Sunday, February 21, 2021

"very stupid and unworthy things on the subject of women"

Polygamia triumphatrix
(1682), p. 123
      "On the sex of souls and on the image of God in the souls of women we have . . . alluded to some [important] discussions anterior to the second Council of Mâcon [held in 585].  We sought only to indicate trajectories of research, cite some recent studies, and, at the same time, suggest a larger context for the polemics to which so many have devoted themselves [(on s'est livre)] not unwillingly, [and] in the 19th century above all, although the arrows flew low:  'perfidious falsification', 'blunder', 'enormity', 'Voltairean jokes', 'ridiculous objection', 'ludicrous tradition', 'scholars of contraband [(savants de contraband)]'.  On the precise terrain on which they fought, the Catholic apologists were right.  [It is] a matter of fact that there has not existed, in the history of Christianity, a legend as unfounded and [yet] tenacious [(aussi tenace et aussi mal fondée)] as that of the Council of Mâcon, with the possible exception of that—a legend not unlike it in character—of the She-Pope Joan.

     "And yet, the refutations, perfectly justified in themselves, were accompanied by triumphalist declarations that have not contributed to a decontamination of the atmosphere. . . .

     "We would prefer, rather, to hear from [the likes of] the distinguished Jesuit Max Pribilla, who noted in a [far] humbler tone [that] 'Over the centuries there certainly have also been Catholic theologians who said [(ont soutenu)] very stupid and unworthy [things] on the subject of women. . . .'  (Although [Pribilla] did add, in effect, [that] one cannot, all the same, impute to them a debate over the existence in them of a soul!)"

          Émilien Lamirande, "De l'âme des femmes:  autour d'un faux anniversaire," Science et esprit 37, no. 3 (1985):  350-351 (335-352).  It's pretty easy to find solid information in English on the Council of Mâcon.  See, for example, Michael Nolan:  First things, New Blackfriars, etc.