Ask Your Husband is a superficial, ideological, and incoherent “guide”

Stephanie C. Gordon’s view of femininity and marriage has all the hallmarks of the fundamentalist complementarianism while relying on proof-texting, ignoring context, and dismissing magisterial teaching of the past eighty years.

(Image: James Kovin/Unsplash.com)

Reading Stephanie C. Gordon’s Ask Your Husband: A Catholic Guide to Femininity feels like a meandering stroll down a familiar lane. I was raised in conservative evangelicalism, and Gordon echoes many of the messages I heard about women in my youth: namely, that women shouldn’t work outside the home and that they owe unilateral obedience to their husbands. If this book were simply another spin on evangelical complementarianism, I wouldn’t have read it, and I wouldn’t be writing about it.

But Gordon claims that her book presents the “timeless teaching” of the Catholic Church and attempts to bind the consciences of her female readers to a one-size-fits-all authoritarian model of marriage. I was originally drawn to Catholicism because of its rich, beautiful, and dignifying account of womanhood; I had long been on a quest to understand my vocation as a woman, dissatisfied with the impoverished accounts offered by Protestantism and secular feminism alike. To my surprise, the Catholic Church alone held the wisdom I sought, and seeing a Catholic author trade those gems for cheap counterfeits calls for a response.

Many proof-texts, no context

Gordon’s view of femininity and marriage has all the hallmarks of the fundamentalist complementarianism of my upbringing, in both content and method. First, she makes no attempt at a coherent theology of marriage or womanhood; instead, she proof-texts, pulling quotes from scripture, magisterial texts, and random websites (gotquestions.org?) to support her claims. She reads the Bible like a good fundamentalist: literally and legalistically. Verses are not contextualized in the scope of scripture as a whole, or even within the biblical book itself.

Magisterial quotes are similarly wrested out of their overarching textual and historical context, and no account is given of how tensions or apparent contradictions among these texts might be fruitfully embraced. Gordon doesn’t seem to consider whether Pius X and John Paul II could both be contributing to the Church’s deepening understanding of marriage amidst shifting socioeconomic contexts. If Pius is right, she reasons, John Paul II is wrong; in all ways, Gordon prefers the either/or to the both/and.

Gordon also privileges doing over being—she never delves into the sacramental significance of manhood and womanhood, a significance that can be lived out in a variety of contexts, within and beyond the home. Neither does she discuss the shared vocation of women and men, as expressed in Genesis 1:28: to be God’s image, to be fruitful, to steward the earth. Instead, Gordon is preoccupied with rules and roles, and the sexes as cartoonish opposites.

In classic cherry-picking mode, Gordon overlooks Genesis 1-2 altogether—the language of mutuality and reciprocity would not serve her argument—skipping straight to the curse in Genesis 3 and reading that as divine design. Thus, she misrepresents the fallen dynamics of conflict and domination as God’s original intention.

Like the Protestant complementarians, Gordon claims her oppositional, hierarchical view of the sexes constitutes complementarity. In truth, she is arguing for a sex polarity perspective. She describes men and women as puzzle pieces that each supply what the other is missing: “the male and female psychology lack and crave one another in all ways.” In all ways: there is no overlap in her Venn diagram of masculinity and femininity: men are strong; women are weak. Men are leaders; women are followers. Men are active; women are passive. Women, she writes, “cannot be the more beautiful, dainty, pampered, and receptive sex unless there exists a more assertive, stronger, and expressive sex on the other side of things.”

Aristotle over Genesis

Gordon draws her sex polarity view from the work of Aristotle. While Aristotle’s concept of hylomorphism has proven fruitful in the development of Catholic anthropology, his understanding of women per se is based on flawed metaphysical assumptions that the sexes are “contraries”—complete opposites—and that one contrary is always a privation of the other. Aristotle works from these presuppositions to posit a single-seed theory of generation, in which the male provides the form and the woman provides the matter, as well as an entire theory of sex polarity that regards woman as defective men: sterile, irrational, and made to be ruled.

Gordon embraces Aristotle’s understanding of the sexes, presenting it unproblematically as the Catholic view, even though it contradicts Catholic doctrine about God (not man) providing the soul, and the biological reality that both sexes contribute seed. Moreover, Aristotle’s notion of the sexes as contraries and woman as inferior is difficult to square with Genesis 1-2—perhaps this is why Gordon chooses not to discuss it. Following Aristotle, rather than Genesis, Gordon connects her oppositional understanding of the sexes to fixed, polarized roles, stating that any role swapping is “subtle marital transgenderism.” Again, she reduces being (what a woman is) to doing (what a woman does).

Gordon’s anthropological argument runs into further problems when brought into the light of Catholic tradition and practice. Gordon claims that modern women have transgressed nature and “appropriated the manly virtues such as assertiveness, boldness, and leadership.”

How can she present this as the Catholic view, when the Catholic Church has a legacy of holy women in leadership roles as preachers, teachers, writers, prophets, administrators? St. Catherine of Sienna rode to Avignon and challenged a cowardly pope; St. Hildegard of Bingen exhorted her brother priests and bishops to holiness during the investiture crisis, often in strident tones. St. Joan of Arc led an army. Most of the Church’s female saints do not fit Gordon’s restrictive definition of femininity.

Gordon tries to duck out of this tension by saying that it’s permissible for an unmarried woman to work beyond the domestic sphere, but this undermines her argument that women are by nature designed for housewifery: “feminine virtues are narrowly tailored, by nature, for homemaking,” she writes. Wouldn’t this imply that a lay consecrated virgin who works in a professional setting, for example, is defying her own nature? And what about the tradition of Marian consecration, which has been formulated and propagated primarily by male saints, such as St. Louis de Montfort, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and St. Maximilian Kolbe? Are these holy men committing a form of “soft transgenderism” by submitting themselves entirely a woman’s continual guidance and leadership?

Speaking of Mary—in an interview about her book, Gordan and her husband make the absolutist claim that “women cannot teach men,” and they apply this even to the Blessed Mother. Once again, this statement is out of step with the longstanding tradition of the Catholic Church and salvation history. Why would female saints be declared “doctors” of the Church if their writings had nothing to teach us? The very honorarium “Doctor of the Church” is given to a person whose teaching has been deemed theologically sound and beneficial to the Church. Why would St. Hildegard, one of those doctors, have been so lauded as a preacher and spiritual leader in the 12th century? Why does St. Gregory of Nyssa, in his dialogue On the Soul and the Resurrection, portray his sister, St. Macrina, as his wise teacher, guiding him into deeper understanding of Christian theology?

Scripture is likewise full of holy women who teach, lead, prophesy, and evangelize: Deborah, Miriam, Huldah, Esther, Priscilla, Phoebe, Junia. The Samaritan woman at the well evangelized her whole village. Women were the first witnesses to share the news of the resurrection. Forty percent of the people St. Paul names as his coworkers in Christ are women. The biblical passages cited by Gordon to support her view should not be disregarded—I share her distaste for the shortened reading of Ephesians 5 in the lectionary. But these passages should be read in light of scripture as a whole, not plucked out and strung together to create a distorted picture.

Selective magisterial sources

This strategy of cherry-picked proof-texts also applies to Gordon’s account of Catholic magisterial tradition. First, she takes an ahistorical approach to early and medieval Church fathers, reading their descriptions of women’s labor in those eras as timeless prescriptions. She overlooks altogether the changing nature of work, for both men and women, over the last two millennia. At earlier points in human history, distinct spheres of labor were more directly connected to sexual dimorphism; it made sense for men to do the harder physical labor of plowing a rocky field, for example. But many modern work situations, such as Timothy Gordon’s, have no intrinsic link to biological sex differences; in fact, Stephanie Gordon describes in her book how she helps produce her husband’s content, often working the tech behind the scenes.

The only magisterial sources that seem, at first glance, to directly support Gordon’s rule against working wives were produced between the years of 1891 and 1937. The historical backdrop of these documents is crucial to understanding their meaning. In Rerum Novarum (1891), Pope Leo XIII pushes back against abusive labor practices in the industrial era, rightly urging that “work which is quite suitable for a strong man cannot rightly be required from a woman or a child.” In this era, women were forced by economic necessity to work in factories in dehumanizing conditions, often alongside their children. Leo’s statement that women are “fitted for home-work” must be read against this backdrop of unjust labor. Similarly, Pope Piux XI’s encyclicals Quadragesimo Anno (1931) and Divini Redemptoris (1937) expand Leo XIII’s critique of industrial-era working conditions to include the inverse dangers of communism, in which both men and women are forced into “collective production” and the domain of the family is ceded to the state.

In all of these magisterial texts, the Popes are critiquing contemporary abusive labor and social practices that undermine human dignity and the well-being of the family. They write about women’s work outside the home in a time-bound way, addressing real and harmful social practices in their particular historical moment. Gordon’s proof-texting approach elides this fuller meaning.

This is also the case in Gordon’s treatment of Pope Pius XI’s Casti Connubi (1930) an encyclical on Christian marriage. Pius does discuss spiritual headship in marriage, but in a far more nuanced perspective than Gordon holds. Most importantly, he acknowledges—which Gordon never does—that there is no rules-based, one-size-fits-all way this headship is lived out in practice. Rather, “its degree and manner may vary according to the different conditions of persons, place and time” (28). Pius XI leaves room for a couple’s human freedom and active discernment within their particular circumstances.

The other magisterial sources cited by Gordon either do not provide direct support for her key premises about strict marital roles or else they actively undermine them, using language of mutuality and harmony instead of polarity. For example, her quote from the current Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the education of children as the shared vocation of both parents, and does not delineate bifurcated roles in that vocation.

Most significantly, there is no clear magisterial support for her hardline views past the 1930s. Gordon is aware of this problem and provides a schismatic explanation for it, claiming there has been a widespread apostasy:

The Church teaches perennially—up until a recent silence on the matter—that married women are to submit themselves to the authority of their husbands. As part of a larger twentieth-century apostasy, unfaithful churchmen abandoned the longstanding teaching of Holy Mother Church.

This is crucial to recognize: Gordon disregards any Church teaching on women and marriage produced over the last century, including all of St. John Paul II’s encyclicals, letters, as well as his rich catechesis known as the theology of the body, arguably the most in-depth theology of sexual difference in Catholic tradition. Yet Gordon sweeps this all aside, claiming the Church has fallen into “silence.” She cuts off the Church’s conversation about women’s work outside the home at the exact historical moment the question becomes pressing and the Church begins to deeply consider it.

As the Gordons’ own situation shows, with their work-from-home apostolate, it is possible in our time for more gainful employment to be centered in and around the home. What we need are guiding principles, rather than legalistic rules—if the principle is that both the husband and the wife must prioritize their marital vocation and the good of their family, what that looks like in practice will vary, depending on a couple’s circumstances.

Truly Catholic alternatives

One of the stranger sections of Gordon’s book is her attempt to account for St. Gianna Molla, a canonized female physician. Gordon reads Gianna’s story as a Paul-like conversion; Gianna turns from the “sin” of having a profession like Paul turned from the sin of persecuting Christians (sins that she bizarrely says “differ only in degree not in kind”). This reading is pure extrapolation, of course. Unlike Paul, Gianna does not repent of her life as a working mother, nor has any Church document ever characterized it as a failing.

Rather, the Vatican describes St. Gianna in this way: “With simplicity and equilibrium she harmonized the demands of mother, wife, doctor and her passion for life.” Such harmonization, for Gordon, is never possible and sinful to attempt. In Gordon’s account of Gianna’s life, she describes how Gianna and her husband were discussing the prospect of Gianna staying home after their fourth child’s birth. Gordon faults Pietro Molla for not given his wife a “direct order” to quit her work as a doctor, apparently unable to recognize that Gianna and her husband are discerning together what would be the best for their family, and that is a beautiful thing.

The writings of 20th-century saint and philosopher Edith Stein (Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) provide a truly Catholic alternative to the Gordons’ myopic legalism. Stein, writing in 1931, recognizes that “we must consider as closed the historical epoch which made an absolute differentiation between the duties of sexes, i.e. that woman should assume the domestic duties and man the struggle for livelihood” (Essays on Woman, 78). We now find ourselves in an era where, “more nowadays than in former times, both husband and wife will work” (110). This is neither wholly good or wholly bad; this cultural shift brings some benefits, as well as very real challenges.

On the one hand, woman’s professional activity can aid in her personal development, counterbalancing “the risk of submerging herself all too intimately in another’s life and thereby sacrificing her own” (78). On the other hand, “there is danger that her work outside of the home will so take over” that it becomes “impossible for her to be the heart of the family and the soul of the home, which must always remain her essential duty” (110).

Yet there is a parallel danger, in post-industrial capitalism, for a man to become “completely absorbed in his work” and “neglect his family duties as father” (110). “It seems to me,” writes Stein, “a contradiction of the divine order when the professional activities of the husband escalate to a degree which cuts him off completely from family life” (80). Gordon ignores this as a possibility, arguing that a man should work multiple jobs if necessary to make sure his wife never works. Gordon is right that modern American feminism has too often embraced consumerist ideals and denigrated the domestic sphere. But it is consumer-driven careerism, that damnable Protestant work ethic and spirit of capitalism, that endangers the vocation of family life, not feminism per se.

In the Catholic view, one’s vocation should never center on a career; it should be centered on self-giving love. For both husband and wife, that vocation is marriage; the force of gravity, for both of them, should be rooted in the home. And it takes flexibility, creativity, honesty, and self-sacrifice for both of them to discern how best to live out that calling in the context of our work-driven culture. This requires surrender, yes—not simply of wife to husband, but both to Christ. As Stein puts it, “only those who surrender themselves complete into the Lord’s hands can trust that they will avoid disaster between Scylla and Charybdis,” between the demands of domestic life and the demands of professional work (78).

Conclusion

Ask Your Husband is an earnest attempt to respond to some real problems in our culture, ones that plague many marriages. Yet Gordon’s approach is legalistic and ideological; she snips and twists scripture and tradition to align with her preconceived views, and is ultimately unable to escape the same trap that often ensnares feminists: a tendency to see man-woman relations primarily through the lens of power. Her proof-texting approach might work in a fundamentalist Protestant context, but it falls far short of expressing a Catholic hermeneutic, which always holds the totality of scripture and tradition in view.

Gordon writes from a place of good will, but apparently has not been formed in the fullness of the faith. If she desires a truly Catholic understanding of femininity, she might need to ask someone other than her husband.

Ask Your Husband: A Catholic Guide to Femininity
By Stephanie C. Gordon
TAN Books, 2022
Hardcover, 340 pages


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About Abigail Favale, Ph.D. 1 Article
Abigail Favale, Ph.D., is Dean of Humanities and Professor of English at George Fox University. Her award-winning work has appeared in The Atlantic, First Things, Church Life, and various literary and academic journals. She is the author of the memoir Into the Deep: An Unlikely Catholic Conversion (Cascade, 2018) and the forthcoming The Genesis of Gender: A Christian Theory (Ignatius Press, May 2022). Abigail lives in Oregon with her husband and four children.

270 Comments

  1. Thank you for this analysis. My first thought was that this book must be targeting rad-trads. Author Stephanie is rad-trad Timothy Gordon’s wife. She probably DID ask him if she could write this book, because he obviously gave her all the (false) info she needs.

    • Who are we to believe, a mother to 6 children quoting the eternal truths of the Catholic Church or a feminist and gender studies PHD who is trying to defend secularist thought that undermines the family and has rejected traditional marriage?

      The choice is clear.

      • That’s called a genetic fallacy: Rejecting a view due to the background of the person presenting it. Quoting truths from the Catholic faith only works when the whole of those truths is given. Anything less (such as selective ones that ignore others that may offer a fuller perspective) is dangerous and could bring on a shipwreck of the faith. This article outlined thoroughly the problems with the book. To wave them off dismissively because she’s not (yet) a mother is absurd.

        • Actually Abigail didn’t thoroughly outline the “problems” in the book. She said the book was proof texting taking verses out of context but she did not say which texts were taken out of context and what is the correct context. She said that Steph reads the Bible like a fundamentalist but never engaged with specific scriptural texts nor their explanation. A fundamentalist reading of certain passages does not mean it is the wrong reading. If a fundamentalist interpreted the crucifixion and resurrection literally, does that mean its a wrong interpretation simply because that is how a fundamentalist read it?

          Sadly, the review was a little bit short on logic. Too many feminist assumptions got in the way.

          I haven’t read the book but have listened to Tim Gordon explaining some of the points in the book. Scripture is clear on the subject of male headship. Very clear.

          So until she can do it, I think this is nothing more than knee jerk reaction without really addressing the points raised by Steph.

          It is interesting that so many love to hear St Paul telling men that they must love their wives as Christ loves His Church but succeeding verses (wives obey your husbands) are scrapped totally and St Paul labelled a mysoginist. You can’t have it both ways. So really, who is proof texting?

          And by the way, I am woman before you jump to the conclusion that I am being a patriarchal misogynist.

          As for St Ghianna Mola she is not a saint because she worked, she was declared a saint because she preferred to sacrifice her life for that of her unborn child.

