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How Is Adam’s sin Described Differently than Eve’s?

February 7, 2014

020714-pope-2In yesterday’s blog post, I sought to explore the details Original Sin and to convey that there are subtleties and stages to the sin that have something to teach us. The sin was more than eating a piece of fruit, there were things that led up to it, both externally and internally, which the text reveals.

In yesterday’s post I also mentioned that it was worth exploring how the sacred text speaks of the Sin of Adam, and differentiates it to some extent from the sin that Eve commits. In fact, Original Sin, biblically, is properly denoted as the sin of Adam. It is Adam’ Sin not Eve’s that we denote as Original Sin (cf Rom 5:12 inter al).

It is not that Eve did not sin, or that her actions have no interest for us. Yesterday’s post focused a lot on the stages she goes through. But Rather, as the head of his household, and the human family it is Adam who bore the responsibility, and thereby incurs the sin that we call “Original Sin” or the “Sin of Adam” which comes down to all of us.

As you might be able to see, this blog post isn’t going to be very politically correct, and it is just going to get worse from here. For, in striving to differentiate Eve’s sin from Adam’s I would like to take up a very controversial text from St. Paul. While the specific text comports poorly with modern notions, two cautions are in order for those of us who read the text:

First, we ought to remember that it is a sacred text, and even if St. Paul may draw some of his reflections on the cultural experience of the time, he gives theological reason for what he rights, not just the practices of the time.

Secondly however we also remember that one verse from St. Paul is not all of St. Paul, and certainly not all of Scripture. What Paul says rather absolutely in the verse that follows, he qualifies to some extent and other places as we shall see.

With this in mind, let’s examine the controversial text and strive to see the distinctiveness of Adam’s sin from Eve’s. St. Paul writes:

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner (1 Tim 2:11b-14)

Many, upon reading the text like this, so astonishingly out of step with modern thinking, are prone simply dismiss it as a disciplinary relic of some past dark age. It is debatable whether the edict that women should be silent, and have no teaching authority over a man are in fact mere disciplinary norms that we are not required to observe today. It is also debatable how absolute Paul’s words are. For Paul speaks elsewhere the women as catechists (e.g. Phoebe Rom 16:1) spiritual leaders and benefactors (eg. Lydia) in the early church communities. Elsewhere too he makes provisions for when a woman is to speak in the assembly and that if she does she is to cover her head (1 Cor 11:5) etc. So what St. Paul says here he distinguishes elsewhere in a way that allows for some provision that women both speak and teach the faith as Catechists etc.

In the quote from first Timothy above, the context seems rather clearly to be that of the family and marriage, wherein Paul affirms the headship of the husband, as he does elsewhere in Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18, and also as does Peter (1 Peter 3:1-6)

There is another text where Paul speaks of women being silent in the Church. In 1 Corinthians 14. The context there seems to be liturgical, thus we read:

Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. (1 Cor 14:34-35)

Here again, there are legitimate debates about how strictly the silence is to be interpreted. Generally, Church practice has understood this to mean that women are not to give the official teaching in the liturgy that we refer to as the sermon or homily. And this stricture has been observed from antiquity down to the present day by reserving the homily to the bishop, priest or deacon. In more recent times there have been allowances for women to serve as  lectors, cantors, singers etc. But the official teaching moment of the homilies still reserved to the male clergy and the Magisterium still consists of Bishops and the Pope.

Prescinding from legitimate debates about how absolutely or strictly to interpret St. Paul’s restrictions, or whether or not some of these things are cultural artifacts that can be adjusted, what I really wish to focus on the theological reasoning regarding the difference between Adam and Eve’s sin of which St. Paul speaks. Again, he says

For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner (1 Tim 2:13-14)

So, St Paul begins by saying that Adam was formed first, then Eve. And thus here he teaches that the husband has headship, authority, as he says elsewhere, The husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the the Church (Eph 5:22).

But in terms of Original Sin, which concerns us more here, Paul says that Adam was not the one deceived, it was the Eve who was deceived. Thus St. Paul speaks of Eve’s sin as different than Adam’s. She was deceived and so sinned, But Adam was not not deceived.  His sin lay elsewhere.

Of the fact of her deception, Eve or self as a witness, for she says, “The serpent tricked me and so I ate it.” (Gen 3:13) But of Adam’s sin, God says “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it…” (Gen 3:17).  Thus, Adam’s sin lay in his willingness to allow his wife to tempt him.

Now course, dear reader, you were warned that this was not going to be a politically correct blog post. These sorts of teachings grate on modern ears. But of course this does not make them untrue.

Perhaps a little additional reflection may help to avoid knee-jerk reactions to either gloat or become angry. Adam and Eve’s sins are described differently and can also be understood as a kind of weakness that each of them was particularly susceptible to: she to deception, he to being swayed by Eve’s feminine mystique and beauty.

St. Paul does not simply locate these two weaknesses in Adam and Eve as individuals, but also as male and female. Hence St. Paul seems to teach that a woman ought not have a solemn teaching authority in the Church because of a woman’s tendency to be deceived.

Why might this be, that a woman could be more easily deceived? Perhaps it is rooted paradoxically in a woman’s strength. Among the strenghts that women more generally manifest is to be more naturally spiritual, and also to be more naturally prone to be a source of unity and peace in the heart of the family. And while these are wonderful strengths, they can, in certain circumstances, also open the person to deception. For if one seeks to easily to make peace, they may compromise with error and sin. And though being open to spiritual things is of itself good, there can be spiritual concepts that are erroneous, and to these one ought not be open.

Not only is a woman possibly more prone to these, but should she cede to them, she can also have undue power over her husband and men who may well be drawn by her beauty to set aside their better judgment.

And this is, to my mind what St. Paul is getting at here in saying even was deceived and Adam was not, therefore a woman cannot have teaching authority in the Church. There was also a warning in ancient Israel that men should not take foreign wives since they might confuse a man’s heart into the worship of their foreign gods. A man’s heart can easily be swayed by a beautiful and influential woman.

And thus, addressing a double threat, St. Paul forbids women to have teaching authority in the Church and ties it back to the archetypal incident of Adam and Eve. Eve was deceived, and then was able to turn and seduce her husband to sin.

In modern times it may well be that St. Paul’s caution is affirmed by the modern problem of Liberal Protestant denomination that have a large number of women leaders. It is these very denominations which have moved in this direction who also have departed significantly from the orthodox Christian faith, deny basic tenets of the Trinity, of moral teaching and biblical interpretation. It is not only women, but there is a high correlation between denominations that embraced women leaders and a departure from orthodox Christian belief.

Have I been politically incorrect enough for you? The combox is open. But recall that the chief focus I am interested here is on the different descriptions of the Sin of Adam and the Eve’s sin.

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Comments (74)

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  1. Sheila says:

    Amen, to every word. I read the same scriptures, after I thought of your last post. I finally knew what you were actually saying.

