In the recently-released book The Case for Patriarchy, Catholic writer and teacher Timothy J. Gordon boldly proclaims the “kingship of the social reign of Christ, King of the Patriarchy!” Gordon’s well-researched, deeply insightful work deconstructs feminism’s numerous nostrums that have upended modern life in the name of a false paradise of sexual egalitarianism.
Gordon traces the “sweeping diabolical disorientation” and “non-transgendered sexual dysphoria” afflicting the modern West to feminism. This “is none other than a Christian precursor to transgenderism. It, too, is based on the fallacy that men and women can mutually agree to swap roles.” He particularly condemns that “Western society’s men have been astoundingly swift in their shameless forfeiture of their vocational birthright to familial headship.”
This cataclysm has, for Gordon, its template in mankind’s Genesis fall in the Garden of Eden, where “Original Sin constitutes the first instance of ‘gender bending’ ever.” Adam was “passively watching and allowing human history to go off the rails” as the serpent seduced his wife, Eve. “Instead of lovingly protecting his wife from the fulsome dangers of the garden, he allowed her exposure, dialogue, and collusion against God,” Gordon admonishes.
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By contrast, Gordon praises Jesus’ mother, the Virgin Mary, “Queen of Heaven,” as a female role model. “Ever instructive, the unimposing figure of the Virgin reminds us that she is the greatest of all saints precisely because she was such a perfectly obedient follower, not a leader,” he analyzes.
“Nature and nature’s God,” Gordon summarizes, leave “no reasonable argument against the moral and anthropological brute fact of Christian patriarchy.” “Christian anthropology and theology” show that “men are active, while women are passive” in their differing, respective natures. “The traditional Christian designation for this natural fact is ‘complementarity,’” he notes, a “sexual equality only in dignity and nothing else,” unlike feminist egalitarianism.
That therefore a wife should “be almost ever-present in the home, as its beating heart,” Gordon observes, “qualifies among the very clearest and most amply evidenced of the papally repeated, habitual (and therefore perennial)” Catholic doctrines. Accordingly, a “true Christian domicile under a patriarch is an ecclesiola, a mini-Church led by a priestly and prophetic king.” This reflects Catholic “ecclesiastical patriarchy—comprising exclusively male priests and bishops succeeding Jesus’ all-male apostles.”
This “delicate hierarchical nature of Christian matrimony,” Gordon explains, creates a “best friendship between unequals,” whose philosophical origins reach back to Aristotle (384-322 B.C.). Later, St. Augustine [354-430] “baptizes this concept by holding that true union of flesh comes from one ruling lovingly and the other submitting lovingly.” Thus a “Christian wife relates to her patriarch” husband through an “‘advisory-plus’ role.”
A Christian husband, for his part, must analogize himself to Christ, whose loyalty to His bride the Church extended unto death, as Ephesians 5:25-28 stipulates. Gordon notes, “The husbandly Christian standard is one of near-infinite patience and near-perfect protectivity toward wives…a standard wrought of total self-sacrifice.” Correspondingly, the “Christian faith has been far better for the plight of women worldwide than any feminist movement.”
Church fathers and scholastics like Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) contrastingly have emphasized the importance of this patriarchal family structure for both individuals and wider society, Gordon notes. These eminences considered that “dominion of women is the death of a family, as tyrants of a commonwealth,” a familial “constitutional crisis.” “For St. Thomas, moreover, the family as the original society of man should be considered even more important than the well-ordered city itself.”
Modernity manifests these lessons for Gordon, as traditional patriarchal “couples who stand for a culture of life” often have “big families and intimate, loving interspousal rapport.” Meanwhile, “small, unhappy, contraceptive families produce, at unprecedented levels, youth beset by prominent moral crises of all sorts” like drug epidemics. “But no one in the family grew more depressed than mothers themselves,” he claims, based on various studies.
These results demonstrate to Gordon that there is “no Christian feminism and no good feminism,” even going back to its beginning in 1848 at upstate New York’s Seneca Falls Convention. In this same year that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published The Communist Manifesto, so-called “first-wave feminism was already about more than just enfranchisement—much more.” Here Elizabeth Cady Stanton published a Declaration of Sentiments, whose “anti-Christian vitriol conjures images of the French and Russian revolutions rather than the American one.”
Gordon castigates the modern feminist promotion of women in the workplace. This created multiple “practical problems: spousal lack of intimacy, lack of meal preparation and homeplace maintenance, and resultant anxiety and depression in undercared-for household children.” Meanwhile, “Puritanism-addled feminists have traded their apple and their priceless free time for servility before petty taskmasters.”
This feminist “Protestant work ethic” continues how America’s Puritans “reified a non-Leftist ‘liberation theology’ of labor,” a “toxic bromide of popular labor worship,” Gordon notes. Yet, in addition to a wife’s domestic duties, a “man’s primary vocational duty, instruction in the virtues, begins at the end of the workday, rather than at the beginning” in the “father’s eventide priestly teaching office.” In Gordon’s envisioned “post-feminist society,” the “homeplace will be more celebrated—by great measures—than the workplace.”
As the father of five daughters and one son, Gordon and his author wife practice what they preach, notwithstanding feminist naysayers. “In fact, during the warm months of the year, my wife spends most of her time around the house barefoot—often pregnant! She loves her life,” he writes. “As one of the seven true sacraments, matrimony produces the holy fruit of human life, which requires constant motherly instruction and oversight in children’s faith and morals,” forming thereby a “sublime calling.”
Such culturally counterrevolutionary appeals invigorate Gordon’s book. While much of the feminist-influenced West is apostatizing from the faith of its fathers, Gordon gives pause to modernity’s certitude in sexually androgenous Progress. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost have revealed a deeper, more humane understanding of human nature in Scripture and Tradition.
[Image: God the Father and the Holy Spirit by Pompeo Batoni]