ROTFL at God

This past Sunday, the second reading was from Saint Paul:

Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife
just as Christ is head of the church,
he himself the savior of the body.
As the church is subordinate to Christ,
so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it,
even as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.

The priest said: “I’m not even going to try to preach on that one!” Everyone laughed. He made other derisive comments about the teaching that wives are to be submissive and obedient to their husbands. Lots of laughs. You would think he was giving a stand-up routine.

Christ’s teaching ridiculed by the faithful before receiving the Eucharist.
Rolling On The Floor Laughing (ROTFL) — at God.

The priest was a visiting priest, not our pastor. He tried to explain away this teaching saying that you have to read it in context, and sometimes you have to understand it as having a spiritual meaning, not a literal meaning. None of that is correct.

The spiritual meaning of Scripture is based on the direct meaning (which can be literal or figurative). Truth cannot be based on a lie, so there is always a true direct meaning, which may be figurative.

The Sacrament of Marriage gives a different role to a wife than to a husband. The husband is the head of the wife, and the head of the family. The wife is the heart of the family, she is the heart of her husband. She is asked by Christ to be submissive and obedient to her husband, and he is asked by Christ to love her, to lead her with integrity. And they are both asked to treat one another as equals. Even though they have different roles, the husband is not greater than his wife.

Many Catholic husbands mistakenly think that submission is mutual, and that they must serve their wives. Mutual submission is true for all Christians in the way that submit to Christ by serving one another. But in marriage the wife serves her husband in a way that is not reciprocal and symmetrical. She has a role of service to him that he does not have to her.

The teaching of secular society is that the spouses are equal in every way, and then what happens is the wife ends up as the head of the family. If the husband is in charge and he makes the final decision on difficult matters, society objects loudly. If the wife is in charge and makes the decisions, and she orders her husband around and gets her way in all things, society thinks that is funny and not objectionable. So the idea of an equality that makes the spouses interchangeable parts leads to the wife being in charge. It also leads to same-sex marriage and to gender changes, since genetic sex is seen as being irrelevant to marriage.

The teaching of the Church is true. Wives are meant by Christ to be submissive and obedient to their husbands — but not in a worldly manner that is abusive or dominating. This obedience is not the giving and receiving of orders. It is loving leadership. But it does include authority of the husband over his wife.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian

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23 Responses to ROTFL at God

  1. Mark P. says:

    It becomes more obvious each day, more flagrant – the lack of faith, the elevation of modern man over God, tickling the ears of the flock instead of guiding them.
    If that was the priest’s attitude, I’m surprised they read the entire passage. The approved readings for the day allow the entire passage about wives being subordinate to their husbands to be omitted. So it would have actually been better if the priest told the lector to read the abbreviated passage. But instead, and worse, he allowed the full reading and then made fun of it. Shameful.

  2. Eric Alcock says:

    Yes, I believe you’ve got it right.

  3. Matt Z. says:

    In our parish, the priest talked for 20 min BEFORE mass about clergy sexual abuse and totally skipped the homily.

  4. Michael says:

    I was a lector at last weekend’s mass and the visiting priest asked me to read the short version so as to omit those “offensive” statements in the reading. Very sad. Thanks for this post.

    • Francisco says:

      Imagine if men also consider that other portion “offensive” or the passages regarding Hell “offensive”. Then they should omit or tear up those verses from the Bible. The ironic thing is that Jesus was not politically correct, He taught the truth whether people liked it or not and that was shown on the very passages of last Sunday’s Gospel from John 6. Jesus came to do the will of the Father, not the will of the crowd. Ezekiel 34 was also read recently. The world is catechizing us through TV, movies, songs, etc. If we are not transmitted Gospel truths in an orderly and proper manner, then we see the results, violence, divorce, abortion, suicide, etc.

    • Ron Conte says:

      The latest version of the Bible approved by the USCCB contains no references to “Hell” under that name in the biblical text. They replaced it with various other words.

