Wednesday, August 07, 2002

There may be only two institutions that are the natural enemy of totalitarianism. This first is the family and the second is the Church. The first incorporates the full flowering of womanhood while the second incorporates the guardianship of men.

For at least the last half century, feminine principles and institutions have been under attack. As a result, the family has been decimated. Similar attacks on masculine virtues and institutions are well underway.

Today, it would appear that the Church is caught in this crossfire. I imagine that it would be silly - perhaps even dangerous - to ignore the sexual politics implicit in the current conversation on Church Reform.

I am not a man and it would be dishonest for me to pretend a deeper understanding of masculine structures than I actually possess. Still, I do recognize that hierarchy, rank, uniforms, rituals, the bond of brothers, and a cult of collective discretion are somehow related to the masculine exercise of heroic virtues.

The 'manly' professions all incorporate these discredited externals. Soldiers, police, firemen, priests and even, to some extent, doctors have these masculine accoutrements that in some strange way manage to make heroism commonplace.

Like all institutional structures, these externals may have some inherent weaknesses. Nothing human is perfect. Just the same, I suspect that the strengths more than compensate for the weaknesses.

Before we decide to stripe our society of these remnants of 'patriarchy,' we should explore their inherent significance in the natural order of things.

After all, who ever suspected that the apparently innocent and superficially reasonable demands of a vocal group of feminists would lead to our current state of broken-ness.

It's possible that these male institutions are also an integral part of the mystery of the soul's incarnation.

For a while at least, we will be engaged in a significant struggle to rebuild a truly Catholic feminism. Why add to the mess?

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