    PS I was confirmed at Holy Comforter way back in about 1957, and it was so wonderful to see your photos.
    I went to Holy Comforter School too, and my father also. It’s where my life with God began, and I praise His Holy Name, for giving me the chance to know Him, with the help of Holy Comforter.

    God’s grace and mercy be with us always. Amen

  2. Karen H. says:

    Utter and complete ridiculousness. I’m not buying it. Big strong, lord of the jungle, Adam, hiding behind Eve. Please. There is no empirical evidence showing women are any more gullible than men. Some women are, but then some men are the biggest fools imaginable. Whenever you chase Paul’s logic down it always comes down to him twisting his garments in his hand and caterwauling about “for the sake of the angels.” Sheesh. NO ONE WAS THERE to reliably record the 1st man and woman. IT’S ALLEGORICAL to fit their understanding. It doesn’t mean it was actual fact. Point is at some point they sinned, and needed a redeemer. END OF. Men have been trying to beat up women for being weak and stupid since the dawn of time. And if the church REALLY feels this way then the women can stop teaching their children the faith at home, because obviously they are “simple” and the men can take over teaching all the CCD classes too if women are gullible. And where does it say Eve was “good looking?” She could have been uglier than maggots for all we know. Shear silliness to make the case you do any more than it would be to take the age of Metheuselah literally, or even that there was such a person. You build an argument on a house of cards.. Not impressed. This is not to say I think women should be ordained at all. We simply don’t know what Jesus would do today, and we can’t assume He’d do otherwise re: ordination. Can’t take a chance on that “form and matter” any more than you would on using fish and Nehi grape soda to consecrate. yeah, He could have, and if he came down today He might say “yeah, a lamb and a red cherry fizz soda will work fine too.” So we don’t take that chance. For all we know Jesus didn’t ordain women for practical reasons like He knew if he did creepy guys would make up creepy sexual sins so they could “emjoy” “confessing” such things to woman. Paul was just lucky the centurion didn’t throw him to the sharks when he said “see I told you so.” Acts would have ended a chapter and a half sooner.

    • Well of course the tone of your reply is unfortunate. Why all the shouting (CAP LETTERS)? Why the attempt at ridicule? Why the personal stuff “Men beating up on women etc…” ??

      At any rate, I am attempting to deal with certain Scripture passages, in particular a teaching of St. Paul. The passage isn’t fantasy, so I attempt to take it seriously. And even if there is some allegory in the Genesis story, (which it seems clear there is) doesn’t mean we should dismiss it as you seem to do here. For example, should Jesus story of the Good Samaritan, “just a story” be dismissed? Does it have no meaning we can take seriously? Does it not still teach us?

      You are also unjust in you accusations about the Church which does not take the severe or extreme interpretation (i.e. only men teach CCD) etc. I carefully point this out int he article and limit the discipline to the homily and to Magisterial authority. Paul himself commends Phoebe, Priscilla and Eunice et al. as those who help teach and hand on the faith. So how about a little less rant from you and a little more careful dinstinction as both the article and St. Paul seek to do?

    • Donna L. says:

      Karen, clearly you don’t take the Bible seriously, from Genesis to the New Testament, since you mock the accounts of Adam and Eve and Paul’s missionary trips. Why pay any attention to this “allegory” at all if you truly believe it has only produced misery for women (“Men have been trying to beat up women for being weak and stupid since the dawn of time”).

      You wrote, ” We simply don’t know what Jesus would do today, and we can’t assume He’d do otherwise re: ordination.” No. YOU simply don’t know what Jesus would do today, because you don’t take the gospel writers’ accounts seriously. For those of us who do, we know that Jesus founded The Church – rooted in history – and appointed apostles (leaders) and said, ““Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16)

      My suggestion is that you begin reading the writings of the Church Fathers. Look them up. These writings may give you some appreciation and understanding of the Catholic Church and the Bible. God bless you.

    • Repent and Believe the Gospel ! says:

      “Paul was just lucky the centurion didn’t throw him to the sharks when he said “see I told you so.””

      Saint Paul got his head chopped off. So don’t you DARE insult him. But you are one crazy lady, Karen. Yelling and screaming like a clown!

      “NO ONE WAS THERE to reliably record the 1st man and woman.”

      It’s called REVELATION, nutty. God gave the sacred writer of the Book of Genesis a REVELATION.

      Your ignorance is laughable!!!

    • Sanscere says:

      Anyone who has taught in a co-ed situation knows that men and women learn differently. This means that, in general the women “get it” sooner, and then get impatient with the men for being so slow. The men, however, (in general) require a higher standard of proof. Men are not as convinced by example and analogy, or emotional stories. They require a logical proof before assenting to a truth. Women tend to be more easily convinced, both of truth and of falsehood, by these less sure means (stories and examples that work on the imagination and emotion rather than syllogisms that inform the intellect) and then jump to the conclusion before it is firmly demonstrated. This means they can intuit truth more quickly, but, not knowing the sure reasons why they believe, can also be deceived more easily. As teachers, women tend to teach the way they themselves learn, with examples and stories rather than logical proofs. This means that their teaching would be more prone to if not outright error, then leaving the truth unproven, and less sure in the minds of the faithful. A man more naturally sets forth the proof and gives examples and stories to illustrate it. These are generalities, of course. Of course you will find very logical individual women who could give a better homily than Father XYZ any day of the week (such as myself, LOL) and very gullible or ill-formed individual men. But laws and customs are based on the general norms, not the particular individuals.

      The above commenter relies entirely on emotion (principally anger) and conjecture (“we simply don’t know what Jesus would do today”). She demands empirical evidence while ignoring the empirical evidence (what Jesus did do and say), and rather proves Msgr’s point.

  3. Marguerite says:

    I’ve always understood Adam’s sin to be one of disobedience since God first warned him not to touch the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eve was deceived by the serpent but Adam directly disobeyed God and thus his sin was greater.

  4. David F says:

    Interesting post you open up the scriptures in new ways. I think Adam’s sin was worse because he was not deceived and therefore knew better his culpability was greater.

  5. Maria says:

    Thank you again, for the very good reflections and light of truth ;
    yet , wonder if there is a bit more in there ..

    the words in Gen 3.17 – ‘because thou has hearkened to the voice of thy wife and has eaten of the
    tree..’ …again, mysterious , in the sense that , it is the enemy who seems to be making the false promises
    of making ‘gods’ ( which he has tried to do ever since , except gods, in his image ! )
    and possibly , thus, if there was even a bit of movement of the heart , from Adam, in that direction ..and if such could have roots in what we are facing as ‘disorder ‘ of every sort !

    Reason this mght be important in our times could be , from having read how persons have been set free
    in their afflictions , by repenting all the way to Adam and Eve , who are real persons and our first parents , whom we need to acknowledege and honor as such , in spite of the weakness – not hard to do, when we behold the Adorable Face of the New Adam ( and the New Eve ) , the Face that allowed the kiss of Judas and whose glory is our shield !

