November 26-December 2, 2001
volume 12, no. 158

The Egalitarian Revolution    part eight

The Destruction of the hierarchical and stable Catholic family: The Revolution focuses on the role of the woman in the family

    To destroy whatever still remained of what was healthy and sound in the family was the aim of the Revolution throughout the last century and now in the 21st century. To this effect, they focused especially on the role of woman in the family.

    The first thrust of the revolt was to put the woman outside the home. If she is working outside the home, it becomes more or less impossible for her to provide this ambience of warmth, mutual respect and admiration of the Catholic home, which will provide a balanced psychological formation for the children and members. This is why pre-Vatican II Papal encyclicals were addressing this question and kindly, but insistently, reminding women of their essential and primary role in the home as wives and mothers. (1)

    To call the woman the heart of the home is not just rhetoric. It is real. Several years ago I went to California, which photo-books present as a paradise on earth. I was surprised to learn that everything is green and lush because of irrigation. Wherever it is not irrigated, there is a desert. In a certain way, the woman in the home is like that irrigation; it is she that makes verdant, attractive and lush in a home what would otherwise be a desert. Without her, it becomes like the Californian desert.

    The home becomes a house, only that, a place to stay. And sometimes this happens quite literally, when parents adopt that Protestant mentality that views the house as an inn, a place of production. When a boy or girl reaches age 18, they have to pay rent. Or they are asked to leave, to become independent. This is contrary to the spirit of the Catholic home and ambience of affection and goodness that reigns there. In an allocution to newly weds in 1942, Pius XII made a very beautiful comparison of the bride to the sun of the family:

    "The wife is the sun of the family by the light of her smile and the warmth of her word: it is her smile and word which inspire, mold and soften the soul, raise it above the tumult of passion, and bring to the husband the enjoyment of good and of family life at the end of a long day of continual and perhaps difficult work in his profession, in the fields, or in the taxing affairs of commerce and industry. …Such light and sound spring from a mother's heart, create and enliven the paradise of childhood, radiate everywhere goodness and gentleness even when they upbraid and reprove. Thus young souls …. may understand more intimately and profoundly the laws of love." (2)
    Unfortunately, we do not hear words like this today from the Church, words that encourage maternity and wifely virtues. Perhaps modern young women intent on combining careers and families would be revolted by them. But regard for modern sensibilities does not change the reality, and the words of Pius XII are welcome, more than ever, as a very wise and very beautiful counsel.

Marian Therese Horvat, Ph.D.


  • (1) - Papal teachings: The Woman in the Modern World, Selected and Arranged by the Monks of Solesmes, (Boston: Daughters of St. Paul, 1958)
  • (2) - An allocution to newlyweds of March 11, 1942.

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    November 26-December 2, 2001
    volume 12, no. 158
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