The role of women in rebuilding Christian civilisation (Part III)

by Maria Madise

This short series of articles considers how the revolution against Christian civilisation has sought to instrumentalise women and womanhood and, consequently, how its restoration is dependent on the role that women will play. The first part looked at how the choice between the way of Eve and the way of Mary has been placed before each woman and, furthermore, how love of sacrifice and perseverance are what the revolution seeks to destroy in every individual woman as well as in a culture. The second part looked more closely at how each episode of the revolution sought to appeal to women and to deform their authentic mission. The last part will consider the attempts to spread the revolution in the Church through women and will draw some practical conclusions about the role of women in restoring a truly Christian civilisation.

Revolution in the Church

All the phases of the revolution that we have previously looked at share one main target – the Church. At the heart of the revolution is the subversion of God’s order and a desire to institute disorder without God. The revolution will never be satisfied as long as the Holy Catholic Church, the earthly shrine of God-given order, stands strong. It desires to corrupt the Church, as it has corrupted the world. Let us recall the correspondence of the Alta Vendita:

“…let us popularise vice among the multitudes… make vicious hearts and there will be no more Catholics… it is corruption on a grand scale that we have undertaken… a corruption that should one day enable us to lead the Church to its grave.”

Instead of attacking her directly, the revolution lures her children to take everything it has achieved in the world today – secularisation, divorce, contraception, abortion, homosexuality, gender ideology, etc. – and bring these things into the Church. And once morality is corrupted, doctrine is corrupted. If she were to accept any one of these sins without calling her children to repent, all her teachings would wither.

Yet, the present stage of the revolution sees an attack, not only on the Church’s moral and doctrinal constitution, but even on the priesthood of her Son, which is the foundation of the salvation of mankind. 

There have been several attempts to introduce an idea of ordination that could be conferred sacramentally on women in the Church. Most recently, in February of this year, the German bishops voted by a large majority for the admission of women to the ordained ministries. The document debated at their meeting in Frankfurt, as part of the Synodal Path, deals with gender equality in the Catholic Church and emphasises that “it is not the participation of women in all the services and ministries of the Church which must be justified, but the exclusion of women from the sacramental ministry”. 

Tradition opposes female ordinations, Sacred Scripture rejects it, canon law forbids it, popes throughout history have ruled against it. This is because Christ was incarnated as the Son of Man and established His priesthood in His own person – in persona Christi. Therefore, it is men whom He has called to this priesthood. 

God does not order so as to exclude women. But the divine plan for woman is different. The creature to whom Christ was most intimately bound on earth was a woman; the Blessed Virgin would have been the most qualified of all to share in His ordained ministry, had this figured in the counsels of God. Edith Stein writes: 

“He formed her after His own image, more closely than any other human being before or after; He gave her a place in the Church for all eternity, such as has been given to no other human being. And just so, He has called women in all times to the most intimate union with Him: they are to be emissaries of His love, proclaimers of His will to kings and popes, and forerunners of His Kingdom in the hearts of men. To be the Spouse of Christ is the most sublime vocation which has been given, and whoever sees this way open before her will yearn for no other way.” 1

Marriage is between spouses. One cannot be married to oneself. Women can never carry out a ministry in persona Christi, nor can they be ordained to the diaconate or to any other rank of holy orders, which originate in and are ordered to the single priesthood of Christ. Woman’s role is fashioned after that of the Church herself as Spouse of Christ – sponsa Christi – the fruitful mother of souls. 

Today, the sacrament and even the natural institution of marriage is under constant attack; fiercely assaulted by the homosexual and transgender agenda. But the movement for the ordination of women direct these attacks on the supernatural marriage of Christ and His Church. Words fail to convey the gravity of this desecration. However, this may explain why churchmen who do not recognise it as such are also incapable of resisting other evils like homosexuality and gender ideology.  

Once again, a revolutionary proposal seeking the input of women, is founded on the same premise as the first Fall. The ancient serpent suggests we will gain something we are denied, while retaining everything we have now. What was the reality? Eve gained the apple, but lost Paradise. There was no gain to speak of.

Thanks to the merits of the Blessed Virgin, instead of human equality, women are offered a dignity and honour in the Catholic Church unparalleled to what they have received in any other institution. This is rooted in humble service of the handmaid of the Lord. Her “Fiat!” is the greatest word ever spoken by a creature. Her word brought forth the Word made flesh. 

One can easily see therefore the particular and irreplaceable role of women in countering the revolution, which seeks to corrupt the moral order and deny God. 

