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A most un-feminist catechesis on the Duties of the Married from a 19th century catechism October 21, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Interior Life, manhood, Sacraments, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.

I have long held a concern that feminist rhetoric has resulted in silent downplaying of, and even deviations from, what was once widely accepted Church Doctrine on many matters related to relations between the sexes.  The exerpts below from the Spirago-Clarke Catechism of the 1880s Eastman-Johnson-Christmas-Time(updated in the 1900s) may be very controversial to some, but I believe they were completely normal and acceptable to virtually all in the Church in the time in which they were written.  Given that, perhaps we should all carefully consider the degree to which we may have, inadvertently or no, come to accept certain claims of radical feminism over the past several decades.  Certainly this catechesis is a marked rebuke to things like the readings of the Novus Ordo, which were carefully crafted to excise such “problematic” portions of Scripture such as St. Paul’s direction to women in I Corinthians and Ephesians.

Some of the below may appear pretty strong. It may make some mad.  But I have to say that only illustrates my point, even as realize that I, as a man, may still hold certain “liberated” ideas.  You may also note how strongly the very counter-cultural (for today) catechesis below is supported by Sacred Scripture.

Consider the below a tonic for the noxious emanations of the modernists at the Synod:

The following are the duties incumbent on married persons: It is the duty of the wife to obey her husband, as the man is the head of the family, the representative of God.

That a man is superior to the woman is shown by the fact that he was created first, and the woman was only created of his flesh, and as a helper for him (I Cor xi:9).  The man being the head of the family, the woman is subservient to him, as the members of the body are to the head.  The Apostle says: “As the Church is subject to Christ, so also let the wife be to the husband in all things” (Eph v:24) [You sure won’t find THAT anywhere in the Novus Ordo readings!] The woman is commanded to cover her head in the church, to indicate that she is under the dominion of the man; whereas the man uncovers his head, because there is no one over him but God (I Cor xi:10). [Well, this is one of many reasons for veiling given by St. Paul]  The wife ought to fear her husband (Eph v:33), that is to show him the deference due to him.  After the Fall, God ordained that the woman should be under her husband’s power, and should yield him obedience (Gen iii:16), because Eve lusted after power, and ate the apple first.  The husband therefore has every right to rule his wife, but he ought to rule with kindness, gentleness, and leniency, for she is in one sense his equal, having been made out of flesh taken from his side.  Therefore St. Ambrose bids the husband to remember that his wife is not to be treated as a servant, that he must not make his authority felt to be a burden.  Besides the woman, being the weaker, can claim to be gently treated (I Pet iii:7)…….As the representative of God, the husband has the right of controlling the household.  The angel did not appear to Mary, but to Joseph, when the flight to Egypt was to be made, because the husband’s duty is to rule and govern.  [Even given the most exalted wife ever possible!]

The husband and wife owe to each other love, fidelity, and mutual aid in all circumstances of their life.

Husbands ought to love their wives, as Christ loves the Church (Eph v:25), as their own bodies (Eph v:28), as themselves (Eph v:33).  The love of cheney familyhusband and wife ought not to be purely natural love, like that of the lower animals, nor a purely human love, like that of the heathen, but a holy and supernatural affection, like that of Christ for the Church, and of the Church for Christ.  Hence they ought each to bear with the infirmities of the other patiently and indulgently, or generously close their eyes to them……The wife will influence her husband for good far more effectually by silence, meekness, and prayer than by reproaches.  St. Augustine tells us that his mother did more for the conversion of her husband Patricius by the saintliness of her life, than by her words.  Dissensions between husband and wife ruin their happiness; without peace at home nothing pleases, even amid all the luxuries wealth can command.  Married people owe fidelity to one another (Heb xiii:4).

They ought scrupulously to guard against every appearance of unfaithfulness, and avoid familiar intercourse with persons of the other sex.  For where jealousy enters, all conjugal happiness is at an end.  St. John Chrysostom is of the opinion that the direst poverty, the most incurable malady, fire and even sword, are lesser evils than jealousy.   The Jews used to stone the unfaithful husband or wife, for they considered adultery a no less heinous crime than murder (Lev xx:10).  St. Paul declares everlasting damnation to be the portion of adulterers.  The married must not defraud one another of the conjugal rights (I Cor vii:1-5), but they must abstain from excesses inconsistent with the sanctity of their state (Tob vi:17), and only More_famB_1280x-g0keep in view the object indicated by the angel to Tobias (Tb v:22), otherwise the devil will prevail over them (Tb v:16).  To the duty of mutual aid it appertains that husband and wife should live together, and that neither one nor the other should avail himself or herself, if contrarieties or calamities overtake them, of any pretext to leave the other; they are bound to assist each other in the training of their children, to succor each other in illness, to aid each other to bear more easily the ills of life, and to perform their religious duties with greater facility.

Eve was created for the sole purpose of helping Adam; for God said: “It is not good for man to be alone, let us make him a help like unto himself” (Gen ii:18).  It is, however, a sad misfortune when the wife is not a support but a cross to her husband; when instead of lightening his burdens, she only adds to their weight.  Almighty God declares that a really good woman is a treasure of inestimable price (Prv xxxi:10), far above the most costly jewels.