          And yes, children are better off being cared for by their mothers who were designated by God to be their primary carer.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhTxxJIDuSo

          • Cory, seems you miss answering both your points and the author’s…. viz./id est, the author Abigail would say that Gianna was being a Saint in working as she did this as the Will by and of the Heavenly Father; Abigail did not say that working made her a Saint, but as a Saint she worked – her husband did not, and should not, need to direct his saint-spouse not to work et al, that would not have been saintly, but ‘finding oneself working against the work of God’….aka, Gamaliel…Lenten mercies and miracles

      • Graces and greetings PJ, seems like projection inversing – the mother of 4 does the witness of Triune Revelation and the other has the projected attributes….why? The choice is clear, the Truth is tanned and Abigail desires to un-tan It??? Lenten blessings…

      • The choice is clearly Catholic teaching which Steph Gordon seems to have abandoned for her husband Tim’s antiquate POV. If you wish to return to the days of Aristotle wherein humans believed that a woman was merely the dirt in which a man planted a fully formed person, albeit tiny inside each sperm, okay. Go for it.

        But all you’re doing is clearly defining yourself as one who is willfully blind. And scripture has a warning about that.

        • Were you to not practice abandoning Catholic teaching that you ascribe to others, you would discover such things as the Eighth Commandment disallows, among other thoughts and expressions, the sin of presumption regarding the internal assents or denials of another human being. You would also learn that not bearing false witness includes everyone, even historical figures like Aristotle. You would also learn, epistemologically speaking, that it is impossible for ideas to become “antiquated.’

          • Right! Where, exactly, I wonder, did Aristotle refer to women as “the dirt” (as Ann so claims) in which a man planted a fully formed person? I wonder if Ann knows the date the female ovum and its role in procreation was discovered. Would she forgive Aristotle (and Aquinas) a little if she herself knew a little? Nowhere can I find that Aristotle referred to woman as mere ‘dirt.’

      • This is an apalling, so called, review that is nothing other than a feminist diatribe against somebody who dared to challenge the secular humanist, left wing, feminist agenda.
        To make it worse Ms Favale is apparently outraged that Steph quotes Scripture throughout her book – SHOCK! HORROR! Favale will one day have to face God and explain to Him why His words and guidance through Scripture and 2000 years of Church teaching, are somehow far less imprtant than the latest feminist “research”.

        • It’s not a feminist diatribe. Abigail Favale is herself an author who challenges prevailing agendas. She does not express shock or horror that Mrs. Gordon quotes scripture, but she does note that Mrs. Gordon employs proof-texting in lieu of argument. What you have here is a very conservative scholar who wrote a an unassailable take-down of of a book produced by the less-than-sane fringe of contemporary American Catholicism. These people need to dis-enculturate their Catholicism from the weird pseudo-masculine primitivism that seems to have extreme Islam as its driving influence.

          • And the fact that those who criticize this review do so not with argument, but with epithets and insults, proves one thing: You can’t answer Dr. Favale’s arguments. You know this, you feel your powerlessness, so you throw tantrums and hurl insults. I’m just grateful Dr. Favale doesn’t teach at an “orthodox” Catholic university. I know what you people have done in the past when you wish to take down a professor at Catholic places–bombarding phone lines, committing other little low-tech acts of sabotage, etc. Fortunately, Dr. Favale’s bosses will see you for what you are: cranks. You can do nothing here. Go home.

          • Jacopa, that is exactly what Favale failed to do: prove that Steph Gordon was proof texting. Favale’s review did not look like one written by a person with a Phd. She made broad generalizations and could not make a single coherent point against what Stephanie wrote.

            The moment that she made an accusation about proof texting, she should have enumerated these proof text and shown why they are proof texts. But she did not do that. She made accusations but could not prove them.

            I encourage you to watch Stephanie’s response to this review in Tim Gordon’s you tube channel.

          • You have ignored the point that Favale, and you, are ignoring Scripture, God’s revelation to us, in favour of the latest feminist, secular humanist philosophies. Using the term “proof text” is simply a way of saying Scripture is wrong.
            Of course we can answer Favale’s arguments, however, why would I simply repeat what God has already said, and what Steph Gordon has said much more clearly then I could? You don’t like what God has said about the roles of men and women – take it up with Him!

          • “You have ignored the point that Favale, and you, are ignoring Scripture, God’s revelation to us, in favour of the latest feminist, secular humanist philosophies.”

            How, then, do you explain Favale’s conversion to Catholicism and her rejection of “the latest feminist, secular humanist philosophies”? For example, in my June 2019 CWR interview with her, there was this:

            CWR: A significant issue for you, as you struggled with your faith in your late teens and early twenties, was how to read and make sense of Scripture—the issue of hermeneutics, which you delve into at several points. What were some of the problems you encountered? How did Catholicism help you work through those issues?

            Favale: In an evangelical context, the Bible is the sole and final religious authority. I was taught to read it literally and straightforwardly, and it wasn’t until I went to college that I encountered the concept of “hermeneutics”—the idea that the Bible can’t just be read at face value, but has to be carefully interpreted. When I first encountered Christian feminism, I adopted an egalitarian ethos, and I read scripture through that lens. At this point, I still saw the Bible as true and authoritative, as long as it was interpreted correctly. Eventually, this shifted into a feminist hermeneutics of suspicion. Those troublesome passages that offended my 21st-century sensibilities were not simply misinterpreted; they were wrong, corrupted by the author’s patriarchal mindset, and could be disregarded altogether.

            The underlying problem was this: without consciously recognizing it, I had become my own interpretive authority, a magisterium of one. I was no longer accountable to the Bible and formed by it; the Bible was now accountable to me, and formed by my beliefs. I had no sense that there was any other option, however, because in a Protestant context, there is no interpretive authority outside the self to guide the interpretation of scripture—only the Holy Spirit, which miraculously always seemed to agree with me. Becoming Catholic opened an entirely new way of reading scripture, and freed me from the pressure of having to consider and resolve for myself every quandary raised by the text. Now, I read the Bible with tradition, with the Church. Once scripture was restored to this rightful context, it came alive again, speaking words of truth and power, because it was no longer simply a mirror of my opinions and assumptions. …

            CWR: By the end of your undergraduate years, you write, you had become something of an ideologue who believed that everything bad, in some way, could be blamed on patriarchy. In your experience, what is the attraction of a radical feminist ideology? And how would you respond to a feminist today if she were to say, “Your Catholic Faith is an ideology! And a patriarchal one at that!”?

            Favale: This is an excellent question. Let me address the two accusations in turn—first, the misguided belief that Catholicism is an ideology, in the same way that feminism is an ideology.

            Catholicism, unlike feminism, cannot be easily funneled into contemporary political polarities, but transcends them. Ideologies are simplistic, reductive, intellectually stifling, adverse to critical inquiry, and prone to us-them battle lines. Thinking as a Catholic, however, is far more liberating. The Catholic intellectual tradition encourages finding and embracing truth wherever it can be found. St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, was intellectually formed by Aristotle, a pagan philosopher; Maimonides, a Jewish philosopher, and Al-Ghazali, a Muslim philosopher. He did not cower in an ideological bunker, eschewing all non-Catholic perspectives. In contrast, I’ve never read a mainstream feminist text that encourages nuanced and charitable readings of non-feminist texts and adopting what seems wise and true. Rather, it is the opposite; as the famous feminist mantra goes, “the master’s tools can never dismantle the master’s house.” In other words, don’t you dare touch those non-feminist tools! Only a critical, suspicious stance toward non-feminist viewpoints is permitted.

            This leads to kind of groupthink, one increasingly enforced in the academy. In my years behind feminist lines, I often heard fellow feminists advocating for a suppression of non-feminist views on abortion, contraception, and women’s ordination; I rarely heard feminists advocating for great academic freedom and ideological diversity—even in my fairly conservative, Christian academic environment. A very contemporary example of this ideological mindset is the current attitude toward “TERFs”—a pejorative label given to feminists who critique transgenderism. The question of what constitutes a woman is foundational to feminism; a non-ideological feminism would invite dialogue, critical inquiry, and varying perspectives on this essential and currently controversial question. Instead, dissenting voices are blacklisted and decried by their fellow feminists.

            If I could express the difference in a succinct metaphor, it would be this: living within the feminist worldview was like seeing the world in stark, simplistic terms—black-and-white—whereas entering the Catholic cosmos opened a new way of seeing that was vastly more colorful, varied, complex, and beautiful—like Dorothy walking out her front door into the weird and wonderful land of Oz.

            Now let me address the second accusation: that Catholicism is patriarchal. I grew up in a patriarchal religious setting, as mentioned above, where the feminine elements of Christianity were more or less blotted out. Feminist Christianity, in many ways, is the inverse twin of this approach; it seeks to root out and upend what is masculine, reading it as marked by domination. The Catholic cosmos, in contrast to both of these, is cosmos of harmonious synergy—masculine and feminine entwined together in fruitful spiritual union. When feminists look at Catholicism from outside, they look through the lens of temporal power, and all they see is a male priesthood and hierarchy, mistakenly thinking that is the Church. They see Mary as a passive, docile symbol, rather than the Mother of God, the representative human being and first Christian, who crushes the serpent underfoot. They see the male priest at the altar and overlook the gathered women who are living icons of Christ’s body and bride, a counterpart to the priestly iconography of the bridegroom. They misinterpret courageous female saints like Hildegard of Bingen and Catherine of Siena as rebels, rather than faithful daughters (and Doctors) of the Church. They disregard completely the profound insights on the question of gender from twentieth-century Catholic writers. I completed a doctorate in contemporary feminist theory and women’s writing and yet never encountered writers like Edith Stein, Prudence Allen, Adrienne von Speyr, Gertrud von le Fort, and John Paul II, because their contributions are completely ignored in the discipline of women’s studies. There, only one kind of conversation is allowed, and it happens in an echo chamber.

            I first became a feminist because I was seeking an answer to this question: what is the sacred meaning of womanhood? Ironically, what I found within feminism was deep ambivalence toward the very concept of womanhood. I found a much more compelling answer in Catholicism. I have never had my dignity and purpose as a woman so celebrated and affirmed than under the mantle of Holy Mother Church.

            Favale actually read Gordon’s book. It might behoove some of the commenters here to read a bit more by and about Favale before making assertions that are not only false but embarrassingly stupid.

        • For some reason there is no Reply button to Carl Olsen’s criticism of my comment on Favale’s criticism of Steph Gordon.
          So I clicked on the Reply to my own comment!
          Carl Olsen’s remark made no sense. He said I needed to know about Favale’s conversion to Catholicism before I made my comment. No, not correct. I already knew about Favale’s background. This in no way alters my opinion of her criticism of Steph Gordon’s book. Favale, has, like so many modern Catholics and Protestants, choesn to reject the clear and uniform guidance from God about the differing roles of men and women from the time of the Fall onwards.
          She further, has fallen into the Raymond E. Brown trap of making Scripture fit into modern cultural ideas by actually changing and distorting the clear meaning of the text, or by simply ignoring the text and saying it was conditioned by the culture of its day and no longer applies to us.
          I will not attempt to debate each point here. it would take far too long. I will simply add my voice to many others, who are so disappointed that what was once the great inheritor of truly orthodox Catholic writing, Ignatius Press, is fast becoming a home to secular, humanist, feminist thought, under the guise of “enlightened” modern Catholic pronouncements.

          • Thank you, Mr. Stevens, for your comments.
            It was obviously dishonest (or she simply didn’t do her due diligence) for Ms. Favale to say that Mrs. Gordon ignores Church voices on the subject past the year 1930. If I remember correctly, Gordon quotes just about every 20th century pope with the exception of JPI.

            Here’s “the thing” from my point of view. We can discuss and debate over where exactly to draw the line in regards to women working outside the home. (For example, there is a huge difference between giving piano lessons a couple times a week and having a full-time career.) But what is unreasonable to debate (in virtue of it being as plain as the nose on your face), is the fact that the Church teaches that the man is the head of the wife and the family. They are equal in dignity, but made for different purposes.

            Ms. Favale: I invite you to read the comments on YouTube under the podcast in which the Gordons address your review. You will find happy women who already practice what Steph Gordon preaches, AND women who have changed their lives because of Gordon’s book and have become happier and more fulfilled as a result. The proof is always in the pudding.

            Mr. Olson: I will be relying more on Sophia and TAN for my Catholic book needs in the future.

          • Omnia in bonum, Colleen, you shouldn’t be so hard on Sophia, TAN and Carl Olson; just look again at this wonderful great platform where you got to say something.

            And it could even be my fault still, because whereas I did say sorry, below, I forgot to ask for the forgiveness. As I am still alive and have my wits and access to CWR, I can bring my mea culpa up to date. Watch.

            Mea culpa. I am so sorry. I need so much in forgiveness. I ask God for this, for His mercy and a good amount of forgiveness. And I beg from you your own forgiveness and prayers.

            God bless.

          • Absolutely correct! You see, only Olsen’s analysis counts – no rebuttal allowed to his post. The worst part of the feminist’s book review was the apparently gratuitous slam on Steph Gordon and her husband’s intelligence.

          • Greg Carlson it seems you are giving my input over to a one-sidedness – as opposed to accommodating both sides such as I intended.

            For example, from the married people I know within Opus Dei, both approaches could fit with holiness and spiritual direction.

            I don’t mean to single out Opus Dei in any unusual way. It is an important issue for everyone involved to respect the unity of the spouses.

        • Now that David has shown that his sister-in-law Stephanie’s book borrowed extensively from his own chapter on a book with the same topic, “Go Ask Your Husband” it is all the more discredited. I had the book sent to me to write a review. I’m so glad I had not gotten to it before all the drama of plagiarism accusations unfolded. Having seen the two manuscripts side-by-side and later hearing Timothy’s hour-long defense on Youtube that it was just a few citations inadvertently copied, I have no interest in what they have to say.

          • Patti, according to my knowledge, when work is collaborative the accumulated materials could belong to all those involved. This holds ethically and, as far as permitted by law, legally.

            In the legal aspects, one can relinquish one’s claims; however, once they exist in law, a relinquishment would have to identify clearly what is ceded and be unequivocal. Or it could be sold. In the ethical aspects, generally speaking, even if the rights are ceded, it is a professional practice -and a good one- to acknowledge all original sources.

            Specific laws or agreements can supersede collaborative ownerships/copyrights. It depends on the jurisdiction. For example, if I write a letter to the Editor in some newspaper that says, all letters submitted become the sole property of the newspaper, then, without more, I am tacitly handing over my copyright interest and control.

            If the Gordons didn’t credit or mention their collaboration, perhaps it is a rectifiable matter? A lack of generosity? A lack of professional courtesy? If Sophia was apprised of the affair, perhaps Sophia should have said something?

            On the question for marriage, I have tried to uphold the idea that a woman can become a saint simply being a good housewife and home-maker. It means that her life would witness to Christ in some way and she would have lived it heroically in sanctity. I do not mean to monopolize this idea and I do not believe it is “mine” or that it is original to me.

            I raised the point in order to suggest that the Stephanie Gordon might not have been professing anything unusual or contrary to faith. But I also initially protested that some marital things too personal shouldn’t be given over for general following or sharing.

            My point is a good one to raise because, “just being obedient to your husband” may not in the end amount to your sainthood or your husband’s (or wife’s) sainthood. So far this topic remains under-developed within this article and the comments after it here, I think.

            I would imagine that a woman arguing it would be a better representative for it than I can be.

            I can’t judge on the plagiarism; and my including Opus Dei in the conversation was not meant to bring them to scandal, let alone “endorse a plagiarism” using their name (if it is that any such thing as plagiarism has happened). I meant to edify everyone including the Gordons, etc.

      • Yes, I’d say my choice would be clear as well. Choose between someone who has used the consistent theology of the Church to examine all of what she (the Church) says, or someone who does not dare speak for herself, and instead reiterates what a man afraid to look past the 19th century says. Hmm, the choice does seem very obvious.

      • I agree with you. This “review “reads like an angry feminist rant against truth and tradition. It’s so harsh and biting I couldn’t even finish it. Besides that, Gordon’s book is published by the very trusted Tan.

    • There is no call to indulge insults, presumptuous no less. As a “Rad Trad, and convert from atheism, I’ll note, with irony, that you provide an illustration to one of the poisonous repercussions to the unchallenged acceptance of a mostly benign view of feminism, its reliance of a reductionist sociological view of the human condition, with subsequent grouping of humanity, and trivializing how value systems are formed.
      Obviously, women have a variety of God given graces. The majority of the most effective and dedicated leaders in the pro-life movement, of which I’ve been a part for more than forty years, are women, and this author cites women saints high on my list to whom I pray to regularly as intercessors. But no Catholic endorsement of the valuing a complete respect for women can ever lose sight for a moment of how, as an ideology, radical feminism has justified more mass murder than any ideology in human history.

      • At no point in this commentary does the writer promote “radical feminism”. I have never seen a definition of that term, but the connotations are always negative. In fact, they are so negative many have come to assume that feminism is also negative. In fact, feminism, as defined by common dictionaries, is the movement by which women were given the right to vote, to go forward to higher education, to be paid on a similar scale as are male counterparts.

        • Lori too many don’t understand authentic feminism is very Catholic. Too many see a woman who is smart, educated and articulates a solid review of a poorly put together book and have a knee jerk reaction that she’s a radical feminist. And they wonder why women don’t feel listened too sometimes.

        • I didn’t say the author did. I clearly addressed my comments to those remarks that were simplistic in insulting anyone who found fault in any aspect of that which presents itself as feminism, which according to many who identify themselves as such, includes assertions about the inferiority of men, the non-importance of fatherhood, and the fictional right to slaughter the unborn.

          • Those are all attributes of false feminism that you list there. Authentic feminism allows women to work, get an education, and live life in a way that works for women and their families. Authentic feminism doesn’t restrain women boxed into certain roles they must do because of their gender.

