Meriting by Good Works in the State of Grace

Catholic Candle note: We should study the Catholic Faith our whole life.  Part of this duty is to understand more fully the truths of the Faith we already learned as children.  Thus, for example, concerning the question “Who is God?”, we know from our First Communion Catechism that “God is the Supreme Being Who made all things.”  During our life, we should learn more about God, as best we can, little-by-little, using the opportunities we have.

The article below is an aid to help us to “peer a little more deeply” into a few related truths of the Faith which we already learned in our catechism as children.  The article below is merely one more step in the journey of learning our Faith better.

By our Catholic Faith, we know that without Sanctifying Grace, we cannot merit anything from God.[1]  We know that everyone who is without Sanctifying Grace is postured as God’s enemy.  Thus, it is not surprising that a person without grace cannot merit since how could God’s enemies ever merit from Him while remaining His enemies and remaining in mortal sin – with their wills turned against Him?  

Even a little unbaptized baby who is incapable of actual sin[2], nonetheless has no grace or charity and so is not a friend of God.  Sanctifying grace changes a person from being God’s enemy into being His friend.[3]

In the present article, we will look at how someone can merit a reward from God in some way (called “condignly”), when he is already in the state of Sanctifying Grace.

What is merit?

To “merit” means “to be worthy of, or entitled, or liable to earn”.[4]

Merit is a right to a reward.   For example, let us suppose a man discovers a plot to kill and overthrow the king of his country.  The man informs the king.  This deed deserves praise and reward, and might have not only saved the king himself, but also the whole kingdom.  Thus, the king – if he is a just man – might say to the man, “Well done!  You have merited a reward and my gratitude.”  In that case, the man merited a natural reward from a mere man (viz., the king).

Below, we first examine two objections to the idea that we can merit anything from God.  After that, we explain the truth and answer those objections.


Objection #1: It seems that we cannot merit from God because everything good we do for God is merely doing what we are obliged to do.

But how can we merit from God?  He owns us, including all of our time and energy and everything we have.  He is entitled to whatever we have as a matter of justice.  We always owe Him everything.  So, when we give Him what is due to Him, i.e., pay our debts to Him, how can we merit anything by doing that?  In a similar way, we would not think that a store check-out clerk would deserve praise or a reward because he returned to us the change due when we pay for our groceries.  That clerk is only giving us what he owes to us in justice.

Here is one way that Our Lord shows that everything we owe to God is our debt to Him:

When you have done all these things that are commanded you, say: We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which we ought to do.[5]

For this reason, it seems that even a person in the state of Sanctifying Grace cannot merit since we cannot do anything for God beyond what we already owe and we cannot do anything worthy of a reward.

Objection #2: It seems that we cannot merit from God because God does not need anything we can do for Him and so we cannot benefit Him.

Further, merit seems to pertain to good services performed, which are needed by the recipient or which benefit the person receiving those services.  Hence, in the example above, the king was benefited by the man who uncovered the seditious men’s plot to kill the king.

But God is almighty.  He can do anything He wants to do.  He needs no one’s help.  It seems that, because God does not need anything we can give Him, there is nothing we can do to benefit God and so we deserve no reward.  The psalmist shows that God needs nothing we have, using these words:

I have said to the Lord, thou art my God, for thou hast no need of my goods.

Psalm, 15:2.

This is a second reason why it seems that a person cannot merit even in the state of Sanctifying Grace since there is nothing that he can do which can benefit God and thereby merit a reward.


Solution: We can merit a reward from God condignly.

Our Catholic Faith teaches us that we can indeed merit from God in some way.  For example, God told the prophet Jeremias:

Thus saith the Lord: Let thy voice cease from weeping, and thy eyes from tears: for there is a reward for thy work, saith the Lord: and they shall return out of the land of the enemy.

Jeremias, 31:16 (emphasis added).

St. Thomas Aquinas, greatest Doctor of the Catholic Church, teaches us that:

A person in the state of grace can merit from God condignly.[6]

The word “condign” means “appropriate”.[7]  Thus, to merit condignly is to merit in some way because it is appropriate to do so.  

However, meriting is not merely receiving something as a gift.  As shown above, meriting is in some way having a right – that is, a claim in justice – to receive something.  St. Thomas teaches that “condign merit rests on justice”.[8]

St. Paul shows that our meriting from God is a matter of justice in some way.  St. Paul calls salvation a matter of justice given to the elect by the just Judge.  Here are his words:

As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord, the just Judge, will render to me in that day.

2 Timothy, 4:8.

From the above considerations, we know that people really are able to merit a reward from God as a matter of justice, even though everything we have already belongs to God.  


Replies to the Objections

The first objection (above) asks how God can owe us anything since everything we have, we already owe to God.  The answer is that God owes a debt to those in the state of grace because He promised to give a reward to His friends, in exchange for particular conduct on their part.  

That conduct, in itself, does not merit from God (and does not make God our Debtor) because God is already entitled to everything His creatures have.  Even more so, that conduct does not merit the extremely great rewards that God gives to the elect.  However, the rewards God gives are condign, i.e., are appropriate, and are a matter of justice because God promised the rewards and it is appropriate for God to keep His promises.

We see many examples of God’s condign promises.  For example, Our Lord promised:

Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven.[9]

Here is another of very many examples of God’s promises to us:

And you shall be hated by all men for My Name's sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.[10]

Thus, those in the state of Sanctifying Grace can merit condignly.  This is the reason why St. Paul calls salvation a “crown of justice”.  2 Timothy, 4:8.

Examining the second objection (above), we see that even though God has no need of anything man can give Him [see, Psalm, 15:2], nonetheless, God owes the reward because He promised it.[11] 

This is like a rich man who wants to benefit his nephew and enable his nephew to get a good education.  Suppose the rich man promises his nephew that if the nephew would wash the uncle’s car, he would pay the nephew’s school tuition.  If that nephew then washed the uncle’s car, the uncle would be obliged in justice to fulfill his promise even though the payment of the tuition was much greater than the usual value of a car wash.  That nephew could be said to merit the tuition payment condignly.  


Conclusion

No one can merit unless he is in the state of Sanctifying Grace.  Even then, he merits only condignly, i.e., because God promises the reward, not because we benefit God by making Him better off or happier than He otherwise would be.  However, because of God’s promises, the rewards God gives to those in the state of Sanctifying Grace are given to them as a matter of justice.



[1]          For an explanation of this, read this article: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/06/04/sanctifying-grace-companion-charity/

[2]          Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth, following and quoting St. Augustine: “whosoever has not charity is wicked, because ‘this gift alone of the Holy Ghost distinguishes the children of the kingdom from the children of perdition’”.  Summa, IIa IIae, Q.178, a.2, Sed contra, quoting St. Augustine’s treatise, De Trinitate, bk.15, ch.18.

As the psalmist teaches: “I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me.”  Psalm, 50:7.  St. Paul teaches that, because of Original Sin, we are all “by nature children of wrath”.  Ephesians, 2:3.  

[3]          For an explanation of this, read this article: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/06/04/sanctifying-grace-companion-charity/

[4]          https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/merit (definition of the transitive verb, “merit”).

[5]          St. Luke’s Gospel, 17:10.

[6]          Summa, Ia IIae, Q.114, a.6, respondeo, (emphasis added).

[8]          Summa, Ia IIae, Q.114, a.6, ad 2.

[9]          St. Matthew 10: 11-12 (emphasis added).

[10]          St. Matthew 10:22 (emphasis added).

[11]            It is true that the just man gives glory to God by his good works.  That is a blessing and a consolation to the just man – viz., that he can give God this glory.  However, God does not need anything or anyone.  If that man became evil, he would still manifest God’s glory – this time by manifesting God’s justice through God punishing that man.

Catholic Calendar Corrigenda

We are sorry that we made some mistakes in the 2021 Catholic Candle calendar.  A corrected version of this calendar is at this link: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/03/05/2021-calendar/

Alternatively, you could correct the original version by making these changes:

  On April 25, the feast of St. Mark takes precedence over the 3rd Sunday after Easter;

  The ember days don’t fall on May 19, 21, and 22.  Instead they fall during Pentecost Week, that is, May 26, 28, and 29;

  The Epiphany of Our Lord doesn’t fall on April 9th and Sept. 6th;

  The feast of St. Stephen, the martyr, on Dec. 26, takes precedence over the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas;

  December 30 is not St. Martina’s feast day.  Instead, it is “Within the Octave of the Nativity”; and

  The feast of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, falls on April 28, not on April 29.

Hireling-Priests in the Time of Coronavirus

Our Lord is the Good Shepherd and is the model of His priests who are good shepherds.  Our Lord contrasts the selflessness of a good shepherd-priest, with a hireling-priest.  Here are Our Lord’s words:

I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.  But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth; and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep; and the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling, and he hath no care for the sheep.[1] 

A hireling puts his own safety and self-interest before the good of his flock.  He withdraws from his flock in times of fear and trial.

When times are easy and peaceful, it is hard to distinguish hireling-priests from good shepherd-priests.  The proof that a particular priest is a hireling comes during times of fear and trial.  Here is how Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church, explains this truth:

Whether he [viz., a priest] is a shepherd or a hireling cannot be truly known unless a time of trial arise.  For as a rule, in times of peace, both shepherd and hireling alike remain watching their flocks.  It is only when the wolf comes that each one shows the purpose for which he has been standing guard over his flock.[2]

In any tribulation – whether a religious persecution or a plague – a priest has a duty to continue administering to souls.  Although a hireling withdraws from the flock, a true shepherd continues to tend the flock.

There are only two circumstances in which a priest may withdraw from his flock:

  when he is in special danger not shared by other good priests who remain to give good care to that flock; or

  when the priest can take his entire flock with him to safety and administer to their souls in that safe place.

