“To confound their arrogance, I will raise up women…endowed with strength and divine wisdom.”

Premise A: Of the 36 Doctors of the Church, four are women

Premise B: “Doctor” is Latin for “teacher”

Conclusion with Logical Certainty: Women can be teachers in the Church

Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Therese of Lisieux, and Hildegard of Bingen were not sinful in daring to teach. They were not gravely in violation of 1 Tim 2:12 in real time, during their lifetimes, only to be exonerated centuries later by a declaration of the Church. Not only were their actions NOT sinful in real time, their actions were eminently meritorious.

Now, as Doctors of the Church, their teachings are literally part of the Magisterium.

It’s helpful if we take a look at some of the words used to describe the lives and works of these women. For today, I will limit myself to two. Let’s start with Saint Hildegard of Bingen, 12th Century mystic and visionary, named Doctor of the Universal Church on 7 October 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI just five months after her Canonization. Here are the words of Pope Benedict from the proclamation, emphasis mine:

A “light for her people and her time”: in these words Blessed John Paul II, my Venerable Predecessor, described Saint Hildegard of Bingen in 1979, on the occasion of the eight-hundredth anniversary of the death of this German mystic. This great woman truly stands out crystal clear against the horizon of history for her holiness of life and the originality of her teaching. And, as with every authentic human and theological experience, her authority reaches far beyond the confines of a single epoch or society; despite the distance of time and culture, her thought has proven to be of lasting relevance.

One of the salient points of Hildegard’s magisterium was her heartfelt exhortation to a virtuous life addressed to consecrated men and women. Her understanding of the consecrated life is a true “theological metaphysics”, because it is firmly rooted in the theological virtue of faith, which is the source and constant impulse to full commitment in obedience, poverty and chastity…

Hildegard’s eminent doctrine echoes the teaching of the Apostles, the Fathers and writings of her own day, while it finds a constant point of reference in the Rule of Saint Benedict. The monastic liturgy and the interiorization of sacred Scripture are central to her thought which, focusing on the mystery of the Incarnation, is expressed in a profound unity of style and inner content that runs through all her writings.

The teaching of the holy Benedictine nun stands as a beacon… HERE

Teaching, authority, magisterium, eminent doctrine, and praise of her exhortations to consecrated men.

How about that.

Next, let’s turn to Saint Catherine of Siena, 14th Century mystic and healer of schism. Her masterpiece, The Dialogue, is available online HERE.  Much to her dismay, she was called to teach and instruct out in the real world, when all she wanted to do was be alone to contemplate our Lord. Among other things, it was left to her to publicly rebuke a bunch of scheming traitorous Cardinals who had invalidly faux “elected” an antipope after invalidly convoking a faux conclave while the throne was already occupied.

Funny that.

The Life of Catherine of Siena, written by her confessor and spiritual director, Blessed Raymund of Capua, reveals how Catherine discovered that she was to have a teaching role:

The virgin, lying prostrate at the feet of the Lord, had spoken more by way of tears than with her lips, He would reply: “Be quiet, sweetest daughter; it is necessary for you to fulfill your every duty, so that with my grace you may assist others as well as yourself. I have no intention of cutting you off from me; on the contrary, I wish to bind you more closely to myself, by means of love of the neighbour…

What is there to be astonished at or to lament about if I lead you to do what in infancy you desired to do?” And Catherine, somewhat comforted by this reply, would say, as once Blessed Mary had said, “How shall this thing be?” And the Lord: “According as my goodness shall ordain.” And Catherine, like a good disciple imitating her Master, would answer: “Let your will, not mine, be done in all things, Lord, for I am darkness and you are light; I am not, whereas you are He who is; I most ignorant, and you the wisdom of God the Father. But I beg you, O Lord—if it is not too presumptuous of me—how can what you have just said come about; that is to say, how can I, wretched and frail as I am, be of use to souls? My sex, as you know, is against it in many ways, both because it is not highly considered by men, and also because it is not good, for decency’s sake, for a woman to mix with men.”

