|Proper Dress and Behavior for Catholic Women|
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|God-given Roles for Men and Women|
Society and culture has a profound effect on all of us. We live our entire lives immersed in our society and culture. We eat, drink, breathe, and sleep our culture. When our culture teaches something incorrect, and teaches it constantly and thoroughly, it is difficult for us to even consider a different idea. When our culture teaches something incorrect, and we stumble across the truth, the truth will seem foreign and awkward to us. The truth will not "feel right," whenever the truth contradicts the culture in which we are immersed. That is why many Catholics have rejected certain teachings of the Church -- because those teachings contradict the teachings of the society and culture around us.
Our society and culture teaches that men and women should have much the same roles in their lives. Modern secular culture treats men and women as if they were meant to be interchangeable parts in society. Men and women are given nearly the same roles in our society today. There are even laws making it illegal to give certain jobs only to men. Women have become political leaders, religious leaders, heads of corporations and other organizations, even soldiers and law enforcement officers. Such is the teaching of our culture. But it is not the teaching of Christ.
"Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent." (1 Tim 2:11-12)
God did not give women a place, in the Church, the family, or society, to teach men or to have authority over men.
Links: A Woman's Place | USCCB | headship and women in office | Women keep Silence | Women and Leadership in the Church | But I Suffer Not a Woman to Teach...Over a Man (part one) - (part two) | Let Women Keep Silent in Churches
The above quote from Sacred Scripture is often misinterpreted. All manner of convoluted and implausible interpretations have been given, the effect of which is to nullify the meaning of this passage. If any interpretation of a passage from Sacred Scripture has the effect of making any part of Scripture null and void, that interpretation is null and void, for "Scripture cannot be broken" (Jn 10:35). The aim of these mistaken interpretations is to try to make the passage fit the teachings of modern secular society, or to make some type of compromise between the teachings of Scripture and those of society.
Sacred Scripture clearly teaches that God gives men and women different roles in the Church, the family, and society. Men are intended by God to be teachers and leaders in the Church, the family, and society. Women should not have any kind of teaching role over adult men. Women should not have any kind of leadership role over adult men.
Women may teach and lead children, both boys and girls (even into the teenage years). God gave women the ability to become pregnant, to carry and give birth to children. In this way, God gave women also the primary role in teaching and leading children.
Women may teach and lead other women. An older and wiser woman may be a leader and teacher over other women, especially if they are younger or less knowledgeable than she. But it is not right for a young woman to take a role teaching or leading much older women, (unless those older women are mentally-disabled).
The teaching that men and women are meant to have different roles clearly indicates that changes are needed in our society today.
Women should not be political leaders. In politics, a woman should not be President or Vice President or Senator or Representative or Governor or a State legislator. A woman should not have any elected or appointed political position with authority over men, because it is contrary to the teaching of Scripture. A woman should not be Judge in any court of law, because courts have authority over men.
In general, women should not be law enforcement officers, though some exceptions to this rule can be made when a female is specifically needed for certain tasks (e.g. undercover law enforcement work or work involving women prisoners or involving children). Women should not be soldiers. Women should not be military officers with authority over male soldiers.
"Wives, be submissive to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior." (Ephesians 5:22)
Here again is a Scripture passage often rejected or misinterpreted because of the influence of secular society. The teaching of Christ is that the husband is the head of the family. The wife is the heart of the family. The husband has authority over the family and over his wife. This is not the worldly authority of giving orders and dominating someone. Rather, it is an image of the loving authority of Christ over His Church.
"Wives, be obedient to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them." (Colossians 3:18)
This passage is often rejected by Christians, because they are following the ideas of their culture rather than the ideas of Christ. Women sometimes say that marriage is a "50-50 partnership," but such is not the teaching of Christ. A woman who seeks power over her husband, who fights with him for control of the family, will ruin her marriage and her family. A wife sins against God if she rejects her husband's authority over her or if she seeks to have authority over him.
"As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. . . . what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord." (1 Cor 14:33-35, 37)
Women should not be Lectors at holy Mass. Women should not read the Scriptures aloud to the faithful at Mass. Women should not distribute holy Communion at Mass. Women should not speak at the time of the homily, not even to describe some worthy work of mercy in which they are involved. It is shameful in God's eyes for a woman to have any such role of leadership or teaching at holy Mass and at any time in the Sanctuary.
Moreover, women should not be in charge of leading or administering a parish, even one which lacks a pastor. Women should not be on the parish council, for this is a leadership role which assists the pastor, much as the Twelve Apostles assisted Christ.
In some parishes, a woman (often a nun) leads a Communion service instead of daily Mass. She convinces the pastor that he is too old or too tired or too busy to say daily Mass every day. God is greatly offended when the holy Mass, led by a priest, is replaced by a Communion service, led by a woman. A woman should never be allowed to lead a Communion service, not even in a community of religious women.
The Church desires us to be as much like Christ and Mary as possible, not as much like the world as possible.