Here is how St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, teaches this truth:

Let the servants of Christ, the ministers of His Word, and of His sacraments, flee from city to city whenever one of them is especially sought for by persecutors; but so that the Church is not abandoned by those who are not thus pursued.  But when the danger is common to all, that is, to bishops and clergy and to the laity, let those who need the help of others be not abandoned by those whose help they need.  Therefore, either let all pass over to a place of safety, or else let those who must of necessity remain be not abandoned by those through whom their need for the rites of the Church are to be fulfilled.

The ministers of the Church, therefore, must then fly, under pressure of persecution, from those places in which we dwell when there is either no people of Christ there to whom we must minister, or when the needed ministry can be fulfilled by others who have not the same reason for flight. But when the people remain, and the ministers take to flight, and their ministry is withdrawn, what then have we but that condemnable flight of hirelings who have no care for the sheep.[3]

So, when the people remain in any tribulation – whether a religious persecution or a plague – only a hireling abandons them and withdraws his spiritual care. 

Fear for his personal safety is the hallmark of a hireling-priest.  He “seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth” for his own safety.[4]  In this time of coronavirus, the two main fears of a hireling-priest are:

1.    He fears the government threats if he continues caring for his flock instead of “sheltering in place”; and

2.    He fears the coronavirus itself.

Below we will examine each of the hireling’s fears.

1. A priest who is a true shepherd continues caring for his flock even when threatened by the government for doing so.

Our godless civil governments have ordered priests to “lock down” and to “shelter in place” and to not go out to attend to the souls of their flocks.[5]  These godless governments assert that religion is not an “essential service” for the people and that, for the (supposed) “good of the people”, priests must not attend to their flocks.

It has happened many times in the history of the Catholic Church that the civil government ordered priests not to attend to their flocks.  A true shepherd would never submit to those evil commands.  In contrast to true shepherds, hirelings submit out of their own self-interest.

In Mexico, in the early 20th Century, when the godless, anti-Catholic, Masonic government ordered priests not to administer to their flocks, many hireling-priests fled to the United States, following the example of their hireling-bishops.  Many of the remaining priests in Mexico abandoned their flocks, married, and settled in the cities.[6]  However, here is what happened to the good shepherd-priests:

A courageous minority of priests refused to compromise.  They went into hiding and roamed Mexico at night, in disguise, doing their best to bring the True Faith and the Sacraments to the faithful.  If caught, they were arrested, fined, jailed, and sometimes tortured and executed.  In February 1915 alone, the Mexican government martyred 160 priests.[7]

Those were faithful shepherds indeed!  They imitated Our Lord, the Good Shepherd, Who laid down His Life for His sheep.  Those priests rejected the civil government’s order telling them to withdraw from their flocks “for the good of the people”.

Saints John and Paul are models for our time, showing the danger of the civil authority stifling the Church’s work by “little steps”.

Saints John and Paul (who are mentioned in the Canon of the Mass) are special models for our time.  They were martyred in 363 A.D., under the Emperor Julian the Apostate, because they would not compromise with the civil authority’s restrictions on the Catholic Church’s work spreading the true religion and saving souls.

The Roman Emperor, Julian the Apostate, attempted to stifle the Catholic religion by placing restrictions on Catholics teaching the youth.[8]  These restrictions were much more perilous to the Church than the preceding bloody persecutions under Nero and Diocletian because of the danger that Catholics would acquiesce to these limits on the work of the Catholic Church (whereas there was no danger Catholics would acquiesce in the government’s bloody persecution and martyrdom of Catholics).  Dom Guéranger explains that “never was Holy Church menaced with greater peril”.[9]

Dom Guéranger explains that during the previous persecutions, Catholics went to martyrdom with unmixed nobility.  Because of this, the civil government changed its strategy and instead attempted to destroy the Church through “small” compromises to slowly snuff out Her life.  Dom Guéranger continues:

[The civil government sought to] now make a slave of her [viz., the Church] whom they had beheld still holding her royal liberty in the face of executioners – fain would they [viz., the persecutors] now await the moment when, once enslaved, she would at last disappear of herself, in powerlessness and degradation.[10]

However, the bishops of the time were true shepherds, not hirelings that went along with the civil government stifling the Church in a “bloodless” weakening.  Dom Guéranger continues the account:

[T]he bishops of that time found vent for their indignant soul, in accents such as their predecessors had spared to princes whose brute violence was then inundating the empire with Christian blood.  They now retorted upon the tyrant, scorn for scorn; and the manifestations of contempt that consequently came showering in, from every quarter upon the crowned fool [viz., Julian], completely unmasked at last his feigned moderation [viz., his not putting Catholics to death].  Julian was now shown up as nothing but a common persecutor of the usual kind – blood flowed; the Church was rescued.[11]

In other words, Dom Guéranger explains that the Church was in great danger from the slow stifling of Her life by the civil authorities.  She was rescued by the renewed bloody persecutions and martyrdoms.  Dear readers, beware!  We are now undergoing this same slow snuffing out the Catholic religion!  Bloody persecution would be much less dangerous!

Dom Guéranger continues his account of Saints John and Paul, writing that cowardly Catholics would doubtlessly think that the best course would be to accept “small” compromises and “small” limitations on the Catholic Church’s care for souls.  Below, Dom Guéranger provides an imitation of the soothing words of cowardly Catholics who would advise accepting restrictions which are “prudent” compromises with the civil government. 

Here is Dom Guéranger’s warning, which imitates the cowards, trying to justify compromise:

[Julian the Apostate did not require] the renouncing of Jesus Christ, [as] a condition [for peace]. Well then, it may be retorted [viz., by weak compromisers], why not yield to the Imperial whim?  Could they [viz., Saints John and Paul] not do so without wounding their conscience?  Surely too much stiffness would be rather calculated to illdispose the prince [viz., Julian], perhaps even fatally.  Whereas to listen to him would very likely have a soothing effect upon him; nay, possibly even bring him round to relax somewhat of those administrative trammels, unfortunately imposed upon the Church by his prejudiced government.  Yea, for aught one knew, the possible conversion of his soul, the return of so many of the misled who had followed him in his fall, might be the result!  Should not such things as these deserve some consideration should they not impose, as a duty, some gentle handling?[12]

Dom Guéranger is warning us that this is a temptation of the devil under the appearance of good!  Dom Guéranger acknowledges that, if Saints John and Paul would have gone along with the government’s limitations on the Church, some people would have found a way to “justify” their compromise.  Here are Dom Guéranger’s words:

[T]he most exacting casuist[13] could not find it a crime for John and Paul to dwell in a court, where nothing was demanded of them contrary to the divine precepts.[14]

But true Soldiers of Christ are not compromisers!  Saints John and Paul openly opposed this stifling of the Catholic Faith and were gloriously martyred. 

Dom Guéranger warns his readers that, in our modern age, the civil authorities are again seeking to stifle the Catholic Church through slow suppression.  Here is his warning given through the means of a prayer addressing those two martyrs themselves:

Now-a-days there has arisen a persecution not dissimilar to that in which you gained the crown; Julian’s plan of action is once more in vogue ….[15]

In the present world, we see the tactics of Julian the Apostate again being used, in the civil governments’ ordering the priests to “lock down” and cease administering to their flock.  Only hireling–priests would submit to that order.

St. Edmund Campion, a good shepherd who firmly resolved to administer to his flock against the civil government’s command

About 1580, St. Edmund Campion, a Catholic priest, firmly declared his determination to continue administering to souls in Elizabethan England, despite the government’s order to Catholic priests to not attend to souls.  Here is St. Edmund Campion’s courageous response to the civil government’s order:

Whereas I have come out of Germany and Bohemia, being sent by my superiors, and adventured myself into this noble realm [viz., England], my dear country, for the glory of God and benefit of souls, I thought it like enough that, in this busy, watchful, and suspicious world, I should either sooner or later be intercepted and stopped of my course [viz., his administering to souls].

Wherefore, providing for all events, and uncertain what may become of me, when God shall haply deliver my body into durance [imprisonment], I supposed it needful to put this in writing in a readiness, desiring your good lordships [i.e., England’s ruling council] to give it your reading, to know my cause.  This doing, I trust I shall ease you of some labor.  For that which otherwise you must have sought for by practice of wit, I do now lay into your hands by plain confession.  …

Many innocent hands are lifted up to heaven [in prayer] for you daily by those English students [in Catholic seminaries on the continent], whose posterity shall never die, which beyond seas, gathering virtue and sufficient knowledge for the purpose, are determined never to give you over [i.e., give up on the rulers’ conversion], but either to win you heaven, or to die upon your pikes [weapons].  And touching our Society [of Jesus], be it known to you that we have made a league – all the Jesuits in the world – whose succession and multitude must overreach all the practice of England – cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery [to the Catholic Faith], while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn [a place of execution], or to be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons.  The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God; it cannot be withstood.  So the faith was planted: So it must be restored.[16]

St. Edmund Campion was a true shepherd!  He did not withdraw from his flock even though the civil government told him that the Catholic religion is not an “essential service”!  Instead, this faithful shepherd courageously tells the civil authorities that nothing will stop him from attending to his flock until they catch him and kill him.

What a contrast this true shepherd is to the corona-cowards who withdraw from their flocks because the civil government ordered them to “shelter in place”!  For example, in April 2020, the French (so-called) bishops spinelessly said they were “regretting” the civil government’s order that “Catholic worship will be obliged to wait three weeks longer than stores, businesses, and public transport in order to take place publicly.”[17]

Where are the true shepherds?  Not there!  These are hirelings![18]

As St. Augustine teaches:

[W]hen the people remain [in need], and the ministers take to flight [or stay home to “shelter in place”], and their ministry is withdrawn, what then have we but that condemnable flight of hirelings who have no care for the sheep.[19]

Summary of this section

Good shepherd–priests continue administering to their flocks and do not abandon them even when the government orders a “lock down”.  By contrast, hireling–priests “shelter in place” for fear of the government.

