Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Life and Death

What an odd experience it is. Today I visited one of my parishioner families that just had their first baby; it was truly a joy to be there with them. Then, this evening, I visited another family to try to comfort them as their father and husband was leaving this world. Life, and death, on the same day. It is odd, and also amazing to see God's hand in these things. He encourages with life, and He comforts with death; He is always present. I do not even want to imagine what these things would be like without His presence. Yet, I am somewhat forced to do so.

Our society is riding a train with no brakes, and it is heading towards a cliff where the bridge is out. So many people care little to nothing about new life, and they want to snuff it out even unto those last moments when it is about to come from the womb. At the same time (and in the same way) they have no hope at the end of life. From numerous different philosophical viewpoints, we have been told for decades now that life really does not matter (and for more than a century we have been told that life is just an accidental conglomeration of cells) so having lost hope for life, they claim that there is no reason to seek to maintain it.

Hope for life is so fundamental to our humanity that we as Christians almost take it for granted until it is forced into our faces. The world wants us to forget hope and just throw up our hands with Nietzsche. The question is not whether we will do so, but whether we are accepting and believing those theories and ideas that move us in that direction. If we merely take God's word at face value and accept all that it tells us (without allowing science to catechize us) then we will see that life is not accidental. We will see that life must be protected from the point of conception and that when life reaches its end, there can be hope if we know where to look.

What an odd experience it was. This afternoon I held a baby that was less than eight hours old. This evening I touched a life that was over 80 years old, right before it ended. Life--ushered in, and escorted out by God and His angels; it is remarkable in how fragile it is, as well as how precious it is. I am reminded of the episode of that series "Lost" where a baby is born to one of the main characters at the same time that another character is dying; and right after the music that is playing is a tune called "Life and Death". Each one precious; each one in God's hands.

Do we sense the tenderness of life each day? We need to realize that God's caring hand is on us in each of those moments, just as much as that baby when he was born, and that man when he died. It is vital for us to recognize the hand of God in the trials, the pains, and even the mundane moments. I counseled someone recently who was asking about suicide. He had forgotten about the hand of God in his life. When we despair of hope, it is always because we have forgotten (or ignored) the hand of God. Seeing Him working with us, and for us, is what makes everything different. It is what enables us to look beyond the cloud of confusion that the devil throws at us, and instead see that we are here because God has put us here. That alone can make life, and death, all worth it.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Is a Homily Required in the Mass?

How would you feel if you attended a weekday Mass and the priest did not give a homily? Would it surprise you? Would you feel disappointed? Maybe even a bit cheated? Interestingly, that did not used to be the case many years ago. In fact it used to be fairly common for a weekday Mass not to have a homily. Our modern practice where there is a homily at every Mass is something of a novelty, and it can possibly lead to an errant understanding of the Mass.

What is the Mass for? We all know (though some know it better than others) that the Mass is not supposed to be for entertainment. It is not supposed to be amusing at all. It should be interesting, yes, but that is not the same as playful entertainment. Then, we can ask again, what is the Mass for? It is for the adoration and glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not an exaggeration to say that God is the audience and we are the performers in the Mass. When we get this point turned around, then everything will get messed up, and we cannot be sure that we are truly worshipping God (rather than some idol of our minds).

The modernist perspective on the Mass says that the people are the audience and the priest, altar boys and other ministers are the entertainers. Because of this, modernists are always seeking to catch the attention of the people and so they seek new and interesting ways to draw people in. Notice please, that if the people are the audience and the priest (and others) are the entertainers, we have to ask, "where is God in this paradigm?" If, however, the priest and all people are the "performers" and God is the audience, then it changes our entire perspective on both what the priest is supposed to be doing (especially which direction he is supposed to be facing) as well as the people's part in the Mass.

The homily, as it is understood in most protestant traditions, is the center of the worship experience. I recall when I was a Presbyterian pastor; I would spend about 15 hours a week preparing the sermon for Sunday services. Of course, the sermon was almost an hour long every week. But then, that makes sense with their theology. If the focus is teaching from the pastor, then that is where the effort is going to be put. These days, I do not spend as much time in homily preparation (usually closer to about 4 hours), and my homilies are closer to about 10 minutes. It is not a compromise, it is a theological issue.

