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"The feminization of Western Christianity can be dated rather exactly. Suddenly, in the thirteenth century, during the lifetimes of St. Dominic and St. Francis, women began to get involved in the Church to such an extent that both Francis and Dominic warned their followers not to spend all their time preaching to women and ignoring men. St. Francis of Assisi, in a somewhat uncharacteristic note, said (according to Thomas of Pavia), “The Lord has taken away wives from us, but the devil has given us sisters.” St. Dominic tried to keep his followers away from women. The earliest constitutions, written in 1220, before Dominic’s death in 1221, prohibit Dominicans from undertaking the cura monialum, “the spiritual direction of women.” This prohibition seems not to be based on Dominic’s fears about celibacy but on his fear that his followers would be overwhelmed by women and neglect their preaching to men. This indeed happened. Within a century the Dominicans were devoting their time largely to women. 

What happened in the medieval Church? In his immensely influential sermons on the Song of Songs, Bernard of Clairvaux taught that the relationship of the Christian soul to God was that of a bride to a Heavenly Bridegroom. In this he continued an allegorical exegesis that goes back to Origen, but his preaching fell on fertile ground, and was taken up by popular piety, which had undergone a mysterious transformation into what we might call affective, or sentimental, piety, although these words are not exact. Emotions and sentiments had always played a part in Christian life, but now for some reason the emotions were those of women.

Bernard’s language expressing the union of the soul with God in erotic terms was highly congenial to women. Valerie M. Lagorio in her survey of mystical literature concludes: “In the works of the women visionaries, one notes the prevalence of Brautmystik, the love affair between Christ and the soul, leading to espousal and marriage.” Birgitta of Sweden usually referred to herself in the third person as “the bride.” After 1300 in Germany, “it was chiefly among women . . . that the Brautmystik was received with fervor.” Mechtilde had a vision of Gertrude of Helfta: “She [Mechtilde] saw the Lord Jesus as a Spouse, full of grace and vigor, fairer than a thousand angels. He was clad in green garments that seemed to be lined with gold. And she [Gertrude] for whom she [Mechtilde] had prayed was being tenderly enfolded by his right arm, so that her left side, where the heart is, was held close to the opening of the wound of love; she for her part was seen to be enfolding him in the embrace of her left arm.”Medieval eros, which delighted in bright colors and knights who had received wounds of love, is prominent here.  

Christ had revealed himself to Gertrude as “a youth of about sixteen years of age, handsome and gracious. Young as I then was, the beauty of his form was all that I could have desired, entirely pleasing to the outward eye.”

This change in devotion found a justification in new Scholastic theories of the masculine and feminine. The Scholastics, as Prudence Allen has shown in The Concept of Woman, rediscovered and Christianized the Aristotelian analysis of the female. Aristotle followed Pythagoras in organizing reality into polar opposites. In the Metaphysics, Aristotle said that in a pair of contraries, one is the privation of the other.Aristotle was especially interested in the contraries of form, and he placed the male on the side of form, the female on the side of matter: “the female always provided the material, the male, that which fashions it.”As the giver of form, man rules; as the matter that is given form, the woman obeys."


Heres the full article http://touchstonemag.com/archives/articl...4-01-026-f

I don't know what to think, it seems kinda spotty, what you all think about this?

Edited by Vox to fix formatting and make it legible
I think there is definitely something to it. This here is key:

Quote:A boy is born of a woman and has an intense and close relationship with a woman for the first years of his life. At first the child is not even aware of his mother as a separate being. He gradually realizes that his mother is a separate being, a separate person. He then starts realizing that his mother differs from him in an extremely important respect: she is what he cannot and should not become—a woman. The boy must break this intense, close relationship with his mother to establish his separate identity. The girl is separate, but she can become feminine by imitating her mother. The boy cannot become masculine by imitating his mother; he must turn from her to other models, usually his father.

Intense pressure is put on the boy to make this break. If he does not make the break, he is called a momma’s boy, a girl, and much harsher things. He learns that at all costs he must become a man. 
 
