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elena maria vidal

Very true observations about Queen Victoria, gsk. While there are many things about her to be admired, especially her devotion to her husband, yes, there are many things about her attitudes that reflected the puritanical discomfort with natural bodily functions. Outward form and appearances were evertything.

As for breast-feeding, many aristocratic women and even those not so aristicratic, used a wet nurse, especially if they had trouble nursing themselves or just did not want to bother. There was no formula like there is now and sometimes a wet nurse was the only option. Zelie Martin had trouble nursing (they later found she had breast cancer) and lost many babies. She took her youngest Therese to a peasant woman in the country her nursed her. Therese lived there until she was about two years old. We also know that in the antebellum south a lot of African women nursed the white babies along with their own.

It is also interesting that Victoria's husband Prince Albert had suffered from a broken home. His father's infidelity had led to his mother having an affair; she was disgraced, sent away from her children, and died. Prince Albert detested adultery and would not permit any shenanigans at court; the aim of his life was to set a high moral tone for the rest of the world. Sometimes, however, he may have been a bit too austere, but he was a devoted father and the queen almost lost her mind when he died.

gsk

Victoria herself was estranged from her mother at an early age through not fault of either one of them -- simply court intrigue combined with harsh calculations of those surrounding the family. It explains a lot of what made her tick, and while I excuse a lot on her part, I simply deplore the fallout.

elena maria vidal

Yes,gsk, that is so true. She had a difficult relationship with her overprotective mother! And your point is that we are now living with the backlash of the Victorian mentality - many seeds of poisoned flowers were planted back then!

Donna Marie Lewis

One thing - I don't believe it was Queen Victoria who departed from Rome. You have to put the blame for that several generations back from her.
Also, by the time she came to the throne, England was, for the most part, viciously anti-Catholic. (The Gordon Riots in the late 1700's are an illustration of that.)

gsk

I never blamed Victoria for parting with Rome. But whereas the reign of Elizabeth I (daughter of Henry who DID part with Rome) was consumed with questions of authority and theology, the reign of V. as the next substantive queen in her own right offered her as role model for righteous Christian living -- and much of the empire followed her cues. Thus her dysfunction (being the result of over two centuries of heretical thought imbedded in culture) left a wasteland in what would otherwise be Christendom.

Prudery and feminism both flow organically from the rupture with Holy Mother Church -- the authentic feminine paradigm.

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    Comments

    • From Benedict XVI
      “People have realized that the complete removal of the feminine element from the Christian message is a shortcoming from an anthropological viewpoint. It is theologically and anthropologically important for woman to be at the center of Christianity."
    • Anger and Patrimony (from Donna)
      This is just another of the unintended consequences of the cultural acceptance of contraception and abortion! Men's sexuality has been robbed of its creative essence. It is now viewed as something that imposes a burden on women (when conception happens to occur), something used to control women or something that is purely recreational. Why would men bother?? In taking away their responsibility, we've also robbed them of their significance! In the big picture of humanity, men have been made into nothing more than a nuisance women have to figure out how to control in order to bring about the next generation. Men don't see it as their task to protect the vulnerable because they see themselves as the vulnerable ones. A few well preserved vials of sperm would make men entirely obsolete in the world's ethos today!!
    • Excellent, Dom! (from Teresa)
      That is astounding Robin, and good for you for standing up. At the heart of that matter, I think, is even worse than a gender mixing message. There is an increased sharper and sharper focus on the "self." Solid Catholic teaching returns our focus away from ourselves to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The original sin, Eve denied her womanhood when she desired to be like "gods." Since the only god she knew was the Father. Where was Adam? He stood impotent... in other words, they were divorced. There's a young girl at Robin's son's high school who was just told that she is the center of the universe and it's a tragic disservice to her.
    • Find the logic (from "me")
      Ditto what Mary said! A lot of high schools have very poor math and science depts, for boys and girls. I also am educated as a chemical engineer, but chose to teach the two years before we had children because its hours were more suited to spending time with children. (I was looking ahead). When it came time and I was pregnant with our first, I realized that I did not want to leave him with someone else, and was able to stay home full time. I am not sure it would have been that easy if we were used to another engineering income and not just a private school teacher income. Also some of my first job offers were out on oil rigs - I had no interest in that at all even though I enjoyed my engineering classes and did well in them. No one discouraged me from an engineering job, on the contrary I got a lot of flack for my decision not to pursue an engineering career.
    • Find the logic (from Mary)
      I've been lurking, but this is one that irritates me. Beats the heck out of me what these "barriers" are. I was educated as a chemical engineer, where 1/3 of our class was women. However, in electrical engineering, only 1 or 2 out of 30 were women. Is it possible that women are Just Not Interested in some areas? Nah, it must be The Man keeping us down so we must legislate (and, I agree -- when they say "legistlate", I hear "quota"). And actually, I have a friend that was also a chemical engineer. When she lost her job, she decided not to go back into engineering and started working from home so she could spend more time with her 3 kids. Also, if nothing else, there are all kinds of incentives for women to enter science and engineering -- scholarships not available to men, guaranteed housing on campuses that do not guarantee housing to the general population, etc. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that schools in general are not preparing students for the hard sciences. It is truly a sad state of affairs, the lack of science education these days.

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