Thomas Aquinas was the most
influential theologian in the Middle Ages. Most later theologians copied their
arguments from him.
In Thomas time women were excluded from the ordained
ministries. Thomas had to find justification for this as a theologian. The main
reason, he decided, was womans inferior nature.
Thomas based his reasonings on what he
read in Aristotle's work, whose books became known in Europe at the time
through Arab scholars.
Like Aristotle, Thomas believed that
only the male seed carried life. Following Aristotle's assessment, he judged
women as having less intelligence and being weak in character. Everything was
determined by God in the laws God laid down as Creator in nature.
On this page we outline Thomass
teaching. To read the exact words of Thomas, click on the links indicated!
For an analysis of the validity of Thomass arguments,
God created MAN first making him the origin of the rest
created WOMAN out of man and for man.
God created MAN in his own image in the full sense of the
term since God is the source of everything.
created WOMAN in his image only to the extent that she too has a
Differences at Birth
The active force in the male seed derives
its power also from the stars.
A MANs seed contains the future
procreation, a WOMAN only contributes her womb - which is like a
ploughed field in which a grain of seed has been sown. The woman feeds the
When a MALE child is born the birth is
FEMALE child is born through an accident. The semen
is weak or the material [in the womb] is unsuitable, or because of the action
of some external factor such as the winds from the south which make the
Gods overall plan women do serve a purpose. They are useful for
generation. After all, in his providence, God can even make use of
speaking, every WOMAN is a monster of nature.
female sexual organs too will rise at the resurrection. For
resurrection repairs the defects of nature.
Other Gender Differences
MAN has the greater power of
reason. Because God ordered [= streamlined] him for intellectual
are not ordered to intellectual operation. Though a WOMAN is carnally
united to a man in generation, she is not united to him in his higher
why St. Paul forbade women to teach or to have authority over
A MAN naturally commands
are subject to men. For man is the beginning and end of WOMAN.
WOMANs hair is a sign of her subjection to man.
WOMAN a helper to man, but only for generation, not for a mans other
MAN is in a state of
MEN signify eminence in
in a state of subjection. The FEMALE SEX cannot signify eminence
of degree [= women cannot be the expression of perfect human
Therefore, it is MEN who can represent
Christ at the Eucharist.
Therefore, WOMEN cannot represent Christ at the
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