You are viewing an archived page on our old website. Click here to visit our new website.

Home | Join/Donate | Current Voices | Liturgical Calendar | What's New | Affirmation | James Hitchcock's Column | Church Documents | Search | Site Map

Voices Online Edition
Vol. XXIII, No. 4
Advent - Christmas 2008

How We Subvert God's Plan
And How to Avoid it

by Joanna Bogle

The idea that men and women are different from one another would have seemed an entirely normal one to generations of men and women. Not so today. In fact, in some circles, it’s quite a controversial statement.

Such circles include those I am funding through my taxes. As a school governor (board member) here in Britain, I have been sent material produced by the official Equal Opportunities Commission, which urges children to try to grasp the idea that there are no fundamental differences between the sexes at all. Any suggestion, you see, that women can be mothers and boys can be fathers, and that the two are different, and both necessary, is deemed to be sexist, and somehow wrong.

This would have shocked and appalled my suffragette grandmother, and all who worked with her to try to get justice for women. They wanted a country where men and women were treated fairly, and both were equal under the law. They wanted motherhood respected — and women not to have to do hard physical work while pregnant or getting over having a baby. They believed that the role of a mother with her small children was crucial and important, and that her work with them at home should be valued just as much as that done at a bureaucrat’s desk or in a factory. They weren’t embarrassed about biology — they knew that a mother’s role in doing lots of things, including feeding her baby, was different from that of a father. They knew that children thrived best with both.

I grew up glad that my grandmother had campaigned to ensure that I got the vote, and a fair chance at an interesting job and career. I also knew that she believed I was right to want to marry and that marriage was a good thing, a God-planned thing, for men and women. I am annoyed that today we are expected to fund propaganda that teaches children the opposite and expects them to believe biological nonsense about themselves and their bodies.

Scripture tells us that God created us male and female, and it says much more than that — it says that the two sexes are crucial to God’s plan, that they image God’s relationship with His Bride, the Church, and that this is a great mystery, something worth pondering, something important.

Do differences between men and women matter? Well, yes, Christians believe that they do. “Male and female He created them.” We don’t believe it’s an accident. We know it to be part of God’s plan.

Most obviously, it’s part of God’s plan for the continuation of the human race, through marriage and children. There’s a daft idea going about today — quite widespread, in fact — that having children is a sort of hobby, an option for people who like that sort of thing. This is a death-wish. Children are the only future that we have. No children, no people. Nothing. Everyone slowly getting older and older, and the last few thousand drawing together, struggling to cope, getting ill, running out of food, dying.

The novelist P.D. James wrote a story about this that has now been turned into a film. In her 1992 novel, The Children of Men, an unknown disease strikes, making people worldwide infertile, and no children are born at all. [The title of the book is from Psalm 90(89):3 of the KJV: “Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men”. — Editor.] In reality, it is different — people plan not to have children, or they delay things and find it is too late.

More viciously, many children — your relations and mine — are aborted, killed before birth. They are today’s missing. They should be among us, and aren’t. Our friends and cousins, our neighbors’ children. Missing from among us: not there at school, in workplaces, celebrating life with us, being part of our common humanity.

Ideas have consequences. The idea that children are an option is actually killing us. Europe is dying. We are aging, and there are not enough young ones replacing us. Perhaps it is time that we remembered God’s original plan. He loves us all equally: male and female He created us.

When Christ and His mother went to a wedding at Cana in Galilee, something special happened. The host had run out of wine, and Mary pointed this out to Jesus. In answering her, He pointed forward to His own special time when He would pour out the ultimate wine — His own blood — for us all on Calvary. And then He turned to the water jars, and He turned the water into wine.

At every Christian wedding, Christ takes the water of love and courtship and turns it into the wine of married life.

The Cana miracle is crucial to our understanding of marriage, of man and woman, and the meaning of human procreation. It was Christ’s first miracle. It was a wedding. It was the start of a new family, and He went there with His mother, and did something at her bidding. Cana is about marriage, about family, about new beginnings, about water into wine.

And we need to listen to this word of God most closely today. Because we are living at a time of sexual anarchy and this is linked to social anarchy too — violence and crime and family breakdown.

At Cana, Christ turned water into wine and a man and a woman were married. Today, we do the opposite — we smash the water jars and spill the water everywhere, announcing that anyone can have sex with anyone else. Men with men and women with women. People alone with a pornographic magazine or with the internet.

Christ shows us the right way, the holy and central way, the sacramental way. At Cana in Galilee He took something human beings knew to be good, human love and a man and a woman, and He gave it a new and even more glorious meaning — He took part in the wedding and blessed it with His presence, and turned the water of a human good into the wine of Christian marriage.

At any church wedding, you will hear the words, taken from Scripture, about the union of a man and a woman being like that of Christ and His Church.

Of course, we mostly aren’t listening. We are looking at the bridesmaids and thinking that perhaps pink would have been prettier than mint green, or wondering if that lady in the large hat is the eccentric aunt that we have heard about, or speculating about how we’ll get to the reception and whether our uncomfortable shoes will be unbearable by the end of the day. And weddings have a pattern, a rhythm, that is part of the charm. The familiar words trickle over us and we just feel comfortable with them.

But these words of the wedding ceremony reveal a great truth. God really did plan male and female from the beginning. Christ and His Church are real. There really was a nuptial event — and you and I and all the baptized are children of that union. Saint Paul writes of this and says it is a great mystery.

All of our Christian faith is, in a mysterious sense, centered on a certain vision of marriage — it begins in Genesis with a man and a woman, loved into being by God and invited to co-operate with Him. When the Redeemer comes, the original plan of God is being fulfilled, and Christians recognize that marriage is more than just obeying the natural law. The union of a man and a woman is sacramental, visited by the Lord at Cana. And, at the end of all things, there is an ultimate marriage — the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in paradise. The last book of the Bible echoes with the song of a great nuptial celebration.

That is why a wedding isn’t just a party. It is honoring something great and good, and seeing the start of a new co-operation with God.

And if weddings here on earth are fun, with a beautiful Mass and also with hugs and music and cake and pretty dresses and silly speeches, just think how glorious, how beautiful, that ultimate nuptial feast will be.

Joanna Bogle, a contributing editor of Voices, writes from London. She is a well-known author and journalist, who writes and lectures on issues of the Catholic faith, and appears frequently on the radio.

**Women for Faith & Family operates solely on your generous donations!

WFF is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible.

Voices copyright © 1999-Present Women for Faith & Family. All rights reserved.


All material on this web site is copyrighted and may not be copied or reproduced without prior written permission from Women for Faith & Family,except as specified below.

Personal use
Permission is granted to download and/or print out articles for personal use only.

Brief quotations (ca 500 words) may be made from the material on this site, in accordance with the “fair use” provisions of copyright law, without prior permission. For these quotations proper attribution must be made of author and WFF + URL (i.e., “Women for Faith & Family –

Generally, all signed articles or graphics must also have the permission of the author. If a text does not have an author byline, Women for Faith & Family should be listed as the author. For example: Women for Faith & Family (St Louis: Women for Faith & Family, 2005 + URL)

Link to Women for Faith & Family web site.
Other web sites are welcome to establish links to or to individual pages within our site.

Back to top -- Home

Women for Faith & Family
PO Box 300411
St. Louis, MO 63130

314-863-8385 Phone -- 314-863-5858 Fax -- Email

You are viewing an archived page on our old website. Click here to visit our new website.