English, Feminism

Woman and the Cardinal Virtue of Temperance

Woman and the Cardinal Virtue of Temperance
Faith Magazine, Nov-Dec 2013

[In the final part of his series on woman and the cardinal virtues Mgr Burke examines the virtue of temperance and its specific calls upon women, especially with regard to sexuality.]

What is Temperance?.
Temperance or moderation implies self-control. To control oneself well is as necessary as to drive an automobile well. An untrained or unpracticed driver, lacking control of his car, ends up by crashing, perhaps killing himself or others. And so with people who lack self-control; they are heading for a crashed and self-destructive life.

Feminism v. Femininity: the Threat to Woman's Identity

Feminism v. Femininity: the Threat to Woman's Identity [1]
(New Oxford Review, October, 2013)

Lest the title given to my presentation cause confusion, may I begin by emphasizing that I am a feminist. Radical feminism is what I see as a threat to woman's identity. Ask any radical feminist what should be the most logical question to put to them (a question incidentally they don't like) - what he or she understands by "feminine," and they have no answer. They don't want women to be feminine, just as they don't want men to be masculine. Down with the difference!

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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