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Dear Father Angelo,

I am a 23 year old girl and I’ve always been Catholic.

Recently, during the Easter Triduum 2018 (perhaps because I prayed more or perhaps because I knelt at the foot of a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows,

or perhaps because I showed a small desire to love and console Jesus in the Passion) something happened.

My desire for prayer, praise, spiritual instruction and many other things, including the desire not to sin again, manifested themselves exactly on Easter day … and I am convinced that this is the gift of conversion that the Lord gave me.

In fact, I always say: “Lord, you freed me from my mud, I will never thank you enough”. …

I am getting familiar with the Scriptures, I love the book of Psalms and what I am currently reading arouses great emotion in me!

Now… I would like to bring something up to your attention. Just today, being in the delivery room (nursing internship) I witnessed a natural birth.

And I asked myself about the physiological pains: “If childbirth involves pain it is because it is God’s will” and I immediately remembered the Genesis.

And here is another point: “But God loves us infinitely … is it possible that the pain of childbirth is really a divine punishment? Therefore God must not love us so much if he has put so much suffering for us women, which He did not do with man”

and so on with many doubts that for a while they were also making me mad at God. I know well that these doubts and sadness are caused by evil, since the closer I want to get close to God, the more I feel tempted.

However, many passages in the Bible, Old and New Testament seem to be against the woman. (…).

The Church places a great deal of attention on women and exalts her as a wonderful divine Creation … but then in the Scriptures, including the New Testament,

passages of a completely different nature are found.

Excuse me for the long email, but all I have asked you is because I want to get closer and closer to the Truth and not fall into the error of thinking of God

as a Punisher or of the Scriptures as the basis for justifying the inferiority of the woman, which has continued to this day.

Thank you Father, also for all the other illuminating answers found on the Dominican Friends website and I’ll remember you with affection in my prayers.

Praised be Jesus.


Answer from the priest 

Dear A.,

1. Your question about women’s pain during childbirth might seem trivial, because it would simply look like something natural.

But since Sacred Scripture connects the pain of childbirth to original sin we are instinctively called to perceive in this relation to something higher and more profound, which does not only affect the woman, but also the man.

2. John Paul II in Mulieris dignitatem examines this connection in depth.

He begins by saying that man too is marked by suffering as a result of original sin because God says to him: “Cursed be the ground because of you! In toil shall you eat its yield all the days of your life … By the sweat of your face shall you get bread to eat, until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; for you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return. “(Gn 3,17.19).

The man experiences the fatigue and sweat of his forehead every day, the woman the pains of childbirth.

“All this, then, is marked by the necessity of death, which constitutes the end of human life on earth. In this way man, like dust, “Until you return to the ground, from which you were taken”; for you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return” (Gen 3:19) “(MD 9).

3. But there is something else in a woman’s suffering, especially at the moment of childbirth. It is a suffering that heralds such a great joy that makes us forget all the travail that she goes through.

There is something in this suffering that refers to the very painful death of our Savior.

It was necessary for him to pass through that to reach the resurrection. 

And it also refers to another labor that is always necessary for many to reach the birth of a new life. This is what Pius XII said in the encyclical Mystici Corporis: “A mystery certainly tremendous, and never sufficiently meditated upon: that the salvation of many depends on the prayers and voluntary mortifications taken by the members of the mystical Body of Jesus Christ, and on the cooperation of pastors and faithful, especially fathers and mothers in collaboration with the divine Savior”(EE 6, 193).

Both physical and spiritual motherhood follow the same path.

4. But this is not the only pain in women.

There is another, I could say more prolonged.

The woman, because of her own sensitivity, suffers more both in the body and in the spirit. John Paul II writes: “The sensitivity of the woman plays a significant role in this suffering; even if she often knows how to resist suffering more than man.

It is difficult to enumerate these sufferings, it is difficult to call them all by name: you can think about the maternal concern for children, especially when they are sick or take a wrong path, the death of loved ones, the loneliness of mothers forgotten by adult children or that of widows, the sufferings of women who struggle to survive alone and of women who have been wronged or exploited. Finally, there are the sufferings of consciences due to sin, which has affected the human or maternal dignity of the woman, the wounds of consciences that do not heal easily.

Even in relation with these sufferings one must place oneself at the foot of the Cross of Christ “(MD 19).

United with the sufferings of Christ and lived with his sentiments, they have a saving power. They are capable of generating new life in many.

5. At the foot of the cross there is a small group of women who directly participate in the pains of Jesus. There is only one of the Apostles, John.

Almost the same thing in the morning of the resurrection.

Because of her sensitivity, the woman is closer to the redemptive death of Christ.

But this greater suffering is due to a greater participation in the joy of the resurrection and rebirth.

6. At a superficial glance, suffering seems like a condemnation.

In reality in Christ it takes on a saving significance.

That capacity for which even Paul, subjected to a thousand sufferings, hardships and persecutions, can say to the Galatians: “My children, for whom I am again in labor until Christ be formed in you!” (Gal 4:19).

7. What matters before God and what matters for the eternal life we ​​are preparing is not the greater or lesser power in the hierarchy or in society, but the degree of charity and love.

This lasts eternally and it is on this basis that the glory in Heaven is diversified.

From this point of view, which is the only true one because it is eternal “there is total equality with respect to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, with respect to “the mighty acts of God”(Acts 2:11)”.

8. Finally, the pains of a woman’s childbirth refer to the mystery of Mother Church who generates sons and daughters only by passing through the path of the cross.

That Church which in the Revelation is presented to us as a “woman about to give birth” (Rev. 12.4), who “wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth” (Rev. 12.2).

The pain of a woman during childbirth is great indeed.

But it is a pain that manifests the greatness of love which, in order to generate life, is willing to go through the greatest sufferings.

It is to that pain that God points every man when he says to him: “your mother’s birthpangs forget not” (Sir 7:27).

He reminds him about it so that he does not forget the love received, but also to do the same if he wants to generate someone for Christ.

Thank you for your patience while waiting for my answer and for the prayer.

I wish you joyful and fruitful progress in Christ, I’ll remember you in my prayers to the Lord and I bless you.

Father Angelo