The Philosophy of Woman of St. Thomas Aquinas
|Free eBook: Liturgical Year 2023-2024, Vol. 3
Beginning in this issue, F&R is privileged to present a two-part series on St. Thomas' philosophy of woman, which is a condensation of a doctoral dissertation accepted this year at the University of St. Thomas (Angelicum) in Rome. The author, Kristin M. Popik, is the first woman to receive the Ph.D. in philosophy from that institution. She will present a conclusion on St. Thomas’ view of the woman’s place in civil society and the family in the spring.
On the topic itself, only one point need be stressed. St. Thomas drew for some of his basic premises on the biological presuppositions of Aristotle, presuppositions, which color the presentation in a manner unfavorable to the female sex. Those parts of the presentation influenced most heavily by Aristotle are highly interesting but, especially in our time, unsettling and ultimately, unsatisfying. What is remarkable is St. Thomas’ conclusion on the role grace plays in overcoming biological deficiencies of any type and his acute understanding of the male/female relationship vis-a-vis Christ himself.
Another word about the format of the article: readers will note that all quotations are in the original Latin. This change from F&R's usual policy, and other minor shifts in appearance, are explained by the fact that the series will be published separately in Europe. Readers who do not know Latin may be assured that Dr. Popik has included all-important quoted points in the surrounding English.
25 566: "...cumque experientia nostra videamus multum quamplurimos praelatos pessime providere ecclesiis, beneficiis in temporibus sibi competentibus; si papa male in suo mense, episcopi saepissime pejus in suo, non providentes ecclesiis, sed personis, nec personis moribus, et litteris adornatis, nisi bene paucis, sed nepotibus, servitoribus et hujusmodi." Juan further stated that examples of this can be seen in the Council itself.
26 566: "Quid ergo esset, si tota ecclesiarum dispositio eorum providentia plenaria committeretur: currentibus temporibus praesentibus, et considerata dispositione mundi, salva reverentia eorum, timendum esset, quod major corruptio esset in ecclesia. Nec valet fuga quorumdam decentium, quod tunc papa posset eos corrigere; papa vero peccans non haberet corrigentem; tum primo, quia nullus esset ausus, aut paucissimi accusare apiscopos apud papam; praesertim in abusibus commissis contemplatione dominorum terrae. Item quis se vellet laboribus, periculis et expensis se exponere ad episcopos accusandum? papa autem non corrigeret nisi accusata, vel certa sibi; certa autem non possunt esse sibi mala per alios praelatos commissa lege communi, nisi per denunciationem factam, et ita correctio esset incerta."
27 567: "primo, ecclesiis pessime provisis per ordinaries, non posset commode de melioribus provideri. Tum etiam emergentibus casibus, ex quibus ecclesiae possent inferri gravamina, vel aliis causis imminentibus, ut puta ratione pacis iniendae, ratione haeresis extirpandae, ratione malitiae eligentium refraenandae, ratione violentiae principum quandoque populsandae, quandoque etiam ratione principum voluntati justae complacendi; quibus omnibus impedimentis maxima commoditas populi Christi communis esset impedita...."
28 568: "...tale decretum ex rationibus supra assignatis non cedit in commune bonum universalis ecclesiae; sed tantum videtur deservire commodis temporalibus aliquorum ordinariorum, amicorum, et familiarum suorum, qui tali decreto posito arbitrantur citius, et pinguius promoveri..."
29 568: "Gloria quidem et auxilium episcoporum est ipsa sedes apostolica."
30 580: "Si denique omnis occasio abusuum in ecclesia esset auferendae, cum nostris demeritis innumeri sint in ecclesia praelati, archiepiscopi, episcopi, abbates abutentes sua potestate; apud quem remaneret ista potestas?" 581: "Corrigantur ergo abusus per eum, ad quem spectat, et maneat intacta liberaque ipsa potestas ad bene agendum,"
31 590: "licet illud petant multi vel quia non patiuntur bene subesse, vel subalernari superiori; vel quia multi inde sperant suae cupiditati plenius satisfieri, aut quia ab ordinariis sperant, alii citius vel pinguius promoveri; alii vero habentes bonum zelum, sed existimo quod non secundum scientiam ducti, credentes per hanc viam melius ecclesiae Dei provideri."
Part One: The Nature Of Woman
The first question to be settled in a discussion of St. Thomas Aquinas' philosophy of woman is whether or not he actually had a philosophy of woman. True, the Angelic Doctor never wrote a treatise On Woman, nor is any significant section of his works devoted to the development of this topic. But he does mention women, in the universal or in particular, in hundreds of places in his writings, and when discussing a myriad of other subjects. Moreover, most of these references either reflect a definite attitude about the female sex, or, what is more, indicate part of a cohesive theory of woman, complete with substantiating arguments. In fact, although St. Thomas never apparently attempted to develop a philosophy of woman, what he says about woman in different works, at various periods of his life, and most importantly in diverse contexts, holds together as though he had worked out a whole synthetic philosophy of woman. Although he might be the most surprised to hear of it, St. Thomas Aquinas did have a philosophy of woman.
But while it is one unified theory, Thomas' philosophy of woman is two-sided, and in such a way that it might appear at first contradictory: somehow (and the determination of exactly how is the aim of this study) woman is both equal to man in nature and yet inferior; in their relationship she is subject to man but as his equal. This ambivalence is clearly not the same as that displayed by the Fathers of the Church in their writings. As a whole, patristic texts dealing with woman tend to be non-theoretical. Primarily concerned with the encouragement of virtue and the promotion of the life of perfection, the Fathers' statements about woman, depending on the audiences to which they are addressed, alternate between vile condemnations of woman as temptress and instrument of the devil, and exaggerated praises of woman and womanly virtue, especially as exhibited by Mary and the female saints. As ideal, Christian Woman is made an object of worship, and this of course encourages the women to whom St. Jerome, for example, is writing in their attempts to live up to this ideal. Woman as the source of all sin, trouble, and suffering for man is repudiated in those patristic writings addressed to monks, in order to encourage them in their repudiation of the world and women, in their celibate perfection. But St. Thomas is concerned neither with praising nor condemning woman; his writings are philosophical treatises, not pastoral enjoinders. For him woman is another part of reality to be scientifically investigated in order to discover her nature and her relation to the rest of reality.
The Fathers, then, do not exert much direct influence on Thomas’ philosophy of woman; they contribute some help with the exegesis of Scriptural texts concerning woman, and they define some truths of the Faith which in turn influence St. Thomas, but it is not what they say about woman per se that influences Thomas. The two most important influences on Thomas’ thought about woman were his Faith and his "Philosopher", Aristotle. No doubt also influenced, as we all are, by contemporary culture—by the attitudes of his day and the actual role of woman in medieval society—Thomas nevertheless substantiates his statements about woman almost exclusively by references either to Aristotle or to Sacred Scripture, by arguments from his revealed Faith or from Aristotle's biology and philosophy.
It would not be correct, however, to assume that these two influences on the mind of St. Thomas are each solely responsible for one of the halves of his ambivalent theory about woman. While it is true that Thomas inherits from Aristotle the femina est mas occasionatus formula and much of his argumentation for woman's inferiority, it is the same Aristotle whose arguments Aquinas uses to substantiate the fundamental specific equality of men and women as humans, and on whose political and economic philosophy Aquinas bases his theory that the woman is subject to the man as an equal in the household and civil society. And while it is undeniable that Christianity contributed greatly to the position of woman in both the theoretical and the practical orders, and that it is his Christian faith that marks Thomas off from Aristotle, Aquinas is nonetheless well-supplied with Christian teachings and arguments that woman is inferior and subject to man, notably those of St. Paul. As is the case with the whole of Thomas' philosophy, his theory of woman is correctly if perhaps simplistically characterized as a Christian Aristotelianism, but that does not mean it is merely a softening of Aristotelian misogynism with the Christian liberation of the woman: it is a complex synthesis of the two traditions, in both of which are found elements popularly believed to exist only in the other.
The first part of this study will concentrate on the nature of woman for St. Thomas, what femininity is and how woman compares with man in nature. Left for the second part is the question of how woman relates to man: her position in relation to man and in society.
Essential Equality Of All Humans
A study of the nature of woman for St. Thomas must begin with his theory of the essential or specific equality of all human beings For him woman is not a species inferior to man; both belong to the same species and have the same nature: they are essentially equal. This is seen in the works of Aquinas in his theory of the rational soul (possessed by both men and women) as the substantial form of all humans: in his description of sexual difference as something that pertains not to the form but to the matter or body; in his assertion that both men and women have the image of God by virtue of their common intellectual nature; by his argument for the necessity of woman to complete human nature; and by his teaching that men and women have the same supernatural end and the same means to attain that end.
For Aquinas as for Aristotle, man is a composition of soul and body and yet one substantial unit; the relationship between the soul and the body is the act-potency relationship of form and matter. The human soul as form actuates the body, making it alive and making it a human body, comprising with the matter or body one supposit, man. Although simple, immaterial, subsistent, and incorruptible, the human soul differs from other subsistent forms by its own nature which is to form and be united with a human body; the human soul then is both subsistent thing and substantial form, it is the first act of the body, and gives the body its act of existing, its mode of existing, and being simply.1
But the form of a thing determines its nature or essence, gives the thing its definition, and makes it part of a species.2 What a thing is, then. is determined by the form of that thing, not specifically by its matter. Since men and women both have the same substantial form of rational soul, they have the same human nature, they are essentially equal and belong to the same species.3
In his Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics Thomas directly discusses this question of woman being in the same species as man. Although male and female are contraries, and specific difference always has the nature of conrareity, Thomas agrees with Aristotle that women do not differ specifically from men. Only the kind of contrareity that pertains to form causes difference between species; since the contrareity of male and female pertains not to form but to matter, it is incapable of differentiating species: "Unde relinquitur quod masculus et femina non differant secundum formam, nec sunt diversa secundum speciem."4 Men and women then have the same substantial form making them be what they are. Hence they are the same type of being; they are equal in essence.
