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Clavem Abyssi

That reminds me of Dr.Johnson's quip:

"I told him I had been that morning at a meeting of the people called Quakers, where I had heard a woman preach. Johnson: "Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.""


I like your blog -- a lot. I am a fairly new reader, but, as a young Catholic woman, have been engaged with this topic for some time. I find each aspect of the feminine genius astounding and have an insatiable thirst for learning more. But each time I see one of your posts about sports, I groan. Your treatment of the subject is invariably negative. As a Catholic, female, varsity athlete and former national team hopeful, I urge you to do a bit more legwork and start addressing the topic with something more than a verbal roll of the eyes. Have you visited www.catholicathletesforchrist.com? It's worth a look. Keep up the good work.


Fair enough, UAB. I competed in many sports (only in a sub-average way) in school, but two of my daughters have been nationally-ranked atheletes. I have very mixed feelings about their years of experience, the general atmosphere on the teams on which they competed, the lessons learned, and the skills gained. "Very mixed" meaning that there were very good things, but also very, very bad things. One has to admit that the woman (psychologically) is very different from the man. Hence, her ability to collaborate, compete, and gain confidence in such situation varies. I'll look at your site and wish you every success in your endeavors!


Would you please specify what bad things your daughters learned from participating in sports?


There is the locker-room vulgarity, the on-the-field trash talk, the insensitivity to the suffering of others (or worst case scenario: causing it), the zero-sum game that winning implies, the extreme toning of the body (beyond basic health), and the psychological mind-game that focuses the athlete differently than what would normally serve the receptivity that encompasses the "feminine genius." Additionally, women don't normally collaborate and compete (c&c) the way that men do. It is sociologically foreign to their inherent motherhood (physical and spiritual).

This post
cursorily introduces the "circles and teams" concept that generally explains how women and men operate. Men have always had to c&c in the way they hunted, farmed, built structures, laid roads, closed business deals, etc. Women in the home were independent and collaborate very differently and in different circumstances.

Now, obviously a tennis player (or golfer) has a very different sports experience than a soccer player or a football player, so there are distinctions, but the overall universal push for young girls to prove themselves physically is far different than any other time in history, and only works when motherhood and its corollaries are diminished or eliminated from the feminine ideal. (Incidentally, the rate of injuries to girls/women in sports is statistically six times that of boys/men, also indicating that something isn't right or healthy about this trend. Women hockey players are also the obvious example of showing how the different center of gravity in women makes playing very difficult -- which I imagine must be replicated on the football pitch.)

Now that said, I know wonderful women (now mothers) who were excellent athletes -- and I hope my daughters join them, if they're called to it. But I'm not sure the sports experience enhances that vocation, or is simply a harmless pastime beforehand. I certainly would never denigrate female athletes personally; it's the androgynous trend/approach to child's formation that is unsettling.

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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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