    According to Bl.Emmerich , the first parents were even going to be given the gift of bringing forth holy children , in the power of the word , like God Himself ..not in carnal manner ..
    thus ,they were possibly , made to be very sensitive to the power of spoken words ..
    and thus , possibly why Adam was to guard The Garden , not even allow the enemy voice to reach them !

    The Immaculate Conception reverses things …

    and if what human beings did , has such impact , The Father want us to look to the infinite merits and glory , of what The New Adam has done ..is doing !

    Glory be !

  6. David says:

    Awe-Full of Truth, these last two posts, Msgr. Pope, thank you.

    One of my Emmaus Brothers asked yesterday for the scripture references regarding the nature of the relationship between husband and wife, and of man and woman in the Church; I sent these two providential lessons to him and to my Men’s Group, for there are many would can benefit from God’s Wisdom in these matters.
    These lessons are hard to learn and obey in today’s society, but I look back in my past and see the truth of it all. If only my eyes were seeking back then, but, alas, I was stiff necked, hard of heart.
    For Adam’s Sin has been mine and always will it be before me.

    Thank God Almighty for His Merciful, Just Love that we may hope in with faith and charity towards each other.

    1 Cor 7:1-15, 11:3-13, 14:32-36; Eph 5:21:31; Col 3:18-21; Tit 2:1-5; 1 Pet 3:1-7; 1 Tim 2:11-15
    OT prophetic warnings which may relate to today’s social confusion: Isa 3:12, 16, 32:9-14; Eze 16, the Allegory of the Unfaithful Wife relative to Jerusalem’s abominations; Am 4:1-3; Mic 7:10

    The LORD bless you and keep you;
    The LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
    The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
    Num 6:24-26

  7. R in Indiana says:

    I am a child of the feminist revolution, and I was taught that men and women are the same. Unfortunately, this teaching denies the obvious nature of our bodies. Men and women are different, but those differences are complementary. I am also a 13 year convert to Catholicism, and having been raised with virtually no religion, I previously tried many different churches before coming home, so the concept of female clergy in protestant denominations didn’t concern me. Then, I attended a protestant service for a ecumenical activity that my son participated in. The female pastor led the congregation. It felt alien and unnatural. I know that sounds silly, but it was like a poor rendition of the real thing. It made me physically ill. I thank God that they did not have communion, but at the same time that was exactly what was missing–the real presence. It was like someone had heard about Catholic mass from someone who had heard from someone who had actually attended mass and was trying to recreate it based on a story 3 times removed from the real Mass. It was so superficial and meaningless. Even the music was stilted, like a poor rendition of old-fashioned music, but without the everlasting nature of good hymns. I can see why the protestant congregations are dying, and they are trying to move with the times to draw in the modern people. But you can’t draw in modern people with superficial play-acting. We get tons of that on television, with people trying to sell us stuff. We need the gospel, the real and true good news of Christ. It isn’t always kind or pretty, but it will save our souls.

    • Anne Marie says:

      Yet often times, those Protestant churches that do allow for women pastors often cite what Paul said in Galatians 3:28, “Jew or gentle, slave or free, male or female”. I thought Paul preached that even male and females are equal, but in reality, I have learned, it is NOT being equal by this world’s standards, but in the eyes of Christ.

  8. Patrick says:

    I think women as peacemakers could also be characterized as women as group creatures as opposed to lone wolves. They want to identify the power dynamic in a group and get in line with it for safety purposes. This is why women like fashion, which is basically just making sure one is dressing the same as everyone else so she won’t be seen as a vulnerable out-of-group. It’s also why women like doing aerobics as a group, everyone moving in the same way and feeling like a group where the power dynamic is fully understood and accepted. That holds basically no appeal for men. The grouping instinct makes them more vulnerable to deception because they want to be part of the in-group so bad. Maybe the serpent convinced Eve on a gut level that he was the way of the future and she needed to get in line or be cut off and turned out-of-group. Adam was probably being like the lazy tv watching husbands whose wives by default decide the direction and naturally choose to go with what’s fashionable or with the prevailing power dynamic to avoid being left as an outsider.

    • Patrick says:

      I would add that that doesn’t mean women are excused from submissiveness when there is a vacuum of male authority. They shouldn’t rush into the vacuum or try to control it the way Eve did.

    • Anne Marie says:

      That is the case until women come into the “change of life” when one needs and wants to break away from the group thinking. Then there is more to wanting to make a positive difference.

  9. I Like The Church Fathers says:

    Brave post, Monsignor.

    Men and women are different and those differences are innate, not socially constructed. The ancients knew this and the Church knows this too, even though few priests and prelates today are willing to talk about it.

    I am a little concerned however by the potential slippery slope from this statement: “It is debatable whether the edict that women should be silent, and have no teaching authority over a man are in fact mere disciplinary norms that we are not required to observe today.”

    I am concerned that thinking of this kind may open a door for those who argue there should be women priests.

    Of course, no pope [not even Francis] will permit women priests because they know that having women priests would cause a major schism. And many of those who would leave a Church with women priests would be women themselves.

    One of the natural, politically incorrect characteristics of women is that they actually want to be led by authoritative men. Most women, though they may not be consciously aware of it, do not want to be led by other women. In the workplace, I have noticed that there is often great friction between female managers and female employees. I do not often see such friction between male managers and female employees.

    Edith Stein understood all of this as well as anyone. It’s no wonder Bl. John Paul II thought so highly of her. Everyone should read the link that Pam provided above on the piece she wrote.

    • Well, this is not one of the texts that I have ever heard used by the Church. The teaching against women priests is well attested by the call of the 12 (male) apostles, that Christ is groom and consistent Tradition, as well as JP IIs definitive statement. I discussing these Pauline texts, a number of reputable Catholics theologians acknowledge them but indicate they are less usful for all the “rabbit hole” debates they open up about what disciplinary norms bind and what do not. A similar argument erupts of women covering their heads and the Church has largely set this aside as a cultural norm. For the record I agree with you, but as a Catholic priest, I think we have to admit that some the things Paul says in terms of Church discipline are debated in the Church even among those who have no problems with dissent. SO that’s all I am saying. My focus here is not to debate this aspect of the text, but to note the theological stance St. Paul takes in differentiating Eve’s sin from Adam’s

  10. anna lisa says:

    What is a sin, but a wedge between man and God? If a just man sins seven times a day, he repeats an act that is an echo of what “Adam and Eve” both committed. Perhaps men tend to commit more of a certain kind of sin and women tend toward something else (you’re the one hearing confessions–you should know! But a priest friend of mine told me that men and women confess the same things…) But at the end of the day does it really make a difference? It all boils down to one thing: Every act for ourselves at the expense of another is an act of idolatry and a robbery; it is a dissonance that needs reparation.

