Prior to 1970, no female saint had ever been declared a Doctor of the Church, but today, there are four: St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and St. Hildegard of Bingen. While there is no doubt that their writings are exceptional and ought to be honored as treasures of the Church, there are questions regarding the liturgical propriety of conferring the title of …More
Prior to 1970, no female saint had ever been declared a Doctor of the Church, but today, there are four: St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and St. Hildegard of Bingen. While there is no doubt that their writings are exceptional and ought to be honored as treasures of the Church, there are questions regarding the liturgical propriety of conferring the title of Doctor upon them. According to the traditional calendar, these four saints are Virgins, while the Mass and Office for the feast day of a Doctor are those for Confessors, so it is already impossible to incorporate these new titles into the traditional liturgy. While these four women fulfill the requirements for being Doctors, which include sanctity, orthodoxy of faith, eminent learning, and the declaration of the Church, the way in which the post-conciliar hierarchy went about conferring this title upon them appears to run afoul of the principle lex orandi, lex credendi by implicitly undermining the Church’s teachings on male and female vocations.

The Liturgical Novelty of Female Doctors of the Church

Prior to 1970, no female saint had ever been declared a Doctor of the Church, but today, there are four: St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena,…
Darice Henriques
Thanks. This was something I had often wondered about ever since I came to know that that there was no precedent for female doctors of the Church prior to Vatican II.
On the Contrary
@Hermit in the Middle of The City @pmfji So this is the level of intellectual depth on GloriaTV these days.
Hermit in the Middle of The City
@On the Contrary , @Alex A @pmfji True, you have my sincere apology, I was out of line. 🙏 Keep in mind, your opinion is exactly that, an opinion. I read your piece and the impression I gathered from it is was what I gather from many others here lately, that absolutely every single thing the Church has done post concilular needs to be criticised and eliminated mainly because Tradition is God …More
@On the Contrary , @Alex A @pmfji True, you have my sincere apology, I was out of line. 🙏 Keep in mind, your opinion is exactly that, an opinion. I read your piece and the impression I gathered from it is was what I gather from many others here lately, that absolutely every single thing the Church has done post concilular needs to be criticised and eliminated mainly because Tradition is God Himself and there is never a need for change at all. I'm rather tired of it and that is why you recieved the "yawn" As if the third person of the Holy Trinity condemns Holy Spirit and prefers Holy Ghost, and I'm not making a comparison I'm making an analogy.

If you prefer to ignore the magnitude of what these female saints have done, what they did to open the eyes of the Church and bring Her back to the gospel once again; such things as love and simplicity (the Little Flower"), or overlook the tremendous depth that St. Theresa of Avila accomplished, so in parallel to the teachings of St. John of the Cross (A Doctor of the Church), perhaps you should go back and reevaluate WHY they were declared Doctors instead of slapping a feminist political view on the Church because you hate the current apostasy in Her. So I reaffirm my apology for the "yawn", but opinions like yours make me tired. I have nothing further.
On the Contrary
@Hermit in the Middle of The City I understand that focusing too much on the current crisis can be draining; in fact, this is precisely the reason why I rarely read Church news nowadays. I agree that those who focus too much on ridiculous details, such as whether to use “Holy Ghost” or “Holy Spirit”, are only exacerbating the problem; personally, I default to the former out of habit, but …More
@Hermit in the Middle of The City I understand that focusing too much on the current crisis can be draining; in fact, this is precisely the reason why I rarely read Church news nowadays. I agree that those who focus too much on ridiculous details, such as whether to use “Holy Ghost” or “Holy Spirit”, are only exacerbating the problem; personally, I default to the former out of habit, but sometimes I switch between the two as well.

My opinion on the particular matter of female Doctors is indeed, as you say, an opinion, and on a relatively minor question of liturgical discipline rather than doctrine. However, one of the root causes of today’s confusion comes from the excessive separation between doctrine and discipline, despite the fact that general discipline is a secondary object of infallibility. Without going into too much detail about a matter that is admittedly complex and quite unsettled among theologians, I will simply point out the following: while there can be bad discipline at various times, the Church cannot habitually err in her prudential judgments (cf. Donum veritatis, 24).

It is not that “there is never a need for change at all”, but that before making a change, we need to fully understand why the practice we wish to change existed in the first place. Even the development of these “small-t” traditions throughout history can reveal the guidance of the Holy Ghost; therefore, disciplines which have stood for centuries cannot be dismissed lightly. If the title of Doctor has been reserved for saints who were bishops (the official teachers of the Church) and priests (their helpers) for all of Church history, then the Catholic mind should seek to understand why this was the case.

I’ve formulated my opinion along these lines: no female saint was called Doctor prior to modern times for the same reason why no male saint is commemorated as Virgin. Both men and women can possess excellence in teaching and receive the aureole for Doctors in heaven, just as they both can possess the virtue of virginity, but by restricting these categories to specific saints in the liturgy, the Church appears to be making a vocational statement. Being a member of the Ecclesia docens belongs to a particular masculine vocation, just as being a Spouse of Christ belongs to a particular feminine vocation.

This is not a question of “ignor[ing] the magnitude of what these female saints have done” any more than we would be ignoring the excellent examples of chastity and purity we find in male virgin saints by not commemorating them as Virgins in the liturgy. As I made clear in the article, a vocation is not only about what one can do, but about what one is: women can be as capable as men in teaching, but they are not, and cannot be, members of the Ecclesia docens. Men can possess the virtue of virginity alongside women, but they are not, and cannot be, Spouses of Christ.

Of course, everyone is free to disagree with my theological opinion, but your criticism here is hardly warranted, given that I was never questioning the accomplishments of these female saints. I simply believe that there are other ways of noting their extraordinary works without contributing to the current confusion surrounding male and female roles and vocations.
Hermit in the Middle of The City
@On the Contrary Yes, perhaps it would be best for me to focus less on the happenings of our current Church as well. It's blatantly apparent that I didn't fully grasp what you wrote, most likely because of the different levels of the theological food chain we are on. however, it's clearer now that you clarified it, I'm grateful for you doing so and it does bring up a very interesting and valid …More
@On the Contrary Yes, perhaps it would be best for me to focus less on the happenings of our current Church as well. It's blatantly apparent that I didn't fully grasp what you wrote, most likely because of the different levels of the theological food chain we are on. however, it's clearer now that you clarified it, I'm grateful for you doing so and it does bring up a very interesting and valid point. Sorry if my emotions got the best of me, I relate to St. Therese of Lisieux closely in several ways, excluded her humility. God Bless!
Hermit in the Middle of The City
Yawn.
CatholicDoors
That is women's lib. Let them take over the world. Next comes a female pope.
pmfji
Yawn.