While it’s true that this blog post is about the evil of feminism in moral theology, it’s not about women, nor does it refer to sixth-commandment violations (except two passing examples.)
Also, most of my readers would hopefully not conflate traditional Catholicism’s rejection of feminism with an acceptance of violent misogyny or an arrogant machismo. Obviously, one evil does not balance out another evil. But feminism attempts to overturn a hierarchy that God has given to creation and to the family. The first aspect of hierarchy that is theologically rejected by feminism (implicitly, not explicitly) is that the Creator comes before the creature, in eternity and importance. That is, God is eternal and man is not. God is “He who Is.” Man is nothing without God.
Dr. Brandt Pitre teaches that for St. Paul, the primary difference between man and woman is not strength and weakness, but transcendence and immanence, respectively. Transcendence is to dwell beyond. Immanence is to dwell within. When we learned about “hunting and gathering tribes” in our grade school social studies classes, we learned that man hunted beyond the village-limits with his squad. Women dwelled within the tribes’ boundaries “gathering” what they could from gardens and forests. Or consider how in biology, a man’s reproductive organs dwell beyond himself, whereas a woman’s organs dwell within her own body. We need both the transcendent and the immanent in both biology for the survival of the species. Thus, it’s not like transcendence is better than immanence. God made man and woman in His image and likeness and we need both aspects to understand creation and even philosophy and theology.
What does God being more important than man (read: both man and woman) have to do with feminism? Feminism is primarly an overturning of order and the greatest error I see made in moral theology today is the inversion of the Two Great Commandments. The First Great Commandment is to love the Lord your God with your whole heart and soul. The Second Great Commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. The First Great Commandment is obviously transcendent and the Second Great Commandment is obviously immanent. Both aspects are important. But in moral theology, the First Great Commandment is more important than the Second Great Commandment. That’s not my opinion. It’s the words of Jesus Christ Himself.
An inversion of these two would be feminism, not because women love humans better than men love humans, or men love God more than women love God. Rather, we see that because feminism is built on a rejection of order and hierarchy, moral theologians in a feminist age can easily put what is “pastoral” ahead of what is “obedient to God.” This is a satanic inversion of the Two Great Commandments. (Notice, God commands us to put the First Great Commandment before the Second Great Commandment, even though both are important.)
Because pagan tribes surrounding the Hebrews of the Old Testament were often deceived into having priestesses and female demons, the transcendence of Yahweh was a unique aspect of Divine Revelation: Obedience to a God of love must always trump anything that just seems to “help the community.” This is true for many reasons. The first is that the God of the New Testament and the Old Testament is the only true God. All other gods are demons and false-gods. At a very distant second, we see that obedience to the Divine Revelation of the Blessed Trinity trumps anything that “helps the community.” Why? Because every community since the fall is masters of their own-deceit in becoming self-serving. Any of us (including myself) can fabricate excuses to sin under pretext of being “pastoral” or “charitable.”
Feminism, the overturning of order, almost always places the feminine immanent in place of the objective transcendent. Most Catholic moral theologians today do not even realize they are doing it. But, they have “a pastoral reason” for every offense against God today: “You can use contraception if your physician says you’ll die if you get pregnant again” or “You can lie to your children as long as it’s for a good reason” or “You can use Our Lord’s name in vain as an actor as long as you use your talents for God in the long run.” In fact, one American Cardinal even implied that those committing sodomy can receive Holy Communion without confession, provided they have the approval of a spiritual director. 1
Traditionally, for a moral deed to be good, all three of the following must be good and if even one is missing, the whole shebang is evil: 1) Object (action chosen.) 2) Intention. 3) Circumstances. Obviously, the transcendent aspect of these three is the object, since it is an external or at-least physical action. The most immanent and subjective these three would be the intention, since one’s intention is found in one’s heart or mind. Do you now see why a feminist hierarchy would put the entire weight of a moral deed on the immanent aspect, namely the highly-subjective intention? In all previous centuries, Catholic moralists first consider the object (eg objective truth) with only a secondary consideration of the subjective intention (especially if the object was already known as evil from the outset.) Again, we need both (just as we need both masculine and feminine to survive) but only one of them is primary in moral theology.
The Catholic mystics may indeed assert that there are more women in heaven than men, but they also see the need for an all-male hierarchy (unaffected by unnatural inclinations which all turn the brain towards effeminacy) to lead the Church objectively. As Pope Pius Pius XI teaches, women is the heart of a family and man is the head. As St. Thomas Aquinas teaches, the will must follow the intellect. Therefore, feminism in moral theology overturns both and makes an enormous mess of moral issues that have nothing to do with sexuality. Since Christ Himself said we must keep the commandments to be saved (Mt 19) that means many people are losing their souls with our current hierarchy in not putting the objective ahead of the subjective in moral theology.
Our feminist culture has rejected any arguments of the transcendent in favor of the immanent, and most people don’t even realize it. For example, kindness is obviously important in Sacred Scripture. But if you put subjective feelings of kindness before an objective observance of the Ten Commandments, then you have implicitly accepted Satan’s own inversion of the Two Great Commandments. Any sweet and subtle inversion of Divine Revelation is a close cousin of feminism which is the inversion of the natural order of a hierarchy in a family, even before we get to more emotional debates of termagant wives or abusive husbands.
Theologically, a transcendent altar would be one that faces away from the people. An immanent altar would be an altar that faces the people. Thus, it is no wonder that our moral theology is nearly devoid of the transcendent, considering most Catholics’ Sunday worship is entirely immanent. In a feminist hierarchy, the immanent has trumped the transcendent. Emotions have trumped reason. Kindness has trumped Divine Revelation. And Satan laughs all the way to the bank on this since he has more access to emotion than reason since the fall. The only way out of this feminism in moral theology is restore the original order of reason, traditional family, ancient liturgy and a straight-hierarchy that believes both in natural law and the fulness of Divine Revelation.