Some speak, with full justification, of gynaecophobia (see the following articles, in Italian:
To speak with a greater conceptual completeness, however, one should refer to mariophobia, a term which indicates not so much a “crime” to introduce into civil legislation as a “sin”. In fact, it is the sin which the Mother of God indicated at Fatima to be both the gravest and the most characteristic of our time. The Holy Virgin said that God is offended above all by sins against her Immaculate Heart. How are we to understand this disconcerting assertion?
The Holy Virgin herself in a private revelation to Sister Lucia gave a detailed explanation of the expression: offense against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It occurs principally in five ways:
- Blasphemy against the Immaculate Conception
- Denial of the virginity of Mary
- Denial of the divine and universal maternity of Mary
- Public diffusion in the hearts of children of indifference, disdain, and hate towards Most Holy Mary
- Direct offenses against images of the Virgin
It can be shown without difficulty that the full sense of these offenses is found in the denial of the spiritual mission that is proper and exclusive to women, which finds its perfect realization in Mary. Now, is it not precisely this denial which, after a period of semi-clandestine diffusion, has now come openly to light on a planetary scale?
Let us consider the five points in greater detail:
- Blasphemy against the Immaculate Conception does not refer, obviously, to the abuse of language by ignorant persons, who, in any case, are not generally given to explicitly opposing the title in question. To what then does it refer? Without question to the denial of the dogma of the Immaculata, a denial which can be made in a scientific manner by theologians and in a practical manner by whoever fails to respect this privilege of Mary Most Holy. But in what does this denial, be it theological or practical, consist, in the spiritual climate of our time, if not in the claim that Mary had no need of any privilege which distinguished her from the rest of the human race, because men generally do not have any stain of original sin from which a perfectly holy creature would have to be preserved? According to this perspective, human nature is healthy and all that has been traditionally considered evidence of infirmity, caused by original sin, would instead be accepted as perfectly normal and innocent.
Obviously, the first aspect of human nature to have the mark of sin thus removed is that which traditionally was defined as sexual disorder present in man. Human experience from time immemorial has always recognized the existence of this disorder and the tradition of Catholic theology, with a nearly unanimous voice, if at times with varying interpretations, has seen in it one of the most tangible signs of «the corruption that is in the world because of passion» (2 Pet 1,4). In our day, however, the idea is spreading ever wider that this presumed disorder is only an unhealthy fixation of our ancestors. Rather, according to this opinion, there is absolutely nothing sinful or harmful in the exercise of human sexuality as long as certain basic norms of hygiene and civility are respected.
What then, on this view, is the disorder from which Mary had to be preserved? Her conception had no need whatever to be distinguished from that of any other human being!
However, the doctrine of the Church and the most authoritative theological tradition – reaffirmed by the Catechism of the Catholic Church [n. 400 and n. 404] – presents a different picture: human nature, which is transmitted by generation, has been deprived of its rectitude and of divine grace by original sin. In consequence, it carries in itself an imbalance, that is, a tendency for the lower carnal passions to prevail upon the spiritual part of man. This does not mean that the bodily aspect of man is evil in itself, nor, in particular, that sex would be sinful in itself. This is not at all the teaching of the Church! Sexuality and bodily generation are good things, created by God for the good of man. This is not all! If all of creation, including the visible part, reflects the goodness of the Creator, this is true in an eminent way of the generation of living creature, which is an image of the eternal generation of the divine Word from the Father in the joy of the Holy Spirit.
«Always, in fact, what comes first and foremost in a given order is the cause of what is secondary and subsequent in the same order, according to Aristotle. Thus the first and eternal process of Divine Persons is both cause and model of every process which derives from it» (Saint Thomas Aquinas, Prologue to the Commentary on the First Book of the Sentences).
Human sexuality, then, is an image of a superior reality, from which it draws its true meaning and towards which it tends to aspire. Precisely for this reason, if sexuality closes in on itself, eliminating every reference to the spiritual world, it falls into a corrupt condition, and an insatiable desire for gratification can uselessly upset the carnal dimension.