To these words the Lord would reply, as once the Archangel Gabriel had replied, that nothing is impossible to God, for He said: “Am not I He who created the human race, and divided it into male and female? I spread abroad the grace of my spirit where I will. In my eyes there is neither male nor female, rich nor poor, but all are equal, for I can do all things with equal ease. It is as easy for me to create an Angel as an ant, and to create all the heavens is as easy for me as to create the merest worm. It is written of me that I made whatever I willed to make, for nothing is impossible to me. (Psalm 113). “Do you still remain doubtful? Do you imagine that I am unable to find ways of achieving whatever I have determined and predetermined on? However, I realize that you do not speak thus from lack of faith but from humility. Therefore you must know that in these latter days there has been such an upsurge of pride, especially in the case of men who imagine themselves to be learned or wise, that my justice cannot endure them any longer, without delivering a just chastisement upon them that will bring them to confusion. But since my mercy transcends all else I do, I shall first give them a salutary lesson, to see whether they will come to their senses and humble themselves; as I did with the Jews and the Gentiles, when I sent amongst them idiots whom I had filled with divine wisdom. To confound their arrogance, I will raise up women ignorant and frail by nature but endowed with strength and divine wisdom. Then, if they will come to their senses and humble themselves, I will behave with the utmost mercy towards them, that is to say, towards those who, according to the grace given them, receive my doctrine, offered to them in fragile but specially chosen vessels, and follow it reverently. Those who will not accept this salutary lesson, I shall with perfect justice reduce to such confusion that the world will look upon them as objects of contempt and derision.

The Life of Saint Catherine of Siena, Part Two, Chapter One HERE

By the way, Saint Catherine was a laywoman.

Did I mention that?

23 thoughts on ““To confound their arrogance, I will raise up women…endowed with strength and divine wisdom.”

  1. Wow! Thank you Mark! THIS is why I am down to only a few sites I check daily. May God bless and reward you!

  2. My favorite is St Catherine of Siena, a Dominican tertiary. She, in my opinion, is the female St Thomas Aquinas, whose writings on spirituality is more accessible than his and the most towering female saint in Church history. We should pray for her guidance every day to help our hierarchy come to their senses.

    As an aside Ann Barnhardt is our day’s representative St. Catherine’s inspired lay involvement in the Church. Pray for Ann and her great work.

    1. I agree with you about Ann. Like St. Katherine of Siena, she has been blessed with the wisdom to identify an antipope and articulate (to those willing to humble themselves and listen) the obvious reasons why. Also like the late, great, Phyllis Schlafly, Ann has the talent to take complex material and simplify it for the masses to understand. Also, and I really hope the Trad Inc people who despise her read this… God does what He wants, when He wants, and with whom He chooses. The children of Fatima were just that, children. Bernadette Soubirous was an illiterate peasant. Juan Diego was the same. Etc., etc. So no, you absolutely do not need a degree in theology to be taken seriously on matters of faith.

  3. While it is true that the Magisterium approves the writings of a Saint, when they are raised to the dignity of a Doctor of the Church, it is not precisely accurate to say that their writings become thereby part of the magisterium of the Church. Better to say, they are approved as reflecting doctrine which is highly or nearly perfectly consonent with the doctrine of the Church. This is because some doctors of the Church denied dogmas later defined solemnly, as for example Saint Thomas Aquinas who denied the Immaculate Conception. Thus if one were to say his writings are part of the magisterium, then one would affirm an internal contradiction in the Magisterium.

    The proper distinction here about teaching is teaching as fulfiling a munus docendi, which is an office in the Church which can only be entrusted to those who are ordained, since it flows from Christ’s Triple Munera. The other kind of teaching nuns have always done in convents to teach other nuns, the Church has never applied St Paul’s doctrine to that kind of teaching, which is why it is just another invented slur in the context it was used on Twitter in recent days.

