Conservative media has documented America's boy crisis well. However, the United States and other Western nations are undergoing an equally pressing girl crisis.
“In the middle of my life, I awoke in a dark wood, where the straight way was lost.” The famous first words of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy mirror our civilizational attitude towards women today: lost on what should be an easy path.
Conservative media has documented America's boy crisis well. However, the United States and other Western nations are undergoing an equally pressing girl crisis. Men and women in the West do not understand or appreciate the feminine soul.
St. John Paul II says that the essence of woman is found in her orientation toward creating new life. It “gives rise to an attitude towards human beings—not only towards her own child, but every human being—which profoundly marks the woman's personality.” Imagine a time you fell off your bike and scraped your knee. What you needed was not a bandage—what you needed was a kiss from your mom. God consecrates women from their hearts to every outward action of the world. In times of hardship, women provide consolation and tenderness.
In the United States, forty percent of births are to single mothers, one in four women are the victims of abortion, and one in six are rape victims. Indeed, we awaken in a dark wood, where the straight way is lost, realizing that a civilization in-touch with womanhood is necessary for human flourishing and triumph. Our society demands that women detach from themselves and become sexless and androgynous, while reducing femininity to its sexual value. Liberalism cannot recognize the sinister cause behind these tragedies because of its emphasis on the rational and material. Human flourishing and the common good will only be realized by reclaiming and redeeming womanhood.
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The book of Genesis illustrates that God created mankind bearing the imago Dei: the image of God. It teaches us that “it is not good for man to be alone” and that we are “defined through interpersonal relationships.” Women came from the rib of Man, showing us that they bear a shared identity and substantial equality: “flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones.” Bearing the imago Dei, mankind lives out this vocation by modelling God’s characteristics in our masculine or feminine form.
After the Fall, sin placed Woman under her “husband's power” to “have dominion over her,” while simultaneously, God tells us that mankind will be redeemed from sin through Woman, giving her particular precedence over man: “She shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” This is fulfilled in Mary, who, full of God’s grace, is the ultimate example of God’s perfect feminine soul that everyone, especially women, can look towards.
St. John Paul II says that the redeemed feminine soul finds itself in both motherhood and virginity—both found in Our Mother, who is a perpetual virgin and mother. God restores women’s bodies and souls to an image of His original, beautiful, and excellent plan in sacramental marriage. A more intimate realization of the imago Dei comes from this redeemed union with God. Motherhood signifies “the woman's readiness for the gift of self and her readiness to accept a new life.”
Similarly, women called to consecrated virginity are redeemed by becoming one flesh to Christ the Bridegroom, experiencing a more intimate union with God to live out their restorative vocation. Making a sincere gift of herself to God directly, the feminine soul uniquely interacts with the Logos like Our Mother, treasuring Him in the depths of their bosom. Femininity’s unique and unrepeatable receptivity, sensitivity, and generosity is, in an authentic way, both motherhood and the virginal Bride of Christ.
This is a view that our country has lost today. America’s orientation away from God and Our Mother has left women without an understanding or ideal of womanhood. Feminists desecrate and sacrilege their mysterious beauty and splendor: bashing men, masculinizing themselves, and ultimately resenting the gift of motherhood. All the while, modern men pervert and subjugate women, treating them as objects of pleasure. While many see the school prayer decisions of the 50s and 60s as the start of removing God from society, its precursor was the removal of Mary from the cathedrals and her forced abdication as Queen of Heaven and Earth during the Protestant Revolution. Without Mary's fiat, no new covenant exists: “Know Mary, Know Jesus. No Mary. No Jesus.” Many Non-Catholics—and Catholics without a personal relationship with Mary—today also suffer from the disintegration of womanhood.
Pope Benedict XVI said, “If Mary no longer finds a place in many theologies and ecclesiologies, the reason is obvious: they have reduced faith to an abstraction. And an abstraction does not need a Mother.” Indeed, the United States and other Western nations find themselves in abstract Gnosticism, paganism, and, at best, negligible Protestantism, which claims it does not need a mother.
The sexual revolution and feminist movement promulgated the iconoclasm against femininity that had its early institution in the Protestant Revolution. Feminists push the idea that the one true ark of feminine salvation comes through making women sexless and androgynous. By completely overlooking the beauty of motherhood and virginity, they pontificate that salvation comes through the repression of femininity and the imitation of masculinity. This tyrannical view attempts to place a round peg into a square hole. In attempting to liberate women, they have subjugated them. Ida Görres says that those who try “overlook the whole shimmering realm of Eros, multi-form, multi-colored—so hard to grasp or express in words—which links the purely corporal and purely spiritual, permeating and informing all human relationships, not only those between the sexes.” Liberalism and feminism push a vision of womanhood from the Fall in the Garden of Eden that turns femininity from a gift into machinery for dominion.
Equally harrowing is the modern sexual revolutionist idea—through opposition to consecrated virginity, embracing adultery, fornication, contraception, pornography, and abortion—that society must reduce women to their sexual value. In reflection, we must echo the question of St. John Paul II “All these things which mean to liberate the Woman ... Have they liberated or enslaved her?”
Recently we have seen a particularly nasty incentive to combine two views: sexlessness and lust. In the wake of Dobbs v. Jackson, corporations are offering mothers free abortions because it costs far less to murder a child than to love him/her.
Liberalism has organized society “solely according to the criteria of efficiency and productivity,” which intrinsically lacks the feminine. A reintegration of rightly ordered femininity “will force systems to be redesigned in a way which favors the processes of humanization which mark the civilization of love.”
To illustrate a glimmer of the female soul, reflect on early memories of your mother and her nursery. Recall a time when you were sick and only wanted your mom. At that moment, nothing but the soul of a woman could minister to your sickness—no medicine, no doctor, not even your father: this is the great mystery of the feminine soul.
Gratitude and reverence for women in our society are sorely lacking, and women are under assault in all areas of public life. In the words of Pope John Paul II, “Thank you to every woman for the simple fact of being a woman!” Too often, our nation exalts the Martha’s and downplays the Mary’s, but let us remember our Lord’s words: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.”