Consequently, for the generative act to bring genuine fulfillment to the human agents, it must be inspired to the degree possible by the eternal generation of the Word. That is, it must make the spiritual flame present in man and in woman burn brightly through the use of the sexual faculties. In fact, according to the original plan of God, pro-creation – which is distinct from the creation of an unconscious nature – is an act of creation of a superior ontological level. Here, the human secondary cause collaborates in an eminent way with the divine operation. As a result, the coming into existence of a new human being is more similar to the eternal generation of the Word than it is to a purely natural or mechanical production. As in the heart of the divine Trinity, so also in the human family, the child generated is substantially and primarily a product of “intellectual light full of love” (Dante, Paradise 30, 40), which, in the parents, reflects the light of the Word and of the Holy Spirit. Human procreation is only secondarily a result of carnal functions, which are nonetheless good and necessary; likewise, in the act of human understanding, sensible experience is necessary for the realization of intellectual knowing.
Such is the divine plan for creation, and the mystery of the Immaculate Conception was perfect instance of it.
In the state of corruption caused by original sin, on the other hand, the lack of natural integrity and of divine grace in man results in acts of generation without the full collaboration of the spirit with the flesh. Consequently, the same state of imperfection is communicated to the one generated; a faulty cause cannot but produce a faulty effect. Nonetheless, even in a condition of sin, a harmonious integration of the spiritual consciousness of the parents with the bodily element, even if it is weakened and attenuated, does not totally disappear. It can be more or less present and active according to the degree of virtue of the parents. The greater the spiritual element in human procreation, the more the child experiences his origin in a paternal and maternal love that is not only human, but also divine; he, in other words, feels himself as a child of God in the light of the Holy Spirit – it can be said that this feeling of the presence of the Divine, behind the mystery of human generation, reaches perfection through Baptism, and therefore conferring this sacrament to newborns is entirely justified.
Contrariwise, the more this spiritual aspect diminishes, and the carnal aspect proportionately predominates – and today one can speak even of mechanical causality – the more this filial awareness is weakened and threatened with extinction. When this sense of son-ship is lost, carnal sentiments prevail in its place with the consequent loss of a foundation for fraternity and love among men.
Procreation, then, is the image of the generation of the divine Word in the heart of the Father and every child of human parents can, in some way, sense that he is also a child of God. It follows then, given the fact that every image tends toward conformity with its model, that, ever since the origin of the world, generation – both unconscious animal generation, but even more so human generation, which is both carnal and conscious – aspires to generate in the flesh the very Son of God, in order that the model might be perfectly realized in its image. The mystery of paternity and maternity has a dignity, which is truly divine!
There is then a meta-sexual and meta-physical essence present in man and woman in specific ways from which their love ultimately flows and through which their carnal relations find their true meaning and redemption. This means that the distinct roles of man and woman are far from being “stereotypes and prejudices” artificially imposed by societal culture. Rather, they flow from different and complementary spiritual realities that precede the generation of human life. They reflect the very mystery of God: just as the Father generates the divine Son in the joy of the Holy Spirit, so also man generates his earthly child in a communion of love with woman, his spouse.
Now, to deny the Immaculate Conception of Mary means – in the cultural climate of our time – to consider it normal that in human generation the carnal element substantially prevails. From this point of view, it is easy to deny the meta-sexual and meta-physical reality of men and women. Sex, now free from any connotations of imbalance and sin, needless of redemption, becomes the fundamental element of the distinction between a man and a woman and of the generation. It becomes a value in itself, which does not need a superior spiritual purpose. Thus if the latter does not exist, the separate spiritual essence of men and women does not exist, either – especially maternity, as a meta-physical and essentially spiritual reality, and as the proper mission, to women, which generates from it. Therefore, roles become interchangeable.
In addition, when the carnal function prevails over spiritual procreation, the spiritual feeling of life – the filial and fraternal – fades and disappears while material egotism is enhanced. As it is enhanced, egotism becomes the meaning of life, creating its dominion over the world. This contributes to the diminution of the wife and mother figure, which becomes humble and subordinated, thus, the desire to participate in the material conquest of the world inspires more and more women, who tend to mime the so-called male role models – denying that the role of the father, complementary to the role of the mother, is the noblest male role model of all!
