Tuesday, June 25, 2002

In the Catholic imagination, the Church is the Bride of Christ because, in the presence of God, all of creation is feminine and yielding. It is the very masculinity of God that holds the Church freely captive in His embrace. God's unabashed masculinity requires both a feminine response and a yielding to those elements within the Church's own nature that echo the very masculinity of Her Spouse. The Church's feminine nature is a tribute to masculinity, not a substitute for it.

Complementarity is quite different from the principle of opposites. In the theory of opposites, we find a certain exclusive ownership of one set of virtues matched by an exclusive ownership of another set of virtues. In theory at least, each set is completed by the other. In actual practice, I would imagine that each set inhabits a closed world where the alien nature of the other offsets any attraction between the two.

In the concept of Complementarity, the sets are not exclusive. Instead, each set carries within itself a faint echo of the Other. In the absence of the Other, each of these echoes becomes a hunger for a very specific quality. In the presence of the Other, each echo becomes an affirmation of the Other and the basis for a complementary melding of the two entities. The sum of the parts becomes a greater thing that any earthly creature can truly imagine.

The relationship between men and women, between the Feminine and Masculine, was not meant to be a battle. It was intended as a unending dance of intimacy.


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