2. A priest who is a true shepherd continues caring for this flock even during a plague.

Although hireling–priests “shelter in place”, good shepherd–priests stay with their flocks in times of plague.

For example, when the plague struck Milan, here is what St. Charles Borromeo did:

He visited the plague–stricken with unwearied zeal, assisted them with fatherly affection, and, administering to them with his own hands the Sacraments of the Church, singularly consoled them.[20]

St. Charles Borromeo and St. Aloysius Gonzaga both died attending victims of the plague.[21] 

When the plague was raging in Rome, Saint Joseph Calasanctius joined St. Camillus, and not content in his ardent zeal, with bestowing lavish care upon the sick poor, he even carried the dead to the grave on his own shoulders.[22]

When the plague struck Valencia, here is what St. Louis Bertrand did:

The plague that decimated the inhabitants of Valencia and the vicinity in 1557, afforded the saint [viz., St. Louis Bertrand] an excellent opportunity for the exercise of his charity and zeal.  Tirelessly, he ministered to the spiritual and physical needs of the afflicted.  With the tenderness and devotion of a mother, he nursed the sick.  The dead he prepared for burial and interred with his own hands.[23]

When the plague struck Switzerland, here is what St. Francis de Sales did:

Though the plague raged violently at Thonon [Switzerland], this did not hinder [St.] Francis [de Sales] either by day or night from assisting the sick in their last moments; and God preserved him from the contagion, which seized and swept off several of his fellow-laborers.  …  In a plague which raged there [viz., Annecy, Switzerland], he daily exposed his own life to assist his flock.[24]

When the plague struck Wales, here is what St. Theliau did:

When the yellow plague depopulated Wales, he exerted his courage and charity with a heroic intrepidity.  Providence preserved his life for the sake of others ….[25]

There are countless other examples of good shepherd–priests faithfully attending their flocks during a plague.  This is their duty – to assist their flock during a plague (and always).  A good shepherd–priest’s selfless devotion to his flock compels the admiration even of non-Catholics.  For example, here is how one protestant admired the religious priests of Manila during the plague there:

Of undaunted courage, they have ever been to the front when calamities threatened their flocks.  In epidemics of plague and cholera they have not been dismayed, nor have they ever in such cases abandoned their flocks ….[26]

Summary of this section

Good shepherd–priests continue administering to their flocks and do not cower for fear of the plague.  By contrast, hireling–priests “shelter in place” and withdraw from administering to their flocks.

In times of plague the prayers should be public.

The Catholic Church has always known what Pope Francis now denies, viz., that plagues are a just punishment of God for sin.[27]  In times of plague, the Catholic Church redoubles Her public prayers.  By contrast, the conciliar church and hirelings “lock down” and stay home.

When the plague ravaged Rome, this is what Pope St. Gregory the Great did:

[T]he plague continued to rage at Rome with great violence; and, while the people waited for the emperor’s answer, St. Gregory took occasion from their calamities to exhort them to repentance.  Having made them a pathetic [very moving] sermon on that subject, he appointed a solemn litany, or procession, in seven companies, with a priest at the head of each, who were to march from different churches, and all to meet in that of St. Mary Major; singing Kyrie Eleison as they went along the streets.  During this procession there died in one hour’s time fourscore [i.e., eighty people] of those who assisted at it.  But St. Gregory did not forbear to exhort the people, and to pray till such time as the distemper ceased.[28]

But as [St.] Gregory was passing over the bridge of St. Peter’s, a heavenly vision consoled them [viz., the people] in the midst of their litanies.  The archangel Michael was seen over the tomb of Hadrian, sheathing his flaming sword in token that the pestilence was to cease.  [Saint] Gregory heard the angelic antiphon from heavenly voices – Regina Coeli, lætare, and added himself the concluding verse – Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.[29]

How great was St. Gregory’s Faith compared to modern hirelings!  In April 2020, Cardinal Cupich of Chicago blasphemously scoffed at the power of prayer to help with the Coronavirus.  He said “religion is not magic where we just say prayers and think things are going to change.”[30]

Hireling–priests stay home.  They don’t see the importance of public prayer and penance in the time of plague because they are men of little faith.  But good shepherds are the opposite! 

When the plague struck Milan, here is what St. Charles Borromeo did:

[T]he plague appeared in Milan.  [Saint] Charles was at Lodi, at the funeral of the bishop.  He at once returned, and inspired confidence in all.  He was convinced that the plague was sent as a chastisement for sin ….[31]

[H]e ordered public supplications to be made, and himself walked in the processions, with a rope round his neck, his feet bare and bleeding from the stones, and carrying a cross; and thus offering himself as a victim for the sins of the people, he endeavored to turn away the anger of God.[32]

There is no end to the other examples we could give of the Catholic Church praying and processing publicly during times of plague.  Such a Catholic response, though, requires firm Faith.  Hireling-priests “shelter in place” and agree with Cardinal Cupich that “religion is not magic where we just say [public] prayers and think things are going to change.”[33] 

Hireling-priests are like Ohio’s (so-called) “bishops” who cowardly canceled all services because of fears that large gatherings could spread the coronavirus.[34]

Conclusion of this article

Hireling-priests cower at home when the government orders them to “shelter in place”.  Hireling–priests flee from coronavirus to save their own skin.  Good shepherd-priests stay with their flocks despite persecutions from the government or the danger from plague.[35]



[1]           St. John’s Gospel, Ch. 10, vv. 11-13 (emphasis added).

 

[2]           Pope St. Gregory the Great, quoted from The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, translated and edited BY M. F. Toal, D.D., Volume II, Second Sunday after Easter, Henry Regnery Co., Chicago, ©1958. p.292.

 

[3]           St. Augustine, quoted from The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, translated and edited BY M. F. Toal, D.D., Volume II, Second Sunday after Easter, Henry Regnery Co., Chicago, ©1958. p.292 (italic emphasis in the original; bold emphasis added).

 

[4]           Quoting St. John’s Gospel, Ch. 10, vv. 11-13.

 

[5]           See, e.g., these news reports which are a small sample of available reports:

 

§  Michigan’s governor banning all "public and private gatherings of any kind" including all religious services.  https://reason.com/2020/04/15/michigans-emergency-stay-at-home-order-is-a-hot-mess-now-4-sheriffs-say-they-wont-be-enforcing-parts-of-it/

 

§  A mayor bans religious services: https://www.foxnews.com/us/mississippi-church-sues-police-after-congregants-ticketed-during-drive-in-service

 

§  Police break up religious services.  https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/armed-police-storm-catholic-parish-in-france-demand-priest-stop-mass

 

§  Mississippi’s Governor, Tate Reeves, issued a shelter-in-place order on April 3, 2020, that was followed by an executive order from Greenville Mississippi’s mayor, mandating all church buildings close for both in-person and drive-in church services. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/baptist-church-members-given-500-tickets-for-listening-to-church-service-in-their-cars-via-radio-in-parking-lot

 

§  Canadian police threaten a group of people because they are parked in a church parking lot, even though they stayed in their cars.  https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/canadian-police-vow-to-hold-christians-accountable-for-attending-drive-in-sunday-service

 

Catholic Candle note: this article leaves aside the fact that leaders in the human element of the Church might not be valid priests and bishops and that the “sacraments” they offer are really conciliar poison. 

 

For an explanation why conciliar ordinations and consecrations are inherently doubtful and so should be treated as invalid, read these articles:

 

v  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/new-ordination-doubtful.html

 

v  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B49oPuI54eEGd2RRcTFSY29EYzg/view

 

v   https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B49oPuI54eEGZVF5cmFvMGdZM0U/view

 

For an explanation why the conciliar sacraments anger God and give no grace, read these articles:

 

Ø  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/new-mass-never-grace.html

 

Ø  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/priests/williamson-confess-priest-believes.html

 

[6]           Latin America: A Sketch of its Glorious Catholic Roots and a Snapshot of its Present, by the Editors of Quanta Cura Press, pp.39-40, © 2016.

[7]           Quoted from: Latin America: A Sketch of its Glorious Catholic Roots and a Snapshot of its Present, by the Editors of Quanta Cura Press, p.40, © 2016.

[8]               The second thing Julian the Apostate did was to ban Catholics from holding government offices.

 

[9]           The Liturgical Year, by Dom Guéranger, June 26, Feasts of Saints John and Paul, volume 12, (also called volume 3 for the Time After Pentecost) James Duffy, Dublin, 1890, pp. 348-350.

[10]         The Liturgical Year, by Dom Guéranger, June 26, Feasts of Saints John and Paul, volume 12, (also called volume 3 for the Time After Pentecost) James Duffy, Dublin, 1890, pp. 348-350 (bracketed words added for clarity).

[11]         The Liturgical Year, by Dom Guéranger, June 26, Feasts of Saints John and Paul, volume 12, (also called volume 3 for the Time After Pentecost) James Duffy, Dublin, 1890, pp. 348-350 (bracketed words added for clarity).

[12]         The Liturgical Year, by Dom Guéranger, June 26, Feasts of Saints John and Paul, volume 12, (also called volume 3 for the Time After Pentecost) James Duffy, Dublin, 1890, pp. 348-350 (bracketed words added for clarity).

[13]         A casuist is a person who is trained in “the resolving of specific cases of conscience, duty, or conduct through interpretation of ethical principles or religious doctrine”.  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/casuistry

 

[14]         The Liturgical Year, by Dom Guéranger, June 26, Feasts of Saints John and Paul, volume 12, (also called volume 3 for the Time After Pentecost) James Duffy, Dublin, 1890, pp. 348-350.

[15]         The Liturgical Year, by Dom Guéranger, June 26, Feasts of Saints John and Paul, volume 12, (also called volume 3 for the Time After Pentecost) James Duffy, Dublin, 1890, pp. 348-350.

