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Dear Fr Angelo, 
I am the girl who sent you the email about what it really means to entrust your life to God and I am very grateful for your response and your availability.

However, I would like you to give me a little advice on a question that is contained in the very title of this email that I sent you: I am tired of living in a society in which everyone reclaims the right to talk about religion, about Christ, about the Church. (which, certainly has made mistakes in the course of human history) and of the Bible without having really had an encounter with Christ, without loving him, without having the slightest biblical and theological preparation.

The title of this email is actually a statement of a teacher who teaches at the university and whose words struck a chord with many of my fellow students who, after this statement, went on to agree with her words on how much pain religion (and therefore God) has inflicted on women for having created them subordinate to man. According to this professor, who is Gramscian, communist and radical feminist, the fact that women are unclean beings who shouldn’t be touched (she was referring to the book of Leviticus) is due to God and constitutes the basis of the entire Bible. I was not only shocked by his words which are horrendous, but I also felt offended and struck in my very soul for what she said is, in reality, an outright lie and what bothered me the most is that people like her exploit the authority that their role gives them to assert truths that are filtered through their own ideologies.
It is incredibly hard to be a student and live one’s faith in the academic environment, having to compare oneself with other students who, on matters of religion, have a very clear and intransigent line of thought as do the teaching staff. I perceive (and this too makes me feel very uncomfortable) the atheism that pervades the lines of the books I read, the subjects that are covered during the lessons…. All this brings me enormous discomfort and an inner struggle within myself.
Sometimes, while studying, I take breaks precisely to reflect on the meaning of the things I am reading and I realize that they are strongly anti-Christic and in class they are explained in a positive way, with extreme ease.. 
I even came to be very critical of the feminism of which this professor is a follower. It would almost seem as if she wants to free women but by turning them against God. Father, don’t hold it against me, but by doing some research on the internet, in particular on the site the light of Mary, I discovered that there was a branch of feminism that defined itself as satanic and came to consider Lucifer as the liberator as opposed to God who they considered the master, the one who wanted to keep them slaves.
It is true that feminism has allowed women to see their qualities recognized on a social level, something that Saint John Paul II also did but, at the same time, I also see how evil has used feminism to distance women from the model of the Virgin Mary (abortion, contraception, abortion pill, sexual promiscuity, devaluation of the family and marriage).I don’t know what your opinions are on this point but I would like to know them. Furthermore, how do you recommend I respond to this teacher’s statement?

Kind regards,
Mariagrazia


Priest’s answer

Dear Mariagrazia, 
1. I thought that at the basis of the Bible there was Jesus Christ, announced in the Old Testament and presented in the New.

Now I learn from your teacher that there is something else behind the Bible: frankly, I had never noticed it.

2. Advise your teacher to take the Gospel into her own hands and document her statements in light of these texts.

In the meantime, do the same thing yourself.

Start from St Matthew’s.
You will realize that the Lord has always been kind to women.

He launched terrible troubles against the scribes and Pharisees, the doctors of the law. But the woman has always been defended by our Lord, even when they ask her if it was lawful to stone her because she was discovered in flagrant adultery.

3. I take this opportunity to present you a catechesis by John Paul II on the “moral nobility of women” in Sacred Scripture.
He held it on 11th April 1996. Here it is:
‘’The Old Testament and the Judaic tradition are full of acknowledgments of woman’s moral nobility, which is expressed above all in an attitude of trust in the Lord, in prayer to obtain the gift of motherhood and in imploring God for Israel’s salvation from the assaults of its enemies. Sometimes, as in Judith’s case, this quality is celebrated by the entire community, becoming the object of common admiration.

