Sunday, July 09, 2006

Flesh of My Flesh

Fascinating article on the role of men and women, philosophical but simply presented- in other words even I could understand it.

Dr. Peter Chojnowski, professor on Flesh of My Flesh.


SurgiteetCoffeamOlfacite said...

Mary, Quick question. do you agree with any reservations with the whole of this artical?

M. Alexander said...

I know this article is provocative but I think there is a lot of truth and wisdom here. One question I wondered was what if a man refuses to support his family and fulfill his role. Is it better for the wife to step in as a stop gap measure whether for discipline or financial or is the author suggesting that women should remain uninvolved in a solution.

What are your thoughts? Reservations? I would be interested to hear them.

qlinger said...

My thoughts are; No man should be lecturing women on how to be women. He should be more concerned with the way men are today rather than lecturing and critizing women. It seems that every one is eager to blame women for the faults of society and I know "The hand that rocks the cradle rules society" But it all started when men gave up their positions and decided to take a back seat. Before men start to lecture women they should look to correcting their own faults first.

Anne Figuerado said...

"Women need men in order to be truly women. Men, however, do not need women in order to be truly men. "
yeah. right. The theology and opinions expressed in this article are wrong on so many levels and in several cases are inconsistent with the church's teaching.
Unfortunately, I don't have time to get into the whole "man" as the name of the nature, versus man and woman as two kinds of man.

I'm reluctant to believe anyone who has his work published in The Angelus.

This man is dangerous and is seems to be associated with the Society of Saint Pius X (which received a danger warning due to being a Schism group

He gave a talk at their conference (

There are a lot of interesting Catholic articles out there without circulating one from a follower of a schismatic group!

I better go read the Bible to offset the garbage contained in this article. Mary, in the future can you please post a warning if the article is from someone that doesn't adhere to the doctorine of the Church (then at least readers will know and decide whether they want to read it).

Anne Figuerado said...

For the Catholics reading this article, I should point out that "Because of the freshly-schismatic state of the Society and because of John Paul's own directive that faithful Catholics should have nothing to do with the Society"

Quoted from:

From this, I infer that the article's author is NOT a faithful Catholic (he has presented at several of the Society's conferences and so on)

This link has the pope's apostolic letter Ecclesia De (about the society)

Madeline said...

I think the guy who wrote the article is an egocentric misogynist. While I may not have time to review the whole article here are some of my thoughts:

1. Paragraph one: The author's view of Adam's mastery over the Earth clearly reflects a post-fall mentality. The first order of nature/creation is to give glory to God. Animals/nature would "naturally" submit to man because that is the "natural" order of things (before sin). The idea that Adam had to subdue "nature" a la taming the Old West is self-aggrandizing and erroneous; not to mention entirely contradictory of Genesis 2:19 "And the Lord God having formed out of the ground all the beasts of the earth, and all the fowls of the air, brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: for whatsoever Adam called any living creature the same is its name."

2. Paragraph one: The author appears to believe that man is totally self-sufficient, and completely ignores Genesis 2:18 "18 And the Lord God said: It is not good for man [emphasis mine] to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself.." If he's so darn self-sufficent, what does he need "help" with?

3. Paragraph two: I think the author is reading a whole heck of a lot into the Bible verse he quotes by stating "Eve achieves full self-understanding only after Adam has revealed his own reasoning to her through the spoken word.". Where does it say that Eve didn't understand her role until Adam articulated it? Did Jesus not understand His role until Peter said (in Matthew 16:16) "Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God"? Are we to suppose that while the first man was created a perfect being, Eve was somehow defficient in intellect and understanding? It is apparent from the author's interpretation of this bible verse that he really thinks women lack the intellect to understand things unless there's a man around to explain it to her.

4. Paragraph three: Yes, here we see the author bring about a further example of the woman's weak "reasoning" abilities versus the man's. Also, her tendency to "sensation" and "imagination." Again, I think this reflects a post-fall mentality with regards to femininity. The author also attacks Eve's natural pre-fall understanding by stating that she (as all women) have a tendency to apply general statements to themselves with an immediacy which goes well beyond the intent of the statement itself" . So, I guess the cover of all of those Children's Bibles were accurate, and Eve really was blond, huh?

5. Paragraph Four: On the lighter side of things, why do you suppose the curse of sin includes Genesis 3:16 and thou shalt be under thy husband's power, and he shall have dominion over thee. ? Also, is the author trying to separate out the errors of Adam by saying that he committed two sins: Genesis 3:17 (1)Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and (2)hast eaten of the tree... My impression is that the author would consider the first offense way more heinous than the second.

6. Paragraph five: The author's etymological arguement for the role of women is weak, weak, weak. Does he imagine that the first language was English, Latin, French, Spanich or Etruscan? Is it just possible that after the fall (not to mention the Tower of Babel - oops I just did!) words no longer reflected Truth as they did before the fall?

7. Paragraph Six: The author's contention that a woman can only be a "help-mate" in the capacity of child-bearing wife is, again, reaching. There are many examples of women (single women) who were "help-mates" without being either wives or child-bearers.

