Wives, submit to your husbands.

Okay, how many of our Catholic readers had to endure one of those “of course Saint Paul didn’t mean that” homilies this past weekend?  Or the even worse “Paul did mean it, but that was just his evil cultural conditioning speaking” homily?  Maybe a better question would be whether any of you didn’t hear one or the other?  Was their one priest in all of Christendom who was willing to agree with and defend the revealed word of God?  (For why Paul’s belief in distinct normative gender roles is perfectly reasonable, apart from his being divinely inspired, see here, here, and here.)

26 thoughts on “Wives, submit to your husbands.

  1. I am pleased to report that I didn’t hear one, and I’m Lutheran. Part of what I did hear was “A married man has a duty to instruct his wife and children. A married woman has a duty to instruct her children.”

    I’m not sure where Paul comes into it, though, since the reading schedule for yesterday was Luke 12:41-48 at my church. What was scheduled at yours?

  2. At the mass I attended the homily was on the importance and mystery of the incarnation and what that means about God’s concern for us. He did not really touch on the second reading.

  3. Funny thing is, most everyone would complain that wives are being told to just submit to their husbands, but not a word is said about how the same passage tells husbands that they should be willing to DIE for their wives.

    I sent the passage to my girlfriend, and she loved it. But then again, she knows what the true meaning of Christian love is.

    • My parish priest made just this point, which is a fitting one. The relationship of wife to husband mirrors that of Church to Christ: the wife must submit to the husband, and so the Church to Christ; the husband must care for his wife, if necessary dying for her, as Christ did for us.

  4. The priest at the mass I went to ignored the epistle completely, devoting his homily entirely to the gospel’s bread-of-life discourse.

    Which would be fine, except that he flinched away from its actual meaning, instead speaking generalities consistent with a denial of the Real Presence.

    Sigh. “This is a hard saying, who can accept it?” is such an obvious bridge between the readings, too.

  5. I’m continuing Anglican but we had the same readings. Nothing in the sermon about Paul’s words. Instead, we got to hear the bishop discuss how, like Jesus, he has “hard sayings” that offend people but he says then anyway. The example he gave was an anti-war sermon about “peace” that he gave during the Vietnam war that caused a bunch of people walk out of the mass. He really let us know how brave he was to use these hard sayings. Funny, but he doesn’t ever offer “hard sayings” on abortion, homosexuality, or divorce. That last one would definitely be a hard saying for some in our congregation. I guess bravery is relative.

      • I guess he saw a parallel between the people who left Jesus over the truth of Jesus’ hard saying and the people that left his mass over the “truth” of his anti-war, pro-peace sermon. I guess the people that were bothered and walked out were pro-war or anti-communist or at least must have had family members over there serving.

        I just think it’s funny when our clergy think they’re brave for bringing up things that our rulers consider to be within bounds but won’t bring up things like abortion*, contraception, divorce etc. that our rulers consider to be decided and that really would be “hard sayings” for a lot of people in the congregation.

        *He brought up abortion once but it was buried in a long list of bad things that he rattled off quickly.

  6. We had my favorite of our priests. biretta, always the Roman Canon, consecration in Latin, virtually the entire Mass chanted.

    His homily was awesome. He bridged the readings exactly as Craig said above, pointing out that St Paul’s is a hard teaching for us today. He also taught just as Radam and Proph discuss above. He went even futher though, giving a shout out to feudal social relations, explaining that hierarchy embodies both mutual obligations and obligations to God. He mentioned, in this context, the Holy Father’s title “Servant of the Servants of God.” He read from Pius XI (can’t remember the encyclical, unfortunately).

    One part of his homily was particularly amazing for its unflinching courage. After describing the mutual obligations of husband and wife, he went on to consider whether a wife was still obliged to obey her husband when he was not trying to be a proper Christian head of the household. The answer is yes, of course, and he said so. He then went on to observe, first, that this is one of the reasons you only choose to marry a proper Christian husband and, second, that your best bet for converting your un-Christian husband is by the witness of your perfect obedience to him.