What is the center of the Mass? No one reading this should be surprised if I say it is the Eucharist. Yet, what has happened lately is that modernism has infected our thinking. Churches are designed to focus on the priest, and liturgy rules are broken in order to focus on the priest. The end result is, the purpose of the Mass has been moved to focus on the priest (and not on Christ our Lord). Hearing the priest speak his own words has become one of the central points of the Mass.

Furthermore, when the priest is facing the people during both the homily and the consecration, it is hard to notice that there is a significant difference in what is going on. The priest is not speaking to God in the homily, he is speaking to the people (so, of course, he faces the people). Yet, if he also faces the people during the consecration is it hard not to think that he is speaking to them. If, however, the priest is doing the consecration while facing God, the people realize that the words said at that time are not directed primarily toward them, but toward God. The Mass is all about Christ giving Himself to us, and it is not about the priest showing himself to us. This backwards focus has caused many priests to think (and thus many of the laity to think) that much of the Mass is for the priest to say "look at me!"

Therefore, back to my original point. What about a Mass where no homily is given? Is it a rip-off? No. It is supposed to be for the purpose of keeping our attention on what really matters: the sacrifice of Christ brought forward in time to that moment, right there on that very same altar. It is possible that some priests will "skip" the homily because they are lazy, tired, or just did not want to prepare one, but that is not the only reason a weekday Mass would not have a homily (Sundays and solemnities are required to have a homily). It could also be because the priest wants the words of the Scripture readings to speak for themselves, and for the real focus to be obvious; Christ sacrificed for us and given to us, in reality, right there in our midst.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Setting Aside the Law of God

Talking with a friend a number of years ago, I was mentioning to him that God wants us to obey certain rules because He always wants what is best for us. My friend then proceeded to ask, "but what if we figure out a better way to do things?" At the time, the idea had never actually crossed my mind. I did not, however, think that it was a good question. There are so many levels that this is wrong, it is a bit hard to describe.

First, to imagine that we could be smarter than God is a bit disgusting. If God is all-knowing, then where would that put us? Just the thought that we could be wiser than God shows a massive degree of hubris in the person and is enough to make your head swim. Secondly, how could we invent something that God had never thought of? Yes, men are creative, but that does not mean that our creativity could surprise the Lord. That is somewhat the point of God's commands: He gives them to us because He knows that all the other "options" only lead to pain and sadness.

In the gospel reading for the Mass a few days ago, we are told about Jesus' rebuke against the Jews for developing traditions that negate God's laws. In essence, Jesus is telling them that they should not think that they can come up with a better set of rules than God. The Lord says, "do not do such-and-such", and if we later say, "such-and-such is really cool, and it may be better for us", then we are denying the wisdom and knowledge of God.

In truth, we all know that we need to obey the rules that God has given us through the Church. When we try to "adjust" the rules, or even come up with a few of our own, we are not showing respect for the things of God. God's rules are always fairly clear, but if we try to find ways to avoid them that means we have to justify for our rejection of them. If we look at the rules that God has given us, and find that they are a bit tough to obey, we are supposed to ask for help; not seek ways to compromise.

So what would make someone think that they could come up with a rule or commandment to improve upon what God has said? It is doubtful that anyone actually thinks this way. What likely happens is that someone finds God's rules difficult, and then he "rewrites" them in his head. We all know that it is easier if we make up the rules ourselves! After all, that means we can design them any way we want. It is often thought that the Pharisees in the first century were obsessed with the law of God; actually they disliked the law of God and wanted to replace it with their own.

Are we much different? Do we seek out little ways to "adjust" God's laws to fit our preferences? If we find ourselves deciding to "fudge" when we encounter a difficult rule that the Church has given us, then we are prone to this very sin. "Bending the rules" is not a sign of someone who is dedicated to Christ, nor is it the sign of someone who is on the path of holiness. What is your attitude to the commands of God? Do you seek ways to get around them? Turn from this path now. Do not "stretch" the rules. Seek the path of righteousness, and our Lord will grant you His grace.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

An Irrational Fool

I am irrational. At least that is what I was once told by an atheist. I was telling him that I really do give priority to what the word of God says over what anything else says (I actually first used the phrase "any unreliable source with no authority" but he seemed a bit offended so I toned it down to "anything else" after that). He insisted that the only way to think about anything at all is using our own mental abilities and never rely on anything that is "ungrounded" (he later elaborated on this phrase by saying we should not rely on "personal ideas" because they are "ungrounded").

