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Should Catholic Girls Go to Universities? 



First message:

Dear Sir,

Recently it has come to my attention that a certain Roman Catholic traditionalist bishop named Bishop Richard Williamson, has written an article stating that True Roman Catholic Universities are not for True Roman Catholic Girls! Yet in the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church seems to have been so PROUD to have women attend their universities for the purposes of learning there and teaching there!

However, Bishop Williamson has now written an article explaining why it is contrary to Roman Catholic Natural Law and Scholastic Philosophy to admit even True Roman Catholic women, however learned or saintly, to attend even true Roman Catholic Universities for the purposes of learning and teaching there! You can now read it here. And if that weren't enough, I have attached an additional file AGAINST ROMAN CATOLIC WOMEN IN ROMAN CATHOLIC UNIVERSITIES.doc.

In fact, scholar James J Walsh says:

Feminine education did not spread in the West of Europe in the Middle Ages. The reason for this failure of a precious phase of educational evolution was undoubtedly the Héloïse and Abélard incident. Apparently Paris in the 20th century was about to follow Italy in this university tradition of opportunities for women, when this scandal seriously disturbed the West. As most of the western universities, Oxford, Cambridge and the French and Spanish universities, as also those of south Germany, were founded mainly under influence from Paris, the West received a distaste, amounting to positive distrust, for feminine education. {153} So small an incident as this changed the course of history.

Note that this excerpt comes from a Roman Catholic Author, James J Walsh M. D., Ph.D., Sc. D., etc., who in the 1930s, wrote this tract for the express purpose of Catholic Apologetics! He testifies that the scandal concerning Héloïse and Abélard did more than anything else to PREVENT feminine education from spreading further!

If Bishop Williamson had this fact in his hands, he would certainly use this as an irrefutable proof that:

Under the prevailing terms and provisions of Catholic Natural Law and Canon Law as they stood until they were evaded by the innovations and heresies instigated by the Vatican II conciliarist heretical cartel calling itself the Novus Ordo mass Roman Catholic Church, sending Roman Catholic Women to Roman Catholic Universities for the purposes of learning there or teaching there is DELETERIOUS to the modesty and purity of the sexes!

QUOD ERAT DEMONSTRANDUM [this is what has to be proved]

     J.J.
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Second message:

Dear Dr. Horvat,

On the Daily Catholic, I noticed this.

In the Bishop's letter against Girls at University, he explains three natural reasons why it is AGAINST the scholastic philosophy of Aquinas and the Roman Catholic Natural law for True Roman Catholic girls to attend True Roman Catholic Universities. Yet 100 years ago, we found almost NO Roman Catholic Apologetic making the arguments that this Bishop has made! On the contrary, they have always BOASTED that the Roman Catholic Church, as the true exalter and friend and champion of Womankind and patroness of learning, has FREELY promoted the attendance of women at Roman Catholic Universities.

You only need to look at the lives of St. Hildegarde, Maria Agnesi, Clotilda Tambroni, Novella D'andrea, Elena Piscopia Cornaro, Betissia Gozzadini, who all attended or taught at Roman Catholic Universities, without even the LEAST remark from the Catholic Church that these women were transgressing against Natural Law - to realize that the accusations of those protestant sassenach orangemen bigots who accuse the Roman Catholic Church of teaching that "True Roman Catholic girls are not for True Roman Catholic Universities" is blatantly false and malicious!

What do you think of this? Please notify Dr. Atila Guimaraes. Please notify him as soon as you receive this message. I would like his e-mail address. I would also like you to check up on him to see whether or not he has read my message and the file attached. If not, then please send him a copy of EVERY message I have sent you - just to make sure he receives them.

     Love,

     J.J.
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Dr. Horvat responds:

Dear J.J.

Mr. Guimaraes is out of the country for two weeks. I am sure he will respond when he will return, although I am not certain when, as he will be catching up with many e-mails and other matters.

     Cordially,

     Dr. Marian Horvat

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The Editor responds:

Dear J.J.,

I thank you for your e-mail and for your consideration in asking TIA for an answer to your question.

Bishop Richard Williamson certainly deserves respect for being a valid Successor of the Apostles and for the important and good orientation he has given many people regarding the evils of Progressivism that have taken over the Church after the last Council.

