Church and Woman: A Complex Relationship

In all likelihood, many readers will have spent some time during their vacations, past or recent, wandering around the ships of Gothic cathedral – or to contemplate those of Westminster Abbeyduring the ubiquitous broadcasts of the funeral ceremonies for the death of Isabel II – allowing himself to be surprised by this marvel of medieval engineering, where the walls – thanks to a complex emptying system in which flying buttresses play an essential role – were replaced in a larger or to a lesser extent, stained glass windows that turn this building into a metaphor for heavenly light.

Such architectural gems were dedicated to Marysharing a dual nature: person from her birth – for the dogma of the Immaculate Conception we will have to wait until 1854 – and divine, surmounted by the Holy Trinity, a fairly common image in these buildings. It is this dual nature, and with it her role as mediator between man and divinity, that motivates said dedication.

Faced with such magnificence, one might think that the Catholic Church gives women an important placewhen the reality is just the opposite. Returning to the Gothic cathedrals: if we look closely at the cloisters, tympanums, pillars of the portals, or other places, we soon find in a capital, column, or the like, the representation of Eva as a symbol of sin and with that from all the evils of mankind.

In front of such magnificence [Virgen María]one might think that the Catholic Church gives women a first place, when the reality is just the opposite

Some time ago we wrote an article for this same media with the title “the fucking apple”, where we analyzed with an ironic tone the mentioned accusation – first to Eve and subsequently to all women – of specified evils. Is this contradiction, which we exemplified in the Gothic cathedrals, an error of interpretation on our part? Is it another sample of the double standards of the Catholic Church, manifested in so many aspects?; Is this, as the title reveals, a complex relationship, as a euphemism for a tumultuous relationship?

Anyway, the fact is that from the first moments the church said reserves for women a subordinate role or at least subsidiary to man. This is manifested in several messages of S. Paul of Tarsus by itself: A man should not cover his head because he is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the glory of man. (Corinthians 11.7-9). Your women are silent because they are not allowed to speak (…) if you want anything, ask your men at home. (Corinthians 14:34-35) I do not allow the woman to teach or take authority over the man, but to be silent (Timothy 2-11-15).

with Augustine of Hippo (S.IV-V) Doctor of the Church, affirms: woman is an inferior being and not made in the image and likeness of God. It is in justice, as well as the natural order of mankind, that women should serve men.

Another doctor of the Church, S. Thomas Aquinasin case there is any doubt, he states in his Summa Theologicae: considered in relation to concrete nature, woman is something imperfect and accidental. Because the active force that resides in the male sperm tends to produce something similar to itself in the male sex. The birth of a woman is due to the weakness of the active force, or to the bad disposition of matter, or also to some change caused by an external agent, for example, the south winds, which are moist.

Thomas Aquinas: “(..) Woman is something imperfect and accidental. Because the active force found in the male sperm tends to produce something similar in the male sex.

Much of the consideration of women still is still valid in the 21st century and proof of this is the social debate generated by the recent approval of the so-called “only if yes” law.“or Organic Law 10/2022 on the comprehensive guarantee of sexual freedom against the predominance of a system requiring the demonstration of refusal and resistance on the part of the victim, blaming her in many cases and focusing on her behavior rather than that of the aggressor.

Meanwhile in Greek and Roman traditiongods and goddesses have very active sex lives, behave like human beings and produce authentic soap operas due to jealousy, infidelity and others, in Christianity enforces the absence of sex as a virtue, which is embodied in the figure of the Virgin Mary and her Immaculate Conception. In this way, sex for women becomes at the very least a stain if it is done only for reproductive interest, or directly a sin when it has no such purpose. A woman’s ability to give birth to life makes her in an object of sin. A strange contradiction.

It is true that there will be no shortage of heroes from within the Catholic Church itself, such as Saint Hildelgard or Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz, who are raising their voices – and their writings – against this situation; but their valuable opinions are nothing more than a few drops of water in this ocean of accusations and mistreatment of women, forever.

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