    The most fun part was the beginning. He started as if he was going to spew the usual drivel, mentioning that this Sunday is informally known as “Nudge Sunday,” because husbands can be seen nudging their wives. He went on for a while (in a neutral and factual way) on the subject of how different St Paul’s are from contemporary ideas. Then he said something like “Some people would call this reading primitive. I would call it the Word of God.”

    This Sunday the extra driving time was well worth it.

  7. Occasionally during Sunday Mass there will be a section of a reading that says “Omit for shorter version,” or something to that effect, and has some of the text bracketed. In this Sunday’s case, the entire section Paul wrote about wives submitting was in brackets, while the regular text resumed once he exhorted the husbands; unsurprisingly, the lector read the “shorter version.” As a young Catholic woman, this greatly annoyed me. I have never had the opportunity to hear a homily on the subject, but note that I have only been in the Church for a year and a half. My priest’s homily yesterday continued the discussion of the Eucharist and gave the surrounding context of the first reading from Joshua (I loved the covenantal connections between all three!). Thankfully, at the college Bible study I attend weekly, we did have a great discussion about the passages and with no dissent.

    I wonder if the “hard saying” theme was in mind when these readings were put together for Mass, for it is so pertinent to our modern age. Divine Providence stepping in, of course.

  8. Why is that I see/hear/read so little from all of these ‘men of God’ about righteous anger – especially as concerns the brutality, killing, and poisoning of our fellow men/women/children by the people in power? Why is it that they all preach acceptance & following? Is it because they are part of this ‘worldly sysytem of things?’ Is it because they use a little bit of truth to slip past a lot of lies? Please, before you get angry at me… open your Bibles, read, and think about it. Think for yourselves! M

    • This comment violates our rule that intra-Christian discussions are not to be interrupted by irrelevant hectoring from hostile outsiders.

    • What are you even talking about, and who do you think you are talking to? There are precious few followers of Woodrow Wilson here.

      This woman, who, as sitting Secretary of State, greeted the murder of Gaddafi, complete with sodomy by bayonet, with a demonic televised cackle. Is she one of ours or one of yours?

      How come all you free thinkers think exactly the same thoughts in exactly the same order in exactly the same words regardless of context or company? Does it disturb you at all that your free thoughts conform so perfectly to the zeitgeist? Perhaps you are just one of many speakers, all connected to the same microphone. I wonder who holds that mic.

  9. I’m pleased to report that the optional part of the second reading was in fact read. I’m less pleased to report that it, i.e., the optional part, was simply not addressed during the homily. But this was an improvement from past years, wherein the optional part was always omitted. And nowhere, at least, was the truth of God’s word, to say nothing of its conformity to universally apprehended facts about human nature, denied.

    Sometimes the ship turns so slowly that one must view snapshots taken years apart to perceive any turning at all.

  10. I wonder if the “hard saying” theme was in mind when these readings were put together for Mass, for it is so pertinent to our modern age.

    There is little doubt that the liturgists in charge of the reading cycle (whoever they are and whatever that 3-yr cycle is called), specifically chose St. Paul’s “hard saying” to be placed smack dab between Joshua’s “choose this day whom you will serve…” and our Lord’s “What? Will you all leave me also?” There is little other connection save perhaps for the idea of submission to God’s will… which could be said for practically every verse in Scripture.

    Sad to hear the “offensive” passage was not read in your parish.

  11. Anymouse, Proph, and Bill: I’m encouraged to hear that such priests exist.

    Craig and Bohemund: I actually would be pleased if the priest wouldn’t address submission in his homily, because that would be much better than actually undermining it. I understand that our priests are cowards, but sometimes they offend the orthodox gratuitously. Their not defending the truth, I expect. Their joining the other side and failing to even treat the orthodox opinion with respect still stings me.

    Trads/Integralists are like the really unpopular kids who the next-to-most-unpopular kids beat up on, thinking it will win them social standing. Then they lecture us on being uncharitable.

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