    • Enough! War is war. Men are fighting to retain their dignity [those of us that remain men] robbed by women. War [although it existed since the Garden] was formally declared 1882 following Ibsen’s a Doll’s House, and the parting slam of the door by Nora helmer, wife of Torvald that reverberated throughout Europe, and eventually the world. An embattled man true to his manhood August Strindberg suffered severely [as have men true to their gender] since.
      “Henrik Ibsen [a Doll’s House] actually kept a portrait of his arch enemy, August Strindberg, in his study after 1895. He dubbed it Madness incipient. For his part, Strindberg attacked the swinery of A Doll’s House and claimed in 1892 that his 10 year war against Ibsen cost me my wife, children, fortune and career” (Michael Billington The Troll in the Drawing Room in The Guardian).

    • Did you read Stephanie’s book? I ask this because all too often, people will “pile on” with criticism when they don’t actually have enough information. I havn’t read it yet, but this article actually makes me want to! I am familiar with the work of her husband, Tim, and find him very intelligent and reasonable.

  2. “Again, she reduces being (what a woman is) to doing (what a woman does).” But women do women things… so what is the problem? The exception doesn’t disprove the rule. Maybe a man can also become a woman just by “being” a woman? No? Didn’t think so…

    This ladies very angry hit piece against the book that seems to have upset her says more about her than it does about the author. At least Gordon is making the claim of an unchanging truth, the nature of how women and men are and how the Church has historically taught these truths. She’s not trying to modernise Catholicism to line up with modern secular culture. Gordon also has inerrant scripture (and 1900 years minimum of Catholic teaching) on her side as opposed to a mere 50 years of Catholic teaching.

    Stephanie Gordon’s book is an opportunity to recapture something wonderful that has been lost. It rightly attacks modern postmodern feminism (probably even all feminism), the same postmodern feminism that Abigail Favale claims on her website to have come away from in becoming a Catholic. Abigail would do well to approach this book with more prayer and humility.

    I hope one day Abigail see’s the truth and beauty in Stephanie Gordon’s message.

    • Gordon is grasping at a sure thing, a template for success that doesn’t exist. A good Catholic marriage is not determined by a false set of rules superimposed by an individual.

      As for anger, maybe try to understand where it comes from.

      Gordon’s book is a toxic cake. Looks nice and frosty, but it can kill you. Helen Andelin’s book FASCINATING WOMANHOOD is very much the same. That one was written from a Mormon POV but pushed in Catholic circles. That sad diatribe on ‘femininity’ overshoots reality and attempts to infantalize grown women.

      Gordon’s book does the same while using spiritual blackmail and a superior attitude to avoid deep diving into points she’d rather gloss over for zing. That’s sounding controversial.

      Ask Your Husband is sadly an extension of Tim Gordon’s ‘Retrograde’ brand which seeks to reinvent toxic masculinity in its ripest form while giving it has own nihil obstat.

      I do not hope that one day Stephanie Gordon can see the damage that’s been done even though she believes herself well intended. She will see it. She’ll see it and hopefully not bemoan all the sorrow she’s sown by following her husband’s dogmatic and Protestant fundamentalist lead.

      According to her book, we’re not reading about Steph’s intentions at all, but rather what her husband wants her to do. Funny how she decries women working and then works on such a thick volume.

      • What we have seen the past 50 years is toxic femininity rather than toxic masculinity.

        But when you really think about it, it is not really feminism but rather masculinism that they are advocating for – women acting like men and failing to appreciate their womanhood. And this is quite funny really – women aping men and trying to remake men into their image, feminizing them.

        The rabid feminist is the least feminine of women.

        • Over correction kills, Cory.

          If men are the superior sex, then they failed in epic proportions by being so oppressive as to give rise to feminism. Take responsibility here.

          This blind, patriarchal mutation that has men and/or women believing that pigeon holing the sexes will solve all problems is wholly misguided. Did it work before? Obviously not otherwise there’d have been no feminist revolution.

          Maybe the middle road is best.

          What we have seen in the past 50 years is childish grasping for power-over on both sides. ENOUGH. Books such as “Ask Your Husband” is nothing more than a manual that advocates careening off a cliff to avoid glancing against a car that may scratch your bumper.

          We don’t need to pick teams here. We’re all human beings.

          • How can men be blamed for women’s faults?

            That would be like saying I was abused so now I am going to abuse.

            Are we now going to blame Adam for Eve’s decision to eat of the fruit? True that Adam should have done something and that is to stop Eve but sadly he was a wimp.

            What people call toxic masculinity can never be corrected by toxic femininity and more to the point, by aping toxic masculinity which is what the feminist movement is. The feminism that we have witnessed this past 50 years is precisely the hatred of what is truly feminine.

          • “If men are the superior sex, then they failed in epic proportions by being so oppressive as to give rise to feminism. Take responsibility here.”

            And that, right there, is something Gertrud von le Fort points out in The Eternal Woman, where she explains that ideologies such as feminism have taken place because of an excess of male authority, rather than the mutual love, sense of sacrifice and respect our Holy Mother the Church has always taught, and where men, rather than aping animals setting their dominance, should rather look up to Our Lord dying on the Cross for our sins for guidance as to how to become saints and therefore, better husbands and fathers.

      • How anti-Christian do you have to be to believe there is such a thing as “toxic masculinity?” Abusive behavior stems from denials of reality. Men who are men cherish personal virtue and honor and treating everyone from these values. Going to silly lengths to create a mythology that associates being a man with some sort of mental defect is in itself a pathological delusion and promoting this delusion to young males will make them amoral abusers in the future.

        • Mr Baker, Re; Radical Feminism and Moloch; your comment excellent. Our political “mess” and much of radical feminism is about the worship of Moloch: “My Body, My Choice.” I sometimes think if anything brings about the apocalypse, it will be this. What really matters for happiness is utter self-giving, isn’t it? If men were to love their wives as our Lord loves the Church, and women their husbands COMPLETELY; always trying to keep in mind our falleness ….perhaps true peace and happiness would reign between the sexes. I write this after 64 years of a blessed marriage, for which we thank our merciful Lord daily. We’re not angels (happily)but it all begins with Jesus. Everything begins with Him.

      • If you are even using the term “toxic masculinity”, then perhaps you really should re-read this gem of wisdom of a book. The Gospels themselves tell us that our husbands are our head… so your disagreement is with Christ Himself, not Stephanie Gordon, if you have a problem with the message.

    • “Again, she reduces being (what a woman is) to doing (what a woman does).” But women do women things… so what is the problem?

      The problem, first of all, is that what a woman is, or what anyone is, can never be reduced to what they do. Being precedes and transcends action.

      Beyond that, the vast majority of what both women and men do are neither “women things” nor “men things,” but simply human things. For example, fundamentalist complementarianism often picture women in the kitchen, but in many countries around the world men cook at rates comparable to women. In the US, as of 2016, close to half of men cook, far too much to call an “exception.”

      • …good thing that both men and women are allowed to “breath” otherwise half the population would be smothered for fear of soft transgenderism. Same thing for cooking for oneself. OMG. Get out of that kitchen, man!!!! And no BBQ for you, you cross dresser with a Real Men BBQ Apron!

        • Now that is nothing more than irrational hyperventilation and a good example of the cognitive disfunction among feminists.

          • Well… I think Gordon Ramsay would have a much, much stronger reaction if you’d accuse him of soft transgenderism for being a chef.

        • Yes… men get out of the kitchen, unless of course, that is your occupation.

          As I taught our eight children, their father works over 40 hours a week to provide everything that is in our lives: our home, our vehicles, our food, our clothing, our entertainment, our vacations, etc ad nauseum! Why in the world should he have to them come home from work and WORK IN THE HOME?!!!!! Yes, he did the garbage and the lawncare and the vehicle maintainance…. until our sons were old enough to take over! The LEAST I can do for him, after working over eight hours a day to give us all a beautiful life, is allow him to relax and chill while I cook him a wonderful dinner!

  3. This is a brilliant article – it only lacks perspective -especially historical perspective. It is the view from the inside of the head of very talented and accomplished woman.

    • Agreed. This is nuanced topic. The article does a great job breaking it down. From Aristotle and Scripture, to Magisterial Sources, to Edith Stein and St. Gianna, this article presents a mostly balanced view.

      Yet in trying to present a “truly Catholic alternative” to a legalistic interpretation, the article focuses on the circumstantial exceptions while failing to strongly affirm and recommend the main principles. It does not sufficiently praise the submissive wife and the advantage of a wife not working another job outside the home, since this easily leads to neglect of the wife’s primary duty as a home-maker. The closest the article comes to praise of a woman not having a job outside the home is when Edith Stein is quoted: [There is danger that a career would make it] “impossible for her to be the heart of the family and the soul of the home, which must always remain her essential duty” (Essays on Women, 110).

      Steven, I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “lacking perspective and historical perspective.” I’d love a response from you if you care to elaborate on that. I think it might be something along the lines of what I’m pointing out – that this article does not clearly and overtly affirm the basic principles of traditional Church teaching on the wife’s submission and role as a homemaker, such as is found in The Cathechism of the Council of Trent, Chapter 8 on Marriage, Questions 26 and 27. https://ecatholic2000.com/trentcat/untitled-27.shtml

      Mrs. Gordan’s book may contains somewhat erroneous conclusions, and it is not written in a strict academic mode, but at least it minces no words in recommending the general principles that the Church has always recommended as the ideal.

      • Bravo!

        Just look at our society now with so many fatherless children as if the father is negligible. But then the mother is not there either because she is at work. Someone other than the mother is mothering the children. A tragic world indeed.

      • Hi Markus, When you say, “Mrs. Gordan’s book may contains somewhat erroneous conclusions, and it is not written in a strict academic mode, but at least it minces no words in recommending the general principles that the Church has always recommended as the ideal.” I don’t understand how she can have erroneous conclusions and also ideals that the Church recommends as ideals. If she wants to live that way that’s one thing, I think what’s dangerous and destructive is telling all wives they have to live like she does to be a good Catholic. More to the point, that isn’t true. She might be a good person but she’s just wrong.

  4. I’m glad to read this, especially because I have seen increased popularity among traditionalist Catholics of the idea that women belong in the home, obeying their husbands. Favale makes a clear case that the issue is far more nuanced.

    • You mean you noticed that Catholics began to read Scripture?! Lol.

      What does the “overcoming gender” crowd like this gender studies major say about all these Scripture passages:

      The husband is the head of the wife (Eph. v: 23), the woman being made for the man and not the man for the woman (1 Cor. xi: 8); therefore, the woman is not to usurp authority over the man (1 Tim. ii: 12), but to be obedient (Tit. ii: 5; 1 Pet. iii: 6), submitting herself (Col. iii: 18), with reverence (Eph. v: 33), and in subjection to her husband (1 Pet. iii: 5); while the husband is to love his wife as his own body (Eph. v: 28), even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it (Eph. v: 25), and he is especially to honor his wife because of her weakness and dependence (1 Pet. iii: 7).

      I’ll wait. Love to hear back from any of you.

      • Mary, loved to answer. God the Holy Spirit of Truth ‘Teaches these Scriptures and leads us into all Truth’ – that Truth is not fundamentalist, it is Triune. For example, Christ as Head is not authoritarian, He actually says, ‘do not Lord it over’. Further, God the Holy Spirit, says that His ‘Teachings are misinterpreted by some to the ruin of the soul’. This is not a case of either/or but of both/and – viz, have the Revelation/Scriptures but also have the Holy Spirit’s Teaching, which as we all know means keeping the particular Scripture in it’s particular whole context/content, and this in the same with the whole/universal of Revelation and the Holy Spirit’s Teaching in the Church. Which is the basis of Abigail’s premise and witness. Lenten blessings.

  5. “Out of context.”

    I remember listening to Stephanie Gordon’s husband, Timothy, talk with Trent Horn a couple of years ago on a podcast. I heard T. Gordon string together a bunch of texts to support his ideas. Horn brought up a salient point. None of the texts stated that it was a mortal sin for a woman to be outside the home, work, etc. Horn insisted on the point that Gordon was putting an undue burden upon people that not even the Church has seen fit to do.

    Gordon also attempted to support the idea of a woman needing her husband’s permission to be outside the home. Horn asked Gordon something to the effect of, “Ok, Tim, let me ask you something. Does your wife need your permission to go to the store to buy things for the family?” Gordon’s response was something like, “Well, she’s so busy with our [x number] of kids that she doesn’t really have need to go out.”

    Based upon Gordon’s point here, I pose an open question for MRS. Gordon:

    Mrs. Gordon, if you are so busy with all of the kids (one of whom requires special attention due to a medical condition) that you have no real need to get to the store to buy things for the kids, where did you find time both to conduct proper research and then organize said research into a publishable book?

    I would like to see Stephanie Gordon answer this question herself. The book is published under her name and therefore she must answer for herself, without being coached by her husband.

    • It sounds so unpractical too. What happens when one of your kids is sick, you have to go out to get something he needs to get better, and your husband isn’t at home. Do you call them to ask for permission to go out? What if they don’t answer? You bunker up and hope they’ll eventually call back while you try to appease your crying, sick child?

      For all the emphasis on how motherhood is this all encompassing thing, they’re setting themselves for failure (not to mention it’s arguably a lot safer to go out and walk around town today than it was in the 1570s, for obvious reasons).

      • My then fiance (now husband) used to man the phone at the lunch hour (the secretary’s phone HAD to be answered by a person, not voicemail, even during the lunch hour), and he would bemoan the number of phone calls he got from wives asking their husbands to “bring home a gallon of milk after work.”
        .
        He was somewhat more tolerant of me calling in later years, but there were so many times I would call even on cell and he would not pick up. I had to take to emailing him (that he responded to pretty quickly).
        .
        My husband spent many, many years as a successful bachelor (he even ironed own workshirts). If I had made his life more difficult by an endless barrage of “May I do this?” or “May I go there?” or “What should I do now?” I don’t think he would have married me.

    • Hey there 🙂 I found this controversy interesting and I think the points you brought up were some of the strongest objections, so I kept them in mind, and here’s what I found.

      Disclaimer: I’ve only read the book’s preview of the first and second chapters on Amazon. I hope I haven’t jumped to any conclusions here.

      Mrs. Gordan does answer the objection of whether writing the book is a “performed contradiction”. She says that writing is a fulfilling hobby for her, not a job. Some comments have said that this is a laughable attempt at justification. I disagree, I think she makes a clear distinction between a hobby and a job, and shows how in her circumstance, it does not interfere in the slightest with her home-making, but rather helps her.

      I think that Mrs. Gordon would agree that in cases of necessity, a wife working a job is tolerable and not a sin. But I agree with her point that women and families are better off when the woman can devote herself full time as a home-maker.

      • Right, but this isn’t a hobby. If you’re writing for publication, especially a nonfiction book, it is a job. You have contractual demands to fulfill. You have to create a proposal, etc. etc. It’s not a “hobby.” It’s a job. She’s splitting hairs to make it sound acceptable to her audience. It’s totally fine to say she writes on the side, but when you’re writing for publication, it ceases to be a “hobby”. She’s seeking renumeration. It’s a form of work.

        • Actually it is.

          I intending to make sewing my hobby. If someone liked what I made and decided to pay me for it it does not make it any less a hobby.

          If she makes a living by writing then then yes it is no longer a hobby because it is a necessity. She did not write the book and get it published because the money was needed to put food on the table and clothes on their backs.

          If I am a billionaire and I still choose to work because I enjoy working or else I will be terribly bored, then that is not really a job but more a hobby.

          • But if you can get paid for your hobbies, then why can’t any woman who has a career call it her hobby if she still finds the time to be with her kids?

            At that point, Mrs. Gordon is attaching a nothing, if exceptions both for necessity and a broad notion of hobby are allowed.

          • Exactly Mary – I have a part time hobby where I go into an office and do administrative work. It’s so fulfilling to go to a clean quiet space and be part of the adult world. And one nice person pays me every couple of weeks. It’s great!

        • Hobbies can have demands, its not like there are no constraints. I know my hobbies do (and I get paid for it). She explained on her husband’s YouTube channel that it took her YEARS to write.

          You’re taking her situation in an uncharitable way and being a bit of a jerk to be honest…

        • In the book, she says that TAN approached them, but they set the conditions for writing it. I assume that part of the bargain was not having demanding contractual deadlines so that it didn’t take away from her family duties.

      • Stephanie Gordon is going to make money off this book. That’s not a hobby. That’s doing work and getting paid for it. And she’s not the only woman who uses her job to tell other women they shouldn’t work. It’s very hypocritical.

          • She launched a book nationwide and will likely get paid a lot of money for it. It’s not like photography is her hobby and she’s selling one or two photos. Look, if she writes part time and sells her work, good for her! Just don’t write part time and then try and sell a book saying I can’t work part time. No one should take you seriously if that’s your position. It’s blatant hypocrisy. Tell yourself what you want, the rest of us see it for what it is.

          • And Cory, I just checked and her “hobby” is $25 a copy with a discount. Good work if you can get it but don’t expect people to believe that’s a hobby. And she says women who go out to help support their families are sinning? Not only is she being hypocritical she seems totally insensitive to the struggles of others.

    • I haven’t read the book; just this review, so just responding strictly to this comment…I think there is a HUGE difference between asking the husband if she can go out for groceries and asking him if she could take a job outside the home. Yes, it does matter if the mother is home for the kids, women should not HAVE to go out to work, toss the kids in daycare, scramble home to cook dinner (or even for husband, who has also been working, to cook dinner) and do other chores. Yes, the need arises for folks to have a two income family. This is why the Popes have talked about the necessity of a living wage. And yes, that IS in Rerum Novarum. Again, not having read the book, I can’t make a judgment whether this article is fair. But c’mon, we all know it’s best when Mom is home with the little ones, at least until they are in school (if not homeschooled!)