For the moment, let me leave out the fact that his denial of the existence of God is, in itself, a "personal idea" that is "ungrounded". I tried to make the point for him that his thoughts were never solely "rational" (relying only on technical logical thought) since he had his own presuppositions (whether he knew it or not). It was this point that he could not get. His obsession with the idea that "rational thought" was always perfectly neutral had blinded him to the limitations of "rational thought". Idols tend to do things like that.

It is true that we are supposed to use our rational thought processes when we think about things. The Church has never denied this. Yet, it is also true that our minds are not perfectly logical machines (sin effects every part of our being). We can (and often do) make mistakes. As I have said before, science (supposedly a "perfect" exercise in rationality) changes so often that it should be evident that it cannot be relied on to help us with anything more than a "good guess" (and those are often errant!).

In one sense it would be completely accurate to say that I am not exactly "rational" because I do not use just my rational thought to think, but also my faith, which is not necessarily "rational". When we think of what "rational" means, it is evident why atheists, pagans, and heathens would want to imagine that "rationality" has such super powers. Yet, for those of us who know that there is more to the world than what we can see with our eyes, we realize that rationality is severely limited. We realize that faith must come into play.

So my "irrationality" is something that I will wear proudly. I refuse to limit myself to a fallen mental process that is insufficient to discover all that this created universe has to show us. Instead I choose, willingly and gladly, to submit my "rationality" to what faith can discover. As St. Paul said "We are fools for Christ’s sake" (1 Cor 4:10). I will happily be considered a "fool" if it means that I have refused the wisdom of this world for the sake of the perfect wisdom and knowledge of Christ my Lord. Let us be thankful that the world considers us to be "fools".

When I came to you, brethren, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in much fear and trembling; and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:1-8).

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Vague Words (again!)

I have been thinking a bit lately about the recent decision of Pope Francis to sign a document that stated that God "willed" that there be a multiplicity of religions. I suppose this could be accurate if we are thinking about the tower of Babel -- but that was not a good thing--it was a punishment! I have said before that it is a sad state of things when we have to spend time trying to find an orthodox way to take the words of our Holy Pontiff, but that is where we are at. I, personally, have grown so tired of doing it that I usually let others go about it, and just do my best to put little emphasis on these problematic comments and keep my focus on Christ.

Whatever Francis meant by signing that document (orthodox or not), the entire experience of being grieved by the words of our Pope on a regular basis can really wear us down. What adds to this difficulty is that, for one reason or another, few Bishops are speaking out against the harm that Francis is causing. I am not surprised that many say they are concerned whether the Pope is in a state of grace or not. I am not the one to judge this, but it does give me cause to pray for his soul (and possibly his conversion to the Catholic faith). I am not just aiming at bashing Francis or any of the other Bishops and Cardinals who behave in similar compromised fashion; rather, we are all forced to deal with these repeated problems, and I cannot say nothing.

I recall a quote from the 19th century that I read a while back:
"That which is difficult to obtain by employing defined words becomes easy when using vague words which, depending on the state of mind of those who read or hear them, comprise an absolutely opposed meaning".
In other words, of you say something vague enough you can make people hear whatever they want to hear. I sincerely pray to our Lord that this is not what Francis is doing at times, yet it does feel that way. I am encouraged each day to remember that of all the bad that the devil can throw against the Church, nothing he does will ever destroy her. It is remarkable how often I tell myself that.

I am also reminded of a quote from St. Pius X, where he pointed out that "modernists" (which is, by the way, still a bad thing to be) will intentionally hide their false doctrines in "certain ambiguous words and nebulous formulae to catch the incautious in their snares..." Once again the brilliance of that great Saint is shown clearly. He warned us about how things were developing back in the early 20th century, and it seems as though few in the Church paid attention.

