Sophia, Goddess?

Fr. William Most

Among other aberrations many feminists seem to be trying to present Sophia, Wisdom, as a goddess.

They may notice that Moses told the people their laws are wisdom - that means, they follow divine wisdom which is not a person, but wise rules to lead them into good things, and to avoid the evils that lurk in the very nature of things, e.g., a hangover after a drunk, or a high danger of a loveless marriage after much premarital sex.

Many feminists notice what is true, that towards the end of the OT, Wisdom was personified - but that was only a rhetorical personification. Surely the OT writers never thought of her as a separate person, still less as a goddess. They notice that Sophia is feminine -- what ignorance! Yes, it is grammatically feminine in Latin, Greek and in Hebrew -- but that grammatical gender has nothing whatsoever to do with real sex: it is only a grammatical convention.

They argue that now with less patriarchy our images change. Even if so, that does not change what we said above. The use of a symbol must not be confused with a reality or a real person.

The case of many feminists is indeed sad. They are being called professors of theology. Those of this type described could be called at most protestant professors, not at all Catholic professors. We said at most protestant - for real 
protestantism knows wisdom was only a symbol, was never meant as a person, still less as one to be worshipped.

Academic freedom means the right of a properly qualified professor, lecturing in his own field, to put out his own opinions without hindrance. But a professor is not properly qualified if he/she does not follow the method proper to the field. Now in theology we follow the sources of revelation, and, if we are Catholic, that means the sources, as interpreted by the Church. Cf. "Dei Verbum" #10: "The task of authoritatively interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on [Scripture or Tradition] has been entrusted exclusively to the living Magisterium of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."

Imagine a science professor who would want to go back to old or medieval methods in science. He could not claim academic freedom, would be laughed off campus. So people who claim to be Catholic theologians and do not follow Catholic method are not Catholic theologians at all, and have no claim to academic freedom.

It is cause for dismay that some so-called scholarly journals are accepting articles from those who intentionally skew evidence. Any scholarly work in any field must strive for objectivity: these people strive for the opposite. So they should be really banished from academia, and any institution that harbors them is disgraced, as also journals who publish such things.

Some feminists want intensely to be priests. We suspect it is a case of insane jealousy - that that into which King Saul seems to have fallen. Even when the Pope has issued an infallible statement saying it is impossible, they will not stop trying. On priest friend of mine went to a celebration at a large convent. But he was not allowed by the sisters to concelebrate - would offend them. Yet two of them sat in the sanctuary on each side of the celebrant.

Strangely, their desire seems to be largely motivated by a desire for power in the Church. What folly! There is no one in the Church with less clout than a priest. A bishop can mash him, put him away into the boondocks for any reason. But "nuns" have been known to tell the Pope off in public, and get away with it.