This fundamental equality of men and women in their nature as humans is confirmed by St. Thomas in his discussions of the image of God, which is in all men. The image of God chiefly consists in intellectual nature: it is with respect to the soul of man (in which there is no difference of sex), not with respect to his body, that he is made in the image of God.5 Since all men, both males and females, are formed by a rational soul, they all have the image of God by reason of their intellectual nature.6
The image of God in man, Thomas explains, consists in the ability of man's intellectual nature to imitate God precisely in God's understanding and loving of Himself. There are three degrees of this imitation: all men are the image of God by possession of their intellectual nature; further, the just men imitate God to a greater degree through grace; and lastly, in the state of glory the blessed imitate God's love and knowledge of Himself perfectly.7 It is clear that women are excluded from none of these three degrees of imitating God: they share the same intellectual nature as man, they can benefit from the same grace, and through it, attain the state of the blessed.8
To the objection that not all men have the image of God since woman, who "is an individual of the human species" is said by St. Paul to be the image not of God but only of man, St. Thomas answers that the intellectual nature which is the "principle signification" of the image, and the cause or condition of all three ways of being in the image of God, is found both in men and in women.9
Only when "the image of God" is defined in a secondary or accidental way can it be seen to be participated more perfectly by men than by women. Since God is the beginning and end of every creature, and man is the beginning and end of woman (who is made of him and for him), there is seen in this analogy an accidental way in which man is the image of God and woman is not.10 But since here the image of God does not refer to the essence of men and women, but to some accidental characteristic of men, its being denied of women does not signify an essential but merely an accidental difference between men and women.
In his Commentary on St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians, in direct answer to Paul’s saying that while man is the image and glory of God, woman is the glory of man, Thomas refers to Galatians 3:28 in his assertion that the image refers to the soul wherein there is no distinction of sex, and hence that the image cannot be applied to men more than to women:
Sed contra hoc obiicitur, quia imago Dei attenditur in homine secundum spiritum, in quo non est differentia maris et foeminae, ut dicitur Col. 3:11 [Gal. 3:28], Non ergo magis debet dici, quod vir dicitur imago Dei, quam mulier.11
Here again Aquinas admits that man alone and not woman can be said to be the image of God as long as the image refers to some accidental characteristic of man and not to his nature, as for example his being the principle of his species as God is the principle of all being, or his possession of stronger rational faculties than woman ("in eo ratio magis viget").12 But he is careful to reaffirm immediately that the image, which principally refers to the intellectual nature of man, is had by both men and women. He cleverly distinguishes between image and glory, noting that while Paul said that woman is the glory of man, he did not say that she is the image of man: this shows that Paul is not denying that both are the image of God.
Sed melius dicendum est quod Apostolus signanter loquitur. Nam de viro dixit, quod vir imago et gloria Dei est: de muliere autem non dixit, quod esset imago et gloria viri, sed solum quod est gloria viri, ut detur intelligi quod esse imaginem Dei, commune est viro et mulieri: esse autem gloriam Dei immediate proprium est viri.13
St. Thomas’ judgment that the image of God is equally seen in men and women shows more than just the fact that for him they are equal in this honor; it also confirms that they do not differ specifically but rather have the same nature. The image of God is equally predicated of men and of women because of their intellectual nature or their souls: they have the same intellectual nature or essence conferred by the same substantial soul as form. That this is so for St. Thomas is especially apparent when he attempts to "save" the teachings of St. Paul which appear to deny the image of God to women: Thomas must redefine the image of God to refer to some accidental characteristic in order to avoid either contradicting St. Paul or denying the essential equality of men and women.
In his treatments of the creation of the first humans and their condition before the fall,14 St. Thomas further evidences the essential equality between men and women, this time from the point of view of the necessity of woman to human nature and her inclusion in the original Divine intention. In opposition to some of the earlier Fathers who see as consequences of sin not only human copulation, but also sexual differentiation, the female sex, and even human bodies, Thomas teaches that man was originally created bisexual and that generation by copulation would have been natural before the fall.15 These are natural to man, and what is natural is neither acquired nor forfeited by sin.16
Since it is part of human nature that it be bisexual, woman is necessary for the common good, and intended as an essential part of human nature.
Necessarium fuit feminam fieri, sicut Scriptura dicit, in adiutorium viri: non quidem in adiutorium alicuius alterius operis, ut quidam dixerunt, cum ad quodlibet aliud opus convenientius iuvari possit vir per alium virum quam per mulierem; sed in adiutorium generationis.17
This passage is sometimes interpreted to suggest that woman is no more than a slave or tool used by man: since men can be better assisted by other men in all things except generation women exist only to help men in generation. But Thomas is not in this article attempting a definition of woman's role; he is attempting to prove that woman is absolutely necessary for human nature, and that it was therefore fitting that she be created along with man from the beginning. Against those who say that woman is a mistake, and that she arrived only after sin caused nature to be defective, Aquinas must find some basis for her necessity to human nature and hence for her being originally intended and created by God. He finds this basis in generation, for which, it is true, woman is absolutely necessary, unlike other activities for which one sex does not need the other. In fact sexual distinction is ordained to generation, and this distinction is a perfection of human nature. Aquinas is proving that it was part of God's intention that mankind be so perfected, that it be bisexual; since the man was made first, the question is asked in terms of the necessity of woman. The answer is given that she was necessary to human nature, originally intended by God and not a mistake, originally created by Him in the first production of things, and that her creation perfected human nature which was until that time incomplete and imperfect.18
In a similar vein, Aquinas argues that women as well as men would have been generated by human reproduction before the fall, if such reproduction had taken place.
Nihil eorum quae ad complementum humanae naturae pertinent, in statu innocentiae defuisset. Sicut autem ad perfectionem universi pertinent diversi gradus rerum, ita etiam diversitas sexus est ad perfectionem humanae naturae. Et ideo in status innocentiae uterque sexus per generationem productus fuisset.19
Although some had argued that the generation of a female is the result of some defect and hence would not have occurred in the state of innocence which was free from defects, Thomas answers that woman, that is the existence of both sexes, completes and perfects human nature; hence humans of both sexes would have been generated naturally before the fall.
If woman is originally intended by God as a necessary part of human nature, and if the addition of her existence to the man's perfects and completes human nature, it is evident that for St. Thomas she equally with him is part of human nature. Human nature is not just masculine human nature, to which the woman is either a specifically different addition or an inferior afterthought; human nature is bisexual and men and women share the same nature.
All of St. Thomas' teachings on the supernatural end of men and women, and on their equal access to the grace which makes possible that end, confirm that they are equal in nature. The end of man is the perfect happiness, which is found only in the knowledge and love of God, and both men and women are directed by their same nature to that same ultimate end. 20 Women as well as men are made by God precisely for the eternal happiness of the beatific vision; and since for St. Thomas God never confers any power for operation without conferring also those things necessary for the exercise of the operation,21 women have the same potestatem in gratia as men.22 They have the same title as men do to receive divine grace as the means to salvation and the same aptitude to attain eternal beatitude.
Both are saved by the grace of Christ, before which there is no distinction between male and female:
Neque vir est sine muliere in Domino, scilicet in gratia Domini nostri Iesu Christi, neque mulier sine viro, quia uterque per gratiam Dei salvatur, secundum illud Ga. 3:27: Quicumque in Christo baptizati estis, Christum induistis. Et postea subdit: Non est masculus, neque femina, scilicet differens in gratia Christi.23
In his commentary on this passage from Galatians, Aquinas makes it explicit that sex makes no difference as far as sharing in the effect of baptism is concerned, and that this is the meaning of "In Christ there is neither male nor female." All Christians, male and female, form part of the Mystical Body of Christ.24
In explaining the Pauline passage that states woman will be saved through childbearing if she perseveres in faith, love, holiness, and sobriety, Thomas says that this refers to two different salvations. Woman's temporal salvation (her being saved from the annihilation justly demanded by her sin) is on account of her necessity in generation: her eternal salvation, however, is achieved through the persevering in faith, love, holiness, and sobriety.
...duplex est salus, scilicet temporalis, et haec est communis etiam brutis; alia est aeterna, et haec est propria hominum.....Utramque autem salutem mulier non amisit.
Non temporalem, quia statim non privatur sexu muliebri propter generationem prolis. Nec aeternam, quia secundum animam capax est gratiae et gloriae. Et ideo quantum ad primum dicitur salvabitur, id est, non extirpabitur, et hoc per generationem filiorum, ad quam est a Deo ordinata. Quantum ad secundum dicit si permanserit...25
The reason why women exist as females is for childbearing: there is no other purpose to femininity. Thus woman was "saved" from annihilation because of this role. But the end of every woman as human, as a person, is her eternal happiness; she is equal to the man in having this end, in ability to gain the grace necessary for this end, and in the requirements of virtue in order to attain it.