So my encouragement to everyone is try not to get too caught up in trying to find the orthodoxy (or the unorthodoxy) in the Holy Father's statements. Unless we see a genuine repentance (or maybe a retirement!?), these things will likely continue. Therefore, just keep reminding yourself that we are dependent on Christ and not on anyone else. Remind yourself that no error is too big for Jesus to conquer. Finally, keep your focus on that great testimony of our Lord when He ascended into Heaven:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Idol of Politics

A long time ago in ancient Europe, and for a while here in America, when a town was built, the Church was usually placed at the very center and everything revolved around it. This was both practical and symbolic. Since everyone saw their church as the center of their lives (after all, what could be more important than your eternal destiny?), they wanted it to be right there where it was visible and accessible. Then (I am not exactly sure when), towns began to be designed a bit differently; they put the courthouse at the center of the town square, and the churches all got pushed further out.

It may seem to some like this is just a technical point, but there is something very specific going on here. Christianity was losing its influence, and the state was becoming more and more the key player in society. This is not to say that there was never a problem with statism (the idea that the civil state is the primary authority in all existence) before these things started happening. There have always been those kings and politicians who wanted to be worshipped (think of Pharaoh). Yet, in a society like America, where things were founded on (moderately) Christian principles, it is very revealing to see this change take place.

Even the media seems to portray for us that the most important thing to impact our lives is what is going on politically (the "State of the Union" speech is center stage; what about the "State of the Church"?). This perspective here in these United States has spread so efficiently, that most do not even know that they have bought into it. In fact, there is an odd consequence of this trend: today it seems politicians want to teach us morals, and clergy want to teach us politics. Is something going on here? No, I do not mean every politician or every clergyman, but I do mean a large percentage of them.

The Christians in America, a few generations back, largely handed over the responsibility of caring for the poor to the civil government (it is what we call, "welfare and social security"). When this happened, the government became a Nanny; and, of course, Nannies have to teach and guide and train, so American politicians quickly switched from implementing moral truth that was taught by the Church, to teaching its own understanding of what moral truth is. From there, the slippery slope is easy to see. As soon as statism takes a firm seat at the table, socialism is likely going to follow soon after.

I think I know what it is that has helped this philosophy to take such a firm hold on people today. We have been brainwashed to believe that politics is the most important thing in the world. This is why many clergymen (who are not supposed to be "the politicians of the Church") who believe that politics is the key to the universe often try to "play politician". How many homilies have you heard recently that come across as more of a political commentary than an admonition to self-sacrificial holiness?

As usual, I must clarify so that no misunderstandings can occur here. The civil government is not supposed to be "amoral" or aim at some foolish neutrality in ethical issues (which is what many politicians claim to be doing today--which only goes to show how completely confused they are). Neither are clergymen supposed to be silent on whether a politician or a law is morally right. Each is supposed to be active in the arena of the other. The issue is how are they active? If they are active by confusing their proper roles, then something is amiss.

If priests are constantly preaching about political issues ("this policy is good; this senator is bad") then they are also giving in to the idea that politics is the center of our existence. When politicians are constantly telling us that they know what is good and moral, then they are wanting us to believe that they can decide on morality on their own. Show me a clergyman who preaches clearly about holiness and I will show you someone who is equipping his people to know whether a politician is moral or not. Show me a politician who says, "I don't trust my own judgment on morality, but I will listen to the authentic Magisterium of the Church" and I will show you someone who can be trusted to lead.

In the grand scheme of things, politics does not matter (there, I said it!). Yes, it matters whether a politician is promoting an immoral political scheme (as the majority are today), but what goes on in politics has a relatively small impact on society when compared with religion. Consider this for a moment: does your governor, or the speaker of the house, or the president have an impact on your eternal destiny? Sure, laws and politicians have an impact on how much of your hard earned money you can keep, and how many personal freedoms you have, but how much do those things effect your faith in God (unless you choose to give them more power than they are supposed to have!)?

There are two basic reasons why so many people have fallen for the error that politics is the "biggest authority on earth". First, we have been taught for generations now that the government will solve all our problems, so now we have begun to believe it. Second: once you abandon faith in the God Who can solve our problems, you have to look elsewhere for a new "savior" and politicians would love for you to think that they are that very thing! When we lose faith in God, we always transfer our faith to someone or something else. Of all the false gods that the devil offers, it seems that the state is the one that taking a front seat today. Let us not give in to the idols of this age.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A Novus Ordo Mass in the Ordinariate?