We have scrupulously explained this point, for it is necessary to show the consequences of Blasphemy against the Immaculate Conception, in the present cultural background.
Understanding the other points will be easier from now on.
- To deny the virginity of Mary means that virginity itself does not have a superior moral dignity. On the contrary, it becomes a flaw, as sex has worth for itself without any shadow of sin – therefore, the person who is not active is seen as a B-list human being. Traditional doctrine, however, teaches that the real cradle of love and fecundity is not in the carnal dimension – despite, this is good in itself and necessary for the creation of life – but in spirit. Virginal love is truly fertile and, at the same time, is the real safeguard against sexual degeneration. Only in the situation of the Virgin Mary, virginal love is linked to carnal fecundity, while roles are separated and complementary in the life of the world – this means that the fertile virginity of Mary is a sublime model both for the virginal love of Consecrated people and for the physical maternity sanctified by Divine Grace.
Thus, again, denying the virginity of Mary means to diminish the feminine nature to purely carnal dimensions, with the subsequent negation of a feminine essence and a meta-physical spiritual mission.
- The very same negation is necessarily in the refusal of the divine and universal maternity of Mary. What in fact does it mean that Mary is the Mother of God, and of every man, if not that maternity is an essential meta-physical and spiritual fact, not a mere carnal fact? It is absolutely obvious that the title of Mother as regard to the Divine Son, is not intended as purely functional and carnal in its highest value. And it is more obvious still that Mary, as Mother of every man, is such at a spiritual level. Her universal maternity is the highest and most sublime affirmation of the spiritual substantiality of Woman, and of the meta-physical dignity of her maternal mission.
- Preferring the perfunctory carnal dimension to the spiritual procreation will lead to abasement and, ultimately, to the disappearance of the filial sentiment. Consequently, it will lead to the disappearance of divine spiritual fraternity in favor of selfish and carnal sentiments. In the hearts of children, this will inevitably generate indifference, contempt and hatred towards the spiritual dimension of Woman – both as spouse and mother or as a virgin consecrated to God – thus against Most Holy Mary, who is its most sublime symbol.
- Those who developed in early infancy a purely carnal sentiment towards life will appreciate this trait in women of an analog kind and in their images, therefore, will they not feel contempt and refusal towards the icons of Most Holy Mary, and towards women who reproduce Her spiritual traits?
Therefore, as already stated, behind the gynaecophobia there is something much more substantial – there is the fulfillment of the sin against the Holy Mary Immaculate Heart. This fact was indicated by the Holy Mary at Fatima as one of the worst crimes of our time – a crime against God, but against Man, too!
But the fact that the Mother of God has revealed us this dark mystery of sin is not to discourage us, but, on the contrary, to give us the hope and the strength to overcome all the snares of the Evil One. In fact the Holy Virgin has promised – in the end, my immaculate heart will triumph! But we have to co-operate with this triumph! To do this, we have to help families to cultivate the spiritual side of love, such love, which expresses its true meaning through the carnal dimension, too. We have to cultivate the devotion made towards the Most Holy Mary, Her mission and Her icons.
There is a newborn initiative which I want to mention.
The Twelve Stars Crown is the name of twelve teachings which intend to give tangible help to families in their everyday life. A new website is about to be launched – so these teachings will be available online for those who are interested, at first in Italian, later, according to our project, also in English. At present, let us consider the first star, which relates to the organization of space and time, namely Architecture. Its patron is Saint Benedict, famous for his organization of space and time in common living. It is his Rule which will inspire the twelve stars – they will help families to make their houses real houses of God and gates of heaven, cenacles, where the little apostles will prepare to spread fraternal love, when the Holy Spirit will make them comply with their mission in the world, under the maternal care of the Holy Mary.
Everything exposed in this article, suggested in secret, has now to be proclaimed from the roofs!
By Don Massimo Lapponi