St. Thomas interprets many aspects of Christ's life as reflecting this notion that women can be saved equally with men. It is proper he says that Christ's birth was announced to men of all conditions, rich and poor, men and women, Jew and Gentile, in order to show that no condition of man excludes him from Christ's redemption. This announcement in fact is a "foreshadowing" of the salvation effected by Christ which concerned all sorts and conditions of men.26
Similarly Thomas defends as "most becoming" that Christ should be born of a woman in order to ennoble the entire human race. As Christ liberated the nobler sex by assuming human nature in the male sex, so too he liberated the female sex by being born of a woman "lest the female sex should be despised."27
Thomas explains that Christ appeared first after his Resurrection to women instead of to men as an indication that women can benefit by salvation; they are not to be despised because of the sin of Eve. The announcement of the Resurrection to women signified woman's absolution from ignominy, the removal of the curse brought on her by Eve's sin: it signified that woman too is saved by that Resurrection. (28)
Furthermore, this reward for woman's greater love refers to our future reward, which women may obtain equally with men or even to a greater degree. The women to whom Christ appeared loved him more than the apostles did and thus they were rewarded by the announcement: so too if women display greater virtue and greater love for Christ, they will attain greater glory in heaven.29
Women, then, for Aquinas are essentially and fundamentally equal to men: they have the same substantial form, which determines them specifically and essentially, and their difference arises from their bodies not their souls: both participate the image of God because of their nature; woman is necessary to the completion and perfection of human nature, and is directed equally with man to the same supernatural end, concerning which there is neither difference nor discrimination because of sex.
Sexual Differentiation And Feminine Inferiority
As has been indicated, the difference between men and women for St. Thomas arises not from their souls or substantial form, but from their bodies or matter: the difference is a physical one, accidental and not specific.30 Thomas considered women to be less strong physically than men: references to the "weaker sex" and to the "frailty" of the female body are found in his writings.31 Women are of a frailer complexion and have weak temperaments, he says.32 But this relative weakness is not the primary difference between men and women; in fact, it is a consequence of their sexual or biological difference.
Sexual differentiation is ordained to generation: indeed the whole reason why mankind is divided into male and female, why there are two sexes, is for generation. (33) Thus it is to the activity of generation, to the roles, which males and females play in generation, that Aquinas looks in order to determine the natures of masculinity and femininity and how they are related to each other. Like Aristotle, Thomas identifies the male as the active principle in generation and the female as the passive principle, given the necessity of both an active and a passive principle in every act of generation. "In omni enim generatione requiritur virtus activa et passiva"34 is his starting principle, and since animals (unlike plants) are divided into two sexes, it seems that the sexes correspond to the two principles required: "Animalibus vero perfectis competit virtus activa generationis secundum sexum masculinum, virtus vero passiva secundum sexum feminimum."35 No doubt the observed activity of males compared to the relative passivity of females in the sexual act influenced this identification of the male with the active and the female with the passive principles of generation itself, of the generated being, given that all generation or change occurs as the actualization of a potency.
Natura non distingueret ad opus generationis sexum maris et feminae, nisi esset distincta operatio maris ab operatione feminae. In generatione autem distinguitur operatio agentis et patientis. Unde relinquitur quod tota virus activa, sit ex parte maris, passio autem ex parte feminae.36
As passive principle of the generated being, the female supplies the matter or passive element, thought to be menstrual blood; the male seed as active principle supplies the form, actualizes the matter, and in fact does the generating with the matter supplied by the female:37 "Habet autem hoc naturalis conditio, quod in generatione animalis femina materiam ministret, ex parte autem maris sit activum principium in generatione."38 The supplying of the matter is all that is required for motherhood for Thomas, and the extent of the female's role in the generation of offspring.
For St. Thomas, it is through the active or male generative principle that original sin is transmitted, hence he concludes that if Eve only had sinned, we would not have inherited the sin, since she as the merely passive principle cannot have passed it on, and Adam could not have conferred what he himself did not have.39 The male seed then does all determination in generation; the female contributes the matter but plays no active part.
From this definition of the masculine and feminine sexes as the active and the passive principles in the generation of any offspring, it is obvious that Aquinas is constrained to see masculinity as the superior perfection to femininity, since activity is superior to passivity.40 Since generation is the one activity in which males and females cooperate precisely as males and as females, it is their respective roles in this activity, which indicate the relative perfection of masculinity and femininity. Since the male as active principle does the generating of the offspring, forming the matter supplied by the female, conferring on it its soul, and actualizing it as a new living being, the masculine sex as active is superior to the feminine, which plays no role other that merely supplying the blood which gets transformed and actualized by the male seed. Men, then, as possessors of the superior masculine quality, are superior to women who lack this masculine active quality and are merely passive: "Sed mulier naturaliter est minoris virtutis et dignitatis quam vir: semper enim honorabilis est agens patiente..."41
It is the definition of the female as the passive principle in generation, which leads to the celebrated Aristotelian "femina est mas occasionatus." Since the active force in the male seeds tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex, the production of a female must arise because of something going wrong in generation, and hence she is defective, accidentally begotten, a misbegotten male.42 Following Aristotle, Thomas suggests that ineptness of the matter, a defect or weakness of the active form, or even the direction of the wind might interfere with the natural course of generating a male and result in an imperfectly generated offspring, a female.43 The intention in any generative act is to generate a male, since the active principle tends to a perfect likeness of itself, and that active principle is the male. The generation of a female then is accidental, unintended and defective since she is the result of some defect.
It might appear that this characterization of females in general as unintended defects contradicts Aquinas' saying that woman was originally intended by God as a completion and perfection of human nature. The objection is raised 44 that since God originally made nothing defective, perhaps it was not fitting for God to have created woman in the first production of things; furthermore, how could He have intended her to exist and made her exist if she is unintended, accidental and occasionata, if her existence is a mistake? Aquinas answers that the female is occasionata or unintended according to particular nature but that she is intended by universal nature. God as the efficient cause and author of nature intends both that there be females in order to perfect the species, and that in a certain number of individual cases generation results in the production of females. But how this intention is carried out is by the frustration of the general tendency in the male principle as formal cause to form the offspring as a male. Femininity in general is not unintended, nor is the generation of individual females against the intention of God. In fact, that the tendency of the male active principle in generation to produce a male be frustrated in about one-half of the cases is intended by God, the author of nature, whence the tendency of the nature of a species as a whole derives. The female then is occasionata, accidental or unintended in that her generation is against the natural tendency of generation. She is not accidental or unintended in the sense of a mistake, one who is not intended to exist but does.45 With this distinction Aquinas saves both the Aristotelian notion of the male as the active principle of generation, always tending to the production of a male, and his belief that women as well as men are intended by God as essential and perfecting parts of human nature.
But while they are not unintended "mistakes" females nevertheless are generated accidentally; they are females instead of males precisely because of some defect or interference with the natural tendency in generation. Hence Aquinas agrees with Aristotle that women are occasionatae or accidental insofar as they are generated against the tendency of nature; he disagrees however, with the conclusion that they are for this reason unintended to exist and a mistake.
Aquinas also disagrees with the characterization of femininity as a defect. Unlike Aristotle, Aquinas must make his theory coincide with his belief in an original state of innocence in which no defect was present but women were. Aquinas admits that females do not necessarily result from an error or defect, saying that they could also be generated as the result of some totally exterior condition, even the will of the parents.46 But while they are not defects or unintended mistakes for Aquinas, women are generated accidentally, they are the result of some interference with the natural tendency to produce males, and this is for him further evidence of the inferiority of the female sex.
The primary reason, then, for the inferiority of women to men is the inferiority of femininity to masculinity. Femininity is inferior because it is passivity in relation to masculine activity, and because it is occasionata: the female is generated accidentally or against the tendency of nature. Hence within any species the female is inferior to the male. "Sexus masculinus est nobilior quam sexus femineus."47 Because the female is an imperfect animal, only male animals were allowed by the Old Law for use in the sacrificial holocaust, the most perfect of sacrifices. (48) Because of the superiority of the male sex, it was this sex, which Christ assumed instead of the inferior female sex.49 And most importantly for this study, the inferiority of the female sex transfers to the human species as an inferiority of women to men. As humans men and women are equal; insofar as they differ, that is as males and females, the men are superior to the women because the masculine sex is more perfect that the feminine sex.
But St. Thomas must not be interpreted as defining femininity as a lesser degree of the same perfection, which in its fullness is masculinity. Aristotle had described femininity as an impotence or a lack of the ability to concoct the seed which is the active generative principle.50 The male seed is concocted from the same substance as menstrual blood, and masculinity consists in the ability to concoct from surplus blood the seed which is the active principle in generation. Females are impotent to concoct seed and hence unable to be active generators; their surplus blood is either expelled from the body or used for matter by the male seed when it generates. Hence femininity is a lesser degree of the same quality as masculinity: females are those deprived of the ability to concoct seed.51 Aristotle's description of the generation of females confirms his conception of the female as a deformed or not-quite-perfectly-masculine male. He lists the various degrees of failure that the active principle in generation may exhibit, from a male offspring who resembles his mother, through a female offspring, all the way to a "monster" who resembles his father in no way,52 definitely suggesting that for him femininity is a lesser degree of masculinity. In generating a female, the father simply activates the matter to a lesser degree; he as active principle exercises over the matter less control and hence is unable to confer on it the full degree of masculine perfection or likeness to himself.53 The female for Aristotle is literally a deformed or defective male.54
But for Aquinas femininity is not a mere privation; it is a perfection, although a lesser perfection than masculinity. Imperfect and deficient in comparison with the male, the female quality is not defined as an imperfection and a deficiency, but rather as a less noble perfection, merely a lesser perfection than masculinity. It must be remembered that for Thomas the female sex is necessary for the completion and perfection of mankind: since it perfects human nature, femininity is a perfection. Since women would have been generated even in the defect-free state of innocence, femininity is not a defect or mistake. In the Summa Contra Gentiles Aquinas refers to both masculinity and femininity as perfections: "...tali perfectione, puta perfectione masculi, ille autem perfectione feminae."55
In his treatment of the sex of resurrected bodies, Aquinas shows most clearly that for him femininity is a perfection and not a defect or privation. He admits the principle that the resurrection restores the deficiencies of nature, but instead of designating femininity a deficiency which would be restored by the resurrection to full masculine perfection, he uses the principle to argue that females will rise as females. Nothing that belongs to the perfection of nature will be lacking in the bodies of the risen, and since femininity belongs to the perfection of nature, its absence (if female bodies were "restored" to "full masculine perfection") would itself be a deficiency. (56) In other words, femininity is not a deficiency or privation but a perfection; the lack of femininity is a privation or deficiency, and since the resurrection restores instead of causes deficiencies, females will rise as females. This article is a clear indication not only that women are necessary to complete and perfect human nature but also that the feminine quality is considered a perfection, not a defect in need of perfection (masculinization) as Aristotle would have it.