The pure image of feminine nature stands before our eyes in the Immaculata, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Again, Edith Stein writes:

“The most pure virgin is the only one safeguarded from every stain of sin. Except for her, no one embodies feminine nature in its original purity. Every other woman has something in herself inherited from Eve, and she must search her way from Eve to Mary. There is a bit of defiance in each woman which does not want to be humbled under any sovereignty. In each, there is something of that desire which reaches for forbidden fruit. And she is hindered by both these tendencies in what we clearly recognise as woman’s work.” 2

To fulfil her destiny, to be truly happy, every woman must take Mary as her model. Regardless of her particular role or state in life, if she is to be a joyful counter-revolutionary, she must submit herself wholly to God in everything she does. Edith Stein continues:

“Whether she is a mother in the home, or occupies a place in the limelight of public life, or lives behind quiet cloister walls, everywhere she must be a handmaid of the Lord. So had the Mother of God been in all circumstances of her life, as the Temple virgin enclosed in that hallowed precinct, by her quiet work in Bethlehem and Nazareth, as guide to the apostles and the Christian community after the death of her Son. If each woman were to be an image of the Mother of God, a Spouse of Christ, an apostle of the divine Heart, then would each fulfil her feminine vocation, no matter what conditions she lived in and what worldly activity absorbed her life.” 3

What practical conclusions could we draw? 

We should of course contribute to all the tasks of our time in the defence and spread of the faith, but it seems to be asked of women today specifically to exercise discipline of the senses and focus on the divine; to lead, so to say, a “Eucharistic life”; to adore Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist and to love Him as a bride loves her husband. Bridal love of Christ makes His business our own, says Edith Stein. And His business is none other than saving souls.

Ever greater vigilance is required to maintain purity of mind and body. By the way we look, speak and act we can give witness that God exists. A fact so well hidden today! We should also look and sound Catholic. Our appearance, therefore, should not contradict what we believe. We are in the battle. Soldiers in slippers cannot be taken seriously at wartime. Their uniform, on the other hand, shows their readiness and competence to fight. We should look like Catholic women “on duty” at all times. The Catechism of Perseverance speaking of first century Rome recalls: “The admirable purity of our ancestors appeared in their exterior. Nothing was more striking than the contrast between Christian and pagan women in this respect.” 4

Christian mothers should have special regard to the holiness of their children. “All children have an instinct for the sense of dignity and decorum of their mother,” observed Cardinal Siri. This is why modesty in dress, comportment and speech is necessary not only in public, but also at home. By guarding the innocence of their children, Christian mothers foster wilful purity in their children in later life.

Religious are called to manifest, in every detail, the fidelity of true brides of Christ. These traditions nurture the hidden life in this special and most privileged union. A bride has more opportunities to offer signs of affection and service to her husband than to any other.

In all of these roles, interiorly, we must unite ourselves with Our Lady – through the Sacraments, through the Rosary, and through consecrating our entire lives to her. Since Eve, only one woman has had the right attitude of complete surrender, the attitude of Fiat. Let us seek to imitate that woman. Let us adopt her attitude to the Truth – protect it as a mother would protect her child and submit to it as she submitted to the Truth who was her Child. Let us be part of her army – under the command of Her Immaculate Heart – turned always towards God, while she crushes the devil’s head with her heel. We are her little children called to the battle in the way described by St Louis de Montfort:

“… the power of Mary over all the devils will especially break out in the latter times, when Satan will lay his snares against her heel; that is to say, her humble slaves and her poor children, whom she will raise up to make war against him. They shall be little and poor in the world’s esteem, and abased before all, like the heel, trodden under-foot and persecuted as the heel is by the other members of the body. But in return for this, they shall be rich in the grace of God, which Mary shall distribute to them abundantly. They shall be great and exalted before God in sanctity, superior to all other creatures in their animated zeal, and leaning so strongly on the divine succour, that, with the humility of their heel, in union with Mary, they shall crush the head of the devil, and cause Jesus Christ to triumph.” 5

  1. Edith Stein, Essays on Women, ICS Publications, Washington 2010, p. 84.
  2. Ibid., p. 119.
  3. Ibid., p. 54.
  4. Abbé Gaume, The Catechism of Perseverance, Vol. III, p. 78. Dublin; quoted by Robert T. Hart in Those Who Serve God Should Not Follow the Fashions, Little Flowers Family Press 2017, p. 33.
  5. St Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, Saint Benedict Press, Charlotte 2010, p. 24.