  5. Dora says:

    I know what’s wrong with the Church. This is clericalism at its finest — what is WRONG with you people — are you MICE or are you MEN? For a woman to stand up and walk out, “she must have PMS.” But there is no excuse for THE MEN, who need to stand up right there in front of God and the children and IMMEDIATELY call out this priest, walk to the exit, and then the wife should follow, as that’s how God would have it… The lector SHOULD DISOBEY and read the entire passage “accidentally.” Laity does not answer to any priest. Even if there is only ONE person or ONE family doing this, Francis tells them to “make a mess.” Christ died for the truth, so I repeat, what is wrong with the MEN?

  6. Dora says:

    Nothing personal.

  7. Joshua says:

    And we wonder why so many men nowadays are cowards, perverts, effeminates, and in some cases, even monsters. The devil and his followers in academia and the media have been attacking fatherhood and the family in general for decades. It’s up to us to see to it that they do not succeed. The father is called to be the leader of the family. And that leadership role is not that of some slob on a throne ordering his subjects around, but that of a captain of an army, leading his forces against the powers of hell which seek to destroy The Church, the family, and all that is good. Stand up, men! Be transformed by the Gospel and be not cowards, but imitators of Christ!

  8. Marco says:

    @Ron

    What do you think about this https://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/what-st-paul-really-meant-by-female-subordination article? I found it convincing,

    • Ron Conte says:

      No. That article is terrible. Sinful secular society rejects many teachings of the faith. This is just one of many. God made men and women to be different. That is why they have, or should have, different roles in the Church, the family, and society. The husband should not be giving orders, as in the military, nor should he treat his wife as a servant, employee, or child. But he is the leader of the family. In the workplace, many groups of coworkers have an official or unofficial leader. It simply does not work for people to each have the same role, and each do whatever they think is best. Leadership is necessary. It is also a reflection of the relation between God and His creation, between Christ and His Church. Male and female represent this division, this leadership, followship. It is not politically correct to say it, but the wife must be subordinate to her husband.

    • Marco says:

      Even the teaching about homosexuality isn’t politically correct but i have no problems with it.

      Anyway, i don’t think that the teaching about the woman who must be subordinate is infallible.

      P.s

      “It simply does not work for people to each have the same role, and each do whatever they think is best. Leadership is necessary. It is also a reflection of the relation between God and His creation, between Christ and His Church.”

      I know a family where the husband nearly led the entire family to bankruptcy with his unconsiderate way of ruling the business. At a certain point, the wife managed to take over the business and the family’s business was resurrected, and consider that they have children so this was crucial for their future as well.

      If the wife had continued to be subordinate they would be ruined by now.

    • Ron Conte says:

      That’s not what subordination requires. She could run the business, if that were her talent.

      Is it your role in this blog to reject each teaching of the faith, one by one? I’m not going to continue to put through posts that undermine Scripture or magisterial doctrine.

    • Marco says:

      Ron, also read this article http://isoladipatmos.com/en/amoris-laetitia-concupiscenza-e-matrimonio-il-pensiero-dellapostolo-paolo/ it was written by two Dominican Italian priests which are known for their orthodoxy.

      They say that what Saint Paul said in his letters about the subordination of women to men is not an infallible teaching but was a teaching conditioned by the time in which Saint Paul was living.

      You will probably disagree with this, but regardless, i don’t think that the subordination you are talking about is an infallible teaching. The article was translated with an online translator but i think that you should be able to understand it.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Scripture is infallible in all that it teaches. Saint Paul was not teaching from secular culture, but from the Holy Spirit. A conservative priest is not necessarily a holy priest; and reputation is sand. Paul was absolutely right, properly understood — holy Christian obedience, not worldly obedience.

    • Marco says:

      @Ron

      “That’s not what subordination requires. She could run the business, if that were her talent.”

      Ok, this is interesting. But what does female subordination requires, then?

      “I’m not going to continue to put through posts that undermine Scripture or magisterial doctrine.”

      Come on, Ron, this is unfair, you know that i don’t undermine neither Scripture nor Magisterial doctrine. Even in this topic https://ronconte.wordpress.com/2018/08/22/the-latest-qa-post/comment-page-1/#comment-7159 I clarified that i wasn’t rejecting the teaching on intrinsically evil acts such as lying, i was just highlighting a different perspective.

