Skip to comments.Mutual Submission of Spouses?
Posted on 06/16/2004 2:21:16 PM PDT by bonaventura
click here to read article
You got an uppity wife or something?
In an unrelated thread, but on this topic, the following was posted about my claim that "mutual submission of spouses" was a liberal concept.-
"The apostle Paul himself calls for mutual subjection of spouses, and the Fathers of the Church have always accepted that marriage is a mutual undertaking and not a master/servant relationship. The obedience of a Christian wife is freely willed, grounded in her husband's complete dedication to her, a true icon of Christ's kenotic sacrifice. To reduce this to a juridical establishment of power relationships is to play right into the hands of secular feminism -- not to mention a satanic misrepresentation of all creation as master and slave, predator and prey."
That was not the only complaint that I received regarding this. But first I must address the above:
A. I don't recall ever going into anything about master and slave, or predator and prey, nor any of the other things of that sort implied here.
B. The teachings of Paul and of the Fathers, as can be seen in this article, do not support the idea of mutual subjection of spouses, as it was claimed in the above statement.
I would repeat my claim, then, that the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church has always been that the wife is to be subject to the husband, as the church is subject to Christ; and the husband should love the wife, as Christ loves the Church.
I am posting this to address the issue that arose on the other thread, so instead of that one running off on a tangent the debate here can be solely on this issue.
I have no uppity wife. In fact, I have no wife at all. Do you think that might be more than a coincidence?
I think it might be a Godsend, for any potential lady involved.
If you're actively looking, perhaps adhering to John Paul II's words might widen the pool of potential candidates.
Practically, most right-thinking spouses work this out for themselves. As you've already found, there don't seem to be as many females who will "submit" themselves, in every single decision to a spouse.
If you find one, and this is your primary criterion, perhaps you should grab her, so long as she doesn't have her fingers crossed behind her back.
I was going to post an ad in the local paper that read something like this:
Looking for some lucky lady to be the slave to my master, and prey to my predator. Anyone looking to make a lifelong commitment to servitude please contact me.
No really- did anyone even read the article. To say that the wife must be subject to her husband is not to say that her husband is to toss her around and lord over her like Vlad the impaler, and she must quietly submit. The relationship is to be seen as that of Christ and His Church.
I know most modern women completely reject this idea because they have, at least on some level, accepted part of the feminist revolt that has declared the marriage as some sort of slavery. I also, though, know many who are perfectly at home (pardon the pun) with the traditional teaching of the Church on this issue.
Well, I know a couple of evangelical husbands who insist on this Pauline teaching, with very mixed results. In one case, the wife is apparently very unhappy, and I'm not optimistic about their future together.
I've found, after 27 years with the same woman, that giving her the same consideration you expect her to give you usually works out well, in the long run.
Not everything has to go my way, especially if it's no big deal in the first place.
However, whereas in the relationship between Christ and the Church the subjection is only on the part of the Church, in the relationship between husband and wife the "subjection" is not one-sided but mutual ... All the reasons in favour of the "subjection" of woman to man in marriage must be understood in the sense of a "mutual subjection" of both "out of reverence for Christ." (John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem §24)
Domestic society being confirmed, therefore, by this bond of love, there should flourish in it that "order of love," as St. Augustine calls it. This order includes both the primacy of the husband with regard to the wife and children, the ready subjection of the wife and her willing obedience, which the Apostle commends in these words: "Let women be subject to their husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ is the head of the Church." ... But the structure of the family and its fundamental law, established and confirmed by God, must always and everywhere be maintained intact. (Pius XI, Casti Connubii §26, 28)
How exactly is a "mutual subjection" compatible with the "primacy of the husband"? It can't be that the husband's love for his wife "as Christ also loved the church and delivered himself up for it" is the subjection on his part or even part of this subjection, since the Pope says that "between Christ and the Church the subjection is only on the part of the Church".
It's not. But, most smart husbands and wives realize that mutual subjection works best, today, in the long run. Spouses defer to one, or the other, depending on the issue at hand. Things like job changes or moves are also worked out, mutually.
It's fine to argue about this theologically. But, practically, John Paul II is much closer to the truth of the matter than Pius XI. We are not operating in the totally male-dominated society that Paul, and Augustine, and even Pius XI, lived in.
If a couple decides that a wife will be subject to her husband, fine. Just do what works.
"Well, I know a couple of evangelical husbands who insist on this Pauline teaching, with very mixed results. In one case, the wife is apparently very unhappy, and I'm not optimistic about their future together."