8. Paragraph seven: Again, the author's contempt for women is revealed in his contention that a woman's role is "secondary." I guess I'm applying general statements to myself with an immediacy which goes well beyond the intent of the statement itself, but I'd have to say that I find the author to again be pretty ego-centric and self-aggrandizing, by this statement.

9. Paragraph Eight: While I sincerely appreciate the attempt of the author to "temper" my reaction to his denouncing women as "secondary" by stating that only a man's "ideas, talents," and "labors" should be injected "into both family life and the civic order." for women to react to, I'm afraid it just didn't do much for me. This supposes that women have no ability to foment original thought. Or, as more likely from the author's comments in paragraph three, anything original, due to our "sensation" and "imagination," can only be dangerous to the family and society. Is it possible that the author's favorite move is "Stepford Wives?" Is there any way of finding out? Is that too sensational and imaginative of me?

10. Paragraph Nine: The author states "Women need men in order to be truly women. Men, however, do not need women in order to be truly men. The military, the monastery, and the seminary confirm this. Every convent has its father confessor and the Eucharistic Bridegroom. Why does the author, again, insest on ignoring Genesis 2:18. Is it possible that it interferes with his vision of himself as demi-god? Also, if women need men in order to be truly women, is a single woman not a true woman, until she marries? Or was she a woman all along, but "Adam" hadn't articulated it yet? Is a widow a true woman? If yes, why? Because she once served a man? How does widowhood affect her passive/receptive role?

11. Paragraph 10: That man alone is formed in the image of God is outright heresy! Again, the author conveniently ignores Genesis 1:26-27 "26 And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. 27 And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them."

12. Paragraph 10: Of course a woman's relationship with her father, brother, husband, male friends, etc. are formative (duh!). Does the author imagine that a woman's relationship with her mother, sister, and female friends are any less formative? I guess that in the author's perfect world the female relationships wouldn't be formative, given that a woman's only role is passive and receptive to the man. The more I read, the more this guy really disgusts me!

I'm afraid I dont' have time, right now to finish, but I'll be back!

Jack said...

Excellent synopsis.
Thanks for posting that madeline.

Madeline said...

Okay, we're back for more (as promised).

13. Paragraph 11: What a denegration of the female person to propose that she has nothing of value to contribute to the family other than to obey orders, and to follow the blueprint her husband has laid out for her and for the family. The author not only presupposes omniscience for the husband, he also presupposes complete ignorance (and/or lack of sufficient intellect) on the part of the wife. A help-mate is not a yes-man. Consider any other business or social relationship in which one "partner" contributes nothing more than passive obedience. This is called servitude. If this is what the author proposes as the best (even necessary) relationship between a man and a wife, men would be better to employ a maid, nanny, housekeeper and cook, than to marry a woman.

14. Paragraph 12: I am appalled at the selfish reasons the author states with regards to 1) teaching and to 2) having children. Both parenthood are teaching are supposed to be sacrificial acts, the purpose of which is not to achieve "immortality" for the man. I'm rather struck with what a pagan idea it is, really.

15. Paragraph 13: In this paragraph, the author supports the role of the father as "stamping" a lot. This must include "stamping" on the hearts and minds of his wife and children, because there doesn't appear to be much, if any, room for them to actually grow, either intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually. Suppose a child (or Heaven forbid, a wife!) were to surpass her husband in either intellect or spirituality. This case(especially in the case of the wife), the author does not allow as possible. The author also supposes that there is no necessary development of the man. Is his only potential for growth to be the mute obedience of his family? It is never good for the tyrant, when the people foster tyranny.

16. Paragraph 14: Okay, now I get it. Not only must the man find a woman willing to bear children to him, so that they can all be stamped on, now the wife has to support the husband's "project." Which "project" sounds like it is nothing more than another attempt to immortalize himself. Well, this is worthy goal, if ever I've heard one. I propose that it is everyone's (that would include men and women) "project" "to know Him [God], to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven." (Baltimore Catechism Number 1, Lesson the First).

17. Paragraph 15: 'Lest the reader suppose that I do not acknowledge the psychological and spiritual differences between men and women that make them ideally suited for different roles in family life, and in society, let me here caution him that I do acknowledge and value those differences. However, what the author fails to acknowledge is that men and women also share many of the same virtues, abilities and gifts. It would be impossible to cooperate if this were not the case. The author also seems to suppose that a woman is more likely to promote family life, contrary to the will of God, than is the husband. Why would this be the case where a woman has a well-formed conscience, and is well-educated with regards to her faith? Is it because women lack the intellect necessary to recognize the will of God? Or because she is more selfish with regards to her own will, than is the husband? The author may as well state, "the sooner a woman learns to sit down and shut up, the sooner all conflict will end." This is the negative peace of slavery and tyranny.

