When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself,
then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately
man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God,
as the image of God at the core of his being.
…when God is denied, human dignity also disappears.
—POPE BENEDICT XVI, Christmas Address to the Roman Curia
December 21st, 20112; vatican.va
IN the classic fairytale of The Emperor’s New Clothes, two con men come to town and offer to weave new clothing for the emperor—but with special properties: the clothes become invisible to those who are either incompetent or stupid. The emperor hires them, but of course, the two men had made no clothing at all as they pretend to dress him. However, no one, including the emperor, wants to admit that they see nothing and, therefore, be seen as stupid. So everyone gushes at the fine clothing they cannot see whilst the emperor struts down the streets completely naked. Finally, a little child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” Still, the deluded emperor ignores the child and continues his absurd procession.
It would be a humorous tale… were it not a true story. For today, the emperors of our time have been visited by the con men of political correctness. Seduced by vainglory and the desire to hear applause, they have stripped themselves of the natural moral law and clothed themselves in nonsensical rationalizations such as “marriage can be redefined,” “‘male’ and ‘female’ are social constructs”, and “people can identify as whatever they feel they are.”
Indeed, the emperors are buck naked.
But what of the throngs of educators, scientists, biologists, ethicists and politicians who stand in line to praise the emperor’s new clothes? In denying their consciences, rejecting logic and forbidding intelligent discourse, they too join the parade of naked delusion that is quickly becoming a charade of contradiction after contradiction.
This is no more evident than in the feminist movement which, ironically, has now destroyed feminism.
THE FALSE EMANCIPATION
The thrust of the feminist movement, which blossomed in the 1960’s, has evolved from fighting for suffrage and political, financial and cultural equality… to defending sexual liberty (access to birth control), reproductive rights (access to abortion), and promoting marginalized groups (eg. gay and transgender rights).
There are several aspects of the feminist movement that are no doubt good and necessary. For example, when my wife began her career in graphic design, she was paid far less than men doing the same job in her office. That’s simply unfair. Likewise, demands to be treated with respect, to be given a vote, and the opportunity to participate in public institutions are goals rooted in justice and derived from the truth that women and men are equal in dignity.
In creating men ‘male and female,’ God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity.” Man is a person, man and woman equally so, since both were created in the image and likeness of the personal God. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2334
That dignity, of course, was marred by original sin. It is only by re-entering God’s order that both men and women find their true dignity again. And that’s where feminism has, unfortunately, gone off the rails.
In casting off moral constraints, the feminist movement has unwittingly dragged women into a deeper slavery—one that is spiritual in nature. St. Paul wrote:
For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. (Gal 5:1)
“Freedom,” said St. John Paul II, “is not the ability to do anything we want, whenever we want.”
Rather, freedom is the ability to live responsibly the truth of our relationship with God and with one another. —POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II, St. Louis, 1999
The “feminine genius”, said John Paul II, shines brightly in the world, not through a tragic Eve-like assertion of the ego, but precisely in the “service of love.”
…the “genius of women” [is found not only in those] great and famous women of the past or present, but also those ordinary women who reveal the gift of their womanhood by placing themselves at the service of others in their everyday lives. For in giving themselves to others each day women fulfill their deepest vocation. Perhaps more than men, women acknowledge the person, because they see persons with their hearts. They see them independently of various ideological or political systems. They see others in their greatness and limitations; they try to go out to them and help them. In this way the basic plan of the Creator takes flesh in the history of humanity and there is constantly revealed, in the variety of vocations, that beauty—not merely physical, but above all spiritual—which God bestowed from the very beginning on all, and in a particular way on women. —POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II, Letter to Women, n. 12, June 29th, 1995
If men can generally be characterized by their strength and ingenuity, the hallmarks of women are tenderness and intuition. It does not take a great imagination to see how these traits are utterly complementary and indeed a necessary balance to one another. But radical feminism has rejected the “feminine genius” as weakness and capitulation. Tenderness and intuition have been replaced by sexual function and seduction. In a word, the “service of love” has been displaced by the “service of eros.”
Whoever wants to eliminate love is preparing to eliminate man as such. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), n. 28b
THE DEATH OF WOMAN
The collateral damage of feminism’s departure from moral absolutes is spectacular. The casting off of all restraints has, in a word, backfired. “If God does not exist,” said Dostoyevsky, “then everything is permissible.”
In 2020, governments are now striking the word “woman” and “man” from government forms. “Mother” and “father” have been replaced by “Parent 1” and “Parent 2.” Just when the word “woman” was gaining its due respect in the public sphere, it is now abolished. The long battle for inclusive language, the recognition of women in sports, business, and politics, the Oprah “girl power” movements… well, their pretty much discriminatory now, aren’t they? Male and Female are terms that must no longer exist. Feminism must now move over for transgenderism.