But while femininity is not formally defined by Aquinas as a privation but rather as a perfection, it is a lesser perfection than masculinity; it is a defect or deficiency when compared with masculine activity. But it is not only in Aristotle's biology that Aquinas finds evidence for the inferiority of femininity in relation to masculinity. The Sacred Scriptures, especially in the genesis accounts of creation and in the epistles of St. Paul, teach that the man is more noble than the woman because he is her principle and end, because she was made from him and for him. Even the fact that the man was made first indicates a greater perfection in him, for nature always begins with the more perfect. The perfect precedes the imperfect in time and in nature; (57) the facts that the woman was made after the man and also from the man both bespeak her imperfection in relation to him. "Haec igitur est ratio quare mulier producta est ex viro, quia perfectior est muliere..."58
But woman is not only made after and from man, she is also made for man; man is not only her principle but her end. Potency is for the sake of act and matter for form; so too the woman is created for the sake of man, in order to help him in generation. As her end, he is more perfect than she. "[Vir] perfectior est muliere, quia finis est perfectior eo quod es ad finem: vir autem est finis mulieris."59
With references to Thomas' agreement that woman is made from man and for the sake of man two important points must be made. The first is that woman's subordination to man as her end fits perfectly with Aristotle's biological conception of femininity as existing for the sake of masculinity. Since the male is the active principle of generation, it is he who does the act of generation. The female exists as female for the sole purpose of assisting him in this (his) activity by supplying the matter, which he forms. Certain members of a species are females precisely in order to help males with generation; hence femininity exists for the sake of masculinity. Each of the sexes exists for and is ordained to its respective role in generation; but since the female role is merely to assist by supplying matter and does not include any activity, the female sex exists for the sake of, and is ordained to the assistance of, the male sex. St. Thomas definitely interpreted St. Paul's "the woman is made for the sake of the man" in terms of Aristotle's biology according to which the female exists for the sake of the male.60
Secondly, Thomas' agreement that the man is the principle and the end of the woman does not involve a denial of God as the ultimate principle and end of woman as He is of man. As we have already seen men and women share the same essence and are both directed by that nature to the same end, which is God. And Thomas states that while the woman is from man, both of them are from God; both were created by Him, both have His image, and both are saved by the same grace. Thomas' distinction between the two salvations of woman, eternal and temporal, is analogous to the distinction between her two ends. As human, woman equally with man has God as her end; as female woman's end is man insofar as femininity is ordained to its generative role of assisting the male.61
But although man's being the principle and the end of woman does not mean either that she does not come from God or that she does not have the same eternal end as man, it does bespeak a profound preeminence of the man over the woman for St. Thomas. Since the man was created first, and since the woman was made from the man, and since she exists as female for his sake, he as her beginning and end is seen as more perfect.62
So while men and women are fundamentally equal as humans, insofar as they differ sexually they are unequal in perfection. Women are inferior in bodily strength and in strength of temperament and constitution; as females they are inferior because femininity is an inferior quality compared with masculinity; they are inferior because they are generated accidentally or against the tendency of nature, while males are generated according to that tendency; they are inferior because the first woman came after the first man and was made from him; lastly, they are inferior because they are made for the sake of the man insofar as femininity exists for the sake of masculinity.
Intellectual And Moral Differences
But while originating in their bodies and not their souls, this sexual difference between men and women and the relative inferiority-superiority that goes with it do not remain on the physical or bodily level. The souls of men and women are affected by the perfections and imperfections of their bodies with the result that men are generally more perfected in reason and in certain moral virtues than women are, according to St. Thomas. The souls of men are generally more perfect than those of women, and yet all of them are substantially human souls; somehow the souls of men and women differ in perfection without making men and women specifically different.
Before examining the intellectual and moral differences between men and women it is necessary to investigate this relation between the body and the soul in order to determine how souls can differ in perfection and yet be specifically equal. The soul and body are related according to form and matter: the soul forms and actualizes the body which is the material part.63 Since matter is the principle of individuation, the body individuates the soul or form, causing the multitude and individuality of human souls.64 For St. Thomas "in anima non est aliquid quo ipsa individuetur;"65 therefore the soul must be individuated by the body; "Et dico quod non individuatur nisi ex corpore."66
The souls are diversified by the body, since each soul is proportioned to this body and not to another:
Non tamen ista diversitas procedit ex diversitate principiorum essentialium ipsius animae, nec est secundum diversam rationem ipsius animae; sed est secundum diversam commensurationem animarum ad corpora; haec enim anima est commensurata huic corpori et non illi, illa autem alii, et sic de omnibus.67
Since each soul is proportioned to its own body, the soul is more or less perfect depending on the perfection of the body to which it is commensurated.
Cum anima non habeat materiam partem sui, oportet quod diversitas et distinctio gradus in animabus causetur ex diversitate corporis: ut quanto corpus meius complexionatum fuerit, nobiliorem animam sortiatur, cum omne quod in aliquo recipitur per modum recipientis sit receptum.68
Between different genuses the souls differ according to the diverse complexions of the bodies; the soul is more noble when the body is of more noble complexion. But also within a genus the diversity of bodies causes a diversity of souls, so that some souls are more perfect than others.69 Among men, grades of intelligence are caused by the different complexions of their bodies. More specifically, the relative hardness and softness of the flesh and the consequent perfection of the tactile sense results in the inequalities between more and less perspicacious minds.
Qui enim habent duram carnem, et per consequens habent malum tactum, sunt inepti secundum mentem; qui vero sunt molles carne, et per consequens boni tactus, sunt bene apti mente.....Ad bonam autem complexionem corporis sequitur nobilitas animae: quia omnis forma est proportionata suae materiae. Unde sequitur, quod qui sunt boni tactus, sunt nobilioris animae et perspicacioris mentis.70
Thomas uses this theory of human souls being individually proportioned to their bodies to explain the inheritance of psychological traits, refuting the explanation that the souls of offspring are generated by the souls of parents. Bodily traits, perfections and imperfections which affect the souls of parents and cause psychological characteristics are inherited by the offspring and affect the souls of offspring in similar ways.
Dicendum quod ipsam dispositionem corporis sequitur dispositio animae rationalis; tum quia anima rationalis accipit a corpore; tum quia secundum diversitatem materiae diversificantur et formae. Et ex hoc est quod filii similantur parentibus etiam in his quae pertinent ad animam, non propter hoc quod anima ex anima traducatur.71
Since then for St. Thomas forms are always received in matter according to the capacities of the matter, the soul or form of man is proportioned to its own body, and is more or less perfect according to the perfection of its body: "Manifestum est enim quod quanto corpus est melius dispositum, tanto meliorem sortitur animam."72 Thus those with better disposed bodies have better souls as evidenced by their greater intelligence: "Unde cum etiam in hominibus quidam habeant corpus melius dispositum, sortiuntur animam maioris virtutis in intelligendo: unde dicitur in II De Anima quod molles carne bene aptos mente videmus."73
Yet these differences between souls do not give rise to specific differences. Some men may have better or more perfect souls than others, yet all the souls are essentially equal in that they are human souls forming all the men to be specifically equal. Thomas explains that while a diversity of substantial forms that is proper to and originates in the form itself causes different species, a diversity, which originates in the matter receiving the form, gives rise to individual not specific difference or inequality.
