseled and married.
22 posted on 04/14/2004 6:25:40 AM PDT by drstevej
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To: Cicero
***For one thing, the religious orders made it possible for women to be educated and to hold influential positions as nuns.***
 
The Reformation greatly escalated literacy of males and females.
literacy
 Britannica Concise
Encyclopædia Britannica

Ability to read and write.

The term may also refer to familiarity with literature and to a basic level of education obtained through the written word. In ancient civilizations such as those of the Sumerians and Babylonians, literacy was the province of an elite group of scholars and priests. Though more prevalent in classical Greece and Rome, it was often limited to members of the upper classes. The spread of literacy in Europe in the Middle Ages was evidenced by the use of writing for functions once conducted orally, such as the indenture of servants and the notation of evidence at trials. The rise of literacy in Europe was closely tied to great social transformations, notably the Protestant Reformation, which brought individual study of the Bible, and the development of modern science. The spread of literacy during the Reformation and the Renaissance was greatly facilitated by the development of printing from movable type and by the adoption of vernacular languages in place of Latin. Compulsory schooling, established in Britain, Europe, and the U.S. in the 19th century, has led to high rates of literacy in the modern industrialized world.
 


23 posted on 04/14/2004 6:35:47 AM PDT by drstevej
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To: drstevej
Not sure what this means.

It means (according to the author) that if a man tells his wife to commit a sin (such as adultery) or a crime (such as murder), then God wants the woman to obey. In effect, there is no such thing as right and wrong for women, only obedience or disobedience to their husbands.

You said: Knowing she will "submit" to me puts me under the pressure to ask it only when I would feeel comfortable explaining to the Lord why I asked her to do it. I am accountable to Him. Do you mean that if you asked your wife to commit an obvious sin or a crime, you believe you would be responsible, not her?

I'm not trying to start a fight (honest!), just to nail down the exact meaning.

Thank you.

24 posted on 04/14/2004 6:46:59 AM PDT by Tax-chick (See baby pictures on the Tax-chick page!)
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To: Tax-chick
***It means (according to the author) that if a man tells his wife to commit a sin (such as adultery) or a crime (such as murder), then God wants the woman to obey. In effect, there is no such thing as right and wrong for women, only obedience or disobedience to their husbands.***

Ahh, that's the issue.

I am a hierarchical ethicist. When asked to disobey a clear command of God, we must obey God and accept the consequences.

The apostles refused to obey orders not to proclaim Christ. They did so anyway and went to jail. Ditto with Daniel and the lion's den.

I have been a protestant pastor for over 25 years and the view of this tract is not one I have encountered except on rare occassions.

***Do you mean that if you asked your wife to commit an obvious sin or a crime, you believe you would be responsible, not her?***

If I asked that and she obeyed, we both would be guilty. For my wife to place my commands above God's commands is idolatry.
25 posted on 04/14/2004 6:59:05 AM PDT by drstevej
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To: drstevej
Thanks for clearing that up! I appreciate your trouble :-).
26 posted on 04/14/2004 7:01:44 AM PDT by Tax-chick (See baby pictures on the Tax-chick page!)
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To: Tax-chick
No trouble, T-C.
27 posted on 04/14/2004 7:11:53 AM PDT by drstevej
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To: drstevej
The rise of literacy in Europe was closely tied to great social transformations, notably the Protestant Reformation, which brought individual study of the Bible, and the development of modern science. The spread of literacy during the Reformation and the Renaissance was greatly facilitated by the development of printing from movable type and by the adoption of vernacular languages in place of Latin.

Your quote from the Encyclopedia Brittanica is even more absurd and outrageous than the original article. They can't even get the right chronological order between the Renaissance and the Reformation. Clue: the Renaissance era began at least 100 years before the Reformation. So it's ridiculous to make unsubstantiated statements like "The spread of literacy during the Reformation and the Renaissance."

I hope you're not going to claim that Luther was responsible for inventing movable type, although one could get that impression from this brain-dead Britannica piece. And I don't think you would want either to support the claim that "the adoption of vernacular languages in place of Latin" facilitated literacy. This is such a vacuous statement that one doesn't know where to begin to criticize it (kind of like the article on women and the reformation). the adoption of the vernacular for what? everday conversation? in the liturgy? in universities? Directly contrary to this stupidity, wasn't it true that the main emphasis of education in protestant countries like England continued to focus almost exclusively on the study of Latin and Greek well into the 20th century? And wasn't the demarcation point for our decline into decadent ignorance marked by the abandonment of classical studies?

