Statements on Women

by Church Fathers, Doctors, and Saints

The Gospel according to Thomas
"Simon Peter said to [the disciples]: Let Mary be excluded from among us, for she is a woman, and not worthy of Life. Jesus said: Behold I will take Mary, and make her a male, so that she may become a living spirit, resembling you males. For I tell you truly, that every female who makes herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

Clement of Alexandria, Pedagogues II, 33, 2
With women "the very consciousness of their own nature must evoke feelings of shame."

Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus III
"Nor are women to be deprived of bodily exercise. But they are not to be encouraged to engage in wrestling or running, but are to exercise themselves in spinning, and weaving, and superintending the cooking if necessary. And they are, with their own hand, to fetch from the store what we require. And it is no disgrace for them to apply themselves to the mill. Nor is it a reproach to a wife--housekeeper and helpmeet--to occupy herself in cooking, so that it may be palatable to her husband. And if she shake up the couch, reach drink to her husband when thirsty, set food on the table as neatly as possible, and so give herself exercise tending to sound health, the Instructor will approve of a woman like this, who 'stretches forth her arms to useful tasks, rests her hands on the distaff, opens her hand to the pool, and extends her wrist to the beggar.'"

Origen, On the Apparel of Women, chapter 1
"And do you not know that you are (each) an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil's gateway: you are the unsealer of that (forbidden) tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law: you are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's image, man. On account of your desert--that is, death--even the Son of God had to die."

St. Augustine, On the Sermon on the Mount 1, 41
"Therefore, if I were to ask any good Christian who has a wife, and even though he may still be having children by her, whether he would like to have his wife in that kingdom; mindful in any case of the promises of God, and of that life where this incorruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality; though at present hesitating from the greatness, or at least from a certain degree of love, he would reply with execration that he is strongly averse to it. Were I to ask him again, whether he would like his wife to live with him there, after the resurrection, when she had undergone that angelic change which is promised to the saints, he would reply that he desired this as strongly as he reprobated the other. Thus a good Christian is found in one and the same woman to love the creature of God, whom he desires to be transformed and renewed; but to hate the corruptible and mortal conjugal connection and sexual intercourse: i.e. to love in her what is characteristic of a human being, to hate what belongs to her as a wife."

St. Augustine, De genesi ad litteram, 9, 5-9
"I don't see what sort of help woman was created to provide man with, if one excludes the purpose of procreation. If woman was not given to man for help in bearing children, for what help could she be? To till the earth together? If help were needed for that, man would have been a better help for man. The same goes for comfort in solitude. How much more pleasure is it for life and conversation when two friends live together than when a man and a woman cohabitate?"

St. Augustine, Soliloq. I 10
"I consider that nothing so casts down the manly mind from its heights as the fondling of women, and those bodily contacts which belong to the married state."

St. John Chrysostom
"The whole of her bodily beauty is nothing less than phlegm, blood, bile, rheum, and the fluid of digested food... If you consider what is stored up behind those lovely eyes, the angle of the nose, the mouth and cheeks you will agree that the well-proportioned body is merely a whitened sepulcher."

St. John Chrysostom, On Priesthood, VI, ch. 8
"There are in the world a great many situations that weaken the conscientiousness of the soul. First and foremost of these is dealings with women. In his concern for the male sex, the superior may not forget the females, who need greater care precisely because of their ready inclination to sin. In this situation the evil enemy can find many ways to creep in secretly. For the eye of woman touches and disturbs our soul, and not only the eye of the unbridled woman, but that of the decent one as well."

St. Jerome, Commentary on Ephesians, III ch.5
"As long as a woman is for birth and children she is different from man as body is from soul. But when she wishes to serve Christ more than the world, then she will cease to be a woman, and will be called man."

Petrus Cantor (d. 1197)
"Consider that the most lovely woman has come into being from a foul-smelling drop of semen, then consider her midpoint, how she is a container of filth; and after that consider her end, when she will be food for worms."

St. Albert the Great, Quaestiones super de animalibus XV q. 11
"Woman is less qualified [than man] for moral behavior. For the woman contains more liquid than the man, and it is a property of liquid to take things up easily and to hold onto them poorly. Liquids are easily moved, hence women are inconstant and curious. When a woman has relations with a man, she would like, as much as possible, to be lying with another man at the same time. Woman knows nothing of fidelity. Believe me, if you give her your trust, you will be disappointed. Trust an experienced teacher. For this reason prudent men share their plans and actions least of all with their wives. Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison with his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she herself cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one's guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil.... In evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man. Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good."

St. Albert the Great, Quaestiones super de animalibus XVIII q.1
"The north wind strengthens the power, and the south wind weakens it... The north wind leads to the generation of males, the south wind to the generation of females, because the north wind is pure and dries out the exhalations and stimulates the natural force. But the south wind is moist and heavy with rain."

St. Thomas Aquinas, In I Cor. Ch.11, lectio 2
"By taking the vow of virginity or of consecrated widowhood and thus being betrothed to Christ, they are raised to the dignity of men, through which they are freed from subordination to men and are immediately united with Christ."

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica I q. 92 a. 1
"Woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence, such as that of a south wind, which is moist."

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica I q.92 a.1 reply 2
"Good order would have been wanting in the human family if some were not governed by others wiser than themselves. So by such a kind of subjection woman is naturally subject to man, because in man the discretion of reason predominates."

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II-II q.149 a.4
"Sobriety is most requisite in the young and in women, because concupiscence of pleasure thrives in theyoung on account of the heat of youth, while in women there is not sufficient strength of mind to resistconcupiscence."

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II-II q.70 a.3
"The reliability of a person's evidence is weakened, sometimes indeed on account of some fault of his...; sometimes, without any fault on his part, and this owing either to a defect in the reason, as in the case of children, imbeciles and women, or to personal feeling..."

St. John Eudes (d. 1680)
"It is a subject of humiliation of all the mothers of the children of Adam to know that while they are with child, they carry with them an infant... who is the enemy of God, the object of his hatred and malediction, and the shrine of the demon."