Well, that's just dandy. I know a case where this teaching was most definitely not insisted on, and they are "divorced" because the wife was sleeping around. This proves nothing.
"I've found, after 27 years with the same woman, that giving her the same consideration you expect her to give you usually works out well, in the long run."
I'm not saying her opinions shouldn't be given consideration. I'm saying that when the votes are tallied (both of them) and the cases are set forth, the decision is still yours, as you are the head of the household. You may submit in consideration for her; but her submission, though still given out of love, is obligatory.
Also, personal experience is really not the issue. The issue is whether or not "mutual submission" is in line with the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church. It isn't. One must admit then, sinkspur, that on this issue JPII has clearly broken with the constant teaching of the Church.
This gets us back to the original post on Papalotry. To question or disregard JPII's teaching on this issue (and others like it) is not to become schismatic, or heretical, or any of the other names you toss out for anyone who doesn't agree with his every word and act. It is actually holding fast to the Catholic faith, not rejecting it.
I think that if the woman hasn't married a bum, or worse, and she herself is not a self centered feminist, that this commandment can be carried out exactly as it stands with completely mutual respect. I think this is true of all lasting marriages.
I say this today on the 35th anniversary of my wedding.
The woman, according to the Bible, was sent as a helper for man, I would add, to complete him. And if done right, the marriage is like a seamless garment, with no hint that 'submission' is an odious chore, but rather a whole cloth.
They do like to moan and make jokes about that passage on 'nudge sunday' though. "Nudge', because the husband and wife poke each other in the ribs when they hear it.
Happy Anniversary Arguss, and my congratulations to your wife as well. I had to grab the wine and have a toast for the both of you. 35 years is quite a bit over the national average right now, I think.
Unrelated- Can someone tell me how to use italics on here. Do you just type the HTML code in before you type or is there some type of formatting button on here that I am missing?
I don't recall where anyone said that disregarding JPII's teaching on this issue made one schismatic, just as my preference of JPII's teaching over that of Pius XI's doesn't make me schismatic. It is Paul's preference that women subject themselves to men, just as he preferred that all men remain celibate, as he was. But a marriage that does not use that model does not subject the spouses to damnation.
SSPXers are not schismatic because they reject JPII, but because they reject the authority of the Pope to determine who will be bishops and who will not. And, their leader, Lefebvre, acted against the Pope's authority.
22 Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord: 23 Because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. He is the saviour of his body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject to Christ: so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church and delivered himself up for it:26 That he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: 27 That he might present it to himself, a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church:30 Because we are members of him, body, of his flesh and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother: and shall cleave to his wife. And they shall be two in one flesh. 32 This is a great sacrament: but I speak in Christ and in the church. 33 Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular love for his wife as himself: And let the wife fear her husband.
The above is the epistle in the traditional nuptial Mass - following the matrimonial vows. It's clear that wives are called to obey their husbands "in all things" except where obedience to the command would involve sin.
I'm not sure if this is correct. Pius XI seems to go beyond the boundaries of "sin" in Casti Connubii:
This subjection, however, does not deny or take away the liberty which fully belongs to the woman both in view of her dignity as a human person, and in view of her most noble office as wife and mother and companion; nor does it bid her obey her husband's every request if not in harmony with right reason or with the dignity due to the wife; (CC 27)
And there's the rub, gbc. And the reason that JPII encourages "mutual submission." It's a matter of perspective. They both seem to be saying the same thing, with different emphases.
When the grounds are clear and cogent, when they are shared by a number of serious and loyal theologians, then it is permitted to differ from the decree or at least to withdraw one's agreement for the present time. But it is not permissible, out of respect for the holy power of the Apostolic See, to take a public position against it; rather, one should undertake a respectful silence, or the difficulty may be presented to the Apostolic See. (F. Gallati, "Wenn die Papste Sprechen", Vienna: 1960, p. 175)
"This subjection, however, does not deny or take away the liberty which fully belongs to the woman both in view of her dignity as a human person, and in view of her most noble office as wife and mother and companion; nor does it bid her obey her husband's every request if not in harmony with right reason or with the dignity due to the wife"
Commands "not in harmony with right reason or with the dignity due to the wife" would involve sin.
Of course, traditionalists who use the same justification for not giving blind obedience to everything that comes out of the Vatican are often accused of "schism" or worse.
It could be legitimately argued that many of the changes "mandated" at Vatican 2 are not "in harmony with right reason" and therefore not subject to obedience.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.