Compulsory schooling, established in Britain, Europe, and the U.S. in the 19th century, has led to high rates of literacy in the modern industrialized world.

More ignorant propaganda for the leviathan state that I'm surprised you would want to be associated with. The documented fact is that literacy rates in the United States were HIGHER in 1850 than they are today, back before Horace Mann and his program to brainwash all American children.

28 posted on 04/14/2004 7:31:04 AM PDT by Maximilian
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To: Maximilian
***I hope you're not going to claim that Luther was responsible for inventing movable type***

He did not. However, Protestantism used the presses for education in ways that were only realized and countered by Loyola several decades later. Here is a synopsis of Protestantism and literacy argued in:
  Elizabeth L. Eisenstein. The Printing Press as an Agent of Change: Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early-Modern Europe. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997. xxi + 794 pp. Table of contents, preface, bibliographic index and general index. $54.95 (paper), ISBN 0-521-29955-1

The use of this new technology produced unexpected results. How the differing reactions to the changes brought about by printing shaped subsequent European society is most clearly seen in Eisenstein's extended discussion of the role print culture played in shaping religious debates before and after the Protestant Reformation. There had been many earlier heretical movements within the Catholic Church before Luther's posting of his 95 theses. But the dissemination and greater permanence of print culture allowed his challenge to have a much greater impact. Moreover, the competitive nature of the printing industry, which was driven by a desire for sales, provided a new, more public outlet for controversies, and insured that what began as a scholarly dispute between theologians gained an international audience. Reformation impulses and the printing industry fed off and accelerated one another in an age where religious materials were popular sellers.

Differing Catholic and Protestant attitudes towards print culture resulted in two widely divergent historical paths. In Protestant lands, approval of vernacular bibles led to encouragement of greater lay literacy and a closer tying of biblical lore with developing national cultures. In Eisenstein's view, the differences in Catholic and Protestant reactions to printing were not due solely to theological differences, or to Protestants being more enlightened or trusting of their congregations. Some individual Protestant leaders were hostile to the changes wrought by printing, particularly the wider dispersal of controversial books to lay audiences. But areas under Protestant control were generally less able to implement censorship of the presses than the more centralized governments of Catholic areas. One of the most important events in the shaping of early print culture was the successful rebellion of the Netherlands. In their small, semi-autonomous provinces, numerous printing presses sprang up that operated relatively free of censorship, and provided an outlet for authors, even within areas held by the Counter-Reformation. Books coming off the clandestine presses proved impossible for the Counter-Reformation to block, with significant impact for both religion and science.

29 posted on 04/14/2004 7:45:38 AM PDT by drstevej
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To: drstevej
the dissemination and greater permanence of print culture allowed his challenge to have a much greater impact. Moreover, the competitive nature of the printing industry, which was driven by a desire for sales, provided a new, more public outlet for controversies, and insured that what began as a scholarly dispute between theologians gained an international audience. Reformation impulses and the printing industry fed off and accelerated one another in an age where religious materials were popular sellers.

This part sounds accurate, but I hope this is not something that you're proud of. To me this sounds like the work of Satan. A new technology is immediately exploited to destroy the unity of Christian civilization. And often the motive is profit. So printers are driven by "a desire for sales" to print controversial works, even if their effect is to divide the body of Christ and to split Europe into warring camps. Rather reminds one of another new technology more contemporary with our own age, the television. No sooner does it exit the scientific labs than Satan has immediately put it to work to wreak the ruin of tens of millions of souls.

30 posted on 04/14/2004 7:52:51 AM PDT by Maximilian
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To: Maximilian
No sooner does it exit the scientific labs than Satan has immediately put it to work to wreak the ruin of tens of millions of souls.

You sure can put words together! I can't remember the last time I saw "wreak" spelled correctly and used correctly! You've made my day :-).

31 posted on 04/14/2004 7:57:05 AM PDT by Tax-chick (See baby pictures on the Tax-chick page!)
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Comment #32 Removed by Moderator

To: Maximilian
Max, you are avoiding my points and picking around the edges. Eisenstein's work affirms the thesis that the Reformation accelerated literacy. Don't miss that.