Even in the 2001 letter you pointed out in your e-mail, he makes many good points when he repeats three principles St. Thomas taught on the role of woman in the church, the home and society. Also, the basic difference he sets out between the missions of the husband and the wife in the family reflects, as much as I can see, Natural Law and the teachings of the Church. The general corruption of customs on today's campuses, principally when students of both sexes live in residence halls at the universities, is a sad reality that must be avoided at any cost as an occasion of sin. Finally, I also agree with the Prelate when he combats feminism, which increasingly has encouraged women to assume masculine roles almost everywhere in social, political and economic careers.

Out of touch with reality

I am much more reticent in agreeing with His Excellency, however, when he pretends to represent the mind of the Church by issuing a diktat forbidding women to go to universities. Some general statements / syllogisms of his letter did not convince me, such as these:
  • “Women going to university is part of the whole massive onslaught on God's Nature which characterizes our times;”
  • “True universities are for ideas, ideas are not for true girls, so true universities are not for true girls;”
  • “University thinking needs to be objective, outward, rational, abstract, large-scale, with a drive towards the grand principles. Her thinking follows her heart. University thinking can only follow the head.”
In these texts, as in his entire argument, His Excellency departs from the presupposition of a university as it existed in the Middle Ages and was described by Card. John Newman: an ensemble of disciplines wisely distributed around philosophy and having theology as their queen. I like this distribution of subjects very much, and I also believe that every human science and knowledge should be ordered toward the glory of God.

What is surprising to me, however, is that His Excellency did not seem to realize that this concept of “true university”- which was valid in the Middle Ages and was still present in some medieval institutions until the two great World Wars - does not apply to the reality around us today.

Characteristically feminine jobs taught at universities

Nowadays, almost every knowledge, profession or practice has been elevated to the university level, including many subjects that are characteristically feminine. For instance,  home economics, which is how to manage a home, is the object of a college degree; interior decoration is taught in architecture colleges; how to deal with children is taught in pedagogy departments. These topics are entirely proper to a woman’s nature and are closely related to her first concerns - her home and children.

If a woman wants to become more distinguished, she may take some languages courses at a university. If she wants to become more cultured, she may go to a fine arts college to study music, painting, sculpting - either in theory or practice -- or to take a course of history or general culture.

If a woman wants to be a nurse or a high school teacher, traditional occupations of Catholic nuns in the past, today she needs college degrees for that.

In these subjects I do not see anything that per se opposes feminine nature. Consequently, I believe a woman may go to a college for such purposes.

Jobs that may be exercised indifferently by both sexes

There are other professions that can be exercised either by a man or a woman. Some examples among many include: pharmacist, dentist, journalist, translator, photographer. Does per chance a pharmacist need to be a man? Perhaps a man would be better to manage the business, but I would say that a woman's  precision in following  a recipe for a cake serves her well to prepare a medicinal prescription.  Why should a dentist or dental technician be a man and not a woman? Either of them can clean your teeth equally well. I agree that, on one hand, the man is stronger to pull a tooth, but, on the other hand, a woman is more careful about the patient's pain. Thus, there are pros and cons that may be discussed, but there is no verdict that necessarily determines dentistry must be exercised by a man. I could continue on in various professions and give examples for each case.

It is my opinion that a woman should not work, but take care of her home and children. But, if she is not married or she cogently needs to work, none of these professions per se will necessarily harm her feminine nature. She may go to the university with peace of conscience and take her degree in order to carry out her métier.

Jobs characteristically masculine

In those professions that are typically masculine, I agree with His Excellency. I give a few examples: military officer, policeman, surgeon, electronic technician, construction engineer. Insofar as courses for such professions are taught in universities, I believe that as a rule a woman should not put her foot in them.

Conclusion of the analysis

In conclusion, it is my opinion that His Excellency was too generic and theoretical. His “true university” does not exist today. What exists is a different reality - there are colleges for many things that are or can be justifiably feminine. He did not take this reality into consideration. Therefore, his conclusion - girls should not go to the university because it violates the feminine nature - is baseless.

Notwithstanding, I believe that due moral precautions must be taken, as he mentions, to avoid occasions of sin and the revolutionary feminism present in universities today.

Here you have my analysis of Bishop Williamson’s article. I hope it will alleviate your affliction.

     Cordially,

     Atila S. Guimarães
Posted January 8, 2013

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