  11. Barbara says:

    Since Eve spoke to the serpent (nachash is also associated with divination), while Adam was silent, after they sinned, Eve is given the role of remaining quiet, while Adam is charged with being the leader. Opposite of what they did before the fall. The role reversal fits the “crime”.

  12. Helen says:

    Thank you, Monsignor!! I am a member of an FSSP church and also assist at SSPX masses. When our priests and faithful speak about this matter, they are dismissed as lunatic fringe. To hear the Catholic Truth expounded time after time by you, a member of the “mainstream” is a great blessing.

  13. Doug Lawrence says:

    Father, I have the greatest respect for you and your great work. But only someone who has taken a vow of celibacy might hope to emerge from this one unscathed.

  14. Michael says:

    Interesting. I like how you contrast that ‘Adam’s sin was not the same as Eve’s.’
    You say that Eve was deceived by Satan, but Adam was tempted by Eve.
    I don’t see where Adam was tempted at all. The serpent lied beautifully to Eve, but she just handed the fruit to Adam.
    I wonder if Adam’s sin wasn’t so much worse simply because he wasn’t deceived or swayed.
    He knew exactly what he was doing and did it anyway.
    Eve was weak and misled.
    Adam was disobedient.

    • I say that Adam was tempted by Eve, because of God’s words to Adam in Genesis when he says “because you listen to your wife…”. Hence, Adam was disobedient, as you say, but it also seems that Adam was in someway tempted by Eve, for how would he have listened to her, had she not said something to him

  15. Sandra Lipari says:

    … women are vulnerable and take correction or misdirection at the hands of man. Deceptive? Monsignor your scholarship is always TOP, why men lead with good thinking skills and rock solid! Women are mothers expected to be all things to all, all the time. AND she has “time” to deceive? The snake was deceptive and Eve was NOT protected (supported by the one suppose to be doing the GUARDING? … remember)

    I beg forgiveness for arrogance with no scholarship like Monsignor’s!

  16. Mrs. Gilfillan says:

    Monsignor,

    Thank you for everything you write. I tell people you are the only person worth reading of the internet – I really mean it! You are a wonderful shepherd, and I thank you for your faithfulness. I greatly appreciate the non-political correctness! My husband and I had a wonderful evening last night reading and discussing your preceding post, and I greatly look forward to doing the same tonight!

  17. Greg says:

    Dilemma resolved: women can catechize, but only to other women (and children perhaps).

  18. Lauri Friesen says:

    Thank you, Mgr. Pope, for this lesson. As a woman who never knew life before Vatican II and Gloria Steinem, et al, it has been a long, hard struggle to submit to these particular teachings of St. Paul. I’ve never thought about it as being directed at men, but having seen and toyed with the power a woman can have over the man who loves (or even only desires) her, I’ll be spending some time mulling over at whom St. Paul was really directing these words.

  19. Jim J. McCrea says:

    With spiritual matters women tend to be flakier than men when left on their own – but when they do spirituality right they tend to do it better than men.

    Both the masculine and feminine are necessary to spirituality, so that one can correct the excesses of the other.

  20. Christopher Cummings says:

    Monsignor, I recall you pointing out that God had told Adam to keep and care for the garden. If Adam had been doing what God had set him to do, the serpent would not have had a chance to bring in disorder and deceive Eve. So that is another difference – Adam fails first by negligence or dereliction, and then by knowing disobedience.

  21. Shin says:

    The truth is patriarchy is a good. Patriarchy is good! God is a Patriarch! Heaven is a patriarchy! The Church is a patriarchy! The family is a patriarchy! Every Christian must learn to embrace it as a religious and natural truth. it is a natural good and the way God designed the world, and a great failing to not recognize and raise it up.

    God is a Patriarch. To love God is to love patriarchy. Families are patriarchies, the husband is the patriarch. And society itself is naturally meant by God to have a patriarchal structure.

    The Church is a patriarchy. And until people and authorities high and low embrace the good of patriarchy, talk about how good it is and how natural and wonderful it is, and how matriarchy is in fact bad, we aren’t going to get very far with a lot of fundamental problems in church, government, and family — in all society.

    And it all goes back to the garden. Virtues and vices of men and women, what our failings most often are, what are virtues are, yes. I’ve heard some wonderful sermons on this online. And men’s typical failing is to step down from duty of authority. And women’s? To take too much as if it will bring happiness when it brings only the opposite. The desire to control rather than support.

    The priest too.. is ‘Father’.

  22. Matthew says:

    If Eve was deceived, she acted out of ignorance. If she was deceived and tricked, how could it be a sin ? If Adam was not deceived, then he knew the evil he was doing. His sin is putting a human being’s words before God. Eve was the only other human around. Is there anything in the Genesis text to suggest it was his maleness or her femaleness that caused either one to sin, or does this interpretation an arise from the result of that sin in which the male now rules over the female that projects this new state of affairs on to the original story ?
    John Paul writes of Genesis 3:16 (“Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you”), “These words of Genesis refer directly to marriage, but indirectly they concern the different spheres of social life: the situations in which the woman remains disadvantaged or discriminated against by fact of being a woman…The overcoming of this evil inheritance is, generation after generation, the task of every human being, whether woman or man” (Mulieris Dignitatem IV #10).
    John Paul II also writes of 1 Tim. 2:13-14 in Mulieris Dignitatem, chap. 4 # 9, “But there is no doubt that, independent of this ‘distinction of roles’ in the biblical description, that the first sin is the sin of man, created by God as male and female.”
    You have noted the seeming contradictions in Paul’s letters. Also, 1 Corinthians 14 seems to contradict all of Christian history as well as Church teaching which calls for active participation of all her members.

    “Here again, there are legitimate debates about how strictly the silence is to be interpreted. Generally, Church practice has understood this to mean that women are not to give the official teaching in the liturgy that we refer to as the sermon or homily.” It seems like this just taking the historical practice of the Church and calling it an ‘interpretation’. 1 Cor. 14 seems pretty straightforward and I don’t know how it could be interpreted. The fact that if they don’t understand something they should ask their husbands at home and not ask in Church, seems to strongly suggest that this silence is not about any sort of teaching but just what it plainly states. This verse, to my knowledge, is found in different places in various early manuscripts which gives evidence that it was a scribal insertion.
    It was males who brought about female ministers and provided the non-orthodox teaching (Matrin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, Henry VIII). The Catholic Church seems to have no problem with Protestant female ministers as long as they are not priests.

    • Not really sure I understand the point you are making. The one thing I do follow about women asking their husbands after Church not engaging the question in the church, I think you probably fail to note the historical context of the time wherein the synagogue setting engaged a kind of “socratic method” wherein the men, recognized leaders discussed a text. Herein lies the debate you say does not exist: to what degree was this method used in the early Mass? How exactly was the method engaged even in the synagogues of the time. Was the method used widely or just in Judah etc. For you to say everything is clear and that there is no debate or need for interpretation by legitimate magisterial authority does not simply make it so. There are legitimate debates and discussions about these things despite your dismissal of them.

