VI Report on the Social Doctrine of the Church
Women in the revolution. The revolution of women.
Many are the themes coming to the surface in the world in 2013, the reference year for this Report, but one of them – rather unctuous in fact, and not really that evident to public opinion at large – has all the features of a real revolution. This is the phenomenon of the transformations regarding women, who stand out more and more as the object of experimentation, cultural and theological intervention, re-design and even re-creation.
Readily evident by now are the external signs of this phenomenon, while less evident are the overall plan, the intentions of those behind it, and its end purpose.
As far as the symptoms are concerned, this Report presents many of them in both line and continuity with its predecessors, particularly the ones relative to 2011 and 2012. All the recent bio-political endeavors concern above all women, insofar as said developments are intended to project a complete revisiting of procreation, and hence maternity as well. Coming to age during these years, also in countries with a longstanding Catholic tradition like Latin American ones, has been the full thrust of the new female code launched at the UN Summits in Cairo (1994) and Beijing (1995). By way of example, the section of the Report dedicated to Latin America provides more than enough documented evidence for readers to realize what is underway in that part of the world. In many cases some Latin American countries, such as Argentina, have moved farther ahead in the recognition of the so-called “new rights” than European countries, which are notoriously more advanced in the areas of the secularization of sex life, procreation and the family.. Up until a few years ago the themes over which the battle about women was being aged had to do with divorce, contraception and abortion. That battle line is still very much alive, as the Report narrates, and enormous economic and organizational resources are still being invested for the mass sterilization of women in poor countries or for forced abortions. Nowadays, however, these frontiers seem to belong to the past for the simple reason that the front line of this “world war” about women has been moved ever farther forward. The radical breaking point with the past can be identified in the refinement of artificial fecundation techniques. As of that moment procreation was separated from the female body in line with the resolute claims thrust and the equalitarianism of initial feminist endeavors, and perhaps corresponding thereto beyond what were the proponents own expectations. A women could finally liberate herself from maternity and at last become just like a man. If contraception and abortion already enabled women “to decide” about some fundamental aspects of their maternity, they could now decide about it in a much more radical manner: fecundation, gestation and generation can take place “elsewhere”. In fact, artificial fecundation is the prelude to the artificial womb and to the “womb for rent”.
When taking a close look at these signs, which the Report substantiates and are the main focus of Eugenia Roccella’s analysis in the chapter on “The Issue of the Year”, it is also necessary to make an effort to understand the design behind all this and the ultimate aims pursued by those governing these processes. The detachment from nature had already begun with contraception and abortion, but it had not taken place completely. Women were already the privileged field for bringing about this detachment in a manner far, far removed from any comparison with men, even though the relative dynamics have an ensuing impact also on the couple, man and relationships as such. The true revolution, however, had yet to take place. Today this revolution is underway. Women have been chosen as the field for the advanced and violent experimentation of the complete detachment from nature, with the replacement of objectivity with subjectivity, natural with artificial, what is discovered with what is produced, right with desire, and bio-politics is becoming the place for rethinking politics itself, where Power is the guarantor of individual and mutually incomparable desires. Putting it in other terms in order to ensure an even better comprehension of the challenge before us: women have been chosen as the field of experimentation of a new and post-human humanity. Post-humanism transits through a change of what we have thus far understood by “woman”. The right to a child, which is consequent to bidding farewell to the natural woman-maternity relationship, will transform a child in the future into a “thing”; the child will be programmed, designed and bred also in a eugenic and racist manner, will be “contracted”, and will increasingly become the object of legal dispute; abortion will become “natural” and will be performed as something to which women have a due right if they so wish, as illustrated by the women who have a video tape made while going through an abortion procedure, the women who no longer live abortion – at least this is what it seems like – as a tragic event with traumatic effects, but as something normal and par for the course. . .then again, modern pharmacological techniques make it invisible as well; the disassociation of the “I” will continue insofar as procreation will be situated elsewhere with respect to love, stability, the couple and kinship. These are but a few fleeting references to a future by now close at hand, a future which began with the post-natural being in order to become post-human..
It is not possible to understand the overall sense of this revolution of women and of women in the revolution unless we consider it to be a messianic process completely in the hands of technology, a messianism of technology left to its own devices. The negation of woman is also the negation of man, the negation of the couple complementary by nature and open to life. Therefore, the goal is individuals who are uniform, unisexual and multi-sexual at the same time, interchangeable, operational, approachable and useable, in widespread multi-love that has all the features of collective auto-eroticism. In the society of technology it is the only ideology still going strong, or, in other terms, it is a new configuration of the many religious surrogates of later modernity. It could also be their ultimate version.
By now it does not suffice to consider endeavors concerning women only from a sociological or moral point of view as in the past. Issuing forth from the re-creation of woman is the re-creation of humanness in the post-human age. The challenge is metaphysical and theological. If the challenge is not tackled on this level, the other side has already won. This is the reason for the need to enhance the many cases of resistance on the part of so many women in the front line all around the world and ever ready to go against the tide. The women who are opposed to being used as the experimental field of post-humanity; the women who refuse any form of prenatal analysis because they are open to life in any form it will have after delivery; the women who engage in conscientious objection at work; the woman who create new movements in order to thwart the penetration of the gender ideology into schools; the women who continue to practice the caring attention so typical of feminine genius in the family home and in society; the women in poor countries who are the heads of households and are the driving soul of the informal economic activities that nourish the family; the women who defend laws respectful of femininity in courtrooms and international organizations; the women who continue to be faithful brides and mothers. . . . many indeed are these women, and they constitute a great resource for continuing the creation entrusted in part by God to the human species, and contrasting the re-creation that power-brokers have designed and are implementing all over the world.
Women, and Christian women in particular, have in these their efforts the protection of Mary Immaculate, and in turning to her they can find all the energies they need to counter the phenomenon at its selfsame level. We said above that the revolution of woman is a process of metaphysical and religious significance. This means that countering it must also be metaphysical and religious. Mary both founds and enables all this. She, the Mother Creator and Savior, is the Mediatrix so all men and women may invoke her assistance and find the strength not to disregard God’s creative plan, which also comes to be through woman, and to continue transforming it into true re-creation, the re-creation opened to us by the Son of God on the Cross and in the Sepulcher left empty.
 Director of the Observatory Cardinal van Thuân on the Social Doctrine of the Church. Likewise underwriting the introductory abstract are: Fernando Fuentes Alcantara, Director of the Fundación Pablo VI, Madrid; Daniel Passaniti, Executive Director, CIES-FundaciónAletheia, Buenos Aires; Manuel Ugarte Cornejo, Director of the Centro de Pensamiento Social Católico of the San Pablo University, Arequipa, Peru.