    • Mrs. Gordon lacks the permission to answer for herself. Even if she did receive the requisite permissions from on high, she’s already admitted to subjugating her own moral sense to follow the guidance imposed by her husband.

      I think this book is a cry for help.

      And I firmly believe that Tim Gordon used his wife and her “femininity” as a selling point for more of his erroneous opinions. His objective? To usurp the husbandly rights of other Catholic men who choose to live their lives according to the teachings of the Church and not Retrograde Thuggism that advocates conducting podcasts in one’s basement while using theology and a Y Chromosome as an excuse.

      The man may as well be playing video games. He has a law degree no? Why is he not using that to better support his family? Perhaps to get Steph the help required with all those grocery runs.

      But with the manadata firmly in place that has Steph spiritually blackmailed never to complain, Tim stays in his basement and continues to spin whatever he feels is good for mankind. Including the malformation of the masses.

      • Sadly, I agree. I wondered if she even wrote it or he just told her what to say. His views are so extreme he must know that he couldn’t write a book to women so he had her put her name on it. Either which way, the whole thing makes me sad and even more sad to know that some women will actually listen to this nonsense.

    • Tyler, at the time of the talks with Trent Horn, Tim Gordon was a high school teacher working outside the home. My understanding is that he’s been working from home since being fired for speaking the truth about BLM on YouTube.
      I’d like to ask the commentators a general question, which is what the fruit of Catholic Feminism has been? Are Catholic families any better? Catholic women any happier? My own inculcation with feminism in the 1970s at a nominally Catholic university was a recipe for broken marriage. Of the many marriages formed in that caldron, some twenty couples I knew, not one marriage lasted beyond ten years. Was the feminism overt? No, but it was a simmering issue, always assumed to be a correct worldview. Strong women = weak men. Those who think Gordon’s scripture-based interpretation “infantilizes” women, should remember that strong women necessarily infantilize men. I learned the hard way and no Catholic priest or Catholic counselor had any remedy whatsoever to offer, because “feminism is good” was the acceptable view. But feminism is a disaster visited upon the family. This is why Our Lady warned that the final battle was about the family.

      • Rose, you ask good questions. In this conversation, I think it’s important to define your terms. The word feminism means different things to different people. I would suggest to you that there is authentic feminism and false feminism. The ancient world was horrible to women – Christ changed that. Christianity has lifted women up throughout human history. This is authentic feminism. I’d bet money the Catholic Church has educated more women and girls than any other entity in history. That’s authentic feminism. Abortion, contraception and the rest of it is false (radical) feminism. I know some in traditional circles that are so extreme they don’t think women should vote. One of the things referenced in this book review was some of the horrid and exploitive working conditions women and children were subjected to in the late 1800’s. One of the first things that happened after women got the right to vote was establish child labor laws. That’s fruit of authentic feminism. I could go on but for space. What I believe you’re condemning is false (radical) feminism and rightly so. But while we’re condemning radical feminism let’s acknowledge where it comes from. We only have to look at the women who got radical feminism going to get our answer. Feminism comes from women and children being mistreated, abused and having their rights and prerogatives taken from them by men. That is the root cause. What is so astounding to me is that men then look to women to ‘fix’ things by not working, submitting, staying at home and being ordered around by their husbands. In too many cases, that’s not the cure for feminism, it’s the cause. If this sort of set up works for Stephanie Gordon, great. But she is wrong to say this is Church teaching (it doesn’t have an Imprimatur) and that you must do what she’s doing or you’re not a good Catholic. I’m sure she’s a good person and means well, but on that point she just wrong.

    • Going on 39 years of Holy Matrimony thanks be to Our Dear Lord Jesus! Years ago when our children were small, I fell down our staircase. Since it was late, and our children were asleep, I drove myself to the hospital (nearby) fearing that I had broken my arm since it was so severely swollen.
      NO I did not get my husband’s permission to go out! 🙂

  6. Thank you so much for spelling this out in such a complete and thorough way. I’ve seen what I refer to as ‘the submission culture heresy’ of the protestants creep into traditional Catholic circles and it can go down a very scary path. I’ve talked to many who don’t believe that women should have equal rights and other weird views. It’s dangerous to tell men they’re entitled to obedience from their wives for reasons that are obvious to most of us. But too many Catholic men have bought into the idea that I’m in charge and you’re not because God says so nonsense. My husband is the head of our household, he takes care of business and he loves me the way Christ loves the Church. We are a team and he doesn’t tell me I have to submit, I follow him because I trust his leadership. I feel so blessed and I hope our daughters will be able to find that out there.

    • I agree that legalism is the Achilles heel of Protestant ways of looking at marriage, as well as other things. Perhaps it is better put as a question of positive versus negative authority. The former mandates that permission must be sought. The latter mandates only that there be no prohibition. I would recommend the latter for the Gordon household.
      For my part, I believe that a husband should do as his wife commands (or forbids) because complimentarianism indicates that she will know her sphere of authority. And vice versa.
      But, “[m]y husband is the head of our household,” is troubling because of what follows. In what way? It appears that he is only the head, to the extent that you “trust his leadership.” If something requires your acquiescence, then you are its head. Responsibility must equal authority. If there is no authority over the family, there is no just responsibility for it.
      Long story short, where does the buck stop?
      Ergo, the dearth of husbands.

      • Hi Robert, I’m not sure if your comment is a response to mine and I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying. But quickly head doesn’t mean boss it’s part of the head body analogy we see in scripture. It is said that the wife is the heart and there is no hierarchy in the sense one is not more important than the other. The overall point I was trying to make was that we each lead in different ways, we have conversations, we listen and learn from each other. There is no power struggle and we each do what we can. My trust in my husband doesn’t come and go, he has permanently earned it. It’s why we talk and I listen to him. Many marriages function this way in partnership. What is described in this book sounds totally demeaning to me – I haven’t read it but from what I’ve heard, I know I wouldn’t want to live like that and I certainly wouldn’t want that for my daughters.

        • It may be important to realize that for the Jew of St Paul’s time, the heart was the organ associated with the will, not the brain. The head possesses eyes and ears; it looks out for the body. Christ is the head of the Church, the Body, because he looks out for us, like a Good Shepherd.

          You can’t take a metaphor and symbol from a culture two millennia in the past and expect it’s going to work today. Literal fundamentalism trips us up again.

        • You should read the book before making assumptions about the thoroughness of the citations and the message. I for one am more comfortable being inline with 1900 years of Catholicism.

    • Yes, Anne, the Husband does have to, rightly, witness/say, “submit” – it is the whole reason for Jesus coming and making us His Bride – sub-mit/mission means to be “within/under-His-Redeeming Mission”…. the Lord has to call His Bride to this Paschal sub-missio, and when the Three are married, Christ, man, male and female, they are to be this Living Paschal Sub-Missio…. helping Christ help each other, their children and others to the Marriage Feast of Eternal Life and Love… Lenten blessings and graces of the Holy Family in which you already share so wonderfully!

      • Hi Pater, No where does it say, husbands tell your wives to submit. The commandment to husbands is to love. There is an excellent video by Sensus fidelium where the priest goes into great detail about how it’s more of the protestant view to put the weight of submission on the wife and that the Catholic view is more to put the weight on the husband to love and the wife responds by receiving/submitting to his love. I don’t want to put words in his mouth or explain it incorrectly so I encourage you to find it on youtube and listen to his whole homily. But what the Gordon’s present, I did listen to them talk about this book on youtube, is that the man is in this permanent position of privilege over his wife. At one point when she says something not as hard line he jumps in and asserts his superiority. It was kind of weird frankly. Anyway, I just look at a man like that as insecure and weak. A solid confident man doesn’t need to run around asserting some exaggerated authority and privilege over his wife. I feel like Stephanie’s book is another example of how this extreme and unhealthy view is being held up as Catholic and something we all need to do. Hope that makes sense. Lenten blessings for you too.

        • “Hi Pater, No where does it say, husbands tell your wives to submit.”

          That’s right. It is the Lord telling them that through St Paul.

          So, taking that a step further, it would seem that disobedience in this are is a disobedience to God.

          • And the other verse says that husbands are to sacrifice their very lives for their wives, just as Christ did for His Church, and to treat her with the same care he treats himself. Take that literally, too, do you?

            If trying to correct a mistake, at least provide the full context. Her comment was a bit off about there being no command to submit, but she was right in her interpretation of that verse. It’s about mutual death to self for the good of the other.

            This book recommends it for women but not for men. It’s therefore not giving the whole teaching that Scripture and the Church do.

          • You’re missing the point. It’s not for the husband to tell his wife to submit. It’s for him to love her. Just like a wife shouldn’t be telling her husband he’s not loving her as Christ loved the Church. Each spouse should always be trying to do their best and pray.

        • Well said.

          Also husbands are required to submit to the Church and this book expounds principles that go far beyond Church teaching? That said, the “husband” is setting a prideful, self-centered example of wishing to indulge his whims as if he’s some potentate who is ordained by God to establish his own kingdom.

          This is not so.

          You write, “At one point when she says something not as hard line he jumps in and asserts his superiority. It was kind of weird frankly.” This is the way Tim Gordon behaves with everyone. Not only women.

          The man has a brittle ego and has found what he presumes to be a trump card that he may play whenever he wills. With God’s permission.

          • “this book expounds principles that go far beyond Church teaching?”

            So what St Paul wrote is not Church teaching? Since when? I can’t remember a Pope saying they know better than St Paul so please, do let us know if you have found a church teaching to the contrary.

            If you watch Steph’s and Tim’s response to this article, you will find that they in fact cite teachings from the Popes of the 20th century that support their thesis and contrary to what you might think they were not proof texting.

          • Hi Cory, I’m not sure who you’re responding to but I think what that quote means is that the book pushes an exaggerated sense of male authority. You create a false choice when you assert that either the Pope says he knows better than St. Paul or my interpretation of scripture is correct. The reality is that the application of Church teaching – all of it – is more nuanced than what you present. The husband has the responsibility and authority to lead his family to God. There are limits to his authority. Just like I have authority over my husband that the average woman on the street doesn’t have but there are limits on that too.

  7. I’d be curious to know if the whole “you can’t leave your home without your husband’s permission” in the Catechism of Trent is a misinterpreted translation or something. I can buy the catechism recommending that in the 1570s since it was lot easier back then for women to be attacked or kidnapped in the street, even if they were sitting in a carriage, even though it’s a little bizarre for the Church to recommend safety measures (but what do I know, honestly, there have been stranger things). That being said, I wonder if “leave your home” rather means “leaving home for an extended amount of time”, to visit a family member or a friend and staying for a few days or weeks. Then, yeah, it makes sense, especially in those times, to ask, out of common courtesy at the very least. I doubt a lot of women would ask permission to go and talk to their neighbor next door or go buy bread at the market even in the 1570s.

    • I wonder about that as well. Funny how Catholic wives seem to have gotten along for 1,500 years without being told by The Church how to be a “Catholic wife”–aside, I suppose, from obeying the 10 Commandments, not divorcing the husband, and going to Mass.
      .
      If having guidelines on “how to be a Catholic wife” is so importnat, why did the Church wait 1,500 years to draw them up?

      • There’s also a blank when it comes to great texts about womanhood and marriage (probably because they don’t fit quite well into the Gordons’ views), like Alice von Hildebrand, or Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, who wrote the following in his Book of Sacraments:

        “The man is the “head” of the wife, as Christ is the Head of the Church. What did Christ do for the Church as her Head? He died for it. Hence, husbands must show love to their wives. The “headship” is not overlord-ship, but love unto sacrifice. The wife, in her turn, will show to the husband the devotion and love the Church does to Christ.”

        Unfortunately, it seems the Gordons lean more towards the overlord-ship side of it, while Bishop Sheen’s position lines up with the teachings of Leo XIII and Pius XI in their own encyclicals about marriage. The root of the problem is that the Gordons will rather go for a reactionary view against feminism, and say fruit when the other side says vegetable out of spite rather than from a will to teach.

        I’ll also mention one of the greatest examples of a good Catholic marriage were Louis and Azélie Martin, St. Therese of Lisieux’s parents… and Zélie Martin not only ran a business as a lacemaker, but Louis left his job as a clockmaker to help her out, since it was the best option financially for a family. But I guess they’ll turn it around by saying Zélie died for the sin of not being a stay-at-home mother or something, as if Louis Martin was robbed of speech and independent thought at the time. Which I’m not sure St. Therese would be exactly pleased to hear.

        • I don’t see how what you wrote is supposed to debunk what Steph has written. In fact they affirm it.

          But you have to accept that if you press that, then you have to press on the first part too : wives obey your husband. There is not a single scriptural text that says the opposite. The laying down of life of the husband for the wife and the family does not in anyway negate the teaching to the wife: obey your husband.

          • Except Mrs. Gordon will go as far as saying wives need to change their interests, hobbies and preferences in order to adopt those of their husbands (because yes, there’s a difference between being supportive and encouraging of your spouse’s interests, and changing your personality all together, which makes me question why the marriage took place at all), that they can’t leave their homes without their husbands’ permission (which is unpractical at best, dangerous at worst). That is the overlordship Archibishop Fulton J. Sheen speaks of. There is a difference between obedience, which is based on understanding the basic good of what is asked, and complete blind submission.

            And between an prelate who, in my humble opinion, should become a Doctor of the Church one day and who has written some of the most beautiful texts out there about marriage and womanhood, and a relatively young mother who I believe is well-intentioned but also has trouble understanding the nuances of Holy Scriptures, aka the kind of mistake that has led to heresy more often than not in the Church’s long history, you’ll excuse me if I prefer to trust Archbishop Sheen on that one. I can’t say I’m in bad company either.

  8. Dr. Favale, while you make some excellent points, I believe you do not understand what a real (as opposed to people like regnum Christi ladies) consecrated virgin is. She is a married woman, as the Roman Pontifical proclaims, a virgin who has been “constituted a sacred person”, meaning she is no longer a lay woman, and has been by the “Holy Spirit … elevated to the dignity of Spouse of Jesus Christ the Son of God, joined by an indissoluble(nuptial) bond.”. As a sacred – not lay – consecrated virgin, I disagree with being characterized as ” a lay consecrated virgin who works in a professional setting”. I may choose to work in professional settings as the result of dialogue with my Divine Spouse, but the primary identity I and other sacred virgins have is Virgin, Bride of Christ, and Mother of souls like the Virgin Bride Church we not only image but officially represent. It is better to simply cite a real single woman to make your point, not those of us who are actually married to Christ. Sacred virgins share with religious men and women and diocesan hermits the dignity and role of being in the consecrated state, separated from the profane and rendered sacred persons belonging to God. Unlike religious men/women, sacred virgins posses the vocation to marriage, marriage with Christ. I invite you to learn more about sacred virginity and why the Doctor of the Church you wrote about, St Hildegard of Bingen, received the solemn liturgical consecration of virgins from her bishop though she was a fully professed nun in solemn vows (hint: she desired to become espoused to Jesus Christ).

        • Also, Canon 604 of the Code of Canon Law 1983:

          “§1. Similar to these forms of consecrated life is the order of virgins who, expressing the holy resolution of following Christ more closely, are consecrated to God by the diocesan Bishop according to the approved liturgical rite, are mystically betrothed to Christ, the Son of God, and are dedicated to the service of the Church.”

          And again, Canon 588: “the state of consecrated life is neither clerical nor lay.”

          • Hello, Meiron! It’s good to meet up with you again! To clarify your quotes from canon law: “the state of consecrated life is neither clerical nor lay.” This is because there are consecrated men who are priests, and therefore belong to the clerical state, and there are consecrated men who are not priests and therefore belong to the lay state ( Brothers, non-ordained hermits, etc.) Consecrated women are not ordained and therefore belong to the lay state. The state of consecrated life is distinct from the clerical or lay states. God bless you!

    • Pater is correct: there are only 2 states in the Church: hierarchical and lay. All baptized are members of Christ’s Mystical Body and all are called to marriage with Him. I don’t know where you read that “Unlike religious men/women, sacred virgins posses the vocation to marriage, marriage with Christ.” St. Paul was writing to lay men and women when he told the Corinthians, “for I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (2 Cor. 11, 2)

  9. The character limit in this combox would have to be infinite for me to adequately express all of my thoughts. I don’t want to judge the Gordons but something is not right here. Faithful Catholics criticize those in the culture at large who claim to be “spiritual, not religious.” I feel that this kind of thinking the Gordon’s are presenting is “religious, not spiritual.” It totally negates the fact that we are called to glorify God with our lives–whoever you are, whatever your gifts or abilities, they must be suppressed in order to conform to the image of the “perfect” wife and mother. There sure are plenty of women who do like to be told how to think and act, but c’mon…this is just a recipe for abuse. I agree with everything Dr. Favale says and can’t help but think of the image of the woman of Proverbs 31. Sure, she “honors” her husband and children, but most of the things she is praised for are productive tasks that benefit the economy of the home. The woman of Proverbs 31, just like so many women throughout history, is a capable intelligent helpmate. Have the Gordons ever thought about the etymology of the word “husband”? “House-bound”. While social norms and necessities have changed over time, one thing has not: there will always be those who claim to be pedaling the truth. Be wary. I have a good friend who bore nearly a dozen children for her husband and lived as the Gordons prescribe, and when the husband eventually went to prison for statutory rape (and it was revealed that he was living a double life as a sex addict), the wife had no skills or support system to provide for her family. The limiting of women’s education (which the Gordon’s support) ensures that women remain vulnerable. Is this really what Jesus wants for his precious daughters? TAN should be ashamed of themselves for publishing this book as it will likely be used to lead many helpless women into the arms of unworthy men. And yet they are probably laughing all the way to the bank, as the mad Trads happily are spending all the money they save on women’s education on this kind of trash.