In the beginning there was male and female. Soon there was homosexuality. Later there were lesbians, and much later gays, bisexuals, transgenders and queers… To date (by the time you read this, the… family of sexualities may have increased and multiplied) these are: transgender, trans, transsexual, intersex, androgynous, agender, crossdresser, drag king, drag queen, genderfluid, genderqueer, intergender, neutrois, pansexual, pan-gendered, third gender, third sex, sistergirl and brotherboy… —Deacon Keith Fournier, “Exchanging the Truth of God for a Lie: Transgender Activists, Cultural Revolution”, March 28th, 2011, catholiconline.com
Today, men can identify as women—simply by saying so. Thus, not only do biological men have the right to enter women’s washrooms in many places (thereby exposing our wives and daughters to potential perverts), they can enter women’s sports at the highest levels. In what has to be one of the most stunning backfires in modern times, women who have worked hard in their respective athletic fields are now losing badly to men-who-identify-as-women, whether it’s in racing, cycling, wrestling, weightlifting or kickboxing. Feminists demanded sexual liberty, and now they have it in spades. Pandora’s box has been opened—they just didn’t expect men to pop out (with lipstick and leotards).
But it’s not just in sports. Under a 2017 policy issued by the United Kingdom Ministry of Justice, male inmates may be transferred to women’s prisons if they express “a consistent desire to live permanently in the gender they identify with.” Surprise, surprise, the year the policy was enacted, the number of men identifying as women jumped by 70%. Now, female inmates are reportedly being sexually abused in prison by “transgender” males.
The other side to this queer coin is equally tragic. In an effort to be freed from the “patriarchal system” that reduces women to the status of breed-cows (so they say), feminists demanded access to birth control so as to “sexually liberate” women from motherhood and put her in the workplace alongside their male counterparts (back when “men” existed, of course). But this, too, has dramatically rebounded. Pope St. Paul VI saw it coming when, in 1968, he warned what a contraceptive culture would do:
Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards… Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection. —Humanae Vitae, n. 17; vatican.va
Far from liberating her, the sexual revolution has subjugated the woman, reducing her to an object. Pornography is the veritable icon of radical feminism. Why? As reporter Jonathon Van Maren notes, ‘the “sex-positive” Third Wave feminists refuse to judge any sexual behavior—even if it involves men getting off on women being physically destroyed on camera for the enjoyment of others.’ If birth control is like a seed, the objectification of the female body is its fruit. Never before in the history of the world has the image of the woman been so degraded, so demoralized, so violated as it is today. One female porn director recently stated that “Face slapping, choking, gagging, and spitting has become the alpha and omega of any porn scene… These are presented as standard ways to have sex when, in fact, they are niches.” The Atlantic reported that porn has resulted in a sharp increase in the practice of choking during sexual acts (with almost a quarter of adult American women reporting that they felt fear during intimacy as a result). Now children, with easy access to porn, are assaulting other children in an alarming trend that’s targeting girls aged 4 – 8 with sexual violence. Even raunchy liberal comedian Bill Maher has begun to warn that parents should keep their children from porn because it has become increasingly “rapey.”
And the massive outcry from feminists? There isn’t one. They haven’t figured out yet how to have sexual constraints without having sexual constraints. In other words, the emperor still has clothes. Hence, the true image of woman—the tender, intuitive, feminine, gentle, and nurturing woman—is all but dead, certainly in Western culture.
When her relation to man is presented only under an erotic, sexual aspect, woman is always the loser… Unwittingly, woman has become an object at the service of man. —Cardinal Robert Sarah, The Day is Far Spent, (Ignatius Press), p. 169
On the other hand, in the Eastern world, the tender, intuitive, feminine, gentle, and nurturing woman is completely covered by a burqa (by law) wherever Shariah prevails (or in “Shariah zones” such as those in London, England and other migrant cities). Again, it’s another stunning irony: as Western nations and their feminist politicians open the floodgates to tens of millions of migrants who embrace a culture that treats women with less dignity than has ever been seen in the West, feminism is ultimately undermining itself again.