Dicendum quod diversitas materiae potest accipi dupliciter: Vel diversitas partium speciei, idest partium specie differentium, sive formaliter ut manus, pes et huiusmodi: et talis diversitas causatur ex parte animae, quia ex hoc quod forma est talis, oportet quod corpus sit sibi sic dispositum. Est autem quaedam diversitas materialis tantum, quae ad speciem non pertinet, sed ad individuum tantum; et ist redundat ex materia in formam, et non e converso.74
The difference of form that comes from the disposition of matter, as the difference of human souls does, does not cause a specific diversity but merely a numerical diversity within a species: "Differentia formae quae non provenit nisi ex diversa dispositione materiae, non facit diversitatem secundum speciem, sed solum secundum numerum; sunt enim diversorum individuorum diversae formae, secundum materiam diversificatae."75
Angels participate diverse forms, and thus each angel is his own species, one is specifically different from another. But humans participate the same form unequally, according to diverse modes of participation; and thus although their souls are unequal because of the inequalities of the bodies to which they are proportioned, they do not differ specifically but are rather essentially equal.76 Human souls are equal with respect to substantial-specific perfection, but they are unequal with respect to substantial-individual perfection.77
We have already seen that for St. Thomas men are superior to women in those bodily characteristics in which they differ; it is natural then that he should apply his theory of the inequality of souls proportioned to unequal bodies to the differences between men and women, concluding that the souls of men are generally superior to those of women. Men's bodies are stronger than those of women; they must therefore receive more perfect and stronger souls than the weaker feminine bodies do. Men's bodies are more perfect and noble because they are active while women's are only passive in generation: therefore the souls proportioned to these more perfect masculine bodies are more noble and perfect than are women's souls which are more limited by the greater imperfection of the female body. Masculinity, it has been seen. is a greater perfection than femininity: masculine bodies, as more perfect, honorable, dignified, and noble, have souls which are proportioned to this greater dignity and perfection and are themselves more noble and honorable than the souls of females. "Vir est pertectior muliere, non solum quantum ad corpus....sed etiam quantum ad animae vigorem..."78
Besides saying in general that the souls of men are more perfect than those of women, Thomas also teaches that men and women differ in rational abilities, which is a power of the soul, and in such virtues as courage, continence, and fortitude, which involve the soul's direction of the body and rule of its passions. In numerous different works St. Thomas states that reason flourishes very little in women, that it is more developed in men, that women are deficient or weak in reason:
Sicut mulieres sunt mollioris corporis quam viri, ita et debilioris rationis.79
"Mulier est masculus occasionatus;" unde sicut deficit in complexione, ita et in ratione.80
...exemplum de mulieribus in quibus. ut in pluribus, modicum viget ratio propter imperfectionem corporalis naturae.81
It is to be noted that in these representative texts, Thomas gives as the reason or explanation of woman's weaker reason some bodily condition: the imperfection of her femininity, the softness of her flesh, the imperfect nature of her body, the defectiveness of her bodily complexion. In his Commentary on St. Paul's First Letter to Timothy, Thomas supports the Apostle's admonition to women to be silent, subject, and learning instead of teaching, with arguments that woman is deficient in reason:
Circa primum tria ponit eis competere, scilicet taciturnitatem, disciplinam, et subiectionem, quae tria ex una ratione procedunt, scilicet ex defectu rationis in eis, quibus primo indicit silentium,...
Secundo ut discant, quia eorum qui deficiunt ratione proprium est addiscere...Viris autem datur quod doceant...
Tertio indicit subiectionem, quia naturale est quod anima dominetur corpori, et ratio viribus inferioribus. Et ideo, sicut Philosophus docet, quandocumque aliqua duo ad invicem sic se habent, sicut anima ad corpus, et ratio ad sensualitatem, naturale dominium est eius qui abundat ratione, et illud est principans aliud autem est subditum, quo scilicet deficit ratione.82
Again in his Commentary on Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, the prohibition of women teaching is explained ultimately by her inferior reason, leaching involves presiding over men, which is contrary to woman's subjection to man: but the reason why the woman is subject to the man is her deficient reason:
...hoc est officium carum, ut sint subditae viris. Unde cum docere dicat praelationem et praesidentiam, non decet eas quae subditae sunt.
Ratio autem quare subditae sunt et non praesunt est quia deficiunt ratione, quae est maxime necessaria praesidenti...83
In the Summa Theologiae, the prohibition of woman's teaching is directly argued to from the fact that women are not generally perfected in wisdom: "...quia, ut communiter, mulieres non sunt in sapientia perfectae, ut eis possit convenienter publica doctrina committi."84 Thomas compares woman's lack of understanding or defect of reason to that of young boys and insane persons, all of whom may be rejected as witnesses on this ground: "Ex hoc vel ex defectu rationis, sicut patet in pueris, amentibus et mulieribus."85 He admits that women, like simple men, are not fit for the contemplative activity, which is the proper activity of higher reason: "devotio frequenter magis invenitur in quibusdam simplicibus viris et in femineo sexu, in quibus invenitur comtemplationis defectus."86
In his discussion of the possibility of degrees of understanding in different men Thomas mentions the effect, which the disposition of the sense powers has on the operations of the soul. He clearly states that the body can affect the soul in two ways: not only does the perfection of the body affect the perfection of the soul itself, but also the perfection of the sense powers will determine the abilities of the intellect to understand.
...unus alio potest eandem rem melius intelligere, quia est melioris virtutis in intelligendo; sicut melius videt visione corporali rem aliquam qui est perfectioris virtutis, et in quo virtus visiva est perfectior
Hoc autem circa intellectum contingit dupliciter. Uno quidem modo, ex parte ipsius intellectus, qui est perfectior. Manifestum est enim quod quanto corpus est melius dispositum, tanto meliorem sortitur animam.....Cuius ratio est, quia actus et forma recipitur in materia secundum materiae capacitatem. Unde cum etiam in hominibus quidam habeant corpus melius dispositum, sortiuntur animam maioris virtutis in intelligendo: unde dicitur in II De Anima quod molles carne bene aptos mente videmus. Alio modo contingit hoc ex parte inferiorem virtutum, quibus intellectus indiget ad sui operationem: illi enim in quibus virtus imaginativa et cogitativa et memorativa est melius disposita, sunt melius dispositi ad intelligendum.87
In many places Aquinas refers to women, not as deficient in reason, but as corresponding to lower reason, while the man corresponds to the higher. Man is the head of the woman, since lower reason depends on the higher reason, which directs it:
Vet potius ratio inferior, quae inhaeret temporalibus disponendis, mulieri comparatur; viro autem ratio superior, quae vacat contemplationi aeternorum, quae caput inferioris dicitur: quia secundum rationes aeternas sunt temporalia disponenda...88
Higher and lower reason for St. Thomas are one and the same power, but they differ according to what they each consider: higher reason contemplates eternal things, while lower reason concentrates on temporal things.89 Higher reason is assigned to contemplation, and lower reason to action.90 Within the same person the higher reason must direct the lower,91 and thus in arguing that the woman must be ruled by the man Thomas compares them to lower and higher reason.
...vita contemplativa est prior quam activa, inquantum prioribus et melioribus insistit. Unde et activam vitam movet et dirigit: ratio enim superior, quae contemplationi deputatur, comparatur ad inferiorem, quae deputatur actioni, sicut vir ad mulierem, quae est per virum regenda.92
Thomas makes frequent use of this analogy in his works, often quoting Augustine's use of it. In his Commentary on St. John's Gospel he explains, following Augustine, that Jesus' saying to the Samaritan woman at the well "Go and fetch your husband" is a reference to the woman's higher reason and a figurative way of saying "Fetch your higher reasoning powers." Jesus was warning the woman that He was about to reveal a difficult mystery and that she should get ready to think. 93
This analogy is not merely arbitrary for St. Thomas, who does say that women are more concerned with details and temporal worldly matters than are men, who tend to think of first principles and eternal things.94 Thomas expresses surprise and admiration for the Samaritan woman at the well who unlike most women, curious about the future and worldly things, questioned Jesus about God, a subject more thought about by men than by women.
In quo admiranda est mulieris diligentia, quia mulieres, utpote curiosae et infructuosae, et non solum infructuosae, sed et otiosae, non de mundanis, non de futuris eum interrogabat, sed de his quae Dei sunt; secundum illud Matt 6:33: primum quaerite regnum Dei.95
Sometimes Aquinas describes woman's deficiency of reason as a lack of wisdom,96 which further indicates that this deficiency is one in higher reasoning. Wisdom is the virtue that perfects higher reasoning: "Nam superiori rationi attribuitur sapientia, inferiori vero scientia."97 Higher reasoning is the province of wisdom; 98 it is evident that a lack of wisdom is a deficiency in higher reasoning. Similarly, "defective in comtemplation" refers to woman's relative inaptitude for higher reasoning, since contemplation is the act of higher reason: "ad sapientiam per prius pertinet contemplatio."99 The deficiency in reason, which women have in comparison with men is precisely this relative inability to do higher reasoning.
For Aquinas then woman is generally less perfected in wisdom than man is, she is less able to do higher reasoning about eternal things and usually sticks to lower reasoning about temporal things; in men the reason is more developed so that they are more proficient at contemplation and wiser, and hence the man must direct the woman as higher reason directs the lower.
Closely connected with woman's relative deficiency in higher reasoning is her inferiority in comparison with the man in those virtues, which depend on the directive role of reason. Because it belongs to reason to order acts and effects, and because women are weak of reason, they are less able to order their acts; hence they have great need of the "ornaments" of virtue, especially sobriety and verecundia which safeguard what little reasoning and ordering abilities they have, and make up for woman's natural lack of the internal beauty which results from this ordering of acts with reason:
Quia naturale est quod sicut mulieres sunt mollioris corporis quam viri, ita et debilioris rationis. Rationis autem est ordinare actus, et effectus uniuscuiusque rei. Ornatus vero consistit in debita ordinatione et dispositione. Sic in interiori decore nisi sint omnia ordinata ex dispositione per rationem, non habent pulchritudinem spiritualem. Et ideo quia mulieres deficiunt a ratione, requirit ab eis ornatum.
Item verecundia est de turpi actu, et ideo est laudabilis in illis qui facile solent declinare in actus turpes, cuiusmodi sunt iuvenes et mulieres, et ideo hoc in eis laudatur, non autem senes et perfecti...
Item sobrietatem requirit; unde sequitur et sobrietate. Quia enim in mulieribus ratio est debilis, sobrietas autem conservat virtutem rationis, ideo in mulieribus maxime reprehenditur ebrietas.100
In his Commentary on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Thomas explains that the effect of the inferior feminine body on women's souls is such that they are less able to reason and lacking in courage and continence. Instead of governing their emotions with reason, women are governed by them and hence cannot be said to be continent; yet because this incontinence arises from their nature (it is the result of their being weak of reason, which in turn is the effect of the imperfect nature of their bodies on their souls), women are not to be harshly faulted for their natural incontinence: they are said to be neither continent nor incontinent.
