Thursday, February 10, 2011

Memorial of Saint Scholastica, virgin

(Genesis 2:18-25; Mark 7:24-30)

A welcome change in Christian theology is the recognition that women are not morally weaker than men. Theologians as illustrious as Augustine and Aquinas opined that the Devil could seduce Eve into sinning since (according to Aquinas) in her “the gift of the light of reason shone with lesser brilliance.” We would search the Catechism of the Catholic Church in vain for such a jibe.

Actually a case can be made for the superiority of women in Genesis. The reading today shows how the woman is created from the flesh of Adam and not from dust as he is. Then, the woman is evidently made whole where Adam is missing the part of his anatomy that God used to form the woman. Finally, Adam seems to recognize a priority about the woman as he names her (in Hebrew) “’ishah” before he names himself “’ish.”

The great theologians of antiquity never said that women are not created in God’s image thereby lacking human dignity. We must go farther than that, however, without tipping toward a chauvinist view in favor of women. Men and women are equal in dignity and complementary in makeup and, to some extent, function. With their talents, both shared and distinctive, they can together make the world a satisfying place to live.