[16]         Apologia of St. Edmund Campion, a/k/a “Campion’s brag” (bracketed words added for clarity).

 

[18]         This article leaves aside the fact that these actions taken by the human element of the Church involve leaders who might not be valid priests and bishops and that the “sacraments” they offer are really conciliar poison. 

[19]         St. Augustine, quoted from The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, translated and edited BY M. F. Toal, D.D., Volume II, Second Sunday after Easter, Henry Regnery Co., Chicago, ©1958. p.292 (italic emphasis in the original; bold emphasis added; bracketed words added).

 

[20]         The Liturgical Year, by Dom Guéranger, November 4, Feast of St. Charles Borromeo, volume 15, (also called volume 6 for the Time After Pentecost) New York, Benziger Bros., 1903, p. 189.

[21]           “St. Aloysius and St. Charles Borromeo died of the plague, caught while nursing the sick in the hospital.”  Quoted from The Catechism Explained, Spirago, Section: The Fifth Commandment of God, Subsection: Duty in respect to our own life, §4, p.384 (emphasis added).

 

[22]         The Liturgical Year, by Dom Guéranger, August 27, Feast of Saint Joseph Calasanctius, volume 14, (also called volume 6 for the Time After Pentecost) New York, Benziger Bros., 1910, p. 88-89.

 

[23]         1917 Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 9, article: Louis Bertrand.

 

[24]         Butler’s Lives of the Saints, January 29, Saint Francis de Sales (bracketed words added for clarity).

[25]         Butler’s Lives of the Saints, February 9, Saint Theliau.

[26]         Catholic Encyclopedia, article: Archdiocese of Manila.

 

[27]         Here is a news report of Pope Francis denying that a plague is a punishment of God for sin.  https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/the-coronavirus-outbreak-shows-just-how-liberal-pope-francis-really-is

 

[28]         Butler’s Lives of the Saints, March 12, Pope St. Gregory the Great (bracketed words added).

 

[29]         Quoted from The Formation of Christendom, by Thomas William Allies, Volume VI, The Holy See and the Wandering of the Nations, from St. Leo I to St. Gregory I,

Ch. 5 St. Gregory the Great.

 

[31]         Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2, article St. Charles Borromeo

 

[32]         The Liturgical Year, by Dom Guéranger, November 4, Feast of St. Charles Borromeo, volume 15, (also called volume 6 for the Time After Pentecost) New York, Benziger Bros., 1903, p. 189.

[35]         There is evidence that the danger of the coronavirus is greatly exaggerated in order to justify heavyhanded government intrusion and destruction of rightful liberty.  However, this article shows that even if the coronavirus were terribly deadly, the priests who withdraw from their flocks are hirelings.

No One Knows How to Feast Like a Traditional Catholic!

(Because no one knows how to fast like a Traditional Catholic)

Catholic Candle note: The holy time of Lent is upon us, which is a great occasion to reflect upon fasting (and the reason for feasting at the great feast of Easter).  The article below concerns feasting but does not imply eating in excessive quantities.

It might seem paradoxical, but in our age of laxity and over-indulgence, people don’t know how to feast properly.

Here are two elements that greatly enhance feasting:

1.    The best feasting is preceded by generous and strict fasting; and

2.    The best feasting has a great and celebratory motive.

Below, we discuss both of these elements which help us to feast well.

 

1.   The best feasting is preceded by generous and strict fasting.

Webster’s Dictionary defines a “feast” this way:

  an elaborate and usually abundant meal often accompanied by a ceremony or entertainment; banquet

  something that gives unusual or abundant enjoyment[1]

When a person satisfies his passions and his craves whenever he wants to, every day, then every day is largely the same.  To feast properly, we should fast properly!  Notice that Webster’s definition says that a proper feast should be “elaborate and unusually abundant”.  When a person eats with a usual great abundance, he is not feasting.

For the best feasting, there should be a strong contrast between the fasting just finished and the feasting now begun.  The greater the contrast, the better!  Such preceding fasting makes the subsequent feast more elaborate and more abundant by contrast.

Like other false religions, the conciliar church has virtually no fasting.  By contrast, Traditional Catholics are faithful to Holy Mother Church’s wholesome traditional commands to fast.  Because of this, Traditional Catholics also know well how to feast.

Easter is the greatest feast of the year.  It is fittingly preceded by the greatest fasting of the year (six-and-one-half weeks).[2]  The high feast of Christmas is preceded by its (fasting) vigil and its penitential season of Advent.  Other great feasts have their (fasting) vigils. 

Let us be generous!  The more generous we are in our fasting, the higher will be our feasting!  The conciliar church and other false religions can’t feast well because they don’t fast well.

 

2.   The best feasting has a great and celebratory motive.

Our motive for feasting should not be because we are inclined to indulge our passions and our craves.  That is not a wholesome reason to feast.  That is merely self-indulgence, resulting in the strengthening of our passions and the weakening of our will.

Notice that Webster’s Dictionary defines feasting as being “often accompanied by a ceremony”.[3]  In other words, feasting is best accompanied by important “ceremonies” – which show important reasons to feast.

A Catholic, whose heart if full of love and joy for his Risen Lord, can fully immerse himself in the Easter feasting, rejoicing in that sublime day with its great liturgical prayers, ceremonies and meaning.

But any person who is focused only on himself, and whose god is his belly[4], “celebrates” nothing except himself – and he already “celebrates himself” every day of the year.  So, every day is empty of special meaning.  There is no day with a fresh and high motive for celebrating and feasting.

The austere St. Francis of Assisi knew the worthiness of celebrating a high feast.  Here is one account, giving us insight into St. Francis’s thoughts about feasting:

When a friar once asked him [viz., St. Francis of Assisi] if you could eat meat when Christmas coincided with Friday, the traditional day of abstinence, St. Francis replied: "I would like that on Christmas even the walls could eat meat.”[5]

Like St. Francis of Assisi, St. John Chrysostom knew the great fittingness of celebrating a high feast.  Read St. John Chrysostom’s sermon (below) showing his contagious joy when celebrating the magnificent Easter feast:

Easter Sermon of St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church

If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast.

If any man be a wise servant, let him enter rejoicing into the joy of his Lord.

If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense.

If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward.

If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast.

If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings, because he shall in no wise be deprived.

If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing.

If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him also be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; He gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has worked from the first hour.

And He shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts.

And He both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering.

Wherefore, enter ye all into the joy of your Lord, and receive your reward, both the first and likewise the second.

You rich and poor together, hold high festival.

You sober and you heedless, honor the day.

Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast.

The table is fully laden; feast sumptuously!

The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.

Enjoy the feast of faith; receive all the riches of loving-kindness.

Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.

Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shone forth from the grave.

Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free: He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it.

By descending into hell, He made hell captive.

He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh.

And Isaiah, foretelling this, cried: “Hell was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions.”

It was embittered, for it was abolished.

It was embittered, for it was mocked.

It was embittered, for it was slain.

It was embittered, for it was overthrown.

It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains.

It took a body, and met God face to face.

It took earth, and encountered heaven.

It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is your sting?

O Hell, where is your victory?

Christ is risen, and you are overthrown.

Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen.

Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice.

Christ is risen, and life reigns.

Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave.

For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.[6]

In this sermon, St. John Chrysostom shows us the attitude we should have: feasting with joy when we have high motives to celebrate.  Truly, this is feasting worthy of the name!  What a contrast this is to the unworthy, joyless “feasting” which is merely a “celebrating” of the fact that we are indulging ourselves!

 

Conclusion

Let us Traditional Catholics fast well and then feast well.  Let us enter with all of our hearts and with complete generosity into our fasting, thereby forming a worthy contrast to our joyful celebrating of the great feast to come!



[1]           Quoted from Webster’s Dictionary, found here: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feast  Note: In this article, by the word “feasting”, we do not imply over-eating.


[2]           Here is a handy table of the Church’s Traditional rules for fasting and abstaining.  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/fast-abstinence-basics.html

 


[4]           St. Paul describes worldlings, unwilling to fast, in these words: “[T]hey are enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction; whose god is their belly; and whose glory is in their shame; who mind earthly things.”  Philippians, 3:18-19.

[6]           We recommend using this sermon as part of sanctifying the up-coming great feast of Easter.

The heresy of denying man is inclined to sin and selfishness

Catholic Candle note:  The article below examines a modernist heresy.  Heresy is an error about the Faith (in contrast to errors on some other subject, such as geometry).  Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas explains this truth:

We are speaking of heresy now as denoting a corruption of the Christian Faith.  Now it does not imply a corruption of the Christian faith, if a man has a false opinion in matters that are not of faith, for instance, in questions of geometry and so forth, which cannot belong to the faith by any means; but only when a person has a false opinion about things belonging to the faith.

Now a thing may be of the faith in two ways, as stated above, in one way, directly and principally, e.g. the articles of faith; in another way, indirectly and secondarily, e.g. those matters, the denial of which leads to the corruption of some article of faith; and there may be heresy in either way, even as there can be faith.

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.11, a.2, respondeo (emphasis added).    

The Catholic religion is the only true religion.  All other religions and all heresies, regardless of how they may conflict with one another, are the devils’ tools to lead people away from the Catholic truth.  

For example, the devil uses modernists (such as Henri de Lubac) to promote the heresy of universal salvation (i.e., “everybody goes to heaven”) by teaching that God gives grace to everyone.[1]

The devil and the conciliar church also promote the heresy of universal salvation by denying original sin and its effects.  

Experience and common sense show us that man, because he has a fallen nature, is naturally inclined more to evil rather than to good.  Though baptism remits original sin from one’s soul, it does not wipe away original sin’s effects: ignorance, malice, weakness and concupiscence.[2] 

St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, teaches that infants are born with this concupiscence (and this wound is not taken away with baptism).  Here are his words:

Concupiscence, therefore, as the law of sin which remains in the members of this body of death, is born with infants.[3] 

Wise parents know that only a sound Catholic upbringing can correct their children’s natural selfishness and make them good, generous, and loving.