Et ponit exemplum de mulieribus in quibus, ut in pluribus, modicum viget ratio propter imperfectionem corporalis naturae. Et ideo, ut in pluribus, non ducunt affectus suos secundum rationem, sed magis ab affectibus suis ducuntur. Propter quod raro inveniuntur mulieres sapientes et fortes. Et ideo non simpliciter possunt dici continentes vel incontinentes.101
Again in the Summa Theologiae Thomas explains woman's natural incontinence as a result of her instability of reason, which in turn results from her weak temperament. The cause of incontinence is the failure of the reason to resist passion: "Et sic relinquitur quod per se causa incontinentiae sit ex parte animae, quae ratione passioni non resistit."102 The type of incontinence called weakness is the result of man's not following his reason, through his holding only weakly to reason's judgment: "...quando non permanet homo in his quae consiliata sunt, eo quod debiliter est firmatus in eo quod ratio iudicavit: unde et haec incontinentia vocatur debilitas."103 This weakness type of incontinence is common among women who because of their weak temperaments generally hold to things weakly, have not the firm judgment of reason, and are vacillating, unstable of reason, and easily led to follow their passions:
...quia femina secundum corpus habet quandam debilem complexionem, fit ut in pluribus quod etiam debiliter inhaereat quibuscumque inhaeret, etsi raro in aliquibus aliter accidat, ....Et quia id quod est parvum vel debile reputatur quasi nullum, inde est quod Philosophus loquitur de mulieribus quasi non habentibus indicium rationis firmum: quamvis in aliquibus mulieribus contrarium accidat. Et propter hoc dicit quod mulieres non dicimus continentes, quia non ducent, quasi habentes solidam rationem, sed ducuntur, quasi de facili sequentes passiones.104
Because they are lacking in the continence with which one resists concupiscence, women, like the young, have greater necessity of the sobriety which helps restrain concupiscence and make up for lack of continence and strength of mind. "Sobrietas maxime requiritur in iuvenibus et mulieribus.... in mulieribus autem non est sufficiens robur mentis ad hoc quod concupiscentiis resistant."105
In these texts the facts that women are uncourageous and incontinent, that they are led by their passions instead of ruling them, and that they are relatively unable to order their actions with reason, are attributed to their weakness of reason or lack of wisdom, which in turn is the effect of their weak or inferior bodies on their souls and their operations.
At other times Aquinas explains some moral imperfection in women directly from the weakness or imperfection of her body, without referring to her ineptness in higher reasoning. The reason given for woman's being less persevering and constant than man is the weakness of her bodily complexion and the frailty of her temperament: "...ex naturali dispositione: quia videlicet habent animum minus constantem, propter fragilitatem complexionis. Et hoc modo comparantur feminae ad masculos..."106 Effeminacy is the name given to the vice which opposes by deficiency the virtue of constancy or perseverence, since women are generally lacking in this virtue. That is why some men are called effeminate, because they are soft and womanish, because like women they yield readily instead of persevering against difficulties.107
In his treatment of the first human sin, Thomas reveals other ways in which woman is inferior to man in the moral sphere. The order in which the devil tempted Adam and Eve indicates that the woman is weaker than the man and more able to be deceived. As principal agent of the act of tempting, he tempted the woman first, both because she was weaker and easier to deceive and because he wished to use her as an instrument in the temptation and downfall of the stronger man, whom presumably the devil was less confident of being able to seduce alone.
...in actu tentationis diabolus erat sicut principale agens, sed mulier assumebatur quasi instrumentum tentationis ad deiiciendum virum. Tum quia mulier erat infirmior viro: unde magis seduci poterat. Tum etiam, propter coniunctionem eius ad virum, maxime per eam diabolus poterat virum seducere.108
The devil attacked mankind through the woman, the weaker part of humanity, because he saw that in her wisdom ruled and shone to a lesser degree: "Diabolus igitur...aggrediens hominem ex parte debiliori, tentans feminam, in qua minus vigebat sapientiae donum vel lumen."109
To explain the passage in I Timothy, which says that Adam was not seduced but that the woman was, Thomas says that Adam was not seduced first, because he was the stronger; rather the devil started with the weaker and seduced her in order to seduce him. "Unde dicit Adam non est seductus, scilicet primo, quia fortior erat, sed tentator incepit a debiliori, ut facilius seduceretur fortior."110 Even the sin of Adam was more grievous than that of Eve, since he was the more perfect: "Sed ille qui melius debet facere, si peccat, gravius peccat...si consideremus conditionem personae utriusque, scilicet mulieris et viri, peccatum viri est gravius; quia erat perfectior muliere."111
For St. Thomas then, the bodily differences between men and women affect their souls and result in differences in reasoning and moral abilities. The differences both in relative perfection between masculinity and femininity and in relative physical strength and bodily complexion between men and women help to make women less able to do higher reasoning than men, less able to direct their acts by reason, rule their passions, avoid temptation and persevere in difficulty; in general woman is weak in reason, and weak in moral strength.
Exceptions And The Effect Of Grace
It is very important to note, in this discussion of woman's relative rational and moral inferiority, that this inferiority does not hold true for all women. Aquinas frequently mentions that woman's being weak of reason is only generally true, that exceptionally strong, persevering, constant, continent and wise women are found.112 Besides usually mentioning the existence of exceptions when he claims that women are in general not perfected in wisdom or moral strength, Aquinas also on occasion discusses particular exceptions to his rule. In his Commentary on St. John's Gospel, he commends Mary's correctness of reason, and says that she symbolizes the contemplative life.113 Since he teaches that women are defective in reason and unfit for the contemplative activity of higher reason, it is clear that Mary's perfection in reason and in contemplation is an exception and that he recognizes it as such in his praise of her.
It is manifest that Aquinas also considered the Samaritan woman with whom Jesus conversed at the well lo be exceptional in reasoning ability. He commends her understanding and her diligence in seeking truth, and contrasts her with most women who when idle are merely curious about the future, and about worldly things and other people's affairs.114
Thomas admires the constancy of the women who remained at Christ's cross, and of Mary Magdalen who remained at His tomb, even when all the disciples had left;115 this constancy which he commends so highly is certainly an exception to his theory that women are lacking in constancy.
But how can St. Thomas at one and the same time contend that women are inferior rationally and morally to men by nature, that is, because of the effect of their feminine inferior bodies, and yet admit that this is only generally true, that there are exceptions. Certainly all women, even the exceptions, possess the nature of femininity, and the inferiorities that are part of that nature. If souls are all proportioned to their bodies and if all female bodies have the relative imperfection of femininity, then it would seem that all female souls must be affected by this imperfection and must hence be weak of reason.
Within St. Thomas' philosophy there are a number of ways of explaining these exceptions, a number of ways by which individual women might excel beyond the others and attain exceptional heights in reasoning or in moral virtue. The most basic solution to this problem lies in remembering that the argument for the inferiority of women's souls as a consequence of their bodily inferiority is in fact the argument for individual differences among human beings in general. Not only the sexual character of bodies affects souls, resulting in the differences between men and women: but other bodily conditions also affect the souls, resulting in individual differences between any two human beings. Health of the body, habits, the hardness or softness of the flesh, physical strength, the temperaments, the perfection of the sense organs, and other bodily dispositions also affect the soul's reasoning abilities and its control over the body.116 In his Commentary on Aristotle's Ethics, after establishing that the imperfect nature of the feminine body causes a lessening of rational ability in woman's soul, Thomas explains that the same result may be noticed in a person of either sex because of illness, diseased temperament, or bad habits. This is the same place that he admits that wise women can be found on, occasion; he mentions together, then, the possibilities both of some women being more perfected in wisdom, and of some men being less perfected than is normal.117
It is perfectly logical then to expect that some men's bodies, despite the perfection of their masculinity, will be less strong and in other, non-sexual, ways less perfect than some women's bodies, which despite the imperfection of their femininity may contain other perfections to a greater degree. While masculinity is a greater perfection than femininity, and hence in general masculine bodies are more perfect than feminine ones, the range of individual differences based on factors other than just sexual characteristic is such that this relative perfection of masculine bodies over female ones is not always the case. While men's souls in general would be more perfect than women's souls because of the perfection of masculinity over femininity, between the individual souls of any given man and woman the relative perfection may be reversed. The man's soul might be less perfect and strong than the woman's due either to some bodily imperfection on his part or to any special bodily perfection on her part, either of which would overcome the greater perfection of his masculinity.
In some places where he discusses intellectual inequalities between individuals, St. Thomas does not even mention sexual difference as a determining characteristic, naming only other bodily factors such as disposition of the body, of the sense organs, and softness of flesh.118
In his article on the effect of the body on the soul's continence or incontinence, it is clear that for St. Thomas the weakness of bodily temperament, which is found in females, is only one of the bodily conditions, which could cause instability of reason and consequent rule by the passions. Either quickness or vehemence of passion can cause a man to act without the counsel of reason; acting against the counsel of reason because he holds to reason only weakly can be caused in a man by softness of temperament (as is often the case with women), and by a phlegmatic temperament.119 The weakness of the soul and of the reason which is characteristic of women then is caused not only by femininity but also by other bodily conditions; and hence it is not universally or even exclusively true of women that they are defective in reasoning, or weak in virtue. Considering only the masculine-feminine difference without these other factors, men would always be superior to women in reason and in moral virtue; but since there are other determining factors which might cause individual women to be exceptionally perfected or individual men to be exceptionally unperfected in reasoning, the intellectual superiority of men because of their masculinity is often in reality countered by these other bodily differences between individuals. Although Thomas does not ever explain the exceptional woman this way, he does give this argument to explain why some men have less reasoning ability than others, and why they control their passions with less reason. Furthermore, he directly says that the imperfections of women's souls caused by their femininity can also be caused by other bodily factors; certainly then a greater perfection of these other factors in women would result in their having exceptional reasoning abilities, especially compared with men whose other bodily factors counteract their masculinity and result in their being less perfected in reason.
