Wednesday, February 11, 2009

On the Apostolate of Girls in the Renewal of Society

Tradition in Action (TIA) has two articles on Pope Pius XII's 1943 speech to the Italian Feminine Youth. They are The Dignity of Women Lies in Moral and Physical Purity and Young Women Should Not Leave Their Homes.

Here is a wonderful quote from the former:

How great is the dignity and liberty of the woman who does not allow herself to be enslaved, even by fashion! This is a delicate but urgent subject, in which your unceasing action permits us to hope for beneficial gains. Your zeal against immodest forms of dress and behavior, however, must not content itself with reproving, but also with edifying, by showing in practice how a young woman can in her dress and deportment harmonize the higher laws of virtue and the norms of hygiene and elegance.

I think "edifying" is a key word. It is what makes dressing modestly a challenge.

You will be hard pressed today to hear any Catholics talking about the subject of the latter article, Young Women Should Not Leave Their Homes. Modesty, yes. Girls staying home until marriage, no. The Protestants have taken the lead here, just as they initially did in homeschooling. I can recommend the DVD, The Return of the Daughters. Through interviews with several young women, it shows how they have defied the anti-family culture by staying home after high school. These women help their dads, open cottage businesses, act as role models for the younger girls in their churches and basically prepare to be helpmeets and mothers. As you can see from reading Pope Pius XII, this used to be part of Catholic teaching.

The courtship segment in the "bonus materials" category is especially good. It goes far beyond the minimal "save yourself for marriage" advice and glorifies saving the "first kiss" for the wedding ceremony. As I said, this is Protestant produced, so Catholics must ignore some things. There is no Catholic equivalent DVD that I know of, although Angelus Press is now promoting several books that sound like they would be helpful: The Education of Catholic Girls, Forgotten Household Crafts, and Motherhood and Family.

Nota Bene: I completely avoided the "Biblical Foundations" segment of the DVD. I know there are Biblical foundations for girls staying home, but I didn't want to spend the extra time that sorting through the Protestant interpretation of the Protestant Bible would require.

1 comment:

Joe post script said...

What a shame Trads don't generally adhere to this:

"For the woman - First of all there is the danger that regards woman. We will identify it in its extreme form. You know the fate of those young women - especially in large cities – who leave their families as soon as they become adolescents to look for jobs. It is an enticing mirage: complete independence, the possibility to spend money freely, liberty without restraints, the facility to make new friends, go to movie theaters and engage in sports, to leave with friends for enjoyable outings on Saturday and return on Monday, thus escaping the vigilance of family members. The high salary they frequently make is, however, many times the price paid for the loss of their innocence and purity.

And what happens to the natural aptitudes reserved in women in order to found a family? They are dissipated in pleasure and guilt.

Naturally, along with this entourage of lax and unhappy youth, there is another group of those who are increasingly less affected by this great evil and even those who, amid all the dangers, know how to preserve themselves pure and strong.

It would be an illusion, however, to imagine that this sad extreme [the lax youth] is found only in faraway places and the large cities of the world. Unfortunately you can find them among our good people and see the fatal road they are following.

For marriage - From this comes a new danger for marriage. The young women described above generally are not chosen for marriage, and still less for marriages that follow the law of Christ. Often they themselves reject it as a kind of prison. How many other young women are contaminated by this same evil, although in a lesser degree!

On the other hand, how can the young man who lived a dissolute life in his youth be faithful to his wife and have a holy and chaste marriage? You know the ideal of Christian newlyweds that we have tried to teach to newly-married couples who come to us. How can this ideal shine and prosper, if its presupposition, a Christian way of life and culture, is increasing tending to disappear?

For society - Finally the third danger refers to society, which always received its strength, progress and honor from the healthy and virtuous family. If one destroys its religious and moral foundations, the doors are opened to the worst damages to the institutions and the country. "