    • In addition to your friend’s sad predicament; married women and mothers need job skills in case a husband develops into an alcoholic, drug abuser, domestic abuser, gamblers, porn addict, or adulterer. In the 1970’s, there were advertised Programs for Displaced Homemakers. https://www.thoughtco.com/displaced-homemaker-3528912

      And you are right that TAN should not publish Mr. & Mrs. Gordon’s book, that falsely claims to be Catholic teaching. Ironically, I had not heard the word “feminism” in thirty years. In fact, none of my women friends in college, at work as an Accountant, when I became a Homemaker, or when I went back to work after my children were in school, so much as mentioned “feminism.” Every woman I know, worked because her family needed the money; not because of any ideology. My Homemaker friends never bashed other women who had jobs.

      Then 2-3 years ago, Catholic men started blaming “feminism” for all of today’s social ills. They seem to have forgotten about the common vices, listed above, that necessitated so many married women entering the work force. (To say nothing of inflation & technological advances)

      And so many Catholics make up a false, strawman definition of “feminism.” The standard dictionary definition of “feminism” is: a women’s movement for equal political, economic and social rights. Since the late 1800’s, women were increasingly being burdened with equal responsibilities as men, due to death, injury, alcoholism, adultery, abuse, desertion, etc. (Those were also the reasons for Prohibition.)
      In justice, rights should be commensurate with responsibilities. That is why “feminism,” as defined in standard English language dictionaries, was necessary and just. Those who blame “feminism” for today’s social ills, do so because they don’t know how society got to where we are today.

      Many Catholics blame “radical feminism” for abortion and contraception. Yet an all-male Supreme Court legalized abortion (1973) and contraception (1962 & 1965). Two males developed the birth control pill, which was approved by an all-male FDA in 1960. Then in 1970, “feminists” protested the lack of testing on the birth control pill, which resulted in the Nelson Hearings in 1970. It seems to me that scapegoating “feminism” for all of today’s social ills, is really a veiled way to blame women.

  10. This article contains some historical misconceptions. Historians have pointed out that St. Joan of Arc did not “lead” the army, as proven by both the Royal military records (which give the actual command structure) and also many eyewitness accounts which describe how the commanders initially didn’t even tell her their plans until they finally began to accept her advice (not direct leadership) because they said she could predict the future. But she said bluntly that “I would prefer to stay home with my poor mother and spin wool” (rather than take part in a military campaign), and she told a woman named Catherine de La Rochelle to “go home to your husband and tend your household” rather than getting involved in the campaign. Stereotyping her as some sort of feminist is not historically accurate. St. Catherine of Siena corresponded with Pope Urban VI at his request after he accepted her as a valid mystic; and likewise St. Hildegard of Bingen did something similar as a mystic; but both of them also promoted traditional gender roles for women (take a look at Hildegard’s book “Scivias” for example) and mystics were, by definition, in a different circumstance than ordinary people and hence these aren’t good examples to use to prove the article’s points.

      • “But she said bluntly that “I would prefer to stay home with my poor mother and spin wool”

        Well said indeed. And a wife would sometimes very much like to leave everything to her husband, but charity demands otherwise for without her “thinking” head in the marriage, the union would be less fruitful.

        A great many men and women would prefer sipping drinks on a secluded beach, but that’s not the way life goes. So, too, a woman has an obligation to be a true helpmeet, that’s helping her husband in the best way possible.

        Being an accessory to whatever whims a man may have is not help. It’s spoiling an individual to the degree that he no longer has to think because nobody is challenging and/or conversing with him in a manner that makes him accountable.

        Oxen are typically yoked side by side. But I get that many men would prefer to believe that their wives are directly behind them where the air so fresh and clean.

    • St. Joan “said bluntly that “I would prefer to stay home with my poor mother and spin wool”. But God called her to do something else, and she obeyed Him. So God can call women to do something else than what Mr. and Mrs. Gordon prescribe.

  11. Thank you for the recommendation to Mrs. Gordon’s book. Being a traditional catholic I’ll definitely have to pick one up. Keep up with the work you are doing. It makes it easy to separate the wheat from the chaff

    God bless

    • Theresa, I beg you to stay away from this book. I’m a SAHM, Catholic, homeschooling mom who thinks that mothers ought to prioritize caring for their children over working (our own family has made sacrifices to live on one income) but Gordon’s book is absolute garbage. The writing is bad, the research is terrible, history is taken out of context…I have agreements and disagreements with the author of this CWR review, but my final conclusion is also: keep away from this book.

      Read Leila Lawler’s new books instead (Summa Domestica).

      • I’m a traditional Catholic who very much agrees with what Jadegreen says above – Stephanie Gordon’s book is not one I would recommend at all, for several reasons, especially when there are much better books out there about marriage. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in particular is wonderful and I cannot recommend his work enough. Father Ludger Grün has great books as well and I even had the opportunity to see him give a speech on the subject in person. I’ll second the recommendation for Leila Lawler, since she displays in her work much more confidence, wisdom and experience than the Gordons have ever displayed, may it be on a spiritual level or a practical level.

  12. In my house, I am anti-Trump, my wife is pro-Trump. I am pro-vax, my wife is anti-vax. My wife likes Taylor Marshall, I do not. Would the Gordons support my wife being submissive to me if I had ordered here to 1) not vote for Trump, 2) get vaccinated, and 3) stop listening to TM, and throw away her copy of “Infiltration.”

    • Start with the Scriptures to understand this….first what Jesus submits to even though obviously unjust…and then what the God the Holy Spirit says through Saint Paul to Catholic wives and the witness why….there are really a couple questions and several dimensions to the question you rightly pose…blessings

    • LoL. I wish you’d pose that question on a Gordon podcast and see the steam and pretzel parade that would follow. I’d pay for that….not this idiot book that hearkens back to Fascinating Womanhood.

    • The Gordons would support your being a tyrant; but Jesus Christ would not. Ephesians 5:25 instructs wives to submit to their own husbands and instructs husbands to sacrifice their entire lives for their wives, in imitation of Christ. But, in context, Ephesians 5:21 instructs all Christians to “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” So obviously, the wife is not the only spouse who is instructed to submit. All Bible verses should be understood and applied in context of the whole.

  13. In all honesty, though, in my experience, the whole “the man is head of the household thing” is malarkey. If I hold headship, it’s a very limited headship, the equivalent of the British monarch. I could try to rule without the benefit of Parliament (my wife), but it would be a foolish thing to do, and I would not accomplish much.

    In addition, a smart woman can uphold the appearance of headship while still getting her way 95% of the time.

  14. I almost got through this painfully long diatribe of an article when I realized I have better things to do. What I should have done to begin with is just read the author’s bio sketch to see that her work has been published in The Atlantic, one of the most disgustingly vile Liberal publications on this planet. It doesn’t take someone with a PhD to discern that the writer is a liberal “Catholic” who takes issue with Gordon’s book based solely on the fact that she is a traditional leaning Catholic. What else can one expect from someone who won an award from the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association? Feminist, gender obsessed converts are far more dangerous than any of the ideas that Gordon can present in her book.

    • Again, a genetic fallacy. Also, an ad hominem. Please see my comment above to Pj. You didn’t interact with her criticisms but chose to attack her personally, which is not charitable nor is it just.

    • If you think The Atlantic is “one of the most disgustingly vile Liberal publications on this planet” you truly need to read more widely. Most European magazines or journals with a similar focus are far to its left. I consider myself deeply conservative as well as Catholic and often find worthwhile reading in it. If one was try to publish only in magazines that one agrees with everything in it, most people would find that impossible. Buckley published in Playboy.

      • I don’t know that the Atlantic is “disgustingly vile” but it’s certainly to the left of most conservative US publications & I take what I read in the Atlantic with a large grain of salt.

    • This is why (sarcasm alert) I refuse to read anything written by that libertine, rutting, arrogant Manichaean named Augustine. I don’t care that he converted. He’s clearly liberal and evil. For shame.

    • Traditional leaning? There’s the rub. The book leans so far as to ignore Catholic teaching in lieu of the Book of Gordon. Or do you believe that a man picking up his own dirty underwear is soft transgenderism?

      How about a man cooking??

      I guess all those chefs in France are gay. Gordon Ramsey too. Maybe you can tell him. Medieval craftsmen who actually did the lion’s share of the sewing must have been transgender too. Hmm.

      My favorite is the never complain clause. As in SHUT YOUR EYES, Woman! That clause preclude Steph from demanding why her husband spends endless hours in the basement pretending to be a magisterial authority when he has a law degree that’s moldering on the shelf.

      If Mr. Gordon put that costly degree to use, then he wouldn’t have to impose on his wife to shame herself by becoming a public hypocrite. After all, Steph is to busy to grocery shop by Tim’s accounting, and yet she’s got enough “free” time to write a book for sale? That’s working for $$$$, friend. Tim should be utterly debased and shamed by his lack of masculine prowess that he would parade his wife in public for ridicule.

      Now that’s traditional! Traditional lazy lion syndrome wherein a male latches onto perceived power-over and does nothing but yap.

      • On the contrary, the book leans so far into Scripture to counter the lie of feminism.

        At the root of the debate is how we understand scripture. Can we take it seriously?

        The past 50 years or so, we have seen the rise of false theology: Jesus is not really God, He did not really perform all those miracles, He did not really rise from the dead but well He is a good man and some of the things He says we can take on board. This gave people permission to ignore the hard teachings of the Lord in favour of saccharine feel good teachings.

        But the teaching remains. If you want to tell men that they should be like Christ and love their wives and sacrifice their lives for their wives as Christ did for His Church, then you have to accept that what follows is also true, that wives must obey their husbands. Mutual submission is self-contradictory.

        • “Mutual submission is self-contradictory.”

          Only if submission is understood in the wrong way (in terms of power and externals), rather than as the kenosis that Christ both calls us to embrace and gives us the grace and power to achieve. What the Gordon book completely ignores (yes, I’ve read the pertinent passages) is the Triune nature of the Faith; that is, we are called to empty ourselves in perfect self-gift for other, and in a specific way in marriage, where our spouse is our brother/sister in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, for the glory and honor of God the Father. Christ submits Himself perfectly to the Father–but we know that he, the Logos, is equal with the Father (Phil 2). So, we see that Christ’s submission is a perfect act of self-giving love to the Father for the sake of the world. Husbands and wives are called to the same, and the submission of the wife and the love of man must be understood as a participation in the Trinitarian life, for we are “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4) and of “the glory that is to be revealed” (1 Pet 5:1).

          So, mutual submission is not contradictory, just as the Three-In-One reality of God is not contradictory.

          • Is there mutual submission between Father and Son? The Son was obedient unto death to the Father not the other way around. They are equal and yet the Son submits to the Father.

            And this is the point that the Gordons are making: equal in dignity but the father has the authority.

            In the Agony in the Garden Jesus prayed if thou wilt take away this cup but not my will but yours be done.

            Mutual submission is self-contradictory because where there is a clash of wills as happens in a marriage, who submits? St Paul is right: wives obey your husbands, husbands love your wives as Christ loves His Church. This is the only paradigm that is truly conducive to human flourishing. The response to toxic masculinity is not toxic femininity but a call to the husband to be more the Christlike figure he was called to be.

            In my previous post I had it the other way around with the verses regarding wifely submission coming after the verse on Christlike headship. But St Paul addressed the woman first.

            This will rankle very much with the feminist (as it did me years ago) because feminism is all about power. Pick any feminist article and they will stress empowerment. This goes right to the heart of the demand for priestesses. But as Peter Kreeft said, this is to truly miss the boat.

            St Paul also writes: it is when I am weak that I am strong. This is a lesson that the woman needs to learn.

            I linked to a talk by Tim Gordon on why Eve was taken from Adam’s rib which was a response to Fr Gregory Pine’s video. I highly recommend that. Tim does come across as aggressive and harsh. But put that to the side and just listen to the arguments. I don’t think anyone has been able to mount a good counter argument.

            I think we women have to pray daily the Litany of Humility

          • JPII Caths at it again. “Yes, there may be this clear teaching on this topic for 2,000 years but let’s examine the issue in a more ambiguous light so we can try to square this circle.” Even using your analogy, which describes the Trinity: a much more complex relationship than the one between a husband and wife, one side NEVER submits to the other: the Father never submits to the Son. Saints Paul, Peter, Ambroise, Augustine, Thomas, and even every pope of the 20th century, all say women shouldn’t be working outside of the home, and yet you have the hubris to suggest that you know better because they don’t understand the theology of the Trinity as “well” as you.

          • I’m just a Catholic, but I’m not sure why being a Catholic who admires and knows the teachings of St. Pope John Paul II is a problem for you.

            You’ve misunderstood or misrepresented everything I wrote. I noted that a Christo-centric understanding of submission is rooted in the reality of the Trinitarian self-gift. And which, of course, is demonstrated and revealed in and through the Incarnation. I pointed to this passage from St. Paul:

            “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:5-8)

            So, Christ was obedient to Father and the Father’s will; likewise, a wife is to be obedient to the husband insofar as it reflects the Father’s will (to state the obvious: if a husband demanded that his wife kill someone or punch their children, it would be wrong to submit, etc.). When St. Paul states, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph 5:25), he is talking about a love that is perfectly obedient to the Father and thus is not rooted in a power-centric form of submission, but on that stands firm in love, self-gift, etc.

            Thus: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Eph 5:1-2).

            You assume, apparently that Dr. Favale and myself reject Ephesians 5. Not at all; quite the contrary. It’s that we have serious concerns and criticisms with how Mrs. Gordon interprets and applies it (which is not to say, as Favale notes in her review, that everything Mrs. Gordon says is wrong or false), especially since it ignores or misses some essential theological foundations.

            As for working outside the home, I’ll simply note that Scripture never says women cannot or should not work outside the home. Upward and onward.

          • This paragraph of yours perfectly sums up Church teaching (and I think what the Gordons have been saying):

            “So, Christ was obedient to Father and the Father’s will; likewise, a wife is to be obedient to the husband insofar as it reflects the Father’s will (to state the obvious: if a husband demanded that his wife kill someone or punch their children, it would be wrong to submit, etc.). When St. Paul states, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph 5:25), he is talking about a love that is perfectly obedient to the Father and thus is not rooted in a power-centric form of submission, but on that stands firm in love, self-gift, etc.”

            Honestly, I don’t think I could’ve said it better myself. Wives must submit to their husbands in all things (expect when commanded to commit grave sin), and husbands are required to give their lives for their wives and children. That is what Ephesians 5 states. I am surprised you admitted that because it’s at great odds with everything else you and ms. Favale have said, but nonetheless it is correct.

          • “I am surprised you admitted that because it’s at great odds with everything else you and ms. Favale have said, but nonetheless it is correct.”

            “Admitted…”? Huh? Sigh. No, it isn’t at odds at all. Both Abigail and I have been completely consistent, even if we’ve not addressed every point or issue involved (impossible, obviously, in short spaces). I think you are reading for argumentation, not for comprehension.

          • Cory and Carl,
            Yes, we are to pay deep attention to what the mysterious term “obedience” fully means. From the Latin obedire, oboedire “obey, be subject, serve; but first to pay attention to, give ear,” literally “listen to,” from ob “to” (see ob-) + audire “listen, hear.”

            Which is to say, not servile subservience, but “to listen deeply…” The Trinity is the profound (and self-disclosed!) Mystery of mutual listening with a divine depth which/Who is infinite.

            Theologically, the “circumincession” of the Three Persons is the reciprocal existence in one another of each of the distinct Three Persons, each and all within the Triune Oneness. The infinite mystery of the dynamic, inner life of God—the fully distinct Son also fully within the Father and the Holy Spirit, the fully distinct Father also fully withing the Son and Holy Spirit, and the distinct Holy Spirit also fully within the Father and Son (“proceeding” equally from both, as expressed in the filioque in the Creed). Christ, then, had one distinct will, and yet this was in complete conformance with the will of the Father (not a “clash of wills”).

            For the wife to be lovingly “obedient” to the husband is no different—no more nor less—than for the husband to obediently “love” his wife as himself. Obedience and caritas are the same “thing.” It’s not that the Trinity is complex—-not so—-but that the Trinity is infinite simplicity itself.

            And spouses are to engage in marriage with this same seemingly complex simplicity. The free and simple words, “I do” actually create a new reality, just as God freely creates all of reality. In those marital clashes, then, the preemtive unity might be in reminding one another to not let the worms get in.

          • Cory,
            The dual divine-human nature of Jesus casts light on questions of submission and authority. The divine will is the divine will, and it is ONE. Jesus’ divine will did not question the divine will. Jesus; human nature questioned but submitted to the divine will, evidencing his divine-enabling-human perfection. (…which is what grace does to us).

            God the Father has no more authority over God the Son than God the Father has over Himself. Father and Son (and Spirit) are consubstantial, with One Divine Will, not divided or separated by questions of authority or submission. God is God and acts perfectly in divine unity.

            Again, CCC 246: Everything that belongs to the Father, except being Father, the Son has also eternally from the Father, from whom he is eternally born… . .

            In relation to the humanity of Jesus, the Father is greater than the Son. In relation to the divinity of Jesus, the Father and the Son are equal.

