“For whenever man is responsible for offending a woman’s personal dignity and vocation, he acts contrary to his own personal dignity and his own vocation.” (Pope St. John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem, 10)

December 3, 2015 ought to be remembered as the date that any remaining vestiges of our country’s collective sense of chivalry died a tragic death. It was on this day that Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced his decision to require combat positions in every branch of the United States military – including the Marine Corps – be opened to women. Despite being one of the most significant news items in recent memory, if you did not pay close attention to the world affairs during the past few weeks the announcement may have been lost in the commotion of the other issues in the news, such as the presidential campaign, ISIS, refugees and immigration, not to mention gun and racial issues. One more thump in the constant drumbeat of political correctness can easily be overlooked.

Nevertheless, this issue of allowing our young women to directly engage in mortal combat with our nation’s enemies should be a major issue of concern for any man with a woman in his life, for it threatens the very foundation of masculinity and femininity. This new policy is not a triumph for feminism. It is a tragic failure. Pope St. John Paul II’s sagacious apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem can help us understand why.

But first, a clarification is necessary. Nothing written here is intended to detract from the courage and patriotism of the women who have already served, are serving, and will serve in combat roles. Nor should what follows be taken as a denunciation of women serving in the military in any capacity. We owe these women a debt of gratitude for their sacrifice. Anyone – male or female – who has volunteered to serve our country deserves our respect and admiration. That being said, we can and should question the philosophy of allowing women into combat and whether or not it’s a good idea.

That being said, the underlying philosophy of Secretary Carter’s decision is that men and women are the same, regardless of any biological, physiological, psychological, or spiritual differences. This is a fundamentally incorrect interpretation of human sexuality, but this is not the first blow to authentic masculinity and femininity. For years, radical feminism has been pushing an agenda which views the differences between the sexes as a conflict; that men are somehow holding women back and that true equality will only be achieved when women can do everything a man does.

John Paul II warns against this mentality. “[E]ven the rightful opposition of women to what is expressed in the biblical words, ‘He shall rule over you’ (Gen 3:16) must not under any condition lead to the ‘masculinization’ of women. In the name of liberation from male ‘domination,’ women must not appropriate to themselves male characteristics contrary to their own feminine ‘originality.’ There is a well-founded fear that if they take this path, women will not ‘reach fulfillment,’ but instead will deform and lose what constitutes their essential richness.” (10)

Contrary to what the progressive feminist ideology would like to have you believe, we know that masculinity and femininity are actually not in conflict. One is not superior and the other inferior. There is no need to glorify one and demean the other. “In the sphere of what is ‘human,’” writes John Paul II “of what is humanly personal – ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’ are distinct, yet at the same time they complete and explain each other.” (25)

In a world where political correctness dictates that a man pretending to be a woman is acceptable, that marriage is a mere contract between consenting adults regardless of their sexual identity, that the ability for women to kill their children in the womb is a constitutional right, and that women with enough money only need a needle and a petri dish to get pregnant, we should not be surprised when the complementarity and distinction between the sexes all but disappear, including on the brutal front lines of war. Feminism should be about protecting and promoting the dignity of women. Instead, feminism is a code-word for removing distinctions between men and women.

That lack of distinction is precisely the problem. When it comes to military combat, it’s not that women are not able to fight*, it is that they shouldn’t be fighting at all because they are different than men – different in such a way that they are more deserving of reverence, praise, respect than could ever be demonstrated in armed combat.

John Paul II referred to the “dignity and vocation” of women which finds its “eternal source in the heart of God.” (14) Though he doesn’t mention it directly in the letter, one would assume that John Paul II would consider combat – while terrible in its own right – to be far beneath the dignity and vocation of women particularly. It is this dignity and vocation, he says, which finds its most complete expression in Mary, the Mother of God (5) where “what is personally feminine reaches a new dimension: the dimension of the ‘mighty works of God,’ of which the woman becomes the living subject and an irreplaceable witness.” (16)

Let us then contemplate the image of Mary. It is true that Mary the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God by her fiat – her saying “Yes!” to life – crushed the head of the snake, and in doing so shows us that there is room for a women to engage in combat. Yet, she retains the title Queen of Peace because she does so through the highest virtues of femininity, namely gentleness, love, patience, and selflessness. Mary, by living these peaceful virtues radically for God, became a living example of what it means for a woman to engage in combat with sin itself.

Pope John Paul II explains: “The dignity of every human being and the vocation corresponding to that dignity find their definitive measure in union with God. Mary, the woman of the