St. George is an Ordinariate Parish. This means that we are not a part of the local diocese, but under the authority of a different jurisdiction within the Catholic Church. Our Bishop is in Houston, Texas, where our Cathedral -- Our Lady of Walsingham -- is located. As you probably know, our normal form of the Mass is called, "Divine Worship". This form of the Mass is Latin Rite (as are the Extraordinary and Ordinary forms), but it is a descendent of the ancient Sarum Missal in England (which was originally developed by Augustine of Canterbury in the 7th century).

Our rules and norms that were given to us by Rome, also state, however, that we can say the Ordinary Form (a.k.a. the Novus Ordo) in our parishes. I gave this some thought recently. It would be an understatement for me to point out that I prefer the Divine Worship Form, but I contemplated what a Novus Ordo would look like when done according to the Ordinariate rules for celebration of the Mass. I also contemplated what it would be like if I were to observe the Novus Ordo exactly according to the rubrics that are listed in the Missal.

It would definitely not look like the way that it is being celebrated in a large percentage of Catholic parishes today. There are a number of practices that are used in parishes these days that have been "grandfathered" in, though they are not what was technically a part of the original plans. I am not trying here to criticize those practices (I have done that before), but I am saying that in the Ordinariate we have a different way of doing things, and those practices would be fully maintained. Also, I have some traditional practices that I prefer in the Mass (many of which come from the Extraordinary Form). What, therefore, would a Novus Ordo Mass done like that look like?

Here are some of the details (in no special order) that I came up with--though there could be more:
1) Although some parts would be in English, the Canon (i.e. the "Eucharistic Prayer") would be said in Latin.
2) Since here at St. George there is not a "freestanding" altar (it is always and only attached to the back wall) it would be said "ad orientem" (with the priest facing the tabernacle when he speaks to God, and facing the people when he speaks to them).
3) There would be only altar boys (girl-altar-boys are not allowed in the Ordinariate).
4) There would be no Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (here at St. George I always serve by intinction, and the laity are not allowed to assist with communion served that way).
5) Communion would be received kneeling, at the rail, and on the tongue.6) There would be no "peace greeting" that is allowed in the Novus Ordo, except the initial priest to people, "the peace of the Lord be with you always...and with your spirit".
7) There would be no "carrying the gifts forward" that is allowed in the Novus Ordo.
8) The singing for the Mass would be done in Anglican Plainsong Chant (a form of Gregorian Chant), with no hymns or pop-tunes.
I was not there when the original decisions were made to develop the Novus Ordo form, but I wonder how much of what is done today was a part of their expectations. I do know that one Cardinal who was present at Vatican II was said to have commented about the Divine Worship Mass as "this is what we thought we were getting with the Novus Ordo". If Pope Francis is correct when he commented that the Novus Ordo "is here to stay", then I wonder if this description above is what it would look like after a century of corrections. It is certainly something to think about (and pray about).

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Pastoral Accompaniment

In Church circles we often hear about the need for priests to be willing to "accompany" their people. Taken at face value, there is nothing wrong with this idea. There is a significant problem, however, when we realize that some have taken the idea of "accompaniment" and changed it to mean something that it does not normally mean. Technically, the term "accompany" means to be present with someone; all good and well. There are some, however, who have decided to dump foreign ideas into the word that causes many to hear it and think of something other than what is correct.

"Accompaniment" has, to many people today (including some clergy, sadly) come to mean to support a person in their current state, regardless of whether it is right or not. It is almost as though the idea of calling someone to repentance has been done away with. According to this view, no longer are priests supposed to lead people to turn from their sins, rather they are supposed to be a "shoulder to lean on" and a "supportive buddy" who will just pat them on the hand and say "it'll be OK, don't worry".

I recall an incident where one priest said to another priest, "those people need someone to accompany them". The second priest stated that he was doing everything he could to "be there for them" and give them guidance whenever he could. The first priest said, "that's not accompaniment; they don't need guidance, they need someone to support them right where they are, not tell them to change". What's wrong with this picture? Am I the only one who sees this as compromise? If you are about to drink poison and I tell you "it'll be OK" am I helping or hurting?

When people are hurting, it is true that they need support. They need their priest to come alongside and show them that he is "there for them". They need someone willing to listen and seek to be sympathetic to their difficulties. If, however, those difficulties came about because of their sinful choices, and they are now encountering the temporal consequences of their behavior, guidance is precisely what they need. A priest needs to "accompany" them by letting them know that he is sorry for what they are having to endure but that there are ways to avoid it in the future.