Now to your harvested "nits."

[1] Profit is not a dirty word to this Proddy.
[2] Debating theology is not out of bounds to this Proddy.
[3] Organizational unity that is not based upon the truths of Scripture is not desirable to this Proddy.
[4] Your arguments presume the correctness of your theology, a premise I reject.

Catholic initial response to the press initially was suppression. It was Loyola in 1540 who realized that the RCC was losing the battle and advocated the mass publication and dissemination of tracts. (I can provide the quote if you like.)

BTW, Eisenstein's work is social history rather than a theological propaganda piece. I first ran across her ideas in 1978 when I wrote a doctoral paper on "The Place of the Printing Press in the Reformation." Perhaps I'll post that paper as a thread.
33 posted on 04/14/2004 8:17:43 AM PDT by drstevej
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Comment #34 Removed by Moderator

Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: Maximilian
Directly contrary to this stupidity, wasn't it true that the main emphasis of education in protestant countries like England continued to focus almost exclusively on the study of Latin and Greek well into the 20th century?

Yep, up until the 1960's. Most colleges still had language requirements, and many programs for PhD and the like required the mastery of Latin and Greek (and also modern languages).

36 posted on 04/14/2004 12:08:21 PM PDT by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: narses; Maximilian; drstevej; Tax-chick
Dr. Horvat is sounding a little feminist herself in all her outrage here. I have to wonder, if she lived in her beloved middle ages, I very much doubt she'd be allowed to write publicly, let alone go out to speak in public.

This: "The saintly women desire nothing else than the natural fruit of their bodies. For by nature woman has been created for the purpose of bearing children. Therefore she has breasts. She has arms for the purpose of nourishing, cherishing and carrying her offspring." Again, the purely natural view of woman. Nothing of the supernatural.

Compare to:

"... the woman, being seduced, was in the transgression. Yet she shall be saved through child bearing; if she continue in faith and love and sanctification with sobriety." (1 St. Timothy 2.14-15).

I can't say Luther is far off from St. Paul.

Rather, the essential virtue for women became obedience, but it was an exaggerated obedience with no rule or intermediary, the Catholic Church, to govern its practice.

Compare to:

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection." (1 St. Timothy 2.11)

"Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord: Because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. He is the saviour of his body. Therefore as the church is subject to Christ: so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things. ... let the wife fear her husband." (Ephesians 5.22-24, 32)

"In like manner also, let wives be subject to their husbands: that, if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word, by the conversation of the wives, ... For after this manner heretofore, the holy women also who trusted in God adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands: As Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters you are, doing well and not fearing any disturbance." (1 St. Peter 1.1, 5-6)

"On the other hand, the duties of a wife are thus summed up ... To train their children in the practice of virtue and to pay particular attention to their domestic concerns should also be especial objects of their attention. The wife should love to remain at home, unless compelled by necessity to go out; and she should never presume to leave home without her husband's consent." (Catechism of the Council of Trent, "On Matrimony")
http://www.cin.org/users/james/ebooks/master/trent/tsacr-m.htm)

My fellows! Does your wife actually follow this, or does she "run free" without consulting you? Where is this sort of sensible direction in Dr. Horvat's article?

Instead, Dr. Horvat is replacing the husband with the Church as the intermediary! Clearly, she missed this command of the Apostle:

"Let women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted them to speak but to be subject, as also the law saith. But if they would learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is a shame for a woman to speak in the church." (1 Corinthians 14.34-35)

Let me reemphasize that. "But if they would learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home." Not the Church, not other women, but "their husbands" "at home." Dr. Horvat contradicting St. Paul is an excellent example of the very point St. Paul was making.

I have never trusted this lady, and do so even less now.

37 posted on 04/14/2004 12:09:49 PM PDT by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: Hermann the Cherusker
Interesting points, Hermann.
38 posted on 04/14/2004 1:05:40 PM PDT by Tax-chick (See baby pictures on the Tax-chick page!)
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To: Tax-chick
"Are you talking about "Women in the Age of the Cathedrals" or something like that? "

That's the one!

How about giving the friend the book? Keep a copy of the article for subsequent discussion. Prob. not best to send the article itself without proper foundation . . . IMHO!