  23. TeaPot562 says:

    A major pharmaceutical study has shown that prescriptions work differently on adult males and adult females. Even when adjusted for weight (a heavier person needs a proportionately larger dose), the female body typically takes about 40% longer to eliminate a given chemical from the bloodstream. Women ARE different from men.
    BTW, 2000 years ago, most religions had female priestesses as well as male priests. The significant major exception to that statement was Judaism.
    If Jesus had wanted to ordain St. Mary Magdalen, He could certainly have done so.
    His choosing only males as Apostles makes a statement, even if we can only conjecture as to His reasons. Certainly some bishops and priests have been notorious sinners. Our Lady has a higher place in heaven than any other saints, male or female.
    In the Divine Comedy, Dante assigns some of the bishops and popes of his day to Hell, based on their actions. Again, being a bishop or a priest is an assignment of duty and responsibility, but says nothing about the subject’s place in heaven. A major fault of the Renaissance is to try to make all actions of God understandable by human reason, and to reject anything not susceptible to that analysis.
    Sometimes, we simply ought to accept things w/o insisting on understanding why.
    TeaPot562

  24. Maria says:

    Agree with the posts that sort of mention the need for women to be ‘silent ‘ in churches ..

    that , in turn , could make the role of lectors to be that of men – for the sake of women , since ,hearing the Sacred words , in The Father’s voice , may be more of a need , esp. for women !

    Hoepfully, such a modeling would also filter into homes , wherein men would take more leadership, in reading out the scriptures , carrying out the role of sanctification with the bath of words .

    On the topic of voice and its effects , had read how the Gregorian chants avoid certain notes that only came into our realm, after The Fall !

    Good thing that those chants , sung by holy monks ,are getting more popular in our times that see /hear so much , that is not of The Father !

  25. Madeline C. says:

    So many interesting and thought-provoking viewpoints! So I add another one to the mix —
    seems to me that part of Adam’s sin was that he failed to protect Eve, the incredible gift that God had given him as his companion and helpmate. Not to mention to protect the territory God had also given them! Where was Adam when this sleezy serpent approached Eve? Or had Adam already fallen short, (in Eve’s eyes), that Eve would not tell the servant, “Wait, let me see what my husband thinks of this proposition before I act.” In any event, Eve didn’t seek his opinion, and Adam wasn’t protecting his wife from this nasty creature — so, as is often the case, sins of omission are very costly ones.

    Thanks for a great commentary, Msgr.

  26. I think you have been deceived. Sounds like you’re a post-scriptural “Christian” and the 21st Century is your reference, not God’s Revealed Word. Not much more to say since you simply dismiss the texts I am commenting on. I personally would rather rely on ancient and tested wisdom than the 21st Century which barely 14 years old. Give me a 5000 year old for my teacher rather than a 14 year old!

  27. Antoinette Merenda says:

    I know my interpretation of the sin of Adam is not the church teaching but it is one that makes sense to me. God gave instructions there is nor tree to be left alone and that was not too much to ask. After all there was so much in the Garden of Eden. Eve May have been “tempted” and Adam “weak of will”so they gave in to the “temptation but it was the sin of disobedience to God that caused the fall. Think of it. What caused the fall – after all God gave them they did not listen.
    I think of a child told not to eat the cookie,but does so. Do we blame the baker for creating the temptation? We think of the disobedience and punish accordingly.

  28. Barb Schoeneberger says:

    Dear Monsignor,

    You don’t have to apologize for not being politically correct. Many of us are sick of political correctness which is nothing but lying. It is much better to ponder the Word of God as written and seek a deep understanding of it than to have it presented in a manner of hopping over hot coals. If we are all sincere in finding God’s will for us in the Word, and if we pray for understanding, He will grant it to us. God didn’t give us His Word for any reason other than to show us how much He loves us and to have us delight in that love and keep our eyes on Him.

    Your posts are so enlightening, so challenging, so spiritually enriching that you are helping me approach God with a submissive heart. From the comments, it seems that many others are benefiting in this manner as well. Keep up the teaching. We, the flock, really need it. This is the third time I’ve read both your posts on Original Sin. God bless you.

  29. Vincent says:

    It’s a little hard to know where to start with this, and I’m tempted to say quite a lot, but I will do my best to be concise lest this become a book.

    My first major concern with what you’ve written is that gender doesn’t work like that. Beyond X and Y chromosomes and the anatomy of our “less honorable parts” (as St. Paul would put it), the difference between the sexes doesn’t tend to be binary. When it comes to personality, brain function, muscularity, flexibility, etc. what we see are gender trends, not gender differences. For any given trait there are ranges within each sex, and the ranges between the sexes overlap. For example, while women on average tend to be more nurturing than men on average, there are large numbers of men on the high end of the nurturing scale who outscore women on the low end of the scale. This holds true for every trait that psychologists and social scientists have tried to measure. (See this article for a recent example of such a study.)

    So it is problematic to attribute characteristics such as “gullibility” to women simply because they are women, or to say that women shouldn’t preach in Church simply because they are women. I think we need to talk about various types of women and various types of men rather than attributing hard and fast characteristics to women and men as such.

    “But,” you might object, “there are a number of places in scripture that talk about men and women in precisely this way.” (e.g. Paul’s command for women to keep silence in church)

    Which brings me to my second major concern with what you’ve written: scripture doesn’t work like that. We rightly recognize all of scripture as the Word of God, but many people wrongly presume that means that each line of scripture can be understood to express God’s will for us (as in a legal document, every line can correctly be thought to express the will of the lawmaker). Scripture is better understood to be a conversation; it is many writers over many years expressing their (divinely inspired) understanding on the same topics. Some of these voices agree with one another, but some do not. God wants us to hear all of these voices, but it would be a mistake to assume that each and every line is a direct expression of God’s will for us. An analogy: It is like hearing a great debate between two brilliant people. At the end you may not feel that either one is fully grasping the truth, but you yourself have come much closer to the truth from having heard them debate. That’s how scripture works. That’s why our scriptures contain lines celebrating the slaughter of babies and commanding slaves to obey their masters. They are voices in a conversation that God wants us to hear, but they are not the final word that God wants us to walk away with.

    The slavery example is instructive in this regard. Within a few lines of the places where St. Paul talks about wives submitting to their husbands, he also talks about slaves submitting to their masters. Yet, over many centuries the Church came to understand that Gal 3:28 (“there is no slave and free… for we are all one in Christ”) takes priority over these other sayings. John Paul II himself suggested that a similar kind of development needs to take place with regard to our understanding of the passages about wives submitting to husbands (see Mulieris Dignitatem n. 24).