Yes, it is true that a priest should not unload a burden of corrections on those who are suffering (at least not right at the very beginning, or all at one time). Yet, if he does not come to them with guidance, he is not truly accompanying them. Rather we could say that he is abandoning them! What kind of "accompaniment" allows a person to continue in error that will lead to further problems? Imagine for a moment an organist providing accompaniment for a chant in Mass. Now try to picture that the cantor is off key and the organist does nothing to correct it; he just plays but ignores the problem. Will we have a beautiful piece of music? No. Take it one step further. Imagine that the cantor is off key and the organist chooses to ignore the notes for the chant and plays off key exactly like the cantor.

Both of the images in the previous paragraph are describing what the modern idea of "accompaniment" looks like in the pastoral setting. We would not consider either of those to be proper accompaniment. Instead, we would expect the organist to stop and speak to the cantor, "ummm, sorry, but that's not the correct key". Is he being rude or insensitive for doing so? Only a self-centered cantor would think that. A priest is not "accompanying" if he just smiles at someone in their sin and says, "it'll be OK". He accompanies by being available, speaking to them, giving counsel, and letting them know that he is willing to help them to find the path to holiness and joy in Christ. This is what the laity should expect from their priests, and this is what every priest should provide.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Do We Really Want Gender Equality?

The man apparently turned himself in to the police (good job!), but when the video first came out of the "hulking brute" (the exact words of the news report) who violently slugged two women on the street who were trying to calm him down, people went nuts. Please withhold judgment for just a minute on the point I am making. I am not saying that people should have been cheering him on, no. I just find it to be surprising that anyone is shocked at this. What should we expect when we have been flooded with images of "tough women" in the media, and where young girls are encouraged to be soldiers and play on boy's football teams?

Take for example the portrayal of women that is being given in movies so much lately. How many times have we heard an actress say how great it is to "play a strong woman who can fight" or laud a female character "who can kick butt"? We see these actresses who are "tough" themselves playing roles that display women going fist to fist with men and, (at least in the story), showing themselves to be stronger and more physically adept. This is sometimes even the case when the men clearly outweigh them by about 100 pounds.

So, we are being shown all these "tough women" in movie situations (many of which are performing feats way beyond reality) and we get used to it. We become accustomed to thinking of women as "just one of the guys". How many movies these days show women in brutal combat positions performing with just as much strength as the guy who is 6' 4" and weighs 250 pounds? How often have we been shown female marines being treated as "just a soldier, regardless of sex"? The more we get used to the idea, the more we will play it out in real life. The intent (I presume) of those who choose this scenario for the movies is to encourage women to be strong and achieve an equal status in all things with the men.

The unexpected result (which is clear) is what is seen in the news story I referred to (and it is probably happening a whole lot more than we realize). Of course people will actually begin to treat women as "one of the guys". How much of a fervor would there have been in the news story if this "hulking brute" had punched two men? Most would have said nothing more than "he got in a fight", correct? So if we really want women to be "equal in all things" and to be strong fighters right along side the men, then why is anyone complaining that this man treated these two women as "one of the guys"? Is it because they are shorter than he? Not likely; many of the "tough women" of the movies are these skinny little things with barely any muscle (but somehow in the story writer's view of the world, they can still hold their own in a battle with all kinds of monsters!).

The point I am making is this: we all know that men and women are not genuinely "equal in all respects", and when that inequality (which was designed by God for our good) comes to the surface, we cannot ignore it. Those who want women soldiers should not say anything about a man violently punching a woman who confronted him. She put herself out there, right? If, however, you realize that God wants us to value and appreciate the differences between men and women, then you will want to allow those differences to be recognized by society and become the practice of all.

As I have said before, let men be men, and let women be women. Only there can we really "reach our full potential". Only when we reject feminism's foolish concept of "equality" can we really be able to find the proper equality that God calls us to; equality as baptized people before Christ our Lord. In this world, egalitarian ideals do not work, and they always lead to abuse; abuse that is both physical and spiritual. We need to see these "tough women" roles for what they are: an attack on femininity, an attack on womanhood, and an attack on godly order.