Real men, real women—part II

Real men, real women—part II

[This is the second of a two-part entry about a speech given by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver to a conference of women. See the first entry immediately preceding this one.]

There’s so much good stuff in this speech than what I’ve summarized here. He also talks about how the commodification of our culture, the tendency to see things from a consumerist slant, have played havoc with our ability to perceive the world.

If we want freedom, we buy it by purchasing this car or that computer. If we want romance, we buy it by purchasing this cruise or that hotel package. The trouble is, the more that our advertising misuses the language of our dreams and ideals to sell consumer goods ... the more confused our dreams and ideals become. We trick ourselves to the point where we no longer recognize what real love, honest work, freedom, truth, family, patriotism—and even life itself—look like.

But the Archbishop really hits his stride, and hacks at the politically correct ethos of the world, when addressing the drive of women for “equality” with men, which is just a disguised form of grasping at power.

The price tag of this kind of “equality” too often means denying the differences between women and men. It can mean being just as competitive and aggressive as men. It can mean putting career first. It can mean fearing the things that make up the feminine genius—the acts that make women, women. That’s why so much of today’s secular feminism hates fertility. Thate then goes on to highlight the particular qualities of women that set them apart from men and make them so valuable to us as they are—not as the male-analogues that contemporary society tries to make them.

Women express their genius through mercy, patience, endurance and forgiveness ... But they also have a realism that comes from the labor of bearing new life. I think women, better than men, know what’s true and important about the world. Sigrid Undset, the great Norwegian woman writer, once said that, “Facts may be true, but they are not truths—just as wooden crates or fence posts or doors or furniture are not ‘wood’ in the same way a forest is, since it consists of the living and growing material from which these things are made.” Men usually understand the facts of their daily life. But I think women more easily see the truth of the people and the relationships hidden behind the facts.

Women have primacy in the order of love, while men have primacy in the order of authority. That doesn’t mean the men are more important than women. What it means is that men and women have complementary roles in the world, that they are each suited to different roles within the family, within society, and within the Church. Thank God for that. After all I love women. They make the world a better place, a more beautiful place, from the youngest toddler to the oldest grandmother, and I shudder to think what the world would be like without them. And that goes especially for our Blessed Mother. What a great gift we have in her. Thank you, Lord, for sharing your mother with us.