The modern Church is failing to help boys make this break, and the epidemic of fatherlessness feeds the problem. Feminine or effeminate priests make it all worse. They drive boys and men away.

I have an issue, though, with the denigration of women's approach to spirituality. It's one thing to realize the need to provide for men and to keep the liturgy robust; it's another to mock and belittle, for ex., women's devotion to the Child Jesus or what have you. Women and men are different (and hurrah for that); there's room enough for all of us. But the priesthood must remain masculine, and fatherhood -- in general and with regard to priestly fatherhood -- need to be stressed much, much better than the gatekeepers are allowing for now.
(04-01-2019, 11:32 PM)VoxClamantis Wrote: [ -> ]I think there is definitely something to it. This here is key:

Quote:A boy is born of a woman and has an intense and close relationship with a woman for the first years of his life. At first the child is not even aware of his mother as a separate being. He gradually realizes that his mother is a separate being, a separate person. He then starts realizing that his mother differs from him in an extremely important respect: she is what he cannot and should not become—a woman. The boy must break this intense, close relationship with his mother to establish his separate identity. The girl is separate, but she can become feminine by imitating her mother. The boy cannot become masculine by imitating his mother; he must turn from her to other models, usually his father.

Intense pressure is put on the boy to make this break. If he does not make the break, he is called a momma’s boy, a girl, and much harsher things. He learns that at all costs he must become a man. 
 
The modern Church is failing to help boys make this break, and the epidemic of fatherlessness feeds the problem. Feminine or effeminate priests make it all worse. They drive boys and men away.

I have an issue, though, with the denigration of women's approach to spirituality. It's one thing to realize the need to provide for men and to keep the liturgy robust; it's another to mock and belittle, for ex., women's devotion to the Child Jesus or what have you. Women and men are different (and hurrah for that); there's room enough for all of us. But the priesthood must remain masculine, and fatherhood -- in general and with regard to priestly fatherhood -- need to be stressed much, much better than the gatekeepers are allowing for now.

"To much, perhaps, for Podles’ argument is riddled with contradictions, historical inaccuracies, and errors in reasoning that almost entirely undermine his central thesis. To begin with, there’s the historical evidence that bridal mysticism predated Bernard of Clairvaux. Podles recognizes one antecedent, claiming that Bernard got his inspiration from the Commentary on the Song of Songs of the early Christian writer Origen, “whose heterodoxy makes him a dubious authority.” The problem with this historically is that Origen wrote in Greek, and Bernard probably did not read Greek. He is more likely to have had access to the Latin works of the unquestionably orthodox St. Ambrose, who spoke of the individual’s soul conubii foedere copulatur , “joined in bonds of matrimony” to God, and who often used the Song in his homilies and liturgical works.

  Bridal mysticism can be found in the patristic period in both the Greek and Latin Churches, and has its roots in Scripture (especially in the Song of Songs and 2 Corinthians 11:2). If bridal mysticism is responsible for scaring men away from the Church, then it should have done so much earlier than the twelfth century, and in the Eastern Churches as well. Furthermore, it cannot be the explanation for the “feminization” of twentieth“century mainline Protestantism, which lacks any hints of bridal mysticism, except, perhaps, in some forms of feminism.

  Podles needs to locate the beginning of “feminization” in the twelfth century with Bernard rather than in the fourth with Ambrose or the third with Origen because he wants to show that Christianity is not inherently off“putting to men. Podles has constructed his argument on the premises that 1) if Christianity is not attracting men it must be because it is feminized, and 2) Christianity is not inherently feminized. He can hardly acknowledge the possibility that attracting men has been a problem throughout Church history. We have no idea whether men in antiquity showed a greater commitment to Christianity than did women, although Podles assumes this to be the case. We do know of prominent early Christian men (Timothy, Constantine, Augustine) who were brought to church by their wives or mothers, just as many men are today, but we don't know whether this was the norm."
There's a lot of great stuff in that article, although he does miss the mark at some points as well. 

The imagery of the Church and the soul as the bride goes back to the Old Testament and continues into the Apocalypse, earthly marriage is a sign of the heavenly which it will be superseded by. You can't do away with the symbolism, it's healthy and deeply integrated into the Church, the culture and even our psyche. 

