Friday, September 26, 2008

Theology of the Female Body

By Fr. Thomas Loya

Put before the eyes of our nation, and in fact the eyes of the world, are two images of womanhood. Let me correct that: Put before our nation and the world is an image of womanhood that is consistent with the theology of the female body, and on the other hand, an image that disregards the theology of the female body. The image that is consistent with the theology of the female body has set a nation on fire. It has left no heart unmoved whether toward inspiration or even to character assassination.

It has in one fell swoop, out of nowhere, accomplished the very thing that the other image of womanhood fought, scrapped, clawed and connived to achieve for decades and yet failed to achieve. These two images are symbolized in the persons of Sarah Palin and Hilary Clinton. Now stay calm! I am not talking politics, Democrat versus Republican, conservative versus liberal. Those are pigeonholing artificial dualisms that I have no use for. Nor am I talking so much about the persons themselves but rather the images, the worldviews that these two women represent. An incredible teaching moment has been put before our eyes and I believe it is by God’s Providence.

We have spoken before in this column about the “genius of womanhood” which is stamped in the very language of the female body. This genius of womanhood holds the key to the most powerful force in the created order-femininity. The power of femininity lies in the one thing that distinguishes womanhood itself-the womb. When we get things right in the womb we get everything else right. The image presented by Sarah Palin affirms this most distinctive factor of womanhood. In front of the world on national television Sarah points to her husband and says that “he is the man I most admire on this earth.” Translated: My husband is not dispensable, a useless add on or a convenient conduit for another personal agenda or ambition. A husband is the only person actually authorized to have access to the woman’s womb and he must do so only with the greatest of reverence and regard. Sarah dared to have more than 1.5 children and then did the totally “unacceptable:” She and her husband dared to bring a child into the world knowing it would be ‘defective merchandise;’ the child would have Downs Syndrome!!

Furthermore, she openly defends against matters that are in their own way threats to the theology of the female body: abortion, contraception and same-sex “marriage.” With her competence in the civil, recreational, and social sphere, Sarah says that yes, it is possible for womanhood to make a contribution beyond the home yet do so without making the dispensing of her femininity an essential requirement. This is true womanhood. It makes a contribution without sacrificing the distinctive riches of true femininity. That is true “power” and it should not surprise us because it is outlined in Proverbs 31 of the Bible.

The other image, the one symbolized for our purposes here, is that of Hilary Clinton. The delusion about secular feminism is that it commits the very thing it purports to be against. It self-debunks by promoting the worldview that if a woman wants to “kick butt” in places traditionally dominated by males, she must first and foremost disregard the one thing that distinguishes her womanhood. She must act like a man, be where a man is, etc. Translated: In the name of furthering womanhood this worldview negates womanhood. It says that there is something intrinsically deficient about womanhood and it must be “corrected” to get more in line with masculinity if it wants to get anywhere.

This image stands on a platform promoting the very things that threaten the theology of the female body, the womb — abortion and contraception. This image basically sees the distinctive quality which forms the genius of womanhood as something that is “in the way.” The man is in the way, or at best tolerated. Fertility and menstrual cycles are in the way. Do something about all of this — mitigate, deny or get rid of them. Only then will you as woman come of age. Yet after decades of fighting for it the Hilary’s of this world did not get the one thing that they thought this worldview would bring them and they are totally mystified. But the answer all along was in the one thing they were told to deny-the theology of the female body.