The only time Thomas attempts an explanation of the exceptional women, he says something quite revolutionary something, which calls into question his theory that the inferiority of women's souls and reasoning powers is naturally caused by the imperfection of their bodies. After praising the wisdom of the Samaritan woman at the well, Thomas explains almost matter-of-factly that it should not be surprising that this woman was so learned, for it commonly happens in those areas where there are diverse doctrines, where these matters are much debated, that even the women and the simple people are learned in higher matters.
Hanc ergo quaestionem mulier proponit: nec est mirandum a quo docta fuerit, quia communiter contingit ut in terris in quibus diversa sunt dogmata, etiam simplices in eis sint instructi. Unde, quia Samaritani fuerant in continui iurgio cum Iudaeis, ideo mulieres et simplices in materia ista edocti erant.120
But the fact that women can become wise merely by education, by exposure to a culture where weighty topics are much discussed, does not prove that their usual lack of wisdom is the result merely of their lack of education, of their not exercising their reason. Especially in light of Thomas' numerous texts claiming that woman's inferiority of reason is caused by her femininity and other bodily conditions, this one passage, albeit the only one in Thomas' works which explains the exceptional woman, must not be taken as a contradiction of his theory that the inferiority of reason in women is natural to them, but rather as an indication that that inferiority is not so great as to be impossible of being overcome with a bit of practice, by cultural factors, and by education. Women then, because of the effect of their imperfect femininity, tend to be weak in reason, but they are not necessarily or universally so: other bodily factors could oversome the influence of their femininity and result in their being strong in reason. Also mere practice (by which naturally inferior powers are strengthened) could be the cause of some women excelling in reason.
With reference to woman's general moral weakness, the exceptionally strong woman can be explained by either of the same two ways. While women are generally weaker than men physically, there is a great range of individual difference: some women are very strong, some men are extremely weak. A woman who was exceptionally strong in perseverence or constancy would simply be one whose body was not quite so imperfect or weak as the general female body, so that her soul was not detrimentally affected to the normal degree.
Similarly, moral virtues are habits and thus can be cultivated with a resulting increase in virtue; just as a woman whose reason was undeveloped could with practice become wise, so too she could overcome her natural weakness in fighting temptation and ruling her passions by training herself in these virtues; she could strengthen herself by the conscious cultivation of those virtues in which she is by nature weak. Thomas himself suggests this when he encourages women to adorn themselves with sobriety and verecundia, both virtues which make up for natural weakness, strengthen the reason and decrease the moral weaknesses, and in short help to overcome woman's moral inferiority.121
Of course grace is also a means by which women can overcome their moral inferiority; in fact grace for St. Thomas is an equalizer, which totally transcends and overcomes the inferiority-superiority of women and men on the natural level. In his treatment of the sacrament of Confirmation, he shows that for him the grace of God knows neither male nor female, for he says that women can be the spiritual equals of men or even their superiors in virtue or moral strength.122
He admits that this sacrament confers a certain excellence, and that it is necessary for those who are to conquer, since it strengthens one for battle.123 To the objection that women are unfit for combat because of the frailty of their sex, and hence have no need of Confirmation, Thomas answers that despite their physical weakness which bars them from worldly battle, women are called upon to fight heavenly battle.
...sicut Chrysostomus dicit.....in mundanis agonibus aetatis et formae generisque dignitas requiritur: et ideo servis ac mulieribus, senibus ac pueris, ad eos aditus denegatur. In caelestibus autem omni personae et aetati et sexui indiscreta facultate stadium patet.124
With the admissions that strength is required for battle and that hence women lacking in physical strength are barred from physical battle, the requirement that women participate in spiritual battle certainly presupposes that they are not lacking in the spiritual strength necessary for this fight.
Thomas continues, quoting Chrysostom, to say that some women have rivaled men in the courage displayed in spiritual battle and others have even shown themselves stronger than men.
Apud Deum femineus etiam militat sexus: multae namque feminae animo virili spiritualem militiam gesserunt. Quaedam enim interioris hominis vitute viros aequaverunt in agonibus martyrum: quaedam etiam fortiores viris exstiterunt. Et ideo mulieribus hoc sacramentum conferendum est.125
The sponsor of a recipient of Confirmation is the one who trains him in the faith; he is compared to the officers who command others in earthly wars.126 When the recipient is enrolled in the army of Christ he is brought to the bishop by the sponsor, as to the commander of the army, by one who is already enrolled as a soldier.
And yet, even though the sponsor is the spiritual superior of the recipient of the sacrament and his instructor, Thomas says that women equally with men can be sponsors for Confirmation; equally with men then they can be spiritually superior and able to train others.127
To the objection that women should not be sponsors for men because this sacrament is given for spiritual strength which is greater in men than in women, Aquinas simply quotes Galatians that in Jesus Christ there is neither male nor female, and says that whether the sponsor be a man or a woman makes no difference.
Praeterea, hoc sacramentum datur ad robur spirituale. Quod magis viget in viris quam in mulieribus...Ergo ad minus mulier non debet tenere virum ad confirmationem...
Ad tertium dicendum quod, sicut Col. 3,11 (Gal. 3:28), in Christo Iesu non est masculus neque femina. Et ideo non differt utrum masculus vel femina teneat aliquem in confirmatione.128
It is clear that Aquinas, by allowing women to sponsor men, is asserting that grace overcomes the natural moral inferiority of women to men and that it is just as easy for a woman to be spiritually stronger than a man as for the reverse. This is not a denial of moral difference between men and women, but it is an assertion that grace overcomes this difference; by nature women are morally inferior to men, but grace erases this inequality. The moral inferiority of women is only in the natural sphere; it is overcome by grace, so that once grace enters the picture one cannot speak any longer of woman's inferiority to men in spiritual strength.
In some cases it might be woman's greater affective nature, which causes her exceptional virtue. Thomas praises in a number of places the constancy of women, even comparing it favorably with that of men who on these occasions displayed less perseverence.129 These women must have been exceptional for St. Thomas because he says that women are naturally so inconstant due to their weak temperament that the term effeminate or woman-like is given to men who are lacking in constancy or perseverence. The constancy of the women who remained at Christ's cross, and of Mary Magdalen who remained at the tomb is so admirable for St. Thomas precisely because it was so exceptional in women, and because the women out shown the men on these occasions. "Quod autem et mulieres stabant iuxta crucem et discipuli eo relicto fugerant, mulierum commendat devotam constantiam."130
But in his Commentary on St. John's Gospel Thomas explains that it was the more fervent and stronger affection of the women, usually so weak, which caused them to stay and show such constancy. "Secundo, constans eius mora: quia Maria stabat ad monumentum foris, plorans. Nam discipulis recedentibus, infirmiorem sexum fortior et ferventior in eodem loco figebat affectus."131
But woman's greater affective nature, which in this case caused her to display exceptional constancy, is nothing other than her tendency to be easily led by her passions. Women's general inclination to be influenced by their feelings, and to control their passions with reason less than men do, while often causing in them incontinence and a greater susceptibility to temptation, also results in their occasionally demonstrating exceptional strength and virtue, when the feelings followed are directed toward the good.
It is no doubt woman's more affective nature, her tendency to follow her feelings more readily than men do, which Thomas is referring to when he says that women are more merciful by nature and have a soft heart. "Primo ad misericordiam, quia mulieres habentes cor molle sunt naturaliter misericordes."132
Woman's affective nature causes the moral extremes noticeable in her: because of her strong affections, a pious woman is extremely pious, and a cruel woman extremely cruel. "Mulieres aliquando sunt piae, et mobilem affectum habent; unde quando sunt piae, maxime sunt piae, sed quando sunt crudeles, maxime sunt crudeles...vix enim cogitaret homo quae cogitat perversa mulier."133 Her greater affective nature then is the cause both of the woman's inferiority in virtue and of her occasional strength in virtue compared with the man.
To summarize, the imperfection of woman's soul, and her inferiority in comparison with man in ability to do higher reason and to order her acts and control her passions with reason, is the result of the influence of her imperfect and weak body on her soul and its operations. But this imperfection and inferiority is not universally true of all women, nor is it so great in the average woman as to be impossible to overcome: some women are found who excel in virtue or who have great abilities in higher reason. Not only is it possible that some women's bodies, more perfect and stronger than normal, might not have such a detrimental effect on their souls as is usual, but also that the natural imperfection and weakness of women's souls be overcome by conscious effort in the cultivation of reason and virtue, and of course by grace, which transcends the natural order in which woman is inferior to man. And lastly, the greater affective nature of women, which often causes them to rule their passions less, may in some instances be the cause of greater virtue and perseverence.
Conclusion And Comment
So the essential equality of men and women as humans, and their fundamental equality in relation to God, is countered in the philosophy of St. Thomas by a profound inequality. Not only is femininity a lesser perfection than masculinity, and consequently female bodies are of a weaker complexion than male bodies, but this inequality is also transferred to the souls, which inform those bodies with the result that women's souls also are inferior and weak in comparison with men's souls. Although women are less human than men in the sense that they are less perfected in the characteristically human difference of reason and reason's control of actions, they do not differ specifically from men. They have the same substantial form, the same nature, and the same end; but they differ in perfection of that form and its operations, and in the degree of perfection of that nature.
