Monthly Archives: January 2015

Forgotten Doctrines

Part 3: We are commanded to preach the name of Jesus, and to spread his kingdom; this is our baptismal charge, strengthened for public defense of the faith, giving reasons for the hope that lies within us, by the sacrament of confirmation. Always with charity, of course; for it is love that impels us, as it did the Apostle.

I call to mind the words of St. Peter when he was bidden by others not to preach the name of Jesus…

“We gave you a firm warning,” said the priest, “not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt of this man’s death on us.”

Peter replied, with the apostles, “We must obey God, rather than men; it was the God of our fathers who raised up Jesus, whom you crucified upon a tree.”

St. Peter, ora pro nobis.

Forgotten Doctrines

Part 2

A corrective to our ignorance is to read Pius XI and Leo XIII. Leo XIII, in his marvelous Arcanum, art. 11, writes;

The husband is the chief of the family and the head of the wife. The woman, because she is flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, must be subject to her husband and obey him; not, indeed, as a servant, but as a companion, so that her obedience shall be wanting in neither honor nor dignity. Since the husband represents Christ, and since the wife represents the Church, let there always be, both in him who commands and in her who obeys, a heaven-born love guiding both in their respective duties. For “the husband is the head of the wife; as Christ is the head of the Church. . . Therefore, as the Church is subject to Christ, so also let wives be to their husbands in all things.”

 

Pius XI in his marvelous Casti connubii, writes:

 

Domestic society being confirmed, therefore, by this bond of love, there should flourish in it that “order of love,” as St. Augustine calls it. This order includes both the primacy of the husband with regard to the wife and children, the ready subjection of the wife and her willing obedience, which the Apostle commends in these words: “Let women be subject to their husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ is the head of the Church,” 26.

 

Again, this subjection of wife to husband in its degree and manner may vary according to the different conditions of persons, place and time. In fact, if the husband neglect his duty, it falls to the wife to take his place in directing the family. But the structure of the family and its fundamental law, established and confirmed by God, must always and everywhere be maintained intact, art. 28

 

The same false teachers who try to dim the luster of conjugal faith and purity do not scruple to do away with the honorable and trusting obedience which the woman owes to the man. Many of them even go further and assert that such a subjection of one party to the other is unworthy of human dignity, that the rights of husband and wife are equal; wherefore, they boldly proclaim the emancipation of women has been or ought to be effected. Art. 74

 

This, however, is not the true emancipation of woman, nor that rational and exalted liberty which belongs to the noble office of a Christian woman and wife; it is rather the debasing of the womanly character and the dignity of motherhood, and indeed of the whole family, as a result of which the husband suffers the loss of his wife, the children of their mother, and the home and the whole family of an ever watchful guardian. More than this, this false liberty and unnatural equality with the husband is to the detriment of the woman herself, for if the woman descends from her truly regal throne to which she has been raised within the walls of the home by means of the Gospel, she will soon be reduced to the old state of slavery (if not in appearance, certainly in reality) and become as amongst the pagans the mere instrument of man. Art. 75

Forgotten Doctrines

Part 1

We have quite forgotten the Church’s teaching, grounded in revelation itself, on the subjection of the wife to the husband. This is most unfortunate, for precisely in our time is this truth called into doubt. Thus, domestic tranquility is disturbed, for good men and women fail to find this truth presented to them clearly and unambiguously. It simply goes without saying that this headship of the husband is one for the sake of service. Real headship it nonetheless is. But no one nowadays wants to take leadership. Society trains everyone away from it, except the usurping kind of leadership that undermines all natural right.

In any multitude, there must be order. Now, “consensus” can work much of the time, when there is perfect practical harmony. However, it is nearly impossible for there to be perfect practical harmony all of the time. Compromise and dialogue are virtues often enough. But none of these can guarantee that stability in which the matrimonial state flourishes. For the stability of the matrimonial state, it is then necessary for there to be one ultimate authority. And this authority, revelation and the order of nature indicate to be the husbands.

For the husband is less determined by his bodily fluctuations than is the wife, whose very closeness to her bodily fluctuations is also a strength for her, since by it she is uniquely attentive to the needs of the children and to concrete persons. The husband’s glance is far off, providing for the long range needs and plans of the family. Thus, the husband has his eye on the comprehensive factors affecting the family, and the wife on the real and urgent needs of the day. Since the comprehensive factors are architectonic, are overarching, these are the principles of rule; whereas the concrete matters are determined in light of the prudential supremacy of these principles. Hence, it is natural that the husband serve as ruler of the family, with gentleness, diplomacy, for the sake of the good, and yet really with authority.

There is ample Magisterial teaching on the headship of the husband, although for the past 50 years or more, there has been an unfortunate silence, a silence not even corrected by John Paul II. Thus, in our next post, a set of Magisterial teachings on the subject.

 

Forgotten Doctrines

In a number of posts to come, I’ll be indicating various forgotten doctrines. They have been forgotten because they have not been uttered for a long time, although they have come into doubt by non-Catholics. Since they have not been explicitly re-inforced for Catholics, these too are coming to forget them as well. This is a disaster for the Church. Well, the argument from silence is nonetheless a fallacy. Just because a doctrine has not been repeated does not mean it no longer holds. It is time we recover ourselves from our delirium.