18. Paragraph 16: I had to laugh out loud at the second sentence in this paragraph "Most men either do not know what their proper role is in family life or they simply refuse to fulfill their proper role." The irony of it is this article is a case in point. To use an analogy of which I'm sure the author would approve: Imagine that a king abandons his duty to provide for and protect his subjects, out of cowardice, laziness, fear, etc. The subjects are attacked. Are the subjects "usurping the legitimate authority of the king" to provide for, and protect themselves. Isn't it rather the necessary duty of every subject to hold the kingdom together for the sake of the king, as much as for the sake of themselves? Ideally, if the king were to grow into a realization of his responsibility, the subjects would welcome the change, and glady relinquish the responsibility to provide for and protect the kingdom, back to the king. In the meantime, however, it would be a gross negligence to abandon the safety and well-being of the kingdom.

I'm weary of this author's idiocy. More later.

M. Alexander said...

Hi Madeline, I think you have misread and misinterpreted this author's statements. First of all he isn't denigrating women, he is attempting to get men, who apparently need a bit of prodding, to take the leadership roles that God wants them to take. Look around at the mess that society is in. It happened for 2 reasons, men not being men and women superseding their roles and bulldozing over men. The only men who can vote in Massachusetts are gay from what I can see. It seems that your feelings are hurt, an entirely feminine reaction. But that should be secondary to your level of outrage at what is occuring in this country.

Anonymous said...

Whoah Mary, I'd say you've misread the artical if that's your reaction to Maddie's comments, are you sure you just aren't frustrated on a more personal level? That could be a feminine reaction but I don't mind feminine reactions. You seem to.

Anonymous said...

If the only things that you got out of the artical are men aren't being men and women are superseding their roles then I don't believe you read the entire artical.

Madeline said...

The author himself is deluded with regards to his own feelings towards women and you are giving him way too much credit. The subtleties of the text betray his contempt for the female person. Here are just a few examples:

"Here, there is no such self-sufficiency on the part of the first female"

"...while God created the male in His own image, the female was created according to the image of the male."

"...the feminine tendency to apply general statements to themselves with an immediacy which goes well beyond the intent of the statement itself".

"Of course, for this to happen, a woman must, to the degree that she can, understand and genuinely appreciate the work of her husband, its implications and its long-term importance." [emphasis mine]

Additionally, the overall message of the article can be summed up as "yes, ladies, you are inferior to men in every aspect, but that's because you were made that way, so don't feel bad about it. Just accept it, and lie here on the front step."

I entirely agree that the roles of men and women with regards to the family and to society are different; that men and women are naturally endowed with certain virtues and abilities that fit them for their separate roles in the family and in society; that women are more "person" oriented, and that men are more "task" oriented; that the husband should be the visible and real head of the household; that a wife should "obey" her husband, as she has placed herself under is care, and it is his responsibility to provide for and protect his family. I also propose that men and women are susceptible to different vices which may interfere with their abilities to fulfill their separate roles.

What I don't agree with, and what you seem to miss in the article, is that the reason for all of the above is the female deficiency in intellect, and the implicitly insurmountable feminine tendency to be emotional rather than rational.

I also don't agree with the author's ideas regarding "man's" [gender-specific] glorification (through the pursuit of "immortality;" for example), and the woman's subjugation to that pursuit. I happen to think that such a pursuit is a post-Fall vice; not a virtue.

My outrage at the mess that society is in, is high, I assure you, but I think that an article like this does more harm than good, as far as informing men and women about the nature of each. The reason's proposed for the differing roles of men and women are poorly presented, and in some instances, blatantly wrong (or even heretical!). The overall tone is condescending, and contemptuous towards women.

Finally, my "feelings" aren't hurt, as you contend; and, I'm surprised that you would summarily dismiss my rational argument as a "feminine reaction." Does having a "feminine reaction" automatically discount the rationality of any discourse?

M. Alexander said...

I think that if a measure of subjugation must be assumed by women to straighten out the problems of the family and society I can deal with that. Humility is the hallmark of Our Lady. I don't believe she advocated for herself, a "proper role", a chance to be heard, or anything else. With very few exceptions in the New Testament She is silent and merely goes about her tasks and fulfills her duties. Morally she is superior to all the apostles but she does not teach or lecture. Instead we read about the apostles messing up over and over again. Why is that the focus of the Gospels when instead Mary could have just laid it out for us with her superior gifts?

I don't contend that women are inferior to men in any way but their role is more hidden and more complementary.

It reminds me of the argument for turning the public schools into quasi family substitutes when the family is lacking. The end result is that now the child has no school AND no family. When a mother or a woman tries to take on the role of mother and father I contend the child has neither.

And if Our Lord could humble Himself and become like a slave maybe we women can follow suit.

Anonymous said...

m. alexander "She is silent and merely goes about her tasks and fulfills her duties."

That's because the New Testment was written by MEN and they were products of their culture in which women were expected to be silent and obey men.

Anonymous said...

Mary, how come you didn't address any problems they had with the artical and came up with new points to argue about?

Anonymous said...

On another blog Hilary seems to have rejected this article, but not on this blog.

One tiny little comeback springs to mind:

Men, however, do not need women in order to be truly men.

tell it to the Spartans. or, more to the point, tell it to the kid who was at the bottom of the sodomy pecking order in that woman-free environment.
hilary | Homepage | 07.14.06 - 10:59 am | #