———End Quote———

So…..will some folks take issue with that? I never quite know.  Sometimes things I think will be very controversial pass by with nary a comment, and things that I think are inoffensive, even obvious, attract a lot of controversy.  We’ll see, I guess.

Note also the rebuke of so many modernist proposals at the Synod.


1. tg - October 21, 2015

[You sure won’t find THAT anywhere in the Novus Ordo readings!] – actually you’re wrong on that. I remember this reading sometime this year. What you won’t hear is the priest explain it or even mention it in the homily.

2. tg - October 21, 2015

I don’t take issue with any of the above. A husband is supposed to be willing to die for his wife like Christ did for the Church – how can that be offensive. I do remember this reading this year. I was disappointed because the priest or deacon didn’t emphasize a husband be willing to die for his wife.

3. Baseballmom - October 21, 2015

“The wife will influence her husband for good far more effectually by silence, meekness, and prayer than by reproaches.”

This is absolute truth. Took me a decade or two to figure that out, but after four decades I pretty much have that one down…. 😏

Tantumblogo - October 21, 2015

You two are definitely special ladies, even if one of you doesn’t exalt v ollege football as the greatest sport on earth.

As for the reading, I’ll have to check again, but I’m pretty sure that portion of Ephesians V is either optional and rarely read (esp. in this Diocese) or it is missing altogether. However I do think it can ‘ve used for marriage Masses as an option if the couple requests it. I may be wrong but a couple years ago I looked into “missing Scripture” in the Novus Ordo lectionary and I’m pretty sure Ephesians V was pretty thoroughly gutted. But it might be one of the many optional portions.

Baseballmom - October 22, 2015

Football season does not begin until the 1st or so of November….depending on when the Series ends…. 😏

4. Claire - October 21, 2015

As a convert of five years I have very rarely heard any Catholic acknowledge this clear Scriptural teaching of headship order in marriage and the family. One friend who is a traditional Catholic believes and practices this Scriptural teaching, and once a traditional priest (FSSP) mentioned to me a wife’s obedience to her husband as though this were simply a given. It would seem most Catholics no longer understand why God has said that a husband is the head of his wife and why this is for the good of both spouses and of all the children. Perhaps many think being “over” the family means you have to be cruel, selfish and dictatorial. Far from it. God understands the specific needs of both men and women. When a man lives up to his responsibilities of leadership, his wife can relax and be the support that her husband needs. (When a man is more of a man, his wife can be more of a woman.) And yes, the head covering has to do with headship order.

5. Lynne - October 22, 2015

I’m a woman and I have no problem with this. I should show it to my fallen-away Catholic husband. 🙂 This makes much more sense to me than the articles that many women write, as they explore Catholic tradition, about why they might veil.

6. Judy - October 22, 2015

Another woman here with no problem having the man be the head of the household. I don’t think traditional Catholics deny this teaching. But it gets smacked down very fast in a Novus Ordo forum. You’ll be reminded that the ONLY thing is unique to women is gestation and childbirth. After that it’s supposed to be 50-50 on everything: childcare, making decisions, earning income, cooking, etc. Which frankly sounds exhausting. I don’t want to do my husband’s job, and he doesn’t want to do mine. By focusing on the roles for which God has given each of us unique talents, there is an efficient division of labor and greater fulfillment.

7. Brian - - October 22, 2015

The Spirago-Clark Catechism is now on my Kindle. Extra batteries for my spiritual flashlight.

8. Brian - - October 22, 2015

By the way, only those in whom Christ is not first, middle and last will be offended by Jesus’ ordained family order. Power and Place are for Hell in Lucifer’s forsaken kingdom of sulfur. They have nothing to do with our God and Beatitude. We follow Jesus, we do what He says, we serve in the Order of His creation from inside the family on out. We do it with great joy and gladness of heart. God is God. We are not. Thanks be to God.

9. Ms. Catholic - October 23, 2015

“That a man is superior to the woman is shown by the fact that he was created first, and the woman was only created of his flesh, and as a helper for him (I Cor xi:9).” Ummm….aren’t there two versions of the account of the creation of humans in Genesis, and one has male and female created at the same time ? In fact I just looked it up and the version with the female being created from man is actually termed the “Second Story of Creation.” — from the St. Joseph Edition of The New American Bible from the 1980’s, Catholic Book Publishing Company, NY —

10. Curry Vengeance - October 23, 2015

They were created during the same day, but not at the same moment. Besides, “Ms. Catholic”, as a Catholic consider what the Tradition & Magisterium of the Church you belong to teaches about the sequence of our first parent’s creation: “The true origin of marriage, venerable brothers, is well known to all. Though revilers of the Christian faith refuse to acknowledge the never-interrupted doctrine of the Church on this subject, and have long striven to destroy the testimony of all nations and of all times, they have nevertheless failed not only to quench the powerful light of truth, but even to lessen it. We record what is to all known, and cannot be doubted by any, that God, on the sixth day of creation, having made man from the slime of the earth, and having breathed into his face the breath of life, gave him a companion, whom He miraculously took from the side of Adam when he was locked in sleep.” Pope Leo XIII (Arcanum, February 10, 1880)

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