Although I do agree with his comments on the overly feminine presentation of this, just look at the difference between how the heavenly marriage is described in St. John's Apocalypse vs. how it's described by some female mystic. Not that there aren't different ways to describe this mystery (which is ultimately ineffable), nor is it wrong to use carnal imagery (Song of Songs comes to mind), but there certainly are unhealthy tendencies which have been amplified over the centuries which have not been attractive to men.
(04-02-2019, 02:41 PM)Florus Wrote: [ -> ]There's a lot of great stuff in that article, although he does miss the mark at some points as well. 

The imagery of the Church and the soul as the bride goes back to the Old Testament and continues into the Apocalypse, earthly marriage is a sign of the heavenly which it will be superseded by. You can't do away with the symbolism, it's healthy and deeply integrated into the Church, the culture and even our psyche. 

Although I do agree with his comments on the overly feminine presentation of this, just look at the difference between how the heavenly marriage is described in St. John's Apocalypse vs. how it's described by some female mystic. Not that there aren't different ways to describe this mystery (which is ultimately ineffable), nor is it wrong to use carnal imagery (Song of Songs comes to mind), but there certainly are unhealthy tendencies which have been amplified over the centuries which have not been attractive to men.

True i wonder when truly did the gender gap become more apparent within the church? any ideas?

Reformation? Vatican2?
I've seen this line of reasoning in recent years from the way out there Orthodox convert Frederica Mathewes-Green, and frankly I don't think it was ever a problem in our church until the 1960's when it began arriving from decidedly different sources. I seriously doubt many people were wondering about such things as recent as the 1950's. Several people I've spoken with who are Orthodox themselves and who have travelled extensively, told me after reading Mathewes-Green, that if she visited enough churches in the Eastern world she might get the impression that Orthodoxy is really a religion for old ladies.
(04-02-2019, 03:42 PM)Eric F Wrote: [ -> ]I've seen this line of reasoning in recent years from the way out there Orthodox convert Frederica Mathewes-Green, and frankly I don't think it was ever a problem in our church until the 1960's when it began arriving from decidedly different sources. I seriously doubt many people were wondering about such things as recent as the 1950's. Several people I've spoken with who are Orthodox themselves and who have travelled extensively, told me after reading Mathewes-Green, that if she visited enough churches in the Eastern world she might get the impression that Orthodoxy is really a religion for old ladies.

I agree to be honest
(04-02-2019, 03:42 PM)Eric F Wrote: [ -> ]I've seen this line of reasoning in recent years from the way out there Orthodox convert Frederica Mathewes-Green, and frankly I don't think it was ever a problem in our church until the 1960's when it began arriving from decidedly different sources. I seriously doubt many people were wondering about such things as recent as the 1950's. 

Not sure about that, just look at the kind of religious art that was mass produced in the 19th century, the language of devotional writings etc, I think it points to a gap.
(04-02-2019, 04:44 PM)Florus Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-02-2019, 03:42 PM)Eric F Wrote: [ -> ]I've seen this line of reasoning in recent years from the way out there Orthodox convert Frederica Mathewes-Green, and frankly I don't think it was ever a problem in our church until the 1960's when it began arriving from decidedly different sources. I seriously doubt many people were wondering about such things as recent as the 1950's. 

Not sure about that, just look at the kind of religious art that was mass produced in the 19th century, the language of devotional writings etc, I think it points to a gap.

Some examples please, i have kind of a similar thought process to this guy..i actually doubt there was a significant gender gap during this time..
but i mean Western Christianity does cover a huge area,  and religious attitudes were probably affected in these areas like France and Germany where religious upheaval was taking place..
I think to place the blame on Bridal mysticism is pretty silly
(04-02-2019, 05:26 PM)xskramx2 Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-02-2019, 04:44 PM)Florus Wrote: [ -> ]Not sure about that, just look at the kind of religious art that was mass produced in the 19th century, the language of devotional writings etc, I think it points to a gap.

Some examples please, 

Take a look at the 19th century Holy Cards here: Holy Card Heaven
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