      What about this topic then ? https://ronconte.wordpress.com/2018/08/17/ask-a-catholic-theologian/#comment-7101

      We had long debates in the past about the actual process of death where you thought that i was undermining the magisterial teaching, while, in all actuality, my understanding is not different from the one you exposed in this https://ronconte.wordpress.com/2018/08/11/catholic-theology-qa/comment-page-2/#comment-7096 post. And yet in the past we discussed a lot about that, because you thought that i was implying that someone can repent after death (which was never my thought) or that the soul lingers on death body (which, again, was never my thought). I always said that God doesn’t roll a dice, contrary to what the traditional understanding of a sudden death (with sudden death I mean the understanding that as soon as the hearth stops the soul has already departed because death, under this view, would have already completed its process) led to believe.

      So i’m not trying to undermine any teaching, as you can see, and i actually appreciate this blog. I just happen to have an inquiring mind, is that a sin? When someone doesn’t seem right to me (like the problem of the traditional understating of sudden death, which would condemn to Hell many weak common sinners wiithiut giving them a last chance -which they can accept or refuse, so i’m not implying universal salvation for we know that some souls go to Hell, but one thing is going to Hell because you stubbornly and willingly refuse God’s Grace until the end, another thing entirely is going to Hell because you happen to die untimely and you get “frozen” in actual mortal sin as as result, without having a say in the matter- while many genocidial monsters enjoy a long life and are brought to repentance) I just want to see things more clearly, that’s all.

      Sorry for the long post but i wanted to dissipate any doubts.

      About this https://ronconte.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/rotfl-at-god/#comment-7196 comment of yours

      I never said that they are “conservative” priests, i said they are orthodox, that is, they support the Magisterium in all that it teaches. But they distinguish between infallible teachings and the others. They exposed how the Church changed slightly her understating about the role of the woman (which will never lead to heresies such as women priestly ordinations, of course), and i think this was possible thanks to a more proper understanding of the Scripture. If you read the article i don’t think you will find any heresy.

    • Marco says:

      @Ron

      Having clarified all of the above (at least, that’s my hope, but if there are any remaining doubts i’m willing to return on the subject, of course), i’m really interested in this

      ““That’s not what subordination requires. She could run the business, if that were her talent.””

      Doesn’t subordination require that the two of them have different roles? Also, doesn’t subordination require that the role of woman be…. subordinated to the role of man? If the wife, like in this case (they are personal friends of mine, so i know what i’m talking about), is running the business because the husband was leading the family to bankruptcy (he is a good man but he really isn’t talented in his business, he is too much of a “dreamer” and unfortunately many vultures took advantage of him as a result) with consequences of unthinkable gravity for the whole family, where does the subordination of the wife fit into the equation since she is, by all intents and purposes, taking care of the family (and she has done that è vero since the fall of 2002), something which traditionally was done by the husband, and he is the one, in this case, who is having a subordinate role (he left the business tot he wife and then he tried to open another one in a city distant 70 km from the former one, because he still wanted to contribute to the well being of the family, but to this day his business is barely surviving and he certainly wouldn’t have been able to provide for the well being of his sons, well being which has successfully been taken care of by his wife)?

      Mind you, this is not a rhetorical question, i’m just trying to gain a better understanding of this difficult (at least, difficult for me) subject.

    • Ron Conte says:

      She could run the business, day to day, as long as he is still in charge of the family and can give her directions. Circumstances vary, but the husband ought to be the leader over his wife. Sometimes that doesn’t happen because of failures on the part of one or both spouses. But that is the plan of God.

    • Marco says:

      “She could run the business, day to day, as long as he is still in charge of the family and can give her directions”

      Ok but what do you mean with “give her directions”? For example (I’m always speaking about this couple because i’ve been knowing them for decades), when their son were little, he wanted to put them in a boarding school, only because his parents put him in a boarding school when he was little. Despite the fact that he was not treated well in that place, he thought that it would have been good for his children to go there.

      Except it wasn’t, obviously, and her wife opposed him when he wanted to do this, i even remember an argument between the two of them as i was invited to dinner, something like nearly 20 years ago.

      And now their sons have grown up and they are successful young men. If it were up to their father, their future would have been very different.

      “Sometimes that doesn’t happen because of failures on the part of one or both spouses. “

      And i think this is the case. But i also know some families where the husband doesn’t have a “leadership over the wife” or viceversa, and they are doing good.