Strangely, the “new” SSPX says that children are “naturally” good and loving.  Here are its words:

Doing good and loving are acts that come naturally to children.[4]

Original sin twists children from their earliest years.  Children who act virtuously do so because of good upbringing.[5]

Further, children learn to do good to obtain the praise they want for themselves, from their parents.  Good parents use praise and other rewards, as part of training their children to be generous and good.  Nonetheless, children, with their fallen nature, “naturally” are selfish and need to be taught generosity.

Conclusion

Let us not be fooled by the “new” SSPX!  Raising children well is hard work because children have a fallen nature (like us) and they are naturally inclined to selfishness and sin.

By failing to appreciate how the wounds of original sin affect children, the N-SSPX shows itself unfit to run schools and direct the souls of parents and children.


[2]          Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas, greatest Doctor of the Church, explains this truth:

Again, there are four of the soul's powers that can be the subject of virtue, as stated above (I-II:61:2), viz. the reason, where prudence resides, the will, where justice is, the irascible, the subject of fortitude, and the concupiscible, the subject of temperance. Therefore, in so far as the reason is deprived of its order to the true, there is the wound of ignorance; in so far as the will is deprived of its order of good, there is the wound of malice; in so far as the irascible is deprived of its order to the arduous, there is the wound of weakness; and in so far as the concupiscible is deprived of its order to the delectable, moderated by reason, there is the wound of concupiscence.

Accordingly, these are the four wounds inflicted on the whole of human nature as a result of our first parent’s sin.  But since the inclination to the good of virtue is diminished in each individual on account of actual sin, as was explained above (I-II:1:2), these four wounds are also the result of other sins, in so far as, through sin, the reason is obscured, especially in practical matters, the will hardened to evil, good actions become more difficult and concupiscence more impetuous.

Summa, Ia IIae, Q.85, a.3, respondeo.

[3]          On Infant Baptism, Bk 2, ch.4, in a section entitled Concupiscence, How Far in Us; The Baptized are Not Injured by Concupiscence, But Only by Consent Therewith.

[4]            Regina Coeli Report #285, December 2018 – January 2019, p.7.

[5]          Aristotle explained this truth well, about 350 years before Christ.  Here are his words:

[H]abits are produced from the acts of working like to them: and so what we have to do is to give a certain character to these particular acts, because the habits formed correspond to the differences of these.  So then, whether we are accustomed this way or that straight from childhood, makes not a small but an important difference, or rather I would say it makes all the difference.

Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle, Bk.2, ch.1.

The N-SSPX’s Liberal Slide Continues

In an article about the false “apparitions” in Medjugorje, Bosnia, the “new” liberal SSPX says that, in Medjugorje:

“there is undoubtedly some good – Masses ….”[1] 

Here the N-SSPX implies that the new mass is good because those “Masses” are all (or at least mostly) the sacrilegious, anti-Catholic new masses![2]


[2]          This is only the latest of the many occasions on which the “new” SSPX has promoted or approved of the new mass.  Read, e.g., the evidence in this article: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/priests/fellay-teaches-the-new-mass-is-good-and-holy.html

The Role and Work that God Gave to Woman

Catholic Candle note: Genuine conservatives and uncompromising traditionalists are extremely rare.  Most people who consider themselves conservative and uncompromising, are really only “conserving” the less extreme liberalism of a few decades ago.  They are not real conservatives, only less liberal than the society around them now.  They are not fully traditional, merely less-modernist.  

One example of their liberal contamination is in regards to their position on the role of women.  Pseudo-traditionalists have so fully accepted a less radical version of the feminist heresy[1] around them, that when they learn their position contradicts the truth taught by the Doctors of the Catholic Church, they assure themselves that the Doctors must be wrong.  

The truth is that human nature does not change, nor does God’s Plan, nor do the differences which Providence established between the sexes.  Those weak Catholics who have imbibed so much of the poison of our times, think wrongly that:

  • They themselves know unchanging human nature better than the greatest thinkers and teachers, e.g., St. Paul and St. Thomas Aquinas;

  • Those greatest thinkers and teachers, who lived in different centuries, throughout history, were all blinded by their many different “unenlightened” times (instead of we living now being misled by our own apostate times).  In other words, these misguided Catholics think that every time before our own time was “unenlightened” and only we understand human nature; and

  • The feminist enemies of Our Lord are correct and His friends and His True Church are wrong on the the roles of men and women, arising from the differences He created in them.

Anyone who considers the following article to be “out of date” or “unenlightened”, only shows the extent to which he has already accepted the norms of today’s corrupt society (feminism) and the revolt against God and Nature.  

Raising children well is the Great Work of a woman’s life.[2]  Hers is a noble calling, a glorious vocation!  This is true on a natural and on a supernatural level.  Her role is magnificent and indispensable[3], viz., to form great saints and great men and women in the next generation of Catholic and civil society – although such greatness will often not be recognized by the world.  This Great Work has more lasting value and is more rewarding in itself, than the work her husband is doing, such as working in commerce to support their family.

Here is how the poet, William Ross Wallace, lauded motherhood on a natural level:

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle is the Hand that Rules the World

BLESSINGS on the hand of women!  Angels guard its strength and grace.

In the palace, cottage, hovel, oh, no matter where the place;

Would that never storms assailed it, rainbows ever gently curled,

For the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.

Infancy’s the tender fountain, power may with beauty flow,

Mothers first to guide the streamlets, from them souls unresting grow —

Grow on for the good or evil, sunshine streamed or evil hurled,

For the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.

Woman, how divine your mission, here upon our natal sod;

Keep – oh, keep the young heart open always to the breath of God!

All true trophies of the ages are from mother-love impearled,

For the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.

Blessings on the hand of women!  Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,

And the sacred song is mingled with the worship in the sky –

Mingles where no tempest darkens, rainbows evermore are hurled;

For the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.

On a supernatural level also, raising children well is the Great Work of a woman’s life.  This is God’s Plan for women and their crucial role in the human race and the salvation of souls.  

In his autobiographical work, The Confessions, St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, paid great tribute to his dear mother, St. Monica.  He recalled his mother’s:

devout conversation towards You [i.e., God], her holy tenderness and attentiveness towards us ….[4] 

St. Augustine extolled his mother for many things, e.g., because:

she acted mercifully, and from the heart, forgave her debtors their debts ….  She had been the wife of one man, had requited her parents, had guided her house piously, was well-reported of, for good works, had brought up children ….  [St. Monica devoted herself to] care such as she might if she had been mother of us all; served us as if she had been daughter of us all.  Id.

St. Monica was not only a saintly instrument in converting her son, the great St. Augustine, but she was also the instrument for converting her pagan husband and doing countless other good works.  St. Augustine tenderly implored God for the soul of his saintly mother, in these words:

[L]et her rest in peace with her husband, before and after whom she was married to no other man; whom she obeyed with patience, bringing fruit to thee that she might also win him for thee.[5]  Id.

Truly, a Catholic mother who lives well her high calling of motherhood, should be revered!  Her life is a great success!  She has done important work on a natural and on a supernatural level!

How God perfectly equips women for this Great Work of their lives

Here is an analogy: God intends the organ of the eye for seeing.  Therefore, God designed the eye with everything necessary for doing this task well.  Likewise, God made a woman for the Great Work of raising children, and thus God designed her with everything necessary for doing this task well.

For good reason, women are called the softer sex.  God made women’s bodies softer and more delicate than men’s bodies.  God made women to bear children and they are her glory.  This is so central to women’s life that as soon as Eve sinned, God cursed her to pain and labor when she brought children into the world.  Whereas men want to leave some other, noteworthy accomplishment behind them when they die, women want to leave children.  

Everything in a woman’s whole life, including the toys she played with as a child, is, and should be, geared to the Great Work of her life, viz., raising children well.[6]

Her Great Work is the reason God made a woman more compassionate, more nurturing, sweeter, more tender, more generous,[7] more loving, better listeners, more focused on personality and on detail.  God made her with exactly the qualities necessary for her to serve as the Heart of the Home.  She would make a poor Head of the Home, just as her husband would make a poor Heart.  Because God made her the way He did, a mother is much more likely than a father is, to compassionately notice one of their children is “having a bad day”, or needs comforting, etc.

To fulfill her life’s work well, a woman’s natural makeup makes her more emotional[8] and she reasons less clearly than her husband.  This is complemented and completed by her husband reasoning more carefully and being less emotional.[9]  Together, they are the parents that children need, to be raised well.  She is her husband’s helpmate[10] and his partner in their crucial vocation of raising their children well.[11]  This vocation is theirs together.  They should be lifelong best-friends and companions.[12]

Although the husband has a different role[13] in their family than the wife does, it is a complementary role.[14]  That the sexes are complementary means that neither sex has all strengths and that both need the help of the other.  Each sex has strengths to be used to improve the weaknesses of the other.

Because God made woman the way He did and made her for this Great Work of her life, it is good and natural for a girl to play with girls’ toys, e.g., dolls and not guns.[15]  This is part of her preparation for her Great Work.

But it is also good, natural, and according to God’s plan, for girls to interact differently than boys in countless other ways, throughout girlhood, and all along the way to adulthood and throughout life, learning and perfecting the homemaking arts, showing greater compassion (than their brothers do) for younger siblings who need help, who are crying, etc.  All of this is natural and is good practice for the Great Work of women’s lives.

The Catholic Church and all good civilizations have seen how essential good women are, and the Church and these civilizations shelter and protect women[16] to provide the optimal conditions for their Great Work.  Among countless other ways girls and women should be protected, is to provide them with separate education.[17]

A woman should pursue holiness for her own soul’s sake and also to prepare for her life’s Great Work

God expects Catholic women (as well as Catholic men) to sanctify themselves and grow in holiness for their individual perfection.[18]  But God also expects a Catholic woman to sanctify her soul to prepare herself for the Great Work of her life, viz., raising the children God sends her, as perfectly as possible.  For how could she foster sanctity and virtue in her children if she is not virtuous and holy herself?  She “cannot give what she does not have” (as the proverb says).