  4. Who, exactly is the greatest Saint ever? The One God chose to take His Flesh from? The One higher than all the angels and Saints combined? That’s right.,.Woman.

    Pray to and for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart!

    1. By design, I might add. He could have chosen to come into the world in a flash of light. He could have chosen to redeem the world without being incarnated. Every step he did choose has meaning behind it. I can’t wait to write up a piece on the very many reasons why Mary is the Co-Redemptrix.

  5. The debate over whether a woman should be “allowed to teach”, derived from the single verse I Tim 2:12, is a Protestant approach to Scripture. Take a verse and draw all possible conclusions from it. I have had many such debates – verses used as bullets from a gun.

    What attracts me to the Catholic Faith is that all verses are taken in context with all other verses and, indeed, with all the collected Magisterial Traditions combined. So that, the question is not what does I Tim 2:12 say, in isolation, on the topic of women teaching men and having authority, but what does the Church’s Magisterium teach in proper context with everything else.

    I Tim 2:12 is not nothing. God, via St.Paul, was saying something crucial on this topic and it must be pondered for what it is. He is clear in this statement. Context, once again. Men and women each have an hierarchical role. Women were not meant to rule over men. BUT … as Mark said and Kono said: Jesus chose to incarnate of Woman (not “a flash of light”); and that Woman is *Queen* of Heaven and Earth. Full of grace He made her. And Full Of Grace raised, nurtured and taught God of All Creation. Her role in the Hierarchy.

    So, in the context of the Faith, women are to follow the lead of our Queen. Live and act as she did, and that is enough. Not King. But not nothing either. Queen of Heaven and Earth. The King listens to her. The King honors her. The King lends His ear to her pleadings and desires. The King loves her above all creation. She rules in her own way, as Queens do. But neither does she usurp God’s rule as King. Beautiful.

    1. Consecration to Mary Immaculate, Queen of Heaven and Earth, or as Saint Maximilian Kolbe puts it, “becoming Her,” is not for female members of the human race only, but for all human beings.

      1. That may be how he puts it. I won’t say he’s wrong, even though I don’t understand what he is talking about. So I can’t put it that way, personally. Imitate, yes. Consecrate to, yes. Venerate, follow, yes. Become the Blessed Mother, as a man and father … no.

  6. My two cents are that the Trad Inc. people have been fighting the battle so long that they have lost the thread.
    What gets in the way of the next great thing? The LAST great thing. It feels like this to me.
    For example: Motorola had the cell phone market in its hands. Analog though. When digital came they couldn’t switch to it and eat their own analog market. So Nokia took over the cell phone business. Digital. However the same happened to Nokia it couldn’t switch to Smart Phones. So it was overtaken.
    So it is happening in our matter at hand too. In our case it is for all the marbles. BiP is NOT to be ignored. It is the next thing and is the only solution that makes logical sense. We must ignore Trad Inc. (the last great thing) and move forward.
    I’ve been able to tell a few people about BiP but it takes a while for them to process it. I’ve got to keep plugging away and hope it breaks through eventually.

    1. Roland, I think it is already happening. Look how nasty, literally nasty, the Trad Inc people are getting. It really is “shut up stupid” rather than mature rebuttals, presented with facts. You don’t get that way unless you’re losing the battle and getting desperate. Ann, Mark and a few select others are presenting thought-provoking FACTS from Canon Law, Church Teachings and credible prophecy (Anne Katherine Emmerich) that are having an impact. They’re also not littering their websites with irritating “donate now” pop-ups nor are they trolling social media getting into junior high school style fights. That alone adds credibility to their argument and their personal integrity.

  7. Let us ask the greatest woman of all, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, to intercede for us in this time of crisis and give us the grace to attain that Sapientiae -Wisdom, a gift of the Holy Ghost, in order to discern the right path necessary for our salvation.

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