Beside the shining examples of the biblical heroines, the negative witnesses of some women are not lacking: such as Delilah who destroys Samson’s prophetic ability (Jgs 16:4-21), the foreign women who in Solomon’s old age turn the king’s heart away from the Lord and make him worship other gods (1 Kgs 11:1-8), Jezebel who kills all “the prophets of the Lord” (1 Kgs 18:13) and has Naboth killed, to give his vineyard to Ahab (1 Kgs 21), and Job’s wife who insults him in his misfortune and spurs him to rebel (Jb 2:9).

In these cases, the woman’s conduct is reminiscent of Eve’s. 

However, the prevailing outlook in the Bible is that inspired by the Proto-Gospel, which sees in woman an ally of God.’’ 

4. By protoevangelium (literally meaning first announcement of the Gospel) we mean the promise of God at the dawn of creation after the fall of man.

He made this promise when speaking to Satan: “ I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel” (Gn 3,15).

5. The Pope goes on: “In fact, if foreign women were accused of turning Solomon away from his devotion to the true God the Book of Ruth presents us instead with the most noble figure of a foreign woman: Ruth, the Moabite, an example of piety to her relatives and of sincere and generous humility. Sharing Israel’s life and faith, she was to become David’s great-grandmother and an ancestor of the Messiah. Matthew, inserting her in Jesus’ genealogy (Mt 1:5), makes her a sign of universality and a proclamation of God’s mercy which extends to all humanity.

Among Jesus’ forebears, the first Evangelist also mentions Tamar, Rahab and Uriah’s wife, three sinful but not wicked women who are listed among the female ancestors of the Messiah, in order to proclaim that divine goodness is greater than sin. Through his grace, God causes their irregular matrimonial situations to contribute to his plans of salvation, thereby also preparing for the future.

Another example of humble dedication, different from Ruth’s, is represented by Jephthah’s daughter, who agrees to pay for her father’s victory over the Ammonites with her own death (Jgs 11:34-40). Lamenting her cruel destiny, she does not rebel but gives herself up to death in fulfillment of the thoughtless vow made by her parent in the context of primitive customs that were still prevalent (cf. Jer 7:31; Mi 6:6-8).

6. “Although sapiential literature frequently alludes to woman’s defects, it perceives in her a hidden treasure: “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the Lord” (Prov 18:22), says the Book of Proverbs, expressing convinced appreciation of the feminine figure, a precious gift of the Lord.

At the end of the same book the portrait of the ideal woman is sketched. Far from representing an unattainable model, she is a concrete image born from the experience of women of great value: “A good wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels…” (Prov 31:10).

Sapiential literature sees in woman’s fidelity to the divine covenant the culmination of her abilities and the greatest source of admiration. Indeed, although she can sometimes disappoint, woman transcends all expectations when her heart is faithful to God: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Prov 31:30)’’

7. In this context, the Book of the Maccabees, in the story of the mother of the seven brothers martyred during Antiochus Epiphanes’ persecution, holds up to us the most admirable example of nobility in trial.

After describing the death of the seven brothers, the sacred author adds: “The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honorable memory. Though she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. She encouraged each of them in the language of their fathers. Filled with a noble spirit, she fired her woman’s reasoning with a man’s courage”, thus expressing her hope in a future resurrection: “Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws” (2 Mc 7:20-23).

Urging her seventh son to submit to death rather than disobey the divine law, the mother expresses her faith in the work of God who creates all things from nothing: “I beseech you, my child to look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being. Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in the time of mercy I may get you back again with your brothers” (2 Mc 7:28-29).

She then gives herself up to a bloody death, after suffering torture of the heart seven times, witnessing to steadfast faith, boundless hope and heroic courage.

In these figures of woman, in whom the marvels of divine grace are manifest, we glimpse the one who will be the greatest: Mary, Mother of the Lord.

8. You could present this brief catechesis by John Paul II to your professor. You could also give her the Mulieris dignitatem by the same Pope, as a present.

I wish for your teacher to imitate the moral nobility of women presented by the Holy Scripture.

I wish the same for you too, and for this I remember you in prayer and bless you.


Fr Angelo