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The privilege of being a woman

Letter to the Editor | Monday, September 28, 2009

In response to Andy Hill (“Is God Sexist?”, Sept. 25), I would first like to note that women, like all lay men, still participate in the common priesthood by virtue of their baptism (CCC, 1547). While excluded from the ordained priesthood, women are also ‘privileged’ in ways that men are not. I highly doubt that the same God who chose a woman to effect the great mystery of the Incarnation was sexist or misogynistic. It was through the most humble and most ordinary of women, Mary, Mother of God, that the Word became flesh – that God became man.

It was a woman whom God chose out of all people to be called ‘theotokos,’ her womb untouched by the seed of man. It was her ‘Fiat’ that brought Christ into the world to accomplish the salvation of all people. She is also the only human being to ever be conceived without original sin.

This woman now sits at God’s side as the Queen of Heaven. There is no ordinary man in all of history who is comparably privileged. If one looks at the images painted above the Bernini altar in the Basilica, he or she will see that it is Mary, a woman, who sits at the center, being crowned by the Holy Trinity, and it is she who stands atop the Golden Dome. One can hardly call the Catholic Church ‘sexist’ when she, as our university, exalts a woman, Our Lady – Notre Dame, as “our life, our sweetness, and our hope” (Vita, Dulcedo, Spes).

When we awaken ourselves to the astounding reverence which the Church pays to Mary, the humble virgin of Nazareth, and to ALL of womankind who share her feminine nature, we will recognize that, far from being discriminated against, women are immensely privileged in the Church for their unique role in the work of redemption, which does not rely on the ordained priesthood.

JoAnna Roman



Sept. 28