    As a Church I think we are slowly coming to recognize the implications of that other part of Gal 3:28 (“there is no male and female”). Pope John Paul’s authoritative reinterpretation of spousal “submission” (cited above) was a huge step forward. Pope Benedict promoted more women to higher roles in the curia than any previous pope. He also laid the foundation for restoring women to the diaconate (and thus to preaching in the assembly) with his 2009 alteration of canon 1009 to clarify the distinction between diaconal ordination and priestly ordination. Pope Francis has repeatedly spoken of the need to have women involved in all major decisions made by the Church. He has also called for us to develop a deeper theology of women. Unfortunately, I think this blog post offers a shallower rather than a deeper understanding because it relies on facile gender stereotypes.

    • Recusant says:

      Words have gender, humans have sex.

      The rest is a confused melange of cherry-picked sources, bias confirmation, wishful thinking, and straw men.

      • Yes I agree, the use of the word “gender” is a grammatical term. I do think the use of it may be evolving as words sometimes do, but for the record, “gender” is a grammatical term referring to the status of a noun in the romance languages: Masculine, feminine and neuter.

        • Vincent says:

          Gender isn’t simply a grammatical term. Gender has a very specific meaning in social science that is distinct from sex. Sex refers to one’s biological status as a male or female. Gender is a social construct that defines what it means to be male or female in a particular cultural context. Many people today, usually of a more liberal bent, would maintain that there is in fact no connection whatsoever between sex and gender. Thus they believe it is possible to be transgendered, meaning that one could be, for instance, biologically male, but be of the female gender. I deliberately used ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ as interchangeable terms in my comment as a way of indicating that I don’t hold to this view and in fact see an intrinsic connection between sex and gender.

        • Recusant says:

          Actually, grammatical gender is present throughout Indo-European languages, including German and Greek. English has done away with much of this, yet using a feminine pronoun on say, a sailing vessel, is entirely acceptable.

      • Vincent says:

        Humans have both sex and gender (see what I have written to Monsignor below). But it seems you have chosen to nitpick about vocabulary rather than engage the substance of what I wrote other than to toss out a few nonspecific and unsupported accusations.

        Monsignor has asserted that women are more easily deceived than men. I say asserted because he offered no evidence that this is in fact the case. He then connected this disparity in gullibility to the need for men to be the head of the family, for homilies to be given only by men, and for the magisterium to be made up only of men.

        I can think of only two ways to interpret Msgr.’s assertion that women are more easily deceived than men, and both are problematic. The first is that he believes that every woman is more easily deceived than every man. I think this is demonstrably untrue, and most of us could come up with examples of men we know who are more gullible than women we know. The second interpretation is that Msgr. believes that women are more often or on average more gullible than men. But even if he could somehow provide actual evidence of this (which I suspect he could not) it would still not justify an across-the-board prohibition of women from the aforementioned positions of authority. That would be like saying that since left-handed people are more likely to get in car accidents than right-handed people, only right-handed people should be eligible for driver’s licenses. The more just course of action would be to give everyone driver’s tests and screen out those who exhibit dangerous driving behavior. In the same way, even if it were the case that most women were more easily deceived than most men, it wouldn’t justify barring all women from spiritual authority. It would mean we ought to carefully assess candidates for positions of authority and screen out those who appear to be easily deceived, be they male or female.

        So, Monsignor’s argument is either untrue or unjust or both. What he has argued is not just “politically incorrect”, but sexist. I invite you or anyone to explain why my argument doesn’t hold up.

        • my argument doesn’t presuppose justice, it is just a point of view. I could be right or wrong.But I don’t deserve any elevated status. But as for you I wonder if you have thought that perhaps your own augments are about semantics that haven’t been resolved. That is, gender is really what you say it is. I think the word is evolving.

          • Vincent says:

            The semantics are fairly unimportant to me. I have no problem talking about this completely in terms of sex rather than gender. I was just noting that the term ‘gender’ is widely used this way in psychology and sociology, and I was trying to indicate that I don’t agree with modern theories that say one’s social identity and self-identity as male or female are completely separable from one’s actual sex (on which I trust we are in agreement). If the term is distracting, switch everywhere I have used the term ‘gender’ to ‘sex’. It really isn’t material to the argument I was making vis a vis women’s place in the home and in the Church.

        • Sanscere says:

          Will you be instructed by a woman here? The straw man you are holding is that nobody says what you say they say, and your examples are secious and arbitrary (That Every woman is more gullible… or that one about handedness…come on.) You rightly point out that there are exceptions to the norm, but Laws and customs are made for the norm, not the exceptions. And laws of the Church, especially are founded on a deep theological basis that transcends merely practical or individual anomalies.
          As for proving that there is a basis for this norm, that women are more easily deceived, this has its basis in the very nature of the different sexes. (I am going to pre-empt your pop-science study-citing here by saying that even if you were to read every single study, you would end up with varying conclusions, conclusions that would tell you mostly about what the ‘scientists’ who frame the studies think, not necessarily anything of the immutable truths of human nature.)
          You already agree and know that “male and female He created them.” Good. But, you have also unfortunately drunk deep of the ‘gender is a social construct connected to sex but not intrinsic to it’ kool-aid. Step back a moment and see that the only possible explanation for the fact that those social constructs are *overwhelmingly* and *throughout all of time* pretty much the same – that women are mothers, nurturers, and followers, while men are fathers, leaders and fighters is based in the nature of man and woman. God gave them different bodies, different brains. Not just different ‘organs’ as you put it, but different roles dependent on those ‘organs’ Only a woman can birth and nurse a baby, and only a man can be a fathers and fighters. And that means He gave them them all the other attendant powers and abilities to fulfill these duties. If only women can birth and nurse babies, they had better be more nurturing! If only men can fight in wars,(yes, yes I know there are exceptions, I’m talking about the overwhelming norm here) then men had better be more willing to fight and kill! (Look up violence and murder rate disparity for men and women. Yes, exceptions, but don’t you think there is a pretty darn convincing norm there?)
          As for women being more ‘gullible.’ My years of teaching proved to me beyond doubt that it is easier to convince a woman with examples and stories that it is to convince a man. A man’s mind is made for logical proof, and will not rest ’til he finds it. (I ask you, who established the science of logic in the first place? Who are the philosophers, the mathematicians?) Yes, you will find a few women throughout the millenia, but these are overwhelmingly male pursuits. (And the current gender-kool-aid purveyors will insist that this is because women were subjugated by men and enslaved to their role as mothers …but let’s be honest. Women are just not as interested in mathematical or philisophical/logical rigor. Why? Because even after they have been ‘freed’ by the Pill and mightily encouraged by academia, they still have the same nature they did before 1960. Women are faster at intuiting truths through analogies, stories, and examples. This means that they do not have a burning desire to construct syllogistic proofs of the things that they ‘know’ are true already. They generally do not demand or abide by the painstaking process of logical proof. They are more agreeable, more easily convinced, of both truth AND of falsehood. (I point again to history and human nature, as well as current occupational and academic pursuit ratios of men and women. Dangerous jobs? Overwhelmingly male. Math/logic? Overwhelmingly male. Mothers? Nurses? Overwhelmingly female.) Anyway, if you grant the above, you can see why men would be charged with preaching Homilies, because they are more likely to demand, seek out, and present the logical proofs, supported with examples. They have the physical characteristics that make them more suited to speaking to a crowd (deep voice, general un-self-consciousness about their appearance, less natural timidity, more willing to be objective, blunt and risk hurting people’s feelings if necessary…)