A Pew Research survey of Muslim-Americans under thirty revealed that sixty percent of them felt more loyalty to Islam than to America…. A nationwide survey conducted by The Polling Company for the Center for Security Policy reveals that 51 percent of Muslims agreed that “Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Sharia.” In addition, 51 percent of those polled believed that they should have the choice of American or Sharia courts. —William Kilpatrick, “Know-Nothing Catholics on Muslim Immigration”, January 30th, 2017; Crisis Magazine
But perhaps the death of woman is no more poignant than in its literal form. The “right to abortion” demanded by radical feminists has resulted in the direct elimination of tens of millions of women. And this, especially, in Asian countries where pregnancies are terminated when a female is detected in the womb but a boy is more desirable. What comes to mind here is the spiritual battle described by St. John in the Apocalypse between the “woman” and the “dragon”, which John Paul II directly compared to the “culture of life” vs. the “culture of death”:
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth… Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth. (Rev 12:2-4)
The emperors tells us that abortion is “liberating. ” But a female student at the recent Washington, D.C. March for Life exposes this sophistry for what it is:
That is insulting to me as a woman to think that abortion is somehow in any way a gift to me or to help me liberate myself. I would never want to liberate myself by decimating somebody else. That’s not liberation, that’s a lie. It’s a lie that’s been fed to women everywhere. —Kate Maloney, Students for Life of America, January 24th, 2020, lifesitenews.com
It is yet another staggering irony that the greatest gift and power belonging to a woman has been forfeited by the feminist movement.
Indeed, woman has a natural superiority over man, for it is from her that every man comes into the world. —Cardinal Robert Sarah, The Day is Far Spent, (Ignatius Press), p. 170
In trying to “liberate” woman from the “slavery of reproduction”, as Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, put it, they cut her off from the greatness of motherhood, which is one of the foundations of her dignity… Women will be emancipated, not by rejecting their profound femininity, but, on the contrary, by welcoming it as a treasure. —Ibid., p. 169
BACK TO EDEN
The late Fr. Gabriel Amorth, who was chief exorcist of Rome, gave this key insight from the exorcisms he had performed:
The woman preyed upon by Satan are especially those who are young and of pleasing appearance… During some exorcisms, the demon, with a terrifying voice, has roared that he seeks to enter woman rather than men in order to take revenge on Mary because has been humiliated by her. —Fr. Gabriel Amorth, Inside the Vatican, January, 1994
If Satan has not possessed many women, he has certainly oppressed multitudes. In one of the most bizarre new cultural rituals, women have turned en masse to Instagram and Facebook to post a deluge of immodest “selfies,” virtually turning themselves into objects before countless anonymous men. And nearly every industry, whether it is television news, music, film, and even sports, has sexualized the female persona. It’s as if we have returned to the Garden of Eden where the serpent has once again dangled the temptation for Eve to see herself as a goddess who may use her God-given powers and beauty as though they were mere servile pawns of her ego:
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate… (Genesis 3:6)
That moment was the primordial death of woman, the death of the true image of woman as a reflection of her Creator and a fruitful complementary to her husband.
Fortunately, the disappearance of woman in our times is not indefinite. For the “Woman clothed in the sun” who makes her reprisal in the end times, nor her offspring, are defeated by the dragon. In fact, she reigns, even now, as Queen of heaven and earth at the right hand of her Son.
The Church sees in Mary the highest expression of the “feminine genius” and she finds in her a source of constant inspiration. Mary called herself the “handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38). Through obedience to the Word of God she accepted her lofty yet not easy vocation as wife and mother in the family of Nazareth. Putting herself at God’s service, she also put herself at the service of others: a service of love. Precisely through this service Mary was able to experience in her life a mysterious, but authentic “reign”. It is not by chance that she is invoked as “Queen of heaven and earth”. The entire community of believers thus invokes her; many nations and peoples call upon her as their “Queen”. For her, “to reign” is to serve! Her service is “to reign”!—POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II, Letter to Women, n. 10, June 29th, 1995
Indeed, who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?
Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven… The greatest among you must be your servant. (Matthew 18:4, 23:11)
This is the same Woman who, 400 years ago, predicted the death of woman in so many words:
In those times the atmosphere will be saturated with the spirit of impurity which, like a filthy sea, will engulf the streets and public places with incredible license.… Innocence will scarcely be found in children, or modesty in women… There will be almost no virgin souls in the world… The delicate flower of virginity would be threatened by complete annihilation. —Our Lady of Good Success to Ven. Mother Mariana on the Feast of the Purification, 1634
The Virgin Mary, by her witness, modesty, obedience, service and humility is the antithesis of the anti-woman created by the feminist movement; she is the pinnacle of femininity. Through her spiritual motherhood, Our Lady is the life of woman because she gives them Jesus, who is “the way, the truth and the life.” Those women who accept that Life will find their true self and an authentic femininity, one that has the power to bring life into the world and shape the future through self-giving love.
But at this hour, few are paying any attention to either the voice of this Woman or her Child, whose cry can be heard again in our streets: “The emperor isn’t wearing anything at all!”
For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’ and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich, and white garments to put on so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed, and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. (Rev 3:17-19)
Your financial support and prayers are why
you are reading this today.
Bless you and thank you.
To journey with Mark in The Now Word,
click on the banner below to subscribe.
Your email will not be shared with anyone.