A woman should perfect her intellect for herself and to prepare for her life’s Great Work

God expects women to perfect all of the talents and faculties (i.e., abilities) He has given them, especially their highest faculty – their intellects.  The best way for them to perfect their intellects is through a Catholic Liberal Education.  It forms and perfects the mind by knowing the highest truths, about God and the things of God, both in the natural and supernatural order.  This is education par excellence!  It is the best for everybody, because they have a rational nature.  This is a beginning of that knowing which is the primary joy of heaven, viz., the Beatific Vision.[19]

        

This education makes a woman wise in an important way.  A man is even more logical than a woman and so a Catholic Liberal Education perfects his intellect even more.[20]  A husband should have a Catholic Liberal Education too, helping to further make him wiser[21] than his wife and increase his fitness to be head of his family.

An important part of woman’s Great Work of raising children well, is perfecting the children’s minds.  Again, the mother cannot give what she does not have.  Although a Catholic Liberal Education is ideal for everyone, in any time and place, this education is even more crucial in our times, where an uncompromising family almost never has a good school to which to send their children.

Homeschooling is not merely teaching the multiplication tables and phonics.  Parents know that raising and educating children involves countless discussions (and answering their questions) on virtually everything, including the highest truths.  Plainly, to do a good job in a woman’s Great Work of raising children well, she must, as much as she can, have an intellect perfected with the important truths, so necessary for homeschooling.

Women religious are still women, with a womanly life

The above summary principally concerns the majority of women, whom God calls to the married state.  However, this summary also applies similarly to most women religious, whom God calls to teach children, or be helpers of priests, unselfishly and humbly living the life of religious who are women, including practicing the womanly domestic arts.  Women religious are brides of Christ, faithful, generous, and submissive to their Divine Spouse.

Women’s employment before they are married

In addition to:

  • perfecting her soul with virtue and holiness;

  • perfecting her intellect with a true and profound Catholic Liberal Education in the highest eternal truths; and

  • being very well-accomplished in the womanly domestic arts;

it often happens that a woman has the time and need to earn money to repay school debts, and support herself before getting married.  (Further, she should keep busy because an idle life harms virtue.)

Thus, a young woman in this situation should obtain employment in one of the “helping professions”, especially one which is most aligned with, and constitutes further preparation for her Great Work of raising children, such as to teach children or to be a nurse.

She should not be a doctor, a lawyer[22], or practice a similar profession, for three reasons:

  1. The years of this training and the cost would rarely “pay off” because she would usually meet her husband and get married before she finished her studies or at least before paying off her additional school debts.  Further, this increased debt, as well as her time and effort obtaining this training, might easily create (or increase) the temptation to work outside of the home after marriage.
  2. Such employment is suited only for the most prudent and careful-thinking men, since such professions principally require the greatest prudence and the most careful thinking.

  1. Such professions are detrimental to her God-given role as man’s helpmate and assistant, rather than man’s boss and an authority over him.[23]  Such employment is both against the natural role God gave her as a woman and also will make it harder for her to be an obedient and submissive wife when she gets married.

A woman should not hold political office, be a police officer, a soldier or have a similar job for two reasons:

  1. This type of job opposes the way God made her because she would be wielding authority over men[24]; and  

  1. Such work opposes her God-given nature as a nurturer, compassionate, a comforter, etc.  Being a policeman, soldier, etc., would require a woman to be aggressive, to harden herself, twisting and distorting the way God made women, to her detriment and the detriment of the Great Work of her life, viz., raising children well.[25]

During her years with children at home, a woman’s Great Work requires so much time, attention, devotion, and focus that a conscientious mother would wish there were “two of her” to accomplish all she rightly wants to accomplish at home, and all the good she wants to do for her family.  There is no question of her having “too much time on her hands” and not having enough important tasks to accomplish.[26]

This is why the Catholic Church teaches that one indication that a man isn’t ready to marry, is if he cannot financially support his family without his wife earning an income.  Anyone who thinks a mother’s work outside the home is more important than her family and homemaking duties, fails to understand the Great Work of her life, similar to failing to appreciate the importance of prayer.

Considering anyone else as an acceptable substitute for a mother being at home with her children, is a failure not only to understand Catholic teaching, but is also a failure to understand the family on even a natural level (although this natural truth was accepted and was obvious even to non-Catholics, until a few decades ago).

Anyone who thinks it is better for a mother to not be home with her children than to live in poverty or to default on their home mortgage, etc., fears poverty too much and fears sin too little[27], and fails to appreciate the eternal importance of the Great Work of a woman’s life.

A woman’s work after her children are grown

After her children are grown and are engaged in their own lives’ vocations, it is important for a woman (like a man in retirement) to continue to spend her life doing as much good as she can.  God gives us additional years of life because he wants us to do additional work for Him, not merely to live for our own amusement.

Besides a woman continuing to grow in holiness and continuing to study the Catholic Faith and increase her knowledge of important truths, it would often be good for her (especially if she is a widow and so no longer has a husband to care for), to perform additional good works like the ones she performed in her earlier years, e.g., helping to homeschool her grandchildren (and the children of other young families), or helping care for the sick and elderly, etc.

Beware of supposing that these truths of the Catholic Faith and of the Natural Law, are “out-of-date”!

If this article seems to you merely Catholic common sense (and also natural common sense), then congratulations!  You have managed to avoid the poison of the world (at least until now, and at least on this issue).

If you think that the above article is out-of-date or “unenlightened”, then beware!  You have been poisoned by the feminist heresy which is all around us!

Pope Leo XIII warns us against this error of rationalizing the rejection of St. Thomas’ teachings by falsely supposing it is out-of-date.  Pope Leo XIII declares that St. Thomas’ doctrine:

corresponds to the necessities not only of one historical period but rather of all times and periods of history ….[28]

St. Thomas faithfully teaches the true role and dignity of women!  This is a doctrine suited for “all times and periods of history”.  It is the feminists who are perverse, who combat and deny nature, trying to make themselves like men.

In his Syllabus of Errors, Pope Pius IX infallibly condemned the error that the principles of St. Thomas are not suitable for our modern times.  Here are his words:

Condemned:

The method and principles by which the old scholastic doctors [viz., St. Thomas Aquinas and his disciples] cultivated theology are no longer suitable to the demands of our times and to the progress of the sciences.[29]

Among the principles of St. Thomas, are those set forth above, concerning the role of women.  These Thomistic principles are admirably suited “to the demands of our times”, even though (and especially because) these principles are attacked on every side by Our Lord’s enemies!

St. Thomas’ teaching is not only his, but he synthesizes the finest wisdom and the truth from all of the other Fathers and Doctors put together.  Here is how Pope St. Pius X praises St. Thomas:

He [St. Thomas Aquinas] enlightened the Church more than all the other Doctors together; a man can derive more profit from his books in one year than from a lifetime spent in pondering the philosophy of others.[30] 

Because St. Thomas so magnificently surpasses all other Doctors and teachers, the Church calls him the Common Doctor, that is, the best teacher to learn from on any question.  As Pope Pius XI declares, “the Church has adopted his philosophy for her own.”[31]

When we see St. Thomas repeat and expound on the teaching of St. Paul on the role of women, we see how “his [viz.., St. Thomas’] doctrine is in harmony with Divine revelation”, as Pope Pius XII declares.[32]

Feminism is one of the most pernicious modernist errors and we see how St. Thomas is the remedy against it.  Here is the way Pope Pius XI declared how St. Thomas is the antidote to all modern errors:

Again, if we are to avoid the errors which are the source and fountain-head of all the miseries of our time, the teaching of [St. Thomas] Aquinas refutes the theories propounded by Modernists in every sphere ….[33]

With the grave error of feminism, as well as the rest of modernism, we see how far the world has strayed from the truth!  St. Thomas is the remedy!

Just as all Catholics should especially revere St. Thomas for his unique greatness, likewise the feminists and other modernists especially fear him for that same reason.  Here is how Pope Pius XI explains this truth:

[St.] Thomas refutes the theories propounded by Modernists in every sphere ….  Modernists are so amply justified in fearing no Doctor of the Church so much as Thomas Aquinas.[34]

Conclusion

The Great Work of a woman’s life is to raise children well.  This is a sublime vocation!

She cannot do this well without preparing herself and living the role of a Catholic woman.  She must embrace her feminine character, preparing herself by:

  • perfecting her soul with virtue and holiness;

  • perfecting her intellect with a true and profound education in the highest eternal truths; and

  • being very well-accomplished in the womanly domestic arts.

Satan and his servants oppose and attack patriarchy, that is, the rule by the father.  But we see that a virtuous patriarchy is good, necessary and is Willed by God.  

The current, politically correct program of Satan’s followers, is to oppose all (so-called) “sexism”, that is, the unequal treatment of individuals based on their sex.  But God Wills this different, unequal treatment of the sexes because they are different and unequal (viz., in as many ways as they are different).  Equal treatment of unequals is perverse, unjust and satanic!

There is no version of feminism that can be reconciled with Nature or with Divine revelation.  There is no good feminism; there is no true feminism; there is no Biblical feminism; there is no Catholic feminism.  Feminism is satanic and inherently evil, since it deliberately contradicts Nature and God’s plan.

Let us faithfully and docilely live the teachings of the Catholic Church and the Natural Law on the roles of men and women, and on all other matters!  Let us combat feminism and the other principal errors of our apostate times!


[1]          Heresy is an error against the Catholic Faith.  Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas explains this crucial truth:

We are speaking of heresy now as denoting a corruption of the Christian Faith.  Now it does not imply a corruption of the Christian faith, if a man has a false opinion in matters that are not of faith, for instance, in questions of geometry and so forth, which cannot belong to the faith by any means; but only when a person has a false opinion about things belonging to the faith.

