Patriarchy and the Defenseless

On January 25, 500,000 pro-lifers marched on the Mall in Washington D.C. in defense of unborn human life. Four days before that, the most progressivist, pro-abortion, homosexualist president in American history gave his second inaugural address. In that address, Mr. Obama equated the “love” that “our gay brothers and sisters” have for one another with real married love between a man and a woman. He also spoke of equal opportunities for women, which we can be assured means that women’s “rights” to inutero infanticide and taxpayer-funded onanism will advance further. Appropriately enough, professional degenerate Lady Gaga sang at the Inaugural Ball for the second-term pornocracy

Scene change from star-studded, lip-sinking D.C. to quiet little Richmond, New Hampshire…

Here at Saint Benedict Center, we are continuing our tradition of regular study of the Scriptures with a weekly Friday night class. Presently, we are studying the Epistle to the Ephesians, in which the Apostle speaks of his mission to reveal the mystery hidden from all eternity in God: that the Gentiles are called by one and the same vocation as the Jews to unity in the Church, the Body of Christ.

What do these scenes have to do with each other?

The neo-pagan culture of death that Barack Obama serves is at an opposite extreme from the culture of supernatural life that Saint Paul would have us embrace and establish in our homes and nations. Fatherhood, motherhood, childhood — concepts at one time clearly understood in Christendom and elevated to their supernatural apex by Saint Paul, are reviled and assaulted by the servants of the ever continuing sexual revolution who pull the levers of power.

The president of our republic has become an imperial drone master. Tyranny is here, and it is the tyranny of the culture of death. The remedy, while manifold, must include a return to Christian patriarchy.

But few want to hear this.

Much of the rhetoric of the pro-life movement is directed at deflating feminist propaganda. Some measure of this is wise and necessary. However, it is often the sad fact that those who are on the right side of an issue allow their enemies to dictate the terms of engagement. In so doing, they can fall into various traps, the most significant being the neglect of truths that need to be professed. I witnessed a pro-life man being interviewed recently. He went out of his way to point out that the pro-life movement is not just a bunch of old men, but it is mostly young and female.

Presumably, this was his response to the feminist quip, “if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament,” and other specimens of their gaseous rhetoric.

But several questions need to be asked: Is it not a man’s place, like the knights of old, to “protect the weak, defenseless, and helpless, and fight for the general welfare of all” — to the degree to which his circumstances and station allows? If abortion hurts women — and it does — should not men defend the fairer sex from that pain? And if abortion murders a defenseless little baby — which it does — is it not virtuous to “man up” and protect them from being slaughtered?

The problem is that, when such things get said, the sayer is accused of being patriarchal, chauvinistic, and otherwise misogynistic. Well, tough! Pro-lifers need to be wary of falling into cheap rhetorical traps set by baby-killing blowhards. They are going to call us names anyway. The pro-death rhetoric machine is not going to go out of business just because there are lady pro-lifers.

God knows that pro-abortion men exist. They are not afraid to speak their minds on the issue, either. The most outspoken of them are enslaved philanderers who are glad that abortion is available for reasons other than their misguided political ideology.

Surely honorable men, chivalrous men, Christian men ought to oppose these vermin.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

From the gutter of the culture of death, let us elevate our minds up to the vision of supernatural life that we are given in the Scriptures. These words of Saint Paul on the Divine Fatherhood, coming from the Epistle to the Ephesians, will frame our considerations:

“For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened by his Spirit with might unto the inward man…” (Eph. 3:14-16).

Instead of “all paternity in heaven and earth,” some translations render the passage, “the whole family in heaven and earth.” The Greek word πατριὰ (patria) means “family.” It is derived from the word for father, πατὴρ (pater). Saint Jerome renders it paternitas (fatherhood, paternity) in Latin, whence comes the rendering of the Rheims New Testament. Father Challoner’s footnote in his edition of the Rheims Bible notes that “all fatherhood” could also be rendered “the whole family.”

Here we see that, linguistically anyway, the family is derived from fatherhood. This is but one of the many indications of the truth that the father is the head of the family.

A certain type of liberal Biblical exegesis would make us conclude that fatherhood in God is a mere metaphor. Man’s limited knowledge of spiritual concepts forces him to look for things in nature to which we must liken God. Since God is a creator, and creation is something like fatherhood, then the idea of “father” serves as a useful metaphor for God.

But this is all wrong. Divine fatherhood is not a metaphor derived from human fatherhood. We are not in the realm of metaphor here, but in the realm of analogy. The difference is enormous. Metaphor and analogy are ontologically different concepts. Metaphor establishes a symbolic point of comparison, e.g., “the Lord thy God is a consuming fire” (Deut. 4:24): God is not literally fire, but fire destroys and purifies, and so does God. Analogy, on the other hand, predicates the same word of two very different things: “God is good” (cf. Luke 18:19) and “salt is good” (Mark 9:49) are both true, but the word “good” is applied to God in a way partly the same but partly different from the way it is applied to salt (Go here and here to read Saint Thomas on this; see also this footnote in another article for a brief discussion of analogy.)

Theologically speaking, all our knowledge of God is analogical, but it is not all metaphorical.

Divine Fatherhood is the primary analogue of human fatherhood. The primary analogue is the original analogue, that to which the secondary analogue is being compared. Because of this, there is a primacy to divine Fatherhood. It is more real than human fatherhood, which is derived from it.

I will conclude by citing Saint Jerome commenting on the passage in Saint Paul. What I said in less plain language, he makes simple:

“Think by this analogy: As God exists, God allows the term existence to be applied to creatures as well. So we say that creatures exist and subsist, not so as to imply that they exist in and of themselves [as God exists] but as a derived existence enabled by God…. According to this same argument, God allows the term fatherhood to be given to creatures. So by analogy to His fathering we can understand creaturely fathering… Similarly, as the only good One, He makes others good. As the only immortal One, God has bestowed immortality on others. As the only true One, He imparts the name of truth. So also the Father alone, being Creator of all and the cause of the subsistence of all things, makes it possible for other creatures to be called fathers.”

I will return to this theme in the future. Let me end with this last thought: Until the traditional Catholic ideal of patriarchy is restored in the Church and in families, we will keep losing the culture wars.