      That’s why i have some problems with the claim that the husband has a “right” to be the leader of the wife.

      What i mean is that maybe what you are saying is true in principle, but under practice terms it is not always applicable. I know another family, for example, where the husband wanted to emigrate to Mexico because he had received a very tempting proposal and he wanted to take the wife and the whole family with him. The wife, knowing full well the situation in Mexico, objected to this decision, but he still wanted her to do as he said.

      At a certain point, having understood that the wife wasn’t willing to change her mind, he wanted to take the children away from her, too bad that she had foreseen that move and she had moved the children to England, for the time being, to a family of friends of hers which he didn’t know, in order to protect them.

      What happened next? He moved to Mexico without his wife and his children and right now he is in Tamaulipas, living under abject poverty because the cartels have taken over his business, and he can’t even return to Italy because they control him very tightly and they won’t let him leave Mexico.

      Imagine what would have happened if the wife had allowed him to do as he pleased. Both her and her children would be in grave danger right now.

      In other words, Ron, it’s not the “political incorrectness “ of this teaching which troubles me. Many teachings of the Church are politically incorrect but i have no troubles with them. What troubles me are the actual consequences which would follow if a blind application of this teaching would take place. Do you think is fair that an husband should be able to take his children to Mexico, endangering their life in the process, and the wife should have no say in the matter? I don’t. This is what happened in the past, where the husbands had absolute power and women had little to no power, and i’m glad that this doesn’t happen anymore, at least in western countries (because, as you can imagine, the situation in the most conservative Islamic countries is very, very different).

      In other words, am i an heretic if i think that this teaching may be true in the absolute sense (I’m still not sure it this is an infallible teaching, tho, but let’s assume it is for argument’s sake) but many times it is not practically applicable because the leadership of the husband would bring the family to the collapse? Because I refuse to think that God wanted that wife to allow her husband to bring her and her children to the crime ridden Mexico.

      I don’t think i am an heretic if i hold this opinion, correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Ron Conte says:

      I don’t think it’s fair to ask me to comment on particular marriages, and solve their particular problems. The roles given by God are taught by Scripture and the Church. How that plays out in each case is up to the spouses. But, no, the husband’s leadership role does not collapse the family because, in whatever ways he is deficient, she is suppose to help him. She can even fill in, when he is unable, in doing some roles that usually go to the husband (see 28 below). But the general principle remains true.

      27. 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 wife; nor, in fine, does it imply that the wife should be put on a level with those persons who in law are called minors, to whom it is not customary to allow free exercise of their rights on account of their lack of mature judgment, or of their ignorance of human affairs. But it forbids that exaggerated liberty which cares not for the good of the family; it forbids that in this body which is the family, the heart be separated from the head to the great detriment of the whole body and the proximate danger of ruin. For if the man is the head, the woman is the heart, and as he occupies the chief place in ruling, so she may and ought to claim for herself the chief place in love.

      28. Again, this subjection of wife to husband in its degree and manner may vary according to the different conditions of persons, place and time. In fact, if the husband neglect his duty, it falls to the wife to take his place in directing the family. But the structure of the family and its fundamental law, established and confirmed by God, must always and everywhere be maintained intact .
      — Casti Connubii

    • Marco says:

      “But, no, the husband’s leadership role does not collapse the family because, in whatever ways he is deficient, she is suppose to help him. She can even fill in, when he is unable, in doing some roles that usually go to the husband (see 28 below).”

      But here is the thing: the definition of who is “unable” to do this or that is wildly subjective.

      Do you think that, in the past, an husband would have had some problems to take his children to Mexico with him, notwithstanding the situation of the country? He wouldn’t have had any problems, because the wives back then had little to no power.

      Even from a legal point of view, he only found this tempting proposal in Mexico so it wasn’t “illegal” for him to take his family with him.

      And perhaps many others would have said that they could have followed him, since many believe that if you don’t f**k with the cartels they don’t f**k with you, which is true in some cases (but not in others).

      In other words, in that situation there were both positive (because his business in Mexico was thriving until the Gulf Cartel started with the Piso, the extortion, and as you probably know, the cartels in Mexico have state-like power, they own the police and part of the military, so he can’t ask protection) and negative foreseeable outcomes, but the negative outcomes weren’t an obvious consequence, since there are other Italian families in Mexico which are doing good.

