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elena maria vidal

Great post, as always.

Donna Marie Lewis

War and death is sad- whether the dying soldier is male or female is irrelevant.
BTW, being in the military was certainly a part of at least one woman's vocation- my Confirmation patroness, St. Jeanne D'arc.
If one is going by scriptural example, women should at least be in the espionage part of the services- there are several female 'double operatives' in Scripture- Rahab, Jael, Judith....

First Communion Teacher

I would think these are examples of women who did not seek to make a career of the military, but rather circumstances and personal danger or a calling from God dictated their temporary service.

My childhood dream was to be an astronaut (like Sally Ride) and thus, joining the military was a goal of mine. However, due to various life events, I never did it and I'm thankful for that today.


Death is sad, but context is important. Drinking yourself to death at a frat party is different than leaping in front of a train to move a baby stroller. That's why the Church has always put martyrs in a different category -- because their deaths provided a witness in how to live.

I do think it's different to have a young woman die a soldier's death -- it's quite different than Saint Gianna's death so that her baby could live. I don't put any blame on Jennifer, but I do indict the system, which cannot differentiate within the hierarchy of values who should bear what burdens and sacrifices.

That said, the death of Jennifer was contingent on the suicidal tendencies of an Iraqi woman -- who not only didn't choose life for herself, but took another woman with her as a trophy in her afterlife.


Another essential point: woman, as icon of the Church, must be the sanctuary -- and only participants on the battlefield as the very last resort. Jeanne d'Arc is tricky, but it was a very unique case in which a generation of Frenchmen seemed testosterone-deprived.

elena maria vidal

St Joan was indeed a unique case and, as she herself made clear at her trial, she did not do any actual fighting. She inspired and led the soldiers to victory as her voices directed her, but she would not of herself have chosen to be a soldier. "This is not my place," she said repeatedly. She loved embroidery and wanted to go home and spin with her beloved mother. She had a unique call from God as a consecrated virgin at a moment when all other hope had failed. She was a living symbol of God's unique and direct and miraculous intervention for the cause of royal France and the nation that is known as "The Eldest daughter of the Church." With Joan in charge, no one could doubt that it was really God and His angels in charge. The Little Flower took Joan as her model for heroic virtue and doing battle with vice.

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    • 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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