Good Luck!!
39 posted on 04/14/2004 2:50:21 PM PDT by AMDG&BVMH (')
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To: AMDG&BVMH
One of the things I liked about that book was the really cool names. I wish my husband would agree to name a baby Mechtildis :-).
40 posted on 04/14/2004 3:04:13 PM PDT by Tax-chick (See baby pictures on the Tax-chick page!)
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To: drstevej
I require 6 hours of premarital counseling including the Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis (I am a licensed instructor). I have often refused to do a marriage where biblical principles are violated or the couple doesn't evidence the maturity that marriage commitment requires.

May your tribe increase! Our chapel has similar requirements. Each of our elders is authorized to perform marriages. Typically one elder and his wife take responsibility for the counseling for a given couple; the entire group of elders reviews the details of each situation before a wedding is performed at our chapel. We consider this a part of the shepherding responsibility for the sheep entrusted to our care.

41 posted on 04/14/2004 6:36:10 PM PDT by RochesterFan
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To: drstevej
Luther held that women should be concerned with the kitchen, children, an Church (kuche, kinder, and kurche in German?). Hardly the Great Emancipator of women.
42 posted on 04/14/2004 6:58:28 PM PDT by Tuco Ramirez (Ideas have consequences.)
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To: Tuco Ramirez
What's German for "barefoot and pregnant?"
43 posted on 04/14/2004 7:02:25 PM PDT by drstevej
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To: drstevej
I don't think Anglicans di such a great job either; kill your wife if she doesn't produce an heir? I'm not judging anyone, but lets stick to the facts...

: )
44 posted on 04/14/2004 7:16:09 PM PDT by Tuco Ramirez (Ideas have consequences.)
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To: Tuco Ramirez
***I don't think Anglicans di such a great job either; kill your wife if she doesn't produce an heir?***

BWAHAHAHAHAHA

Henry was an Anglican ?????

You keep stickin' with those "facts"
45 posted on 04/14/2004 7:19:31 PM PDT by drstevej
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To: drstevej
What was he? Catholic? Lutheran? He founded the Anglican Church (and headed it).
46 posted on 04/14/2004 7:24:30 PM PDT by Tuco Ramirez (Ideas have consequences.)
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To: Tuco Ramirez
***What was he? Catholic? Lutheran? He founded the Anglican Church (and headed it).***

He most certainly did not found the Anglican Church. His daughter, Elizabeth did after Edward and Mary reigned.

Henry was Roman Catholic. Due to his marital "parade" he was severed from Rome but remained Catholic in doctrine. Upon his death Edward became king as a boy and was Reformed Protestant in theology. After his short reign, Mary returned England to Rome and vigorously persecuted Protestants (ergo - bloody Mary). After her Elizabeth became Queen.

Elizabeth, via the Elizabethan settlement, crreated the "church of the Middle Way" (Anglicanism) which was Protestant in theology but retained many Catholic liturgical elements. Her long reign solidified her settlement.
47 posted on 04/14/2004 7:43:41 PM PDT by drstevej
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To: drstevej
Henry persecuted Catholic clergy; he made himself the head of the "English Catholic Church?" (Anglican).
48 posted on 04/14/2004 7:45:40 PM PDT by Tuco Ramirez (Ideas have consequences.)
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To: Tax-chick
"Mechtildis"

Lots of pretty nick-names, too.

I noticed some posters began talking about literacy. Of course, the prime reason for the spread of literacy was the invention of the Printing Press.

Eleanor of Aquitane learned Latin, Greek, and the local French dialect. She also was a falconer.

Wider spread literacy does not negate the original point, that women were definately educated and placed in positions of responsibility in the Middle Ages. Education was limited because books and educated teachers were limited, until the Printing Press.
49 posted on 04/15/2004 7:48:11 AM PDT by AMDG&BVMH (')
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To: AMDG&BVMH
I have a daughter named Eleanor! Women of Queen Eleanor's class were as likely to be educated as men, while almost all poor men and women were illiterate. Makes sense when only the terribly rich could afford a book. The Library of Congress had an exhibit of European manuscripts (pre - printing press) last time I was there. Such an incredible amount of work!
50 posted on 04/15/2004 8:01:57 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Some people say that Life is the thing, but I prefer reading.)
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