Now a thing may be of the faith in two ways, as stated above; in one way, directly and principally, e.g. the articles of faith; in another way, indirectly and secondarily, e.g. those matters, the denial of which leads to the corruption of some article of faith; and there may be heresy in either way, even as there can be faith.

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.11, a.2, respondeo (emphasis added).

[2]          Because raising her children well is the Great Work of a woman’s life, Sacred Scripture infallibly connects that work directly to a woman’s own salvation.  For example, here is one way St. Paul makes that connection:

She [viz., a woman] shall be saved through childbearing; if she continues in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety.”  

1 Timothy 2:15.

Because this is the Great Work of her life, St. Paul says that “younger [women] should marry, bear children, be mistresses of families”.  1 Timothy, 5:14.

[3]          In 1917, Pope Benedict XV emphasized how women do tremendous good or evil for civilization.  Here are his words:

It is in fact amazing what the woman can do for the good of the human race, or for its ruin; if she should leave the common — [i.e., traditional] – road, both the civil and domestic orders are easily upset.

With the decline in religion, cultured women have lost their piety, also their sense of shame; many, in order to take up occupations ill-befitting their sex, took to imitating men; others abandoned the duties of the house-wife, for which they were fashioned, to cast themselves recklessly into the current of life.

Pope Benedict XV, Encyclical Natalis trecentesimi, (Woman in the Modern World), December, 27 1917.

[4]          The Confessions of St. Augustine, Bk. IX, ch. 13.

[5]          In our modernist age, how quickly and rashly we assume that our loved ones are already in heaven, based on evidence which is no better than the death of a typical practicing Catholic!  By contrast, St. Monica was a genuine saint and we see here that her son, a Doctor of the Church, did not assume she was in heaven.  

To read more about how the creeping modernism of our time makes even Traditional Catholics quick to assume a person is in heaven, read this article: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/priests/sspx-travels-the-conciliar-path-toward-promoting-universal-salvation.html

Here is one example of the “new” liberal SSPX declaring one of its deceased priests to have entered heaven on the day he died.  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/priests/sspx-travels-the-conciliar-path-toward-promoting-universal-salvation.html

[6]          Raising her children well, not other works, is the Great Work for which God intended women.  In other works, such as being partners in business, men help other men better than women do.  Here is one way St. Thomas Aquinas, greatest Doctor of the Catholic, explains this truth:

It was necessary that woman be made, as Scripture says, as a helpmate to the male; not indeed as a helpmate in some other work, as some have said, since in any other work a male can be more conveniently helped by another male than by woman; but as a helper in generation.

Summa Ia, Q.92, a.1, respondeo.

Sacred Scripture infallibly says the same thing in many ways.  For example, here is one way St. Paul states this truth:

[S]he [viz., woman] shall be saved through childbearing; if she continues in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety.”  

1 Timothy 2:15.

[7]          Here is one way that St. Thomas teaches that truth:

[M]en are wiser and more discerning and not so readily deceived as women are.  Again, women have a disposition to be more giving.  “As befits women, professing piety through good works.”  1 Timothy, 2:10.

Quoted from Lectures on St. Matthew’s Gospel, St. Thomas Aquinas, Ch.23, #1859 (emphasis added; quote from St. Paul in the original).

Although a man should do his best to be generous, it is more shameful for a woman to be stingy or selfish, than for a man – because it is further from how a woman should be – i.e., it is more against the way God made her.

[8]         Here is one way St. Thomas Aquinas explains this truth:

Since woman is free, she has the power of being counseled, but her counsel is powerless.  The reason for this is that, due to the gentleness (mollitiem) of her nature, her reason does not firmly adhere to her counsel, but is quickly changed therefrom on account of passions, such as concupiscence, or wrath, or fear, or things of the sort.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Aristotle’s Treatise on Politics, Bk.1, lect.10, n.9 [159].

[9]          To good women (and good men), this truth is obvious.  But how ungodly is the rage of feminists when they hear this truth stated!  They insist that reason is as strong in them as in men and that emotion (which interferes with clear reasoning) is as subdued in them as in men.

Here we “smell” the strong stench of satanic pride, because feminists hate the way God made them and they hate men, but also want to be themselves just like men.  Feminists bubble forth discontent, resentment, and eventually, apostasy.  Satan sows discord, and his use of feminism to attack women is one of his chief works in our modern world.  Men are chiefly to blame for the feminist heresy, because they have not vigilantly guided and protected women and society.

Here is one way St. Thomas Aquinas states men’s duty to protect and guide women to avoid deceptions (including feminism):

[M]en are wiser and more discerning and not so readily deceived as women are.  …  Man is the head and counselor of the woman.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Lectures on St. Matthew’s Gospel, Ch.23, #1859.

Sacred Scripture infallibly teaches the same thing, e.g., “[T]he head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”  1 Corinthians, 11:3.

Women should be guided by their husbands (or fathers).  Here is one way Sacred Scripture infallibly teaches this truth: “But if they [women] 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, 14:35.  (This same passage reminds every man of his duty to be a wise guide to his wife and daughters.)

Although women should do their best to be prudent, it is more shameful for a man to be foolish, than for a woman – because it is further from how men should be – i.e., more against the way God made them.

Feminists have contempt for the Great Work of their lives, viz., raising children well.  It is Satan’s masterstroke to make modern women aggressive, hard, and angry, and so they are ruined for the Great Work of their lives.  This is like Satan’s success making man soft, “sensitive” and emotional, and so ruining him for the Great Work of his own life.

The saints must always be our models, including our models for the roles of the sexes.  There are no feminists who are saints and no saints who are feminists.  The saints follow the nature and roles God gave them, humbly, faithfully, and joyfully.

Here, e.g., are the words of the humble anti-feminist, the great St. Teresa of Avila, when she was writing about a particular spiritual matter:

[T]here are no words whereby to explain, – at least, none for us women, who know so little; learned men can explain it better.

St. Teresa of Avila, Autobiography, ch.27, §4.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the true model of wise and happy women.  True holiness, true happiness, and true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary always decrease in the same proportion in which a person imbibes the poison of feminism.

Feminism is anarchy in the family, which Satan designed to destroy this indispensable natural and supernatural pillar of civilization.  For a further treatment of this truth, read this article: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/feminism-is-anarchy-in-the-family.html

[10]          God willed woman to be man’s helpmate.  Sacred Scripture infallibly explains why God created woman, in these words:

[T]he Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself.

Genesis, 2:18.

Sacred Scripture infallibly says the same thing in other ways too, e.g.: “[M]an was not created for the woman: but the woman for the man” (1 Corinthians, 11:9) to help him raise a family.

[11]          The vocation of raising children includes raising them fully and well.  Here is one way the Summa explains this common sense truth:

For nature intends not only the begetting of offspring, but also its education and development until it reach the perfect state of man as man, and that is the state of virtue.

Suppl., Q.41, a.1, respondeo.

[12]          Here is one way St. Thomas explains this truth:

The greater the friendship, the firmer and the more lasting it is.  Now, between husband and wife there seems to be the greatest friendship; for they join … for the sharing of all of home life; hence a sign of this is that man leaves even his father and mother for the sake of his wife.

Summa Contra Gentiles, St. Thomas Aquinas, ch.123, §6 (emphasis added).

[13]          The Summa touches upon these different roles as follows:

Although the father ranks above the mother, the mother has more to do with the offspring than the father has, or we may say that woman was made chiefly in order to be man’s helpmate in relation to the offspring, whereas the man was not made for this purpose.

Suppl., Q.44, a.2 ad 1 (emphasis added).

[14]          Pope Pius XI repeated the important Catholic teaching that the sexes are different and complementary.  Here are the pope’s words:

[T]he two [sexes are] quite different in organism, in temperament, [and] in abilities ….  These [viz., men and women], in keeping with the wonderful designs of the Creator, are destined to complement each other in the family and in society, precisely because of their differences ….

Divini Illius Magistri, (On Christian Education), Pope Pius XI, §68 (emphasis added; bracketed words added for clarity).

Here is one way that St. Thomas Aquinas teaches regarding the complementariness of men’s and women’s roles and work:

[I]n other animals, there is communication between male and female only insofar as what was said above, namely only for the procreation of offspring; but in humans male and female cohabitate not only for the sake of the procreation of children, but also on account of those things that are necessary for human life.  It is immediately apparent that human works that are necessary for life are divided between male and female; such that some are appropriate for the man, such as are to be done outside, and others for the wife, such as sewing and other things that are to be done at home.  Therefore, they are sufficient for one another as far as each brings in his own works for the common good.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Aristotle’s Ethics, Bk VIII, lect. 12, n.20 [1271] (emphasis added).

God intends the difference and inequality in the creatures He made, as part of the orderliness of creation.  For a fuller explanation of that Providential truth, read this article: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/god-wills-the-natural-inequalities-between-different-persons-and-between-different-peoples.html

[15]Further, because God made man and wife to be lifelong best-friends, God made marriage to be indissoluble, even under the Natural Law.  Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas, Suppl., Q.67, a.1.  This shows that divorce is evil and should be forbidden, even among pagans and Protestants.


         Pope Pius XI repeated the important, perennial teaching of the Catholic Faith and the Natural Law, that the differences in the sexes should be fostered, and not denied and suppressed (as the enemies of Our Lord attempt to do).  Here are the pope’s words:

These [viz., men and women], in keeping with the wonderful designs of the Creator, are destined to complement each other in the family and in society, precisely because of their differences, which therefore ought to be maintained and encouraged during their years of formation, with the necessary distinction and corresponding separation ….

Divini Illius Magistri, (On Christian Education), Pope Pius XI, §68 (emphasis added; bracketed words added for clarity).

