Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.
...wants women to be treated with equal dignity. He performs the standard rhetorical trick of lumping Christ’s Church in with all human religions, blaming them all equally, denying he is blaming them all equally, and then blankly asserting the standard Enlightenment dogma that it is self-evident that all are created equal.
But, of course, that’s not self-evident at all. It is, in fact, a purely mystical dogma inherited from the Christian teaching that “in Christ Jesus there is neiher Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female” which was handed down to us by the old misogynist Paul. It’s also inherent in Genesis’ insistence that “In the image of God created he Man; male and female created he them.” That’s the sole basis for any claim of equality in dignity. Pagan men, being empiricists, saw no equal dignity for women and dealt with claims of equality by the good old fashioned empiricist method of beating up and killing women who got in the way—because they could. It turns out women are not, by and large, Buffy the Vampire Slayer but are documentably physically weaker than men as a rule. The only thing that ever turned around that fallen pagan male tendency was Christianity which, among other things, was inspired by the Cult of the Virgin to exalt women and which eventually played out its own internal imperative by overcoming the ancient pagan attitude toward women as inferiors.
To be sure, this has not been lived out perfectly. Christians have been quite capable of denying the equal dignity of man and woman. Modern liberationism has often been a post-Christian heresy of male-hatred or, sillier still, an attempt to imitate males rather than assert the goodness of what is truly feminine. But the thing to note is that it owes its genesis entirely to the Judeo-Christian tradition, even when it is rooted in reaction to and rejection of that tradition. All you need do is compare Western notions of gender equality with… well, what? There’s nothing else out there. The dim and flickering attempts at asserting gender equality in Islamic or pagan societies are restatements of western assertions that trace back to Christianity and nothing else.
Once again, we discover that every knee bows to Christ.