          I could go on and on, but you will likely reject this, as you seem have already been convinced by the non-objective, non-logical, oversensitive, highly individualistic (meaning that they are willing to overthrow a whole system so that a few people can fulfill their dreams) obsession of our current academic climate, which, in an attempt to get more women in the sciences and leadership, *even in combat*, in so doing have lowered the standards for everyone, denying even the men the rigorous logical and physical formation that they both need and desire.
          God gave men the nature best suited to leading/fathering/preaching. Jesus chose men to be priests and gave them a teaching/preaching office. Therefore Priests/Deacons give homilies. Why is this a problem? I think it’s more sexist to insist that a woman somehow has to prove her dignity by doing what God has ordained that men do. She has her own dignity. Leave her to it.

  30. Thomas Gallagher says:

    The story of Adam and Eve: myth, yes; fairy tale, no. Saint Augustine taught us long, long ago that Genesis 1-11 has to be read as an allegory. The interaction of Adam and Eve sounds an awfully lot like the interaction of a husband and a wife in any time and place, but in fact it’s set in the early days of the Israelite people, perhaps as long ago as the second millennium B. C. In this sense we are going to confuse ourselves by reading this or that detail of the story of the Fall of Man literally. The meaning of the story is clear, if we read it by the Analogy of Faith, as Catholic exegesis has done for centuries: through disobedience (call it Adam’s or Eve’s–it does not matter which) sin entered the world, and through Jesus’s atonement man’s sin of disobedience has been overcome. Frankly I don’t see how one can read either a male chauvinist or a 20th century feminist meaning into the story of Adam and Eve. If we read the story in either of these ways, we take meaning from the text of Genesis that it simply will not bear.

    I am surprised at two things in this topic’s blog posts. The first is the pleasantly irenic and respectful tone of many of the posts. The second is the speed with which the question of Eve’s sin has morphed into a debate on the ordination of women. Women’s ordination, as Monsignor Pope rightly says, has to be looked at in the long view. Down the centuries the Church has been led by men, and it likely would result in schism if the traditional teaching on the male priesthood were to be abandoned.

    My own opposition to the ordination of women is two-fold. Firstly, as we can see when we contemplate a schism on this issue, women’s ordination finds no echo deep in the hearts and minds of the more conservative of the Faithful–it violates the sensus fidelium. Secondly, it’s not that women see God differently or see theological issues differently from men. It’s that women think differently about moral questions. As feminist academics have been pointing out for a number of years now, women see moral issues in intensely personal terms–what’s right, or wrong, is not determined objectively. It is what’s right or wrong for the particular person, in his or her particular circumstances. Nothing wrong here. This is simply a reasoning process different from that of men. As Patrick argues above, in his February 7th post, women tend to nurture the group. This makes women much better team players in organizations than their male counterparts. But we should add that women are also more ready than men to expel you from the group if you are a threat to it. Perhaps this is why women are perceived in group settings to be catty. Dare we also suggest that this tendency in women also bars them from CEO positions in large organizations? In any case, men’s moral reasoning tends to be more abstract, and more insistent on the objective reality of questions of guilt or innocence, than that of women. Speaking for myself, this makes me a whole lot more inclined to go to Confession to a male priest than to a female one.

  31. Bender says:

    Matthew notes — John Paul II also writes of 1 Tim. 2:13-14 in Mulieris Dignitatem, chap. 4 # 9, “But there is no doubt that, independent of this ‘distinction of roles’ in the biblical description, that the first sin is the sin of man, created by God as male and female.”
    _______________

    This is the key point, which soon-to-be Saint John Paul makes throughout the Theology of the Body. The first sin is the sin of man, not Adam, not Eve, but man, created as male and female. Each by his- or herself is incomplete. The action by the woman (who is not given the name Eve until after the Fall) was not the action of the complete man. The action by the man (“Adam”) was not the action of the complete man.

    It was only when the “other half” of the unity of the two joined in the act that the complete man – which is to say, all of humanity – sinned. At that point, all of mankind was immersed in sin. As Pope John Paul reminded us, “man” is not simply the male part of the species. “Man” is male and female together, a communion of persons. It is when that communion of persons sinned that man sinned. In saying that sin entered the world through Adam, that does not distinguish him from Eve, but merely is using “Adam” as representative of the whole of man – male and female. Chapter three of Genesis cannot be read in isolation, but must be read in the context of chapters one and two.

    To the extent that “Adam” was tempted by “Eve,” since they are a single entity, two become one, any temptation came within himself, a wholly interior and free act of his own will, and should not be seen as occasion to do what Adam did, which is try to shift the blame to someone else (first Eve, then God for giving her to him). For Adam to blame Eve is for Adam to blame himself. She is a part of him. He is a part of her.

    One of the great fruits of the Theology of the Body is that it encourages us to embrace the unity of the human family (which Francis is now promoting) and do away with the previous divisive thinking, pitting one person against another, one sex against the other. Yes, the sexes are differentiated and each has a crucial role, but each are parts of the One Body. Both rib (Eve) and trunk (Adam) are necessary to the complete body (Man). The unity of the two. A communion of persons made in the likeness of the Trinity, in whom none of the three persons ever acts alone. The creation of man was not the act of one Person, but of all three, and the fall of man was not the act of one person, but of both.

    • Ok, but what then of the Pauline text that this article is based on as well as the Words of God the father – i.e. Eve was deceived… and Because you listened to your wife….. I am trying to stay rooted in those texts and discern what they mean. And while there is an ultimate unity to the human person, it is the sacred text that distinguishes. I recognize that Adam’s blame of Eve is bogus. But I am here trying to parse why their share of the sin is spoken of differently and what that difference might mean. I grant that it is ultimately mysterious.

      • yan says:

        I think you both make good points. If I may add, I think the Scripture being dealt with here focuses on sex differences for a particular purpose: to explain why the liturgy must be like this, but not like that. It is unclear how far, or what scope, the principle on which the liturgical teaching is based may be applied in other circumstances.

        I am not sure it is right to say Adam and Eve, or man and wife generally, are a ‘single entity’ or have ‘become one’ beyond the sense that Christ said that this was the case with marriage; but I must admit that the so-called ‘theology of the body,’ while intriguing, is difficult for me to understand.