It is difficult to determine the degree to which St. Thomas' philosophy is based on his observation of real women, on empirical evidence of their rational abilities and their virtue. He supports his theory of the inferiority of women on purely philosophical grounds, and ultimately on Aristotle's theory of generation, but these arguments appear to be mere explanations for an inferiority, which he considered to be evident to all. And yet St. Thomas is commonly believed to have had very little contact with real women, other than his immediate family from whom he was separated at an early age and for almost all of his life. In fact the only place where real women are mentioned in Thomas' theory are as exceptions: the real women he encounters in Scriptural historical accounts, for example, are not cause for a reexamination of his theory but rather exceptions to it.
The reason why St. Thomas, having admitted that not all women exhibit the inferiority which is natural to them, did not apparently either reconsider his theory or do more empirical investigation of real women to determine whether or not they were in fact inferior in general to men lies probably in the fact that his explanation of this inferiority is so tightly argued that it functions as evidence for this inferiority. That is to say, it is impossible for St. Thomas that woman not be inferior to man in reason and in reason's control of human acts if in fact femininity is inferior to masculinity and souls are proportioned to their bodies. Given Aristotle's theory of generation as done by males, St. Thomas could have (and no doubt would have) concluded that women are inferior to men in the rational operations of their souls even if he had never seen a woman or heard that they were considered by all to be so inferior. The dependence of St. Thomas' philosophy of woman on the generative biology of Aristotle, then, cannot be overestimated. As evidence for her inferiority, this biological theory argues the necessity of that inferiority. In other words, while St. Thomas appears to accept the inferiority of women in reason and virtue as something given in experience (either his or the common experience of men) and to offer his arguments as mere explanations of this inferiority, those arguments, once given the truth of Aristotle's biology, conclude so necessarily to woman's inferiority that he could presume that inferiority to be verified by experience. If some of St. Thomas' conclusions about the nature of woman are not true, the fault lies not in his philosophical reasoning, but in his acceptance of Aristotle's biology as his starting principle.
So given that the male is the active principle in generation, that females do not participate actively in generation but merely supply the matter, and hence that femininity is a lesser perfection than masculinity, that females are generated accidentally, and that female bodies are less perfect than masculine bodies, Thomas concludes that women are less perfected than men in their souls, in higher reasoning, and in those virtues which require reason's direction of actions. As will be shown in the second part of this study, this inferiority is the reason why the woman is subject to the man in domestic, civil, and ecclesiastical societies.
1 S.T. I, 75 and 76.
2 In Met. Exp. II, 4.
3 S.T. I, 93, 4, ad 1.
4 In Met. Exp. X, 11.
5 S.T. I, 93, 3; Q.D. de Anima XIV.
6 S.T. I, 93, 4, ad 1.
7 Ibid, c.
8 Ibid, ob. 1.
9 Ibid, ad 1.
11 In I ad Cor. XI, 2, 607.
14 S.T. I, 92,1; 98, 2.
15 S.T. I, 92, 1 and 2.
16 S.T. I, 92, 2.
17 S.T. I, 92, 1.
19 S.T. I, 99, 2.
20 S.T. I-II, 2, 8; 3, 8.
21 S.C.G. IV, 74, 5.
22 In lad Cor. XI, 3, 615.
24 In ad Gal. III, 9.
25 In I ad Tim. II, 3, 85.
26 S.T. III, 36, 3.
27 S.T. III, 31, 4.
28 S.T. III, 55, 1, ad 3.
30 In Met. Exp. XX, 11, 2134; S.T. I, 93, 6, ob. 2.
31 In Job XIV, 1; In Io. Ev. Exp. XX, 2, 2491.
32 S.T. II-II, 156, 1.
33 S.T. I, 92, 1; 98, 2.
34 S.T. I, 98, 2.
35 S.T. I, 92, 1.
36 S.T. III, 32, 4.
37 S.T. I, 118, 1 and 2.
38 S.T. III, 31, 5.
39 S.T. I-II, 81, 5.
40 S.T. I, 92, 1; II-II, 26, 10.
41 S.T. I, 92, 1, ob.1.
42 S.T. I, 92, 1, ad 1.
44 Ibid, c.
46 S.T. I, 99, 2. ad 2.
47 S.T. III. 31, 4, ad 1.
48 S.T. I-II. 102, 3, ad 9.
49 S.T. III, 31, 4. ad 1.
50 De Gen. An. I, 18-20, esp. 728a15; S.T. III, 31, 5, ad 3.
51 De Gen. An. I, 18-20.
52 Ibid, IV, 3 (767bl-10).
53 Ibid, IV, 2 and 3.
54 Ibid, II, 3 (737a30).
55 S.C.G. III, 94. 11.
56 S.C.G. IV, 88, 1.
57 In I ad Tim. II, 3, 83.
58 In I ad Cor. XI, 3. 611.
61 In I ad Cor. XI, 1, 588; 3, 615-6; In I ad Tim. II, 3, 85.
62 S.T. I, 93, 4; In I ad Cor. XI, 2, 607.
63 S.T. I, 76, 1.
64 In Met. Exp. VIII, 10; VIII, 3; XII, 10; In I Sent. VIII, 5, 2, 6; S.C.G. II, 81.
65 In I Sent. VIII, 5, 2, 6.
67 S.C.G. II, 81.
68 In II Sent. XXXII, 2, 3.
70 In II de Anima, 19, 483 and 485.
71 Q.D. de Pot. III, 9, 7.
72 S.T. I, 85, 7.
74 In II Sent. XXXII, 2, 3, 6.
75 S.T. I, 85, 7, 3.
76 Q.D. de Spir. Creat., 8, 8.
77 Victorino Rodriguez Rodriguez, "Diferencia de las Almas Humanas a Nivel Substancial en la Antropologia de Santo Tomas," Doctor Commnnis 1971, pp. 25-39.
78 In I ad Cor. XI, 1, 588.
79 In I ad Tim. II, 2, 75. Notice that this solitary reference to woman's softness of flesh as the reason for her weakness of reason seems to contradict the many statements in which Thomas follows Aristotle in saying that softness of flesh (and the, consequent perfection of the tactile sense) results in greater mental aptness. See note 87 below for example. But greater mental aptness is not necessarily incompatible with weakness of reason if the latter refers to the strength with which reason controls the passions and directs one's actions, and thus softness of flesh could cause both. But there is still a problem in Thomas' saying that women are soft of flesh and yet denying them the aptness of mind which elsewhere is attributed to soft flesh; and with his always saying that men are superior both in reason about higher things and in reason's control of the passions; softness of flesh which causes the first would (according to the present text) also cause in them a lessening of reason's control instead of a strengthening of it. There is no solution to the dilemma.
80 De Reg. Prin. IV, 5.
81 In Eth. Exp. VII, 5, 1376.
82 In I ad Tim. II, 3, 79.
83 In I ad Cor. XIV, 7, 880.
84 S.T. II-II, 177, 2.
85 S.T. II-II, 70, 3.
86 S.T. II-II, 82, 3.
87 S.T. I, 85, 7.
88 In I ad Cor. XI, 1, 590.
89 S.T. I, 79, 9.
90 S.T. II-II, 182, 4.
91 S.T. I, 79, 9; I-II, 74, 7.
92 S.T. II-II, 182, 4.
93 In Io. Ev. Exp. IV, 2, 6, 590.
94 Ibid; also 9, 597.
96 In Eth. Exp. VII, 5, 1376: S.T. II-II, 156, 1, 1.
97 S.T. I, 79, 9.
98 S.T. II-II, 45, 3.
99 Ibid, ad 3: also 82, 3.
100 In I ad Tim. II, 2, 75.
101 In Eth. Exp. VII. 5, 1376.
102 S.T. II-II, 156, 1.
104 Ibid, ad 1.
105 S.T. II-II, 149, 4.
106 S.T. II-II, 138, 1, ad 1.
108 S.T. II-II, 165, 2, ad 1.
109 Comp. Theol. I, 189, 366.
110 In I ad Tim. II, 3, 83.
111 S.T. II-II, 163, 4.
112 S.T. II-II, 156, 1; 177, 2; In Eth. Exp. VII, 5. 1376.
113 In Io. Ev. Exp. XI, 4, 8, 1510, and 1519-20.
114 Ibid, IV, 2, 9.
115 Ibid, XIX, 4, 2438 and XX. 2, 2491-4: S.T. III, 55, 1, ad 3.
116 In Eth. Exp. VII, 5, 1376; S.T. I, 85. 7; II-II, 156, 1, ad 2.
117 In Eth. Exp. VII, 5. 1376.
118 S.T. I, 85, 7.
119 S.T. II-II, 156, 1.
120 In Io. Ev. Exp. IV, 2, 10, 598.
121 S.T. II-II, 149, 4: In I ad Tim. II, 2, 75.
122 S.T. III, 72.
123 Ibid, art. 8.
124 Ibid, ad 3.
126 Ibid, art. 10.
128 Ibid, ob. 3 and ad 3.
129 In Io. Ev. Exp. XIX, 4. 2438: XX, 2, 2491; S.T. III, 55, 1, ad 3.
130 In Io. Ev. Exp. XIX, 4, 2438.
131 Ibid, XX, 2, 2491.
132 In I ad Tim. V, 2, 198.
133 In Matt. Ev. Exp. XIV, 1, 1228.
© Faith & Reason, Christendom Press, 2101 Shenandoah Shores Road, Ft. Royal, VA 22630, 703-636-2900, Fax 703-636-1655.
This item 2793 digitally provided courtesy of CatholicCulture.org