Masculinity & Femininity: The Enchantment of Complementarity

Masculinity & Femininity: The Enchantment of Complementarity [1]
(Position Papers, Dublin, no. 470. June-July 2013, pp. 22-27)
A disenchanted world
What are we to make of the world we live in? A world dominated by science, overawed by technology - and disenchanted with humanity. We have no wonder left for our own life, no sense that the big mysteries around us are those which touch us in the depths of our most personal existence: love, friendship, sexuality, marriage, family life, freedom, commitment...
One of the main things gone is romance. We live in a cynical world, bereft of ideals, where good and noble dreams are only for kids, and no longer even for them. It is indeed a disenchanted world.

Opus Dei in the service of the Evangelizing Mission of the Church

The Personal Prelature of Opus Dei in the service of the Evangelizing Mission of the Church (Conference, CEFA, Kinshasa, November, 2007) [translation]

Woman and the Cardinal Virtue of Fortitude

Woman and the Cardinal Virtue of Fortitude (FAITH Magazine, Jan-Feb 2013)

[Mgr Burke offers a meditation upon the exercise of fortitude in the context of the vocation to womanhood. This was one of a series of lectures given at Strathmore University, Nairobi, last year. We hope to publish the complementary reflections upon the other cardinal virtues.]

Firstly, I am going to speak about virtues; not in a theological or religious context, but simply in philosophical human terms.
Virtue is not a very popular word today. It is hard to say why, but perhaps the reason is that while everyone can have and in fact needs virtues, they cannot be acquired without an effort: an effort to rise above self-centeredness. And rising above self is not seen as an attractive proposition nowadays. Yet to rise above self is the only way to true personal fulfilment. Let us briefly consider why.


To Henry Higgin's expostulation, 'why can't a woman be more like a man?'[1]... the brief answer is of course that she can; but then she will be less like a woman. Is that progress? Is she made richer or poorer by that? Is humanity made richer or poorer? Or is everyone made richer if woman is more like a woman?
But - do these questions make sense? A woman is born a woman, isn't she? Can she, as she grows, become more like a woman or less like a woman? Does it make a difference? I think she can; and I think it makes an immense difference. This implies - as I believe - that sexual identity, masculine or feminine, is not just a 'given' at birth, but also a goal to be sought; and to be achieved - or not. Some aspects of feminine identity and its achievement are what I propose to consider in this study.


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