[16]          St. Thomas Aquinas gives an example of how men should protect women, in connection with Our Lord condemning the Scribes for “devouring the houses of widows”.  St. Thomas explains that the Scribes preyed upon widows precisely because they were without the protection of their husbands.  Here is St. Thomas’ example, quoting the Medieval Scriptural commentator, Theophylactus:

Feigning to be their protectors, the Scribes used to come to women who were left without the protection of their husbands, and by a pretense of prayer, a reverend exterior and hypocrisy, they used to deceive widows and thus also devour the houses of the rich.

Catena Aurea on St. Mark, St. Thomas Aquinas, ch.12, v.40 (emphasis added).

Sacred Scripture infallibly teaches the same thing, viz., that men should protect women.  For example, “[T]he head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”  1 Corinthians, 11:3.

[17]          As a good spiritual father, Pope Pius XI repeated the important, perennial teaching of the Catholic Faith and the Natural Law, that girls and women should be protected and their feminine nature fostered, by education which is separate whenever possible, from boys and men.  Here are the pope’s words:

False also and harmful to Christian education is the so-called method of “coeducation”.  This too, by many of its supporters, is founded upon [the heresy of] naturalism and the denial of original sin; but by all, upon a deplorable confusion of ideas that mistakes a leveling promiscuity and equality, for the legitimate association of the sexes.  The Creator has ordained and disposed perfect union of the sexes only in matrimony, and, with varying degrees of contact, in the family and in society.  Besides there is not in nature itself, which fashions the two quite different in organism, in temperament, in abilities, anything to suggest that there can be or ought to be promiscuity, and much less equality, in the training of the two sexes.  These, in keeping with the wonderful designs of the Creator, are destined to complement each other in the family and in society, precisely because of their differences, which therefore ought to be maintained and encouraged during their years of formation, with the necessary distinction and corresponding separation, according to age and circumstances. These principles, with due regard to time and place, must, in accordance with Christian prudence, be applied to all schools, particularly in the most delicate and decisive period of formation, that, namely, of adolescence; and in gymnastic exercises and deportment, special care must be had of Christian modesty in young women and girls, which is so gravely impaired by any kind of exhibition in public.”

Divini Illius Magistri, (On Christian Education), Pope Pius XI, §68 (emphasis added; bracketed words added for clarity).

[18]          One of the realities of the spiritual life and one of the differences (and inequalities) between men and women, is that God blessed women to be able to attain great spiritual perfection more easily than men.  Here is how St. Teresa of Avila stated this truth, citing the authority of her spiritual director, the great man of penance, St. Peter of Alcantara:

There are many more women than men to whom our Lord gives these [extraordinary] graces; I have heard the holy friar, Peter of Alcantara, say so, and, indeed, I know it myself.  He used to say that women made greater progress in this way [of perfection] than men did; and he gave excellent reasons for his opinion, all in favor of women ….

St. Theresa of Avila, Autobiography, ch.40, §12 (bracketed words added for clarity).

To help women with their role in the family and with the Great Work of their life, God made women different than men in ways which also make it easier for women to reach spiritual perfection.  For example,

  • God made a woman more inclined to be generous and self-sacrificing, than a man (which is a great help in motherhood), helping a woman to also be more generous with God;
  • God made a woman more inclined to be loving, than a man (which is a great help in motherhood), helping a woman to also be more loving with God;
  • God made a woman more inclined to focus on personality, than a man (which is a great help in motherhood), helping the woman to also cooperate with God’s work in developing a personal relationship with Our Lord, which is the spiritual life;

  • God made her more ready to obey than her husband (to fulfill her role in the family), helping her to also be more ready to obey God; and

  • God made a woman to want to lean on her husband and seek his support, making her more ready to also lean on God, which is a great help in acquiring holiness.

[19]          Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas, Suppl., Q.92, a.1.

[20]          St. Thomas states this truth in the following way:

Subjection is twofold. One is servile, by virtue of which a superior makes use of a subject for his own benefit; and this kind of subjection began after sin.  There is another kind of subjection which is called economic or civil, whereby the superior makes use of his subjects for their own benefit and good; and this kind of subjection existed even before sin.  For good order would have been wanting in the human family if some were not governed by others wiser than themselves.  So, by such a kind of subjection woman is naturally subject to man, because in man the discretion of reason predominates.

Summa, Ia, Q.92, a.1, ad 2.

[21]          Although men and women are both rational, reason is more predominant in men – they think more abstractly.  Women are more emotional – they are more inclined to bring personality and feeling into their reasoning).  Thus, men are able to advance further in the two types of wisdom provided in a Catholic Liberal Education:

  1. It is wisdom to know the highest truths about God (as well as other high truths), because they perfect the intellect and because they are so magnificent; and

  1. It is wisdom to know the important truths which help us to live well and live according to our rational nature, e.g., the moral science of ethics.  

Summa, Ia, Q.45., a.1, respondeo; & Summa, Ia, Q.45., a.3, respondeo.  

Both types of wisdom perfect the intellect, so men and women should pursuit both.

[22]          Here is one way that St. Thomas teaches this common sense truth of both nature and religion:

If therefore they [viz., women] ask and dispute in public, it would be a sign of shamelessness, and this is shameful to them.  Hence it also follows that in law the office of advocate is forbidden to women.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Lectures on 1 Corinthians, 14, lect. 7, n. 881.

[23]          The reason is that it is not woman’s role to lead (exercise leadership) in society.  This is why St. Paul explained that “I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to use authority over the man: but to be in silence.”  1 Timothy, 2:12.

[24]          Isaiah mentions the rule of women as a measure of how corrupt a society (viz., Israel) is.  Here are Isaiah’s words: “As for my people, their oppressors have stripped them, and women have ruled over them”.  Isaias 3:12.

Summarizing the Divine Law (from St. Paul) and Natural Law (from Aristotle) concerning the perversity of a woman being in charge of a government, the Summa teaches:

According to the Apostle (1 Tim. 2:11; Titus 2:5), woman is in a state of subjection: wherefore she can have no spiritual jurisdiction, since the Philosopher [Aristotle] also says (Ethic. viii) that it is a corruption of public life when the government comes into the hands of a woman.

Supp. Q.19, a.3, ad 4 (emphasis added; bracketed word added for clarity).

This corruption of having a woman rule is obvious from the fact that she must not even rule her own family.  Rather, she must obey her husband.  St. Paul commands: “Wives, be subject to your husbands”.  Colossians, 3:18.  Therefore, how much more perverse it is for a woman to have authority over, and be the head of, all of the families of a country by being the head of the country!

[25]          A man’s role is to protect his family in both spiritual and temporal matters.  A woman’s role is to nurture her family and be a helpmate for her husband.

[26]          Luring mothers to leave their homes and children to join the workforce of businesses is one of the chief tools of communism and is one of the main ways Russia has spread its errors.  Here is how Pope Pius XI explained this truth:

Communism is particularly characterized by the rejection of any link that binds woman to the family and the home, and her emancipation is proclaimed as a basic principle.  She is withdrawn from the family and the care of her children, to be thrust instead into public life and collective production under the same conditions as man.  The care of home and children then devolves upon the collectivity.

Divini Redemptoris – On atheistic communism, Pope Pius XI, §11.

Pius XI condemns married women working outside the home, in the following words:

Neither this emancipation of the woman is real, nor is it the reasonable and worthy liberty convenient to the Christian and noble mission of the woman and wife.  It is the corruption of the feminine nature and maternal dignity, as well as the perversion of all the family, since the husband lacks his wife, the children their mother, and the entire family her vigilant guard.

On the contrary, this false liberty and unnatural equality with man is harmful for the woman herself, because at the moment that she steps down from the royal domestic throne to which she was raised by the Gospel, quickly she will fall into the ancient slavery of Paganism, becoming a mere instrument of man.

Pope Pius XI, Casti connubii, #75 (emphasis added).

[27]          Our focus should be spiritual.  Our material wants should be few and simple.  Our Lord teaches us:

Be not solicitous therefore, saying, What shall we eat:  or what shall we

drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed?  For after all these things do the heathens seek.  For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things.  Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.

St. Matthew’s Gospel, 6:31-33.

St. Paul instructs us in the simplicity we need: “But, having food and wherewith to be covered, with these we are content”.  1 Timothy, 6:8.

[28]          Cum Hoc Sit, Pope Leo XIII, August 4, 1880.

[29]         Emphasis added; bracketed words added for clarity.  

In Quanta Cura, Pope Pius IX used his ex cathedra (infallible) authority to condemn this error (#13) as part of a syllabus of errors condemned and attached to Quanta Cura.  Regarding these condemnations, the pope said:

We, truly mindful of Our Apostolic duty, and especially solicitous about our most holy religion, about sound doctrine and the salvation of souls divinely entrusted to Us, and about the good of human society itself, have decided to lift our voice again.  And so all and each evil opinion and doctrine individually mentioned in this letter, by Our Apostolic authority We reject, proscribe and condemn; and We wish and command that they be considered as absolutely rejected, proscribed and condemned by all the sons of the Catholic Church.

Thus, Pope Pius IX’s condemnation fulfills the conditions for infallibility set out in Vatican I’s document, Pastor Aeternus, because the pope was: 1) carrying out his duty as pastor and teacher of all Christians; 2) in accordance with his supreme apostolic authority; 3) on matters of faith or morals; 4) to be held by the universal Church.

[30]          Motu Proprio, Doctoris Angelici, Pope St. Pius X, 29 June 1914, quoting Pope John XXII’s Consistorial address of 1318.

[31]          Encyclical Studiorum Ducem, Pope Pius XI, 11 (emphasis added).

[32]          Humani generis, Pope Pius XII, 31.

[33]         Pope Pius XI, Studiorum Ducem, ¶27 (bracketed words added).

[34]         Pope Pius XI, Studiorum Ducem, ¶27.