            “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30)
            “The Father is greater than I” (John 14:28)

            The Catechism (475) has it thus: Christ possesses two wills and two natural operations, divine and human. They are not opposed to each other, but cooperate in such a way that the Word made flesh willed humanly in obedience to his Father all that he had decided divinely with the Father and the Holy Spirit for our salvation. Christ’s human will does not resist or oppose but rather submits to his divine and almighty will.

            The problem for sinful humanity is the obstacles we face in order to conform that humanity to God’s divine perfection. We need to submit our sinful difficulty with authority/submission to God’s power and grace. We need to beg God’s grace in order to cooperate in our innermost depth with God’s will. Both HUSBAND AND WIFE in sacramental marriage need to be on board. Else a yoke may be borne unequally. Yet in all difficult circumstances, saints are made. Joe Heschmeyer did a podcast at Fradd’s Pints. He made a good quip about marriage. I’m paraphrasing: Marriage is like martyrdom on an installment plan.

  15. Thank you for a well-articulated and well-documented critique. Woe to those who claim Church authority for their own private opinions that would lay heavy burdens on others! Dr Favale has amply demonstrated that Mrs Gordon does not speak for the Catholic Church.

  16. Being precedes action indeed. Womanly actions therefore proceed from being a woman. Manly actions proceed from being a man.

    • So if a woman chooses to work outside the home, then that would mean that working outside the home is a womanly action. Thanks!

      • But what is a woman? Did God not make her to be mother? To care for her children.

        A woman can work outside the home where it is absolutely necessary. The care of the children is primary. But now women sacrifice the children in the name of “self fulfillment” as if being a woman and caring for children is not fulfillment enough.

        It is interesting how the feminists look at child rearing – they are willing to pay less for the mothering of their children by someone else than they are willing to accept for doing something other than mothering their children.

        My mother worked (we had a small business in the home) because 10 children cannot be supported by a single income. But if the money is enough to feed and clothe us and pay the rent and utilities, my mother would have preferred to dedicate her life to raising us. I remember the times when business was not good so my mother had more time to be mother and how good that felt. And she was at home. What more if she worked outside the home.

  17. Let me see, the opinion of a feminist PhD or the opinion of a mother of Six??? Let me see, the mother of 6 the mother of 6!

    • This obviously isn’t just a matter of “opinion”, but it’s convenient to portray it as such. Also, Abigail Favale has three children. Is that too few for you? Perhaps my own wife, mother of three children, is also not up to your number-crunching standards? Note: Favale’s PhD is in English Literature, her book Into The Deep is a powerful account of conversion from radical secular feminism to a Catholic understanding of marriage, sexuality, and family that flows from a Trinitarian, Christo-centric orthodoxy that has grappled with a wide range of anthropological falsehoods. I highly recommend it.

      • Carl,

        Abigail does state she has Phd in Gender Theory and Women’s Literature.
        https://youtu.be/b-al2JOnxCM?t=71

        I believe some of the anger from traditionalists stems from so many catholics running way too far out to meet the prodigal sons whilst the prodigal’s haven’t even become aware they are feeding at a swine trough. Way to many Catholic’s have joined in the feast at the trough as indicated by a certain famous twitter outburst during the last election.

        I am glad this site allows for debate. I pray it does not fall the way of America magazine. They censure worse than facebook and as bad as my local paper.

        • Gabriel, calling a mom who even works part time outside the home or couples who don’t live like the Gordon’s a ‘prodigal’ is really unfair. Especially when the woman is selling her book for $25 a copy and says it’s just her hobby. She’s not even being honest. I don’t mind if they choose to live this way. I do mind if they get in everyone’s face about it and bring our faith into it saying it’s Church teaching when it’s not. I’m being very genuine and sincere when I say I don’t understand why traditionalist are angry. They’re not entitled to tell other people what to do and how to live. There are billions of people on this planet who have different circumstances, resources and crosses. The Church has an answer for all of them. For a lot of people it looks nothing like what’s in this book – and there’s nothing wrong or immoral about that. Thank you for trying to be amiable. Blessings.

          • Carol,

            Part of being a Christian is telling people how to live. If you have kids you make them live according to the truth. There is a specific warning we all know in the scriptures about not warning and teaching the truth.
            If you watch the video I linked Abigail states that she had to figure out what to do after wasting a decade in her feminist PhD. I suppose she wrote this less than amiable article (‘superficial, ideological, and incoherent “guide”’) because she has some books she wants to sell and may possibly have student debt that needs attention. And this has definitely bought her some clicks. There is also the issue of the deception going on here about what PhD she actually has. I can understand her not wanting to advertise her Gender Theory PhD but she spent more time on that than being Catholic thus far. It should be taken into account. This overall is a disappointing article but I would like to see the two gals to get together and debate. That might be fun.

          • Gabriel, you don’t get to assume authority over someone and tell them what life decisions to make because you’re a Christian. Please don’t assert that – it’s simply not at all true. Other grown married adults are not in a parent child relationship with you and you literally have no say over their life decisions. Furthermore you’re not their spiritual director so again, you have no authority to tell them how you think they need to live to be a good Catholic. The Catholic Church doesn’t teach that it’s sinful for the wife to work out side the home. It’s just not Church teaching. Nor is it Church teaching that the wife can’t leave the home without her husband’s permission. It’s just not. Now if the Gordon’s want to live that way, that’s fine but they have no authority to tell other married couples how to live their lives.

          • Point of information here, neither to defend nor criticize but for the sake of clarity: The publisher makes the bulk of the profit from each $25 book. The author gets a small percentage royalty for each copy. My guess is between 2 and 3 bucks per book. Writers–especially Catholic writers–rarely become wealthy from their hobby/job unless they are already famous in some other sphere.

          • You make a very excellent point Carol. Why are the rad trads all so very angry. They are without exception joyless.

        • Ah, thanks. I was going by the bio on the George Fox U. page, but I recall that she had another child fairly recently.

    • Let me see.

      How about we toss opinion to the curb and go for what the Catholic Church actually teaches??? Wouldn’t that be a switch?

      But Steph is contravening her own dictates by working for $$$ in writing this book. She’s also seeking power over men by the attempted subversion of wives everywhere. She’s exposing herself to the “brundt” of the world as she terms it which is strictly prohibited. or is it?

      Please, don’t ascribe “traditional” to those who are little more than egotistical.

      • Women are allowed to teach, especially other women.
        Since when did we Catholics decide scripture isn’t telling us the truth As God Sees It?

    • Wow, why would you criticize another person because they have fewer children than some? You don’t know the circumstances of why any one person has 0, 1, or 12 children, and you shouldn’t judge that. How many women do I know, who are very traditional, but they have had several miscarriages and stillborn infants? So many. I have traditional friends who have not been able to have any children, in spite of every legitimate avenue exhausted. The rain and the sun fall equally upon the just and the unjust. Calamity falls on the just and the unjust. Please don’t make such an unfeeling judgement on people. If we are going to criticize a book or a review of a book, let’s not attack people personally, but discuss the merits of the arguments.

  18. I am single mother and I had no choice but to work, because government assistance was never an option! But I will never forget the pain in my heart when I dropped my baby girl off at the sitter that first time and how much I cried for days! I abhorred her father for not being man enough to take care of us, of her . How wonderful would have been to have had a husband that told me “stay home with her; it will be ok”- I would have much rather stay home with her than go back to work! The most important vocation a woman has is motherhood- our society is suffering for the sins of modernism! May the Lord have mercy on us!

  19. Could there possibly be any greater endorsement of “Ask Your Husband” than a career woman with a Feminism and Gender Studies PhD? You couldn’t have asked for a starker contrast between Traditional Grace-Infused Femininity and Modern Grace-Less Feminism.

    • Your 101 research skills aren’t up to your 201 insulting skills: Abigail Favale has a PhD in English Literature:

      Dr. Favale graduated from George Fox University with a philosophy degree in 2005, and went on to complete her doctorate at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where she was a recipient of the competitive Overseas Research Award. In 2011, her dissertation was granted the Samuel Rutherford Prize for the most distinguished thesis in English literature.

      Consider reading more and snarking less.

      • When the snark, especially when it becomes personal, overtakes reasonable disagreement, it becomes clear that the arguments against the person’s position have been spent. Let’s just declare Dr Favale the winner and move along, right?

        • I fully expected her review to upset or annoy some readers. Fine. Let’s disagree, like adults. But, seriously, the infantile level of “engagement” by some is simply embarrassing. Sigh.

      • Did you do any research? Clearly not. That’s exactly how she introduced her own academic background in a video published on YouTube in the public domain.
        You can try to do your persnickety “fact checking” that doesn’t hold any weight or your can engage on the merits. If you align yourself with the world, then you have already made your choice. Why exactly are you Catholic if it doesn’t change who you are and if who you are is no different than what the world offers, then what does it mean to you to be Catholic?

      • @Mr Olsen:

        There is no argument about Dr Favale being well read. That she takes an opposing view to the author is her prerogative. However, castigation, together with one’s own predisposition should not be the focus!

        Point and counterpoint, together with respect, might be an alternative way of addressing a controversial book.

        Thank you for your efforts at CWR.

        God’s richest blessings,

        Brian Young

        • And that (point and counterpoint) is sadly what is missing in Abigail’s review.

          I have just finished watching the response from the Gordons and I am amazed at how she misrepresented the book that one wonders if she really actually read it.

          I have pointed out in an earlier comment that she accuses Stephanie of “proof texting” and Stephanie and Tim totally demolished that in their response to this article.

          So one wonders why she wrote this critique in the way it was written. As Tim pointed out, having done PhD, then she must know the need for citations (give the receipts) and this review really fails miserably on that.

          As someone else pointed out, there is a much better review at 1P5 where the writer did give a negative feedback but it was done in a dignified and calm way.

          Essentially, (since I have not read the book) the issue that most people have raised (even those who gave it a favourable feed back) is that it is harsh in presentation. Watching Steph and Tim I can very well understand that derisive attitude coming across as well in the book. And while that is important (it really antagonizes people unnecessarily), if we stick to the content which supposedly what Abigail was doing then sorry to say then like Steph I ask whether she really did read the book and did she understand what it means to “proof text”.

          That said, I do think that Steph and Tim could have presented their counterpoint in a much more calm and charitable way since after all they’ve already “won”. But that aside, yes they were right and perhaps to some the take no prisoners attitude is part of the entertainment and maybe some will argue that the attitude was necessary.

          Tim and Stephanie’s comment about CWR however is just wrong. Let people express themselves and if you can prove them wrong then do so. To say that Abigail’s review should not have been published is just ridiculous. Censoring someone is not the answer, countering the error is. Essentially their problem is not having been given a heads up but from where I am sitting that really is a small matter and can be overlooked.

          Besides, isn’t it satisfying when there’s a hit piece and you show that the author has shot himself in the foot 🙂

    • Could there possibly be any bigger red flag for “Ask Your Husband,” than the hypocrisy of a woman who advocates not working for $$$$ actually working for $$$?

      That’s all this book is. The chance to capitalize on a controversial topic by making Catholicism out to be “radical.” It plays into Gordon’s “Retrograde” brand which he’s eagerly trying to build up at the expense of Catholic truth so that he can remain in his basement playing magisterium instead of using the law degree that had to have cost a pretty penny and then some.

      I wonder if he has student loans that he’s still paying off? Wow. Talk about burdening a wife/marriage. He’d better have been debt free when he married. Was he? Is he pressing his subordinate to work for $$$ and taking advantage of her lesser intellect, to pay off his debts and support the family instead of doing the manly thing and using his law degree to bring home the bacon??

      Those are questions Gordon should answer. But of course, since Tim has a podcast, everyone knows that he doesn’t answer to any authority but God. How convenient. Tim doesn’t even have to answer to Church teaching.

      I wonder how any believing Catholic could support such an obvious hack. And…I’m a traditional Catholic, stay-at-home-former-homeschooling mother. Married for 34+ years. I’m waiting for Tim to cough up the goods, but again, he answers to nobody.

  20. You have to have three or more children to be a real Catholic family. Notice how all the Catholic bloggers now mention how many children they have only if it’s more than three. Oh, my latest bio:

    Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski is a philosopher, theologian, artist, architect, biodynamic farmer, families over 10 realtor, and community investment banker, and runs seven soup kitchens as well as a liturgical chalice company. He has written 60 books and 1000 articles and 23 blogs and 24 podcasts and is the president of the Christendom Aquinas Classical Tradition Culture Foundation Institute. He is also a certified spiritual life coach and an amateur wine maker. He is the Founding Mayor of Kansastown and his wife Bernadette Mary Jacinta Tekakwitha enjoys entrepreneuring crochet and tech inventing, without leaving the home of course,on their ranch farm cabin chateau cottage which he built in the mountains. He is also a chessmaster and Distributist Businessman. Dr. Kozinski is the father of 19 homeschooled children. When Bernadette isn’t changing cloth diapers and washing them, she like to paint icons and use her liberal arts degree to inspire her husband.

  21. I viewed many of the comments. Something that I remember from being in elementary school is a teacher asked us students what our mothers did for work. All the kids were describing various employment their moms had. I couldn’t even comprehend the idea. I didn’t know what to say. All I could think is my mom is mom. She does all sorts of things. Though at the time she was having difficulties and wasn’t overly active outside of gardening and taking care of kids and house. She would and could do anything but home was first. I think because she learned from my grandmother’s getting over-busy with worldly business to the neglect of home. It did have a negative effect.

    I am sure these two women can talk together and work it out.

    I personally think it is better to start from Stephanie’s position and venture from there with the normal prayer and humility. Catholics often don’t have the basics down much these days to guide the moderns back to sanity.

    “we must consider as closed the historical epoch which made an absolute differentiation between the duties of sexes, i.e. that woman should assume the domestic duties and man the struggle for livelihood” (Essays on Woman, 78).

    Edith Stein surely isn’t a saint because of her degrees. But the Lord can move those paper weights as easily as mountains.
    Chesterton didn’t hold to the view in Edith Stein’s quote. I think Edith might have submitted on that point.

  22. Oops, I meant 4 or more children. Three doesn’t cut it, it just means you had your boy and girl and then made a mistake. 4 children means you are generous and obeying God’s will. You’ve made the cut. You’re not like those secular novus ordo people. 8 children is a the mark of true holiness. Doesn’t matter if they are joyless neurotic nasty and neglected children because the wife was mentally abused into considering her level of God-approval as a function of child quantity.

  23. Not having read Ms Stephanie C. Gordon’s book, I, speak instead to Dr Abigail Favale’s review.

    The backbone of the church would be godly women serving the Lord in various capacities. Often in the home she is the one who brings the word of God to the children and her husband! God’s final act of creation was to create woman. After the first five days of creation, He said it was “good”. On the sixth day, He said it was “very good”. Married men and sons owe a deep sense gratitude for the blessing that women bring in all their endeavours.

    1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honour to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

    Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

    Ephesians 5:22-25 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

    If the wife asks her husband for spiritual guidance, he needs to go to the bible to supply the answer. He then grows in his role of spiritual head of the household. This what God wants and it blesses the family.

    The epilogue of of a woman of noble character, Proverbs 31:10-31 is recommended!

  24. I just read through the comments, and I can’t help agreeing with you, Mr. Olson. The quality of thinking displayed here is in some cases rather discouraging.

    In fact it exhibits a number of the same shortcomings that Dr. Favale decries in her review.

    Pat answers and reactive, reflexive responses to complex dynamics are not often the way of wisdom, I find.

    In fact, this discussion brings to mind a deft criticism of fundamentalism that I remember seeing decades ago:

    ‘Jesus came to take away our sins, not our minds.’

    Thank you, Dr. Favale, for the insightful review.

    BTW, for anyone who’s interested, my lovely wife approved this message.

  25. I can see both sides of the question. I think what Stephanie is attacking is the idea that since the 60s it’s been force fed to women ( I am woman watch mr grow,ex.Helen Reddy) and women should contribute. I think if a woman chooses to be a doctor or has a talent for something else she should do this IF it doesn’t interfere with raising of the children. Nowadays however, due to financial matters most couples must work unless a husband has a high paying job. I grew up with a working mother . Although it did give us some advantages, I remember the 3 of us kids begging her to quit but she deontology. I decided to be a stay at home wife and mother but unfortunately my husband kept on being laid off, so I did begin working when our daughter was 6. Although it helped via health care benefits, now I wish I had pressured him to either get a different job or wished I’d worked part time.

    Yes, I gave in to the lie that women must work. However, although I did have some clerical skills, looking back I don’t believe I was fitted for any job. I’m now 78;and yes there were many women saints but many were religious, not married. Plus not many in this era either. St.Gianna had skills as a doctor, and some women as nurses. But they probably can arrange more time with their family than others. Plus, many women work from home remotely.

    Finally, after adding my two cents worth, I wonder just why CR didn’t just review another book rather than this one. This is Stephanie’s view, plenty of room for others and no reason to attack her personally. I know she has a handicapped child and other children and to me this is a full time job.

    • I’m sorry for the difficulties you and your husband have had. Please know you’re not alone and one of the reason the Church doesn’t have hard and fast rules about certain things is because people’s circumstances are so different. Although looking back you may have wished you didn’t work, no one should say it was sinful. I think it’s really, really important to review books like this because Stephanie can mislead a lot of people and that’s a very serious thing. None of us are attacking her personally but her ideas need to be strongly challenged for the sake of other who might buy into her extreme and unhealthy views. I thank CWR for not only reviewing the book, but for finding the right person to do it. I also have a special needs child and yes, it’s a lot of work but very rewarding. Blessings.