      What i mean is that, under the strictly traditional view, she should have probably allowed him to take his whole family with him to Mexico. Expect that this would have been their undoing.

      I mentioned this case because i wanted to highlight the fact that between principle and practice sometimes there is a very big hiatus.

      Casti Connubii said “if the husband neglects his duty” but in the aforementioned case there was not proof that he was “neglecting his duty”. And yet, if his wife hadn’t taken a very different decision, the entire family would be in the claws of the narcos, right now.

      I don’t think that our position is that different, in the sense that we both concede that the general principle is true, but the practical application is very difficult as you can see.

      The only difference between me and you is that i’m not still entirely sure about the infallibility and immutability of this teaching, and the fact that it was cited in Casti Connubii is not enough, to me, to bring it to the level of an infallible teaching. Even the Catechism doesn’t mention the subordination, as everyone can verify here http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c3a7.htm so i think that Father Cavalcoli was right in the article i linked before.

      Mind you, i’m not saying that the teaching is certainly not infallible, i’m just saying that i see no reason, at the moment, to believe it is, otherwise even the Catechism would have been phrased in a way more similar to Casti Connubii.

      Of course, i’m willing to correct myself if evidence will emerge pointing out that this teaching is indeed as infallible as the teaching about the indissolubility of a valid and consummated Sacramental Marriage.

      And even if this evidence were to emerge, the practical application would be subjected to various caveats, for the reasons explained above, and even you agreed with this.

  9. sc says:

    And in many countries, church attendance % is way too skewed. The whole family does NOT attend. Attendees are mostly the elderly and some grandchildren. For decades, there hasn’t been enough men attending to even consider STANDING UP for the truth. The above ridicule by a minister of GOD is simply one of so many highly visible telltales that we are now reaping the fruits of the labor of those who infiltrated the very heart of the Church decades ago with the ultimate purpose of corroding the its very foundation: the deposit of the Faith.

  10. Marco says:

    The following post is taken from Mulieris Dignitatem 24. Emphasis mine.

    “The author of the Letter to the Ephesians sees no contradiction between an exhortation formulated in this way and the words: “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife” (5:22-23). The author knows that this way of speaking, so profoundly rooted in the customs and religious tradition OF THE TIME, is to be understood and carried out in a NEW WAY: as a “mutual subjection out of reverence for Christ” (cf. Eph 5:21). This is especially true because the husband is called the “head” of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church; he is so in order to give “himself up for her” (Eph 5:25), and giving himself up for her means giving up even his own life. 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.

    In relation to the “old” this is evidently something “new”: it is an innovation of the Gospel. We find various passages in which the apostolic writings express this innovation, even though they also communicate what is “old”: what is rooted in the religious tradition of Israel, in its way of understanding and explaining the sacred texts, as for example the second chapter of the Book of Genesis.[49]

    The apostolic letters are addressed to people living in an environment marked by that same traditional way of thinking and acting. The “innovation” of Christ is a fact: it constitutes the unambiguous content of the evangelical message and is the result of the Redemption. However, the awareness that in marriage there is mutual “subjection of the spouses out of reverence for Christ”, and NOT JUST THAT OF THE WIFE TO THE HUSBAND, must gradually establish itself in hearts, consciences, behaviour and customs. This is a call which from that time onwards, does not cease to challenge succeeding generations; it is a call which people have to accept ever anew. Saint Paul not only wrote: “In Christ Jesus… there is no more man or woman”, but also wrote: “There is no more slave or freeman”. Yet how many generations were needed for such a principle to be realized in the history of humanity through the abolition of slavery! And what is one to say of the many forms of slavery to which individuals and peoples are subjected, which have not yet disappeared from history?

    But the challenge presented by the “ethos” of the Redemption is clear and definitive. ALL THE REASONS IN FAVOUR OF THE “SUBJECTION” OF WOMAN TO MAN MUST BE UNDERSTOOD IN THE SENSE OF A “MUTUAL SUBJECTION” OF BOTH “OUT OF REVERENCE FOR CHRIST”.

    http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_letters/1988/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_19880815_mulieris-dignitatem.html

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