        A little thought experiment: what if Adam had not taken the fruit from Eve after she ate it? What would have become of her? Of the human race? Of the world? Of our need for a Redeemer? Is there any fault in asking these questions?

  32. Sheila says:

    Because God made Adam first, He gave him a “job to do” and he broke the rules. He’s responsible for his disobedience. Listening to his wife, and not what God had commanded him to do. Eve was not commanded to watch over the garden. She was deceived, so they are different.
    Adam was clearly the one in charge of the “job” Eve was not. Two different positions.

    One point is, they BOTH had a weakness. Adam’s was his wife, Eve’s was the temptation.
    Two entirely different motives?

    • Imperious Dakar says:

      Even as a child the Garden of Eden Story seemed fishy to me.

      I couldn’t help but ask questions (that no theologian has good answers to) like:

      How could Adam and Eve be expected to know just how bad disobeying God was if they lacked Knowledge of Good and Evil?

      Or

      Why were things like the Tree of Knowledge and the Talking Snake even allowed into the Garden by God?

      As I got older, other questions occurred to me (that theologians also had no good answer to) such as:

      How were Adam and Even supposed to complete the marital act (and breed) if neither of them were capable of Lust (and therefore normal human procreation)?
      Why does human reproduction seemed designed with sexual desire/lust in mind?

      And most importantly:
      What kind of loving God would condemn his creations (and all their many descendants) for all time, the first time any of them made any major mistakes?

      • Remember that Adam and Eve did not have fallen natures prior to sin. Their intellects were not darkened and they had beheld God. Lust is not the cause of procreation as you bizarrely suggest. The answers you say we don’t have to your many questions have actually been well discussed here and in the post prior to it. And on many occasions here over the past five years. But I don’t really sense from your tone, that you really want answers or a real discussion.

        The rest of your comments to others have been sidelined since they show a mere tendency to be argumentative. We get that you don’t like patriarchy, you don’t have to write 15 comments to make the point. This post does not argue for patriarchy, only for respecting that the sin of Adam and Eve are described differently. But as for you the whole story is “fishy.” So there is no reasoning with you, and why should you try to have a conversation with a dozen people about a text you don’t even respect.

  33. yan says:

    No question that every married man that wants peace at home learns how to say frequently the words : ‘yes dear.’ If he doesn’t learn that he will most likely end up divorced in this day and age. Two thirds of divorces are initiated by women [I speak of course of heterosexual marriages; I have no idea what the rate of divorces in homosexual marriages is.]

    Obviously when the law made divorce more difficult, there was more incentive to stay in marriage. Of course that could have the consequence of more women being abused, and that is in fact what the difficulty in getting a divorce was viewed as fostering. And of course no one is in favor of abusing women.

    But at the same time making marriage easier to end also makes the need to have peace at any price all the greater. Thus, falling to the temptation of Adam to make peace at any price is, under modern marriage law, considered to be a great virtue.

  34. Annette Strachan says:

    Sex slavery today – women brought into a country and exploited by men; the woman deceived, the man sins.

    • Annette Strachan says:

      Last Saturday The priest mentioned the saint who had 60 brands on her body,each of her different owner, he also

      spoke of the trade of today, present in our city.

      Thanks.

  35. Mike says:

    The Sacred Text is the teacher here and the detail adds another point:
    While Eve was deceived, Adam’s sin was more grave. The prohibition regarding the tree was directed to Adam before Eve was there. Adam ignored the direct mandate of God and did not defend Eve and his responsibility to serve the command of God. Therefore, Adam resigned his ambassadorial place in the garden due to the deceit and intimidation of the Serpent. Eve was deceived, but Adam was disobedient and weak.

    Good lesson here for all who hold authority to teach and defend the faith. Destruction follows the abdication of fidelity to God. Weakness and lack of faith leave them at huge risk.

  36. Elizabeth says:

    what i understand
    the quote “there is neither male nor female,Jew nor Greek etc means
    Jesus is fully (perfect) man and fully God
    He is the ideal human; we are to grow into the ( perfect) manhood of Jesus Christ
    we are created as male or female : ensouled bodies or embodied souls
    at the Resurrection of the body our souls unite with the body so we will still be male or female
    the Blessed Virgin, Queen of Heaven is female!
    what we shall be has not yet been revealed!
    i love St Paul and Msgr has given an excellent explanation . all we can finally say is ” felix culpa”

  37. Tricia says:

    When Adam was told by God to till and keep the garden;it meant to protect the garden and Eve. Adam did not protect the garden and let the serpent in. And he did not protect Eve either from the serpent. Adam failed on both counts. His first disobedience was in not” keeping” the garden.

    • yan says:

      Where did you get this idea? It’s very odd.

      • Tricia says:

        The actual Hebrew text says Adam was to guard the garden. You can look up good Hebrew translations of the Torah on line. (for example http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8165) It is clearly there. Scholarly biblical research will attest to this translation. God bless.

        • yan says:

          Thanks for the clarification. I should have been more specific perhaps. So: granting that Adam was to guard the garden, why is it necessarily a failure of that obligation that the serpent was present? Are there no serpents in gardens? Also, there is no rebuke from God to Adam indicating that this alleged failure to guard the garden was blameworthy.

          While I have no competency to challenge your translation, I do challenge your interpretation.

          • yan says:

            And, I should have added that your interpretation is not given any textual support in the New Testament either.

          • yan says:

            One more idea: your interpretation is consistent with a view of the woman is an object of patriarchal solicitude. Without Adam’s protection, she will apparently fall into temptation. This doesn’t seem to be in accord with the New Testament view of the dignity of women, which, though it refers to them as ‘the weaker vessel,’ nevertheless affirms them to be equal members with men in the body of Christ.

            When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, He responded with the Our Father, which includes the words: ‘and lead us not into temptation.’ This does not mean that we must so arrange our lives that temptation will never occur. Your interpretation seems to imply that a failure to arrange our lives in this manner is a sin. While unnecessarily exposing ourselves to temptation is a sin against prudence, it is clear that the NT teaches that we must face temptation in this life.

            Thanks for the convo. Your thoughts?

  38. Annette Strachan says:

    Readings 7,8 and 9 – Matins – the Roman Breviary In English for Tuesday Feb 11 2014 -Apparition of our Lady of Lourdes, have a homily by St. Bernard, Abbat of Clairvaux. ( on The Gospel of Luke) “What didn’t thou say, O Adam? The woman whom Thou gravest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat. These are wrathful words, by the which thou dost rather magnify than diminish thine offence. Nevertheless, Wisdom hath defeated thy malice, God asked thee that He might find in thee an occasion of pardon, but, in that He found it not.He hath sought and found it in the Treasure of His Own Mercy.” (From reading 8).