      • I am beginning to read this book and would like to add a few things. My mom, bless her heart, did insist that I learn steno skills although I told her I didn’t want to work if I got married. Another commentator noted that if for some reason you are widowed or divorced, job skills will help. I’m glad she did that as both me and my husband wanted a stay at home wife and mother. You are right, circumstances change,

        I believe that Stephanie however does help her husband with things like his pod cast. I also think he is teaching via video courses so she’s probably assisting him there too. Perhaps later in the book she mentions this.

        I don’t think she’s a trad though She mentions friends both working and non working and from her appearance she probably may get exercise in the gym. She does mention letting her husband know where she is. I do that too( though I don’t ask .

        She is expecting her seventh child and hope all goes well with her. Writing is a vocation and although you may not agree with her views, looking forward to see if she continues.

  26. Carl,
    Thanks for posting her review here. I think the CWR readers need to be exposed to someone who challenges their assumptions, just a little at a time -too much at once might be overwhelming.

  27. Interesting to read an idealogue criticizing someone for being an idealogue. I am an educated woman who worked outside the home in what I considered serving God. I missed first steps, first teeth, first words. I pursued my own self interests at the expense of the interests of my husband, children and home. In a fit of rational thinking, I discovered the Traditional Church and only look back to wish I had known then what Stephanie is talking about now. Cory, you confuse power with authority. A good husband has loving authority in his home which nourishes a woman whose priorities are straight. Take it from experience, the lonely road that Cory paints is a road to nowhere.

  28. Interesting to read an idealogue criticizing someone for being an idealogue. I am an educated woman who worked outside the home in what I considered serving God. I missed first steps, first teeth, first words. I pursued my own self interests at the expense of the interests of my husband, children and home. In a fit of rational thinking, I discovered the Traditional Church and only look back to wish I had known then what Stephanie is talking about now. Abigail, you confuse power with authority. A good husband has loving authority in his home which nourishes a woman whose priorities are straight. Take it from experience, the lonely road that Abigail paints is a road to nowhere.

      • Does Francis lead ANY Church? Hasn’t he just recently called for a synod where the people themselves will define their Church? How, then, can Francis lead something the people have yet to define?

        So no. Francis is not a leader. Maybe a figurehead. A person holding a position. Leader? No.

  29. Bruhhh Ask Your Husband is THE BEST book ever written for young women! Don’t ever think that what Our Blessed Mother did wasn’t enough; don’t make the error of thinking you can be better than her by earning some degree and not being attentive to you husband and children. GOD SAVE THE PATRIARCHY & long live patriarchal power! Sincerely, a woman.

    • Don’t you find it hypocritical that she wrote a book that she’s selling for $25 a copy and telling women not to work and help their families financially? Don’t you find it insensitive to women who maybe work part time and leave kids with grandparents or family to help cover bills? No one has said that having a degree makes you better than the Blessed Mother – that’s such an absurd statement I’m not even sure where you came up with that. The book doesn’t have Catholic teaching in it. Live how you want to and know that others can do the same and still be good Catholics. Blessings.

    • So Diana, what are you going to do if your husband becomes ill and there are no men in the family to help you pay bills and support you or any children you may have? Will the patriarchy save you? Will you attend daily Mass and pray things will improve? Seriousl, God gave us right reason and prudence. It’s 2022 and we are in the USA. Aka reality.

      • The scenario you paint for ‘Diane-recently-widowed’ is one which my circle of friends recently experienced. The deceased husband, in his mid-thirties, had fathered six (all under age 10) with ‘Diane.’ ‘Diane,’ college grad, has minimal experience outside the home.

        The women in ‘Diane’s’ circle of homeschooled, traditionalist friends; her nuclear family; her brothers- and sisters-in-law’ and God have supported ‘widow-Diane’ far beyond her imagination. With God, all things are possible. Spiritual goods are far more valuable than material goods. ‘Widow-Diane’ has been blessed with both. The only thing she lacks is a loving spouse, but suitors aplenty early appeared, some men of means who recognize fruits and grandeur of a permanent association with a widow of faith and virtue. AKA reality, USA, 2022.

        • Meiron, I didn’t say widow, I said an ill husband. With a deceased husband the widow can collect life insurance. With an ill one, especially self-employed and therefore unable to collect disability, its next to impossible for a family to survive without a support system of relatives, close friends, and so forth. Without those people the wife simply must work, and should be prepared to do so. It’s common sense.

  30. It’s really a shame that this was the critical review that was published… given the state of the culture and family life I can see why a book like Ask Your Husband has a place. A less vitriolic, more critical and more understanding review would have been welcome.

    Sadly, this is what one can expect – Cath on Cath intellectual cage fighting.

  31. I agree that this author wrote a mean-spirited hit piece on another female Catholic writer. Cannot understand why she would makes personal digs in a book review. You do not need a Ph.D to write a good Catholic book. This reflects badly on Catholic World Report. I shall not support in future.

    • It didn’t seem mean spirited at all to many of us. She thoroughly went through the history and theology. The Gordon’s view is extreme and there’s a lot to respond to so maybe that’s why you see it as mean spirited. I thank God she wrote this and I think it’s excellent. Maybe the Gordon’s are nice people but they’re just wrong about a lot.

  32. The relationship Gordon is advocating is more like a child-concubine to a father-master. Listening to Gordon and Gordon on their YouTube channel, I get a Stepford-wife, adolescent, sex-obsessed, sick dominance-submission-kink vibe. It’s reactionary in the fullest evil of that term: Let’s look at what the God-hating feminists advocate, and mindlessly advocate the complete opposite, no matter how irrational and against common Sensus Catholicus, with absurd and tendentious interpretations of Scripture and the Council of Trent, even if it means spiritual and moral insanity, like calling it a mortal sin not to give in to your husbands sex requests (demands?) when exhausted and depressed, and to leave your home without your husband’s permission. This is what gives ammunition to other morally and spiritually deranged people with an axe to grind against anything traditional or in tension with progressivist woke liberalism, like the insufferable propagandist misologist Mark Shea. This is a scandalous book. Real women don’t act like servants of their husbands. And real husbands treat their wives like queens, not child-servants. Masculinity is not better than femininity. Men are not better than women. Angels are higher than humans and they serve humans. Jesus served all of us. “Daddy, May I leave home today to help Susan who is feeling overwhelmed today because she is gaining weight and her husband is angry with her, and rightfully so! How selfish of her!” “No dear, I’m in the mood and coming home early.” “Yes, master, I’m exhausted from homeschooling our 10 angels, but I’ll put on my best dress and make up and be fresh as a pie for you.” Disgusting.

    • Thaddeus,

      All that you wrote except about Mark Shea can be answered with Queen Isabella of Spain during the most recent traditional period of Catholicism(long ago). She seemed to have the skills necessary that the King lacked in many areas of government and had a free reign while still keeping to traditions.
      Most normal men can’t fathom abusing a woman if they have been raised properly. But then one runs into the screaming womb vacuuming feminist and doubts set in. There is a huge correction that needs to be made in this country and it is going to take Isabella’s and Joan of Arc’s to fix it. Women who really know their power, where it comes from and what it’s for. These two authors can work it out I am sure. We have to step back from the modernist cesspool and horrible habit of arguing on the ever-changing relatevistic terms.

  33. I disagree with the Gordons on their podcast calling out you and your author!
    PG
    paula g
    Thu 3/17/2022 7:54 AM


    To: carl@ignatius.com

    Hello,

    I listen to their show when I can handle their attitude, because there is something of worth to learn, usually.

    That said, I found their podcast calling out the article’s writer and you and your publication to be unprofessional. Their pot calls you black. How do they know your author lied, which is deliberate? How can they call out your editorial choices as unprofessional, and ask their listeners to write so that you change how you publish? (They wanted a “dialogue,” because they think that this is how CATHOLIC editors should act.). Tim Gordon calls your entire publication into question, because you did not act collegially to him, “protecting”” “your” authors.

    Frankly, I just hear “ Cancel Culture'” tactics from them, because they did not like your choices.

    Calling your author “bitter” was highly unprofessional on their part. I mean, how would they know this? If they followed their own criticism of you as an editor, they would have reached out to your author and had a dialogue before coming to this conclusion publicly.

    I could make more criticisms, but ugh, frankly their tone is consistently as know-it-alls, who seem so prideful. They may have good points, say, as to why Stephanie did not address Genesis 1-2, Also, your author may not have explained her calling out of “proof texting” with good examples. I am not going to address all the content of their podcast. Yet, their arguments are lost in their tactics, and demeanor of calling people out, which I find so toxic and prideful.

    iIt was painful to hear another painful podcast, with Stephanie’s scornful laughing at people, and them call out yet another person for not getting it and Tim calling out others with personal attacks and expecting others to MEET HIS DEMANDS. Everyone is doing it wrong and dialog must always happen on some terms he knows are right, others not being attuned to the Truth, which they see, and therefore laugh at and heap scorn at the enemies of the Truth, Christ. Until you see the error of your ways and join Team Gordon/Team Jesus.

    Save me from their righteousness, which calls people liars, unprofessional, bitter and calls for public apologies and cancelling by their followers, whip are Christ’s true followers.

    Best wishes, Pax Christi.

    Paula

    I would write this on their You Tube page, but I am banned from You Tube for this lifetime.

  34. Abigail, i am saddened at the tone of this article. Look at 1 Peter 1:22 and 1 Peter 4:8 where we are given the imperative love each other (fervently!) with a sincere heart. You know a ton about the subject matter, which is awesome.
    The author of The Imitation of Christ says that he would rather have compunction than know its definition. Indeed, this is as sincere as it gets and his entire work proves his sincerity as he goes on to teach common people, scholars and everyone in-between how to truly live the Christian life.
    I have not read Mrs. Gordon’s book but have seen her alongside her husband on numerous occasions and have noted that she is a lady (sassy for sure, and not in the impudent sense but lively), and that she and her husband are quite obviously very much in love and very much friends.
    Stephanie strikes me as good woman too, as you do. But your article struck me as angry and this militated against seriously considering your viewpoint, which is too bad because you had a lot to say with points to back it up. And you wrote with passion, which ended up being my favorite take from it all, although it’s obvious that wasn’t your goal, which was the best possible statement regarding the issue at hand.
    Camus wrote like one with a hidden wound that had an axe to grind (i’m not saying this is you, please don’t infer that, but am making a wider point), and Yeats like one who was never really loved and eternally longed for the Beatrice (Maud Gonne) who was ever beyond his reach. Anne Bradstreet sang in verse with all the unction of one who knew she was deeply loved while Sigrid Undset went infinitely deeper by communicating Love directly to her readers, like a tender mother for her children. Even Dostoevsky, in my opinion, doesn’t achieve this type of perfection.
    I hate seeing Catholic men fight amongst themselves on the internet, but it was especially hurtful to see it starting between good Catholic women from whom i desire a maternal and womanly spirit of gentleness we men in general simply do not possess, but rather need to see in order to corral and humanize our lower instincts and faculties.
    These are days of war –moral, social, political, military etc.– where most all the world is divided in an anti-Christian, anti-God and anti-human Hegelian dialectic (thesis-antithesis-synthesis) foisted upon us universally by powers that are not human but have near universal cooperation in media through human means. The basic underlying premise is the necessity of conflict, which has seeped into every fiber of society. As Christians we are not immune from this mentality but are given to fighting those we partly or even mostly agree with, even when we are all genuinely striving to know and live the truth to the best of our ability, which is a sine qua non for all Christians. The 17th chapter of John gives us the ideal here.
    Tim and Stephanie, i started watching your response shortly after reading this article and began to fear your response may not be as charitable as it should be either (maybe i’m wrong, but Abigail will know –she like both of you is a person), so i stopped watching and wrote this lengthy reply which i will also put on your YouTube site.
    Abigail you are obviously a sincere Catholic and mom and smart woman, like Stephanie. And although you two got off to a less than desirable start i think it would be better if the two of you personally discuss your views together, become friends (ideally) and work out what you both can intellectually. The truths to be found and expounded for the wider Church and world aren’t a relative synthesis, but objective truths in themselves. The Church needs this far more than another fight.
    Tim, you say you invite and welcome differing views in the Church without bias for anything but the truth, and i’ve seen you follow through on this. Man to Man i’m not telling you what to do, but it sure would be nice to see what these two women are able to do together in charity for the Church.
    Did you know that Flannery O’Connor used to sit in on critical discussions of her stories and would agree with various criticisms and make additional ones as to how the work could have been better?

  35. About the complexity and insidiousness of things (in Laudato Si, Pope Francis reminds us that “everything is connected!”), in the 1970s I worked as a middle-ranking functionary in a regional planning agency. In walks an expert from the new federal office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD, 1965)….Part of President Johnson’s “Great Society”!

    Says the oracle from HUD—-federal criteria for family eligibility for federally-backed home loan mortgages now will generously consider the incomes of BOTH the husband and the wife. A mandate for working wives and home-alone children?

    I inquired: “will the home prices simply rise to a higher level (economists call this “rent seeking”) matching the new money available? Of course not, says he…HUD has run their economics computer model [!] to disprove the well-known Law of Unintended Consequences.

    But, very soon, families now needed two incomes to afford a roof in the suburbs. Likewise, the STUDENT LOAN CRISIS….Our “institutions of higher learning” are fencing, for the banking industry, ever-larger loans to students (a virgin market segment!). And, with this new money tree, the colleges and universities are ever ready to respond by upping the cost of tuition. How else to support the burgeoning elite class of new administrators with corner offices, or support the new cottage industries on campus like studies in intersectionality or identity politics?

    So, as for how husbands and wives complement one another in MARRIAGE, no need to even bother about this in the future if the upcoming generation remains indentured servants to Joe Banker. And often infantile—some universities are becoming the largest day-care centers in the country, complete with abortion services.

    Then this: Brown University set the standard for recovery from the challenge of thought and real ideas on campus, felt to be “damaging” to the still-embryonic psyche. The campus SAFE SPACE [!] offered “cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh [not Plato], calming music, pillows, blankets, and a video of frolicking puppies” (New York Times (2016).

    Hello, I’m from the gummint and I’m here to help you! And “marriage,” what’s that?

  36. I try to stay away from women like this reviewer. I personally enjoyed Stephanie’s book. I grew up catholic in a secular environment. And I have started to think more like stephanie from reading the Bible and what it means to become a true woman of God. People are so offended these days but we live in a fallen world and people don’t want to hear truths. I have realized my role as a woman more and have been trying to unlearn catholic feminism. She quotes scripture and its plain as day but apparently thats not good enough for people. I would rather read a book like this from a woman who has a successful marriage and family who stands strong then an educated woman with a PhD. Education is not everything you don’t need to school to understand and live by the catholic faith.

    • Dear Kris, Gordon’s book is just terrible.

      I don’t have a PhD, I’m a Catholic SAHM and homeschooler who thinks that when a woman has a child, she owes it to her child to stay home, whatever the sacrifices may be…IMO, only extreme necessity should drive her from a young child’s side, our kids need us.

      In my own limited reading time as a mom, I can assure you, this book is terrible, I couldn’t believe how bad it was from the first page. Don’t waste your time. Leila Lawler’s book is so much better, she is older (more-experienced, wiser, all her kids are grown). I think it takes some serious hubris to try to write a book guiding other women when you haven’t finished raising all of your kids yet: there is still a lot you don’t know at Tim and Stephanie’s stage, and we don’t know what fruit their philosophy will bear in their children’s lives yet.

      Remember, we can’t MAKE our children choose the good, even the best parent can’t make a child choose the good, due to the gift of free will…but a toxic home environment makes it that much more likely that a child will stray from the Way. I’m very concerned about their home life reading this book.

  37. “If having guidelines on “how to be a Catholic wife” is so importnat, why did the Church wait 1,500 years to draw them up?”
    .
    Ah, It just occurred to me why the Catholic Church addresses so very little “how to be a Catholic wife”. I assume the Church would like to avoid exceptionally contentious arguements.

      • From the article over at One Peter Five:
        .
        ***
        Gordon says that the quote from the Catechism of the Council of Trent mentioned above is the “only definitive catechetical statement by the church on the matter” of the duties of a wife (p. 8) and it was written nearly five hundred years ago. She argues that the clergy and influential Catholic writers have widely ignored the subject and failed to instruct the faithful on this “basic Christian teaching.”
        ***
        https://onepeterfive.com/ask-your-husband-a-guide-for-catholic-femininity/
        ***
        I am of course aware that St. Paul wrote concerning wives two thousand years ago, and it consititutes part of Church teaching, but he didn’t write an entire book detailing how to go about “being Catholic”. Neither has the Church. And it would appear for good reason. The above book review has generated at least 176 comments here. A Youtube video over there (with all thsoe comments). Articles at One Peter Five and Where is Peter. There is undoubted a Tik Tok somewhere.
        .
        Steph Gordon (and husband Tim) are getting a lot of free publicity. It’s rather funny. Sad, but also rather funny

        • Kathryn, you said: “I am of course aware that St. Paul wrote concerning wives two thousand years ago, and it consititutes part of Church teaching, but he didn’t write an entire book detailing how to go about “being Catholic”

          But if you read Steph’s book, it is all based on Scripture and on the teachings of the Church. And yes, she did cite Popes from the 20th century.

          What Steph wrote was to show that the feminist garbage that supposedly Christian women have been giving us is precisely that : garbage that does not line up with Scripture nor with the magisterial pronouncements of the Church.

          Favale was not honest in her review. And if she was honest, then she either did not comprehend the book or did not fully read the book.

          Stephanie gave so many Scriptural support (and they are not proof texts) for her arguments. What Stephanie is hoping to do is to basically proclaim from the rooftops Catholic teaching that so many no longer think are still Catholic teaching. She scripture, the Fathers of the Church and the Papal teaching to back her.

          I am taking issue with what Favale wrote so I can say that I know what I am taking issue with.

          Unless you have read the book, then you are most likely taking issue with AYH based only on what Favale wrote.

          So please, do watch two episodes at Tim Gordon’s you tube channel.

          One was their video when they launched the book. The other was their response to this article by Favale. If their attitude ticks you off, put that aside and just listen to what is being said. Their arguments are solid and very rational. They make a very, very good case and make mincemeat of this review by Favale.

        • Hi Kathryn, sorry second reply as I failed to address your note about St Paul writing 2000 years ago.

          When people say that, it’s like saying, well that was so old that no longer applies. But that is not true. Scripture is scripture and if it is true then truth does not change just because it was stated 2000 years ago.

          Far too often, you hear ” but the world has changed. That’s not how society is now”.

          But we are not Christians so we can follow the “world” who according to Jesus is under the dominion of the devil. Nor are we supposed to follow society considering that there are so much evil that society accepts as good.

          We follow Christ. And we know about Christ through Scripture and Tradition. And it is precisely Scripture and Tradition that Stephanie uses to make her case.

          Just have a look at the lectionary. Whenever Eph 5 is read, there is an option for the shorter version where the part about the wife submitting to the husband has been removed. My niece did that at her wedding. My priest did that at Sunday Mass. We have become a Church that is afraid of the truth because it is inconvenient because it goes against what we want.

          That is why Steph wrote this. And thank God she did.

  38. This woman is brave to write a review trying to tear down the myopic fundamentalism that some call “traditional.”

    It’s amusing that so many responding to this article make pains to tell Dr. Favale that she should ‘know her place’ or that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Too clearly they yearn for those fictitious days in which their ideas were never questioned, and in fact, by sheer coincidence (or rather providence), everything they told their wives to do was ordained by God.

    I know we all get bummed out by the articles written by woke twitter feminazis calling for the death of all men, but let’s not think that swerving into some fictitious version of 1950s America is what’s going to save society.

  39. Thanks for such a complete and thorough take down. What a complete embarrassment that book is to femininity, Catholicism, and all common sense. I can tell many reviewers who criticize your credentials have given themselves Ph.Ds in whataboutism. I mean, I guess that’s…something? Nothing? Less than nothing in a self-detracting sort of way IDK

    • If you watch the Gordons response to this review, you will find out that it was Abigail that thoroughly taken down… a peg or two.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmSpzmzXKyk

      My favourite part in the video is at 1:27 where Steph says that at your work you are totally dispensable. They could sack you today and find perhaps a more competent replacement tomorrow. But at home you are essential. Your family needs you. At home.

  40. Peter,

    I agree that the economy isn’t as favorable to husbands and wives and families as it was, in say, the 1950s. The middle class has been decimated. The entire economy is set up around dual income families, whereas this wasn’t the case before the 1960s. I spent years trying to understand what happened, and who was to blame for this mess-Hudge, Gudge, or both? What if I know for certain who was to blame? Is it in my power to fix it by casting a vote or contributing to the right PAC? Or by faithfully watching CNN or Fox? I really doubt it, after further reflection. What I can change is within my sphere of influence, which is much smaller than I imagine.

    Ultimately, God chose us to be alive right now, not in the 1950s, to draw closer to him, and to draw others thru example and words. This culture war crap is largely a distraction from our individual mission, right here, right now.

    • Mike G, this is Peter…

      Thank you for your wise response to my earlier comment, and with which I fully agree. As for drawing others through words, as you propose, back in 2014 yours truly was asked by family members of the victimized generation to put into words–what is missing today, what is the “big lie” that has taken its place, and what is this betrayal doing to families?

      Not really a professional writer, nevertheless I cobbled together some words in A GENERATION ABANDONED (2017), many of them pithy quotes and narratives gleaned from others, and which I thought might break through the had shell of business-as-usual, both secular and ecclesial.

      For whatever its worth–this collection of words–here’s the link to a 2018 author interview graciously provided by Catholic World Report (a publication which every day is incomparably inviting to words/comments from its readers):
      https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2018/03/29/a-generation-abandoned-why-whatever-is-not-enough/

  41. For the sake of order, harmony and efficiency, It is natural to have one individual in charge in any group. This does not make this individual superior or more important. And this happens when love reigns in this group., and love is all about reaching out, caring, serving and even humbling oneself. Jesus showed us this love. So, in Christian families, there should be this understanding and acceptance.

  42. Father said, enough. Let both sides take comfort we all got off easy. But everyone take his advice now. Besides fear of God, it’s also Lent. I can say sorry first. Watch.

    I am sorry I may have provoked anyone.

  43. Thank you for this review. It’s shocking to see the outrage at your very measured and reasonable analysis. Almost as shocking (and ahistorical) as Gordon’s misconception of the role of women within Christendom.

  44. You owe Mrs. Gordon an apology. An hit-piece coming from CWR is very unbecoming to both the author of the piece, and the editor who approved it. Disagree all you like. But this commentary was an angry, demeaning, low-blow. Shame on you for putting it out into the world. Wow.

  45. One definition of love (Yes, I know that you won’t find it in the Bible) is: “Love is that gift of self that makes the other more perfectly themself.” It is the Father’s gift of Himself that makes the Son perfectly Son. It is a total gift. The Father does not retain power over the Son. It may be surprising to hear, but St. John of the Cross described the way in which God loves the soul united to Him: ” In this interior union God communicates himself to the soul with such genuine love that neither the affection of a mother, with which she so tenderly caresses her child, nor a brother’s love, nor any friendship is comparable to it. The tenderness and truth of love by which the immense Father favors and exalts this humble and loving soul reaches such a degree – O wonderful thing, worthy of all our awe and admiration! – that the Father himself becomes subject to her for her exaltation, as though he were her servant and she his lord. And he is as solicitous in favoring her as he would be if he were her slave and she his god. So profound is the humility and sweetness of God!
    “In this communication of love, he exercises in some way that very service that he says in the Gospel he will render to his elect in heaven; that is, girding himself and passing from one to another, he will minister to them [Lk. 12:37]. He is occupied here in favoring and caressing the soul like a mother who ministers to her child and nurses it at her own breasts. The soul thereby comes to know the truth of Isaiah’s words: You shall be carried at the breast of God and upon his knees you will be caressed [Is. 66:12].” (Spir. Cantl. 27, Intro.) If this is the way God loves the soul, then the Son will love the Church in the same way, and this relationship of the Son to the Church is the model St. Paul gives for Catholic marriage. This is holy ground. Take off your sandals before treading there.

    • Perfect.

      Mary, in her Magnificat, talks of her soul magnifying the Lord. That defies logic if and only if God had not first honored Mary beyond comprehension. Similarly, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit crown Mary as Queen of Heaven and earth; they honor and exalt the beauty of a perfected humanity.

      Would that all humanity could know such love. We’d all be barefoot.

  46. I’d be curious to read what Favale believes are the rights of men and the duties of women toward them. It sounds like she believes men and women are interchangeable. The Church says men and women aren’t interchangeable though, so Gordon is at least in the ball park and talking about the actual issue. Favale isn’t even in the parking lot.

  47. The review makes references to this work by Edith Stein. The Institute of Carmelite Studies has this edition:

    Essays On Woman (The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 2)

    Second Edition, revised (1996)
    Edith Stein (Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) 
Translated by Freda Mary Oben, Ph.D.

    Edith Stein’s writings on woman are the fruit of both reflection and debate with other leaders of the Catholic feminist movement in German-speaking countries between the World Wars. Edith Stein has been called one of the most significant German-Jewish women of the 20th century. 
    Includes topical and place index.

    ICS code: ICS-ESW
    Format: paperback
    Pages: 304
    ISBN: 978-0-935216-59-2

  48. How does the Gordons’ understanding of marriage sanctify the husband? I can see that the wife may be sanctified by what she is called to endure, but how is the husband sanctified? There is no holiness without humility, and I don’t see how the husband practices humility. Yes, he works to support the family, which can be very demanding, but that doesn’t automatically make him a humble person. Wielding authority is known to be spiritually dangerous. “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
    I would also like to know what Mr. and Mrs. Gordon think of Bl. Anna Maria Taigi. From what I know of her she practiced the kind of reverence toward her husband that Mrs. Gordon demands. I believe one account says that she treated him “like Jesus Christ”. But how would Mr. Gordon handle it if he came home to find his house filled with priests and even Cardinals who came to talk with his wife?

  49. The husband must have given his permission somewhere there. Very humble.

    Can you imagine Cardinals and that lot and the Pope having to bear his scrutiny. Might we say then that in the eyes of God he paved the way for his wife Blessed Anna.

        • So you are just imagining what happened based on your own preferences. Thank you for the clarification.
          As far as Bl. Anna Maria’s husband “paving the way for his wife,” her confessor knew before she was married that God destined her to be a mystic. It did not happen through her husband.

          • Elias Galy, I can’t reply to your reply, so I will post my reply here. God works directly in the soul. He was working in Anna Maria’s soul before she was married, and He didn’t transfer His work to anyone, neither the confessor nor her husband. He works in the same way in everyone. He can use other people as conduits of His graces, but the union of wills with Him is His work alone and it is this union that makes the saints.

          • Anne Marie, the thing is, I don’t believe I have suggested or am suggesting anything contrary to faith, or humility, or marriage, or personal sanctity, or spiritual direction, or Scripture.

            Moreover, what am pointing to is right and is its own justification. It doesn’t really need me, so to speak, for it to be established.

            Your question about a husband’s humility can be read generally, to every spouse. Marriage is a shared reality that is supposed to proceed within a sanctity proper to it. God is in there too, He is the first to permit anything; and the spouses owe it to one another according to their places.

            So that when we read St. Paul on marriage, we understand it better in that he is describing the context of a unique patterning with God: this way with husband and this way with wife.

            God doesn’t leave out spouses. So in St. Joseph’s dream, for example, he discovered it was time to move; now to Egypt, now back to Nazareth. This kind of exercise of absolute power is most praiseworthy indeed. It tells you how very near to God you find St. Joseph.

            St. Joseph paved the way.

            I am not saying that I am so good! Of course each case will be unique but like the Taigi case, it will have its own kinds of merits.

            On the other hand, St. Rita’s case reveals that things do not always go as they should; but the sacrament sustains the marital sanctity in spite of everything.

            St. Thomas More’s wife resisted his decision to stand firm against the king. Or, at least, she made a play if he could change his mind. She couldn’t quite bring herself to be a pillar for her husband, outright. What do I make of it? No! It’s more to the point to repeat what he told her, because, it’s proper to them: “Alice, you have the heart of a lion!”

  50. I am curious to know how much research Mrs. Gordon did into St. Gianna Molla to declare her sinful for working as a doctor.

    St Gianna died in the 1960’s. Her children are still living and her husband died only about 12 years ago or so. Pietro, her husband , allowed their letters to be published, which gave evidence that they had a loving, Christ centered relationship. Pietro did not give evidence of wanting St. Gianna to repent or convert. They were a true example of a Christ centered marriage of mutual love.

    There doesn’t seem to be any actual evidence of a marital conflict due to the so called sinfulness of St. Gianna being a doctor.

    Why make things up?

    • Elias Galy, This is where discernment of spirits is needed. God’s will can seem hard, and we need to accept it even when it seems hard. But if you think that the devil cannot trick you in this matter, then I fear that you have succumbed to his wiles. The devil is quite capable of tempting you to do what is difficult by making it seem to be God’s will. He can trick people into a misguided heroism under the appearance of doing God’s will. This is far more dangerous than tricking people into sin because people are more liable to repent of sin than they are to repent of what seems to be good but what is in fact diabolical. This kind of tempting is at the basis of spiritual abuse, which is finally beginning to be recognized as a serious problem. Spiritual abuse can exist in marriage as well as in other relationships.

      • That might be true Sr. Gabriela of the Incarnation. It depends on the circumstances. It could be why Fr. Peter Morello gave an indication that the discussion should proceed more carefully than it was going.

        But I would add also, the points in Escriva’s booklets like THE WAY or FURROW, are meant for reflection. They’re not published as marching orders. And the one from FURROW I offered above, was repeated in the same spirit.

        But let the reader take inspiration from the saint!

        Here is Escriva in THE FORGE -:

        ‘ Work with humility. I mean, count first on God’s blessings, which will not fail you. Then, on your good desires, on your work plans — and on your difficulties! Do not forget that among those difficulties you must always include your own lack of holiness.

        -You will be a good instrument if every day you struggle to be better. ‘

        https://www.escrivaworks.org/book/the_forge/point/821

          • Yes Sr. that also is true. I’m don’t see how it affects the discussion here, on either of the sides. Does Gordon not follow her direction? Favale?

            Meantime we mustn’t read the saints “unless we belong to this or that organ with a director”? And not take inspiration from the saints?

  51. I’m a Catholic mother and homemaker, so I thought this would be an interesting read. Yet as I continued to flip through the pages, I felt a sinking in my stomach. I recognized Scripture being taken out of context. I felt the tone was harsh, aggressive, and even cruel at times. How does any of that imitate Mary? I even began to read sections out loud to my husband in order to process together and why it was bothering me so. For the first time in over a decade, my husband told me to stop reading a book. He was horrified by the way Mrs. Gordon wove kernels of truth with extremism presented as doctrine. What a twisting of Church teaching and tradition! There are so many authors and speakers who write about domesticity and gender with truth, gentleness, and conviction. Mrs. Gordon intertwines messages of being a “good Christian woman” with stories where she demeans and insults women. These are not Christ like. It is not a joke to put women down in order to build yourself up. The Disney story in particular was when we both slammed the book closed. Like many have suggested here, we then watched the YouTube response where they claimed Stephanie was gentle and kind and this article was catty?! Quite the opposite. She interrupted often, was shrill, and made Leticia attacks. I don’t see how that is very feminine, and I certainly didn’t see personal attacks in this article. This book is dangerous, for all the points you’ve explained. I implore people to stop promoting it.

  52. I have read the book as well as your take on it. I can appreciate that you have a different opinion, I think (as has been pointed out) there are several reporting errors on this article that should be corrected soon.

    I have 6 children, I am also a convert. I do also believe that at times in our lives the Lord speaks to us, and we are lead to new understanding and new inspirations in our faith. I pray that you are lead to at least consider some of the points that you read in the book or perhaps reach out to the Gordon’s and have a charitable talk on the subject.

  53. The book link to TAN, at the bottom of Favale’s article, goes to an error 404 page. Maybe TAN pulled Gordon’s book? I was going to take a look at the chapter titles. The book in AMAZON has no preview features on its contents.

    If Gordon’s book is a legitimate expression of an instance of authentic marital union, then we would have been too hard on them about it. See the discussion by Favale above, on Casti Connubi.

    Among the “sources” identified by Pius XI, in Casti Connubi, are God’s Will and the will of man (meaning husband and wife). Grace conditions the latter and it is always going to be unique. The human institution is “lifted up” in its dimensions.

    On the other hand, discussing it would require special attention to modesty and discreteness, protecting its unique character in the intimacy of the spouses. There would be some limit since the purpose of marriage is not an instantaneous apotheosis /exaltation.

    ‘ 9. Therefore the sacred partnership of true marriage is constituted both by the will of God and the will of man. From God comes the very institution of marriage, the ends for which it was instituted, the laws that govern it, the blessings that flow from it; while man, through generous surrender of his own person made to another for the whole span of life, becomes, with the help and cooperation of God, the author of each particular marriage, with the duties and blessings annexed thereto from divine institution. ‘

    https://www.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_19301231_casti-connubii.html

  54. This article is a hit piece and a disgrace, there should be an apology issued to the Gordons and go back and look at what the Popes taught about mothers…

  55. Wow, I double checked one comment on this review and found it false. After a few paragraphs of repeatedly putting words in the Authors mouth, I figured I would fact check. The author absolutely quotes from JPII, you claim the opposite. The entire review is very unprofessional, uncharitable, and in many instances dishonest. Shame on you.

    • “The author absolutely quotes from JPII, you claim the opposite.”

      Dr. Favale wrote:

      Gordon disregards any Church teaching on women and marriage produced over the last century, including all of St. John Paul II’s encyclicals, letters, as well as his rich catechesis known as the theology of the body, arguably the most in-depth theology of sexual difference in Catholic tradition. Yet Gordon sweeps this all aside, claiming the Church has fallen into “silence.”

      Having read Mrs. Gordon’s book, I can say that this description of her dismissive, even accusatory, approach to John Paul II is completely accurate. For example (and I quote at length to show how Gordon handles such matters):

      Gordon describes the quote as a “gloss”, but it certainly doesn’t fit any definition of a gloss, coming as it does in the opening section (no. 2) of John Paul II’s “Letter to Women”; it is not presented in the margins or as a footnote. And then note the openly dismissive remark by Gordon: “But let’s imagine … but what of it?” In fact, all of Gordon’s remarks on John Paul II are spent dismissing them as worthy of being taken seriously because of supposed “contradictions” and “discrepancies”.

      As Favale correctly notes, Gordon makes no mention of the Theology of the Body, which is quite essential in understanding John Paul II’s deeply Scriptural and T/traditional understanding of men and women, marriage, sexuality, etc. That’s unfortunate, but it’s also quite convenient.

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