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The Church's Teachings on Contraception and Sexuality






Thomas aquinas on women and sex

In the first state of mankind the body was subject to the soul and nothing could happen in the body which would be contrary to the good of the soul, neither as to its being nor as to its operation; nor is this precluded by the fact that even then there was a diverse dignity of souls according to the diversity of bodies, since it is necessary for the soul to be proportioned to the body, as form to matter, and as mover to moved: Eerdmans, ] is the best treatment of gender from the point of view of the history of philosophy. In the same way, the general intellectual inferiority of women does not make them defective or inferior simply speaking, but only in the particular natural order, in comparison to most males and to beings with a more perfect nature—namely, the angels. He also thought the sperm was directed to producing only male offspring, and that when this did not result it was because something interfered with the active principle within the sperm. To begin to understand his position, we must ask why Aquinas thinks women intellectually inferior in the first place. Diversity does not imply defect or sin on the part of anyone; on the contrary, the relative imperfections of things are desired by God:

Thomas aquinas on women and sex


Aquinas does not mean, however, that all women or only women are prone to these vices; he acknowledges that there are women outstanding in self-control and men who lack it. He also notes the difficulty women have in sticking to their decisions, and how quickly they can change their minds out of desire, anger, or fear. George December In several passages in the Summa Theologiae and elsewhere, Thomas Aquinas asserts that the inferiority of women lies not just in bodily strength but in force of intellect. Marquette University Press, Just as some human beings will surpass certain angels in glory despite the inferiority of human nature to angelic nature, so too some women will achieve greater glory than some men despite their inferiority as to intelligence. In the first state of mankind the body was subject to the soul and nothing could happen in the body which would be contrary to the good of the soul, neither as to its being nor as to its operation; nor is this precluded by the fact that even then there was a diverse dignity of souls according to the diversity of bodies, since it is necessary for the soul to be proportioned to the body, as form to matter, and as mover to moved: Routledge, ; W. To top this off, he maintains that feminine intellectual inferiority actually contributes to the order and beauty of the universe. Her comprehensive The Concept of Woman vol. Is he simply hedging on his seemingly chauvinistic positions to accommodate Mary, Queen of Heaven? Aquinas does not hesitate to commend these women for their outstanding love and devotion. Scriptum super Sententiis, II, 21, question 2, article 2 The Blessed Virgin Mary is of course for Aquinas the most unambiguous example of a woman who excels in glory not only all men but all angels, not by virtue of her nature, but on account of grace. In the ultimate state, however, such is the subjection [of body to soul] that the quality of body follows the virtue of the mind; whence according to the diversity of merits one soul will be more worthy than another soul, and the body more glorious; whence there will not be a difference on account of diverse sex. Diversity does not imply defect or sin on the part of anyone; on the contrary, the relative imperfections of things are desired by God: In our discussions of the differences between the sexes, we must avoid yielding to impulses of envy, but strive rather to love whatever littleness we may have due to our sex, as God loves it. Devoutness is frequently found more often in women and simple, uneducated men because their lack of learning makes it easier for them to trust in God wholeheartedly, rather than in themselves. Far from denigrating women because of their intellectual imperfection, Aquinas sees it—and all imperfection—as an instance of divine wisdom: God wants inequalities in rational beings, and if we love God we should conform our will to His. Eden Press, ]; vol. To begin to understand his position, we must ask why Aquinas thinks women intellectually inferior in the first place. In the same way, the general intellectual inferiority of women does not make them defective or inferior simply speaking, but only in the particular natural order, in comparison to most males and to beings with a more perfect nature—namely, the angels. Aristotle saw the sperm as the formative agent; the mother simply supplied raw material to be incorporated into the developing child. He also thought the sperm was directed to producing only male offspring, and that when this did not result it was because something interfered with the active principle within the sperm. God desires that women be part of the universe, and He orders nature in such a way as to insure that they are produced. I will give him a helpmate.

Thomas aquinas on women and sex


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1 thoughts on “Thomas aquinas on women and sex

  1. Mejind Reply

    In our discussions of the differences between the sexes, we must avoid yielding to impulses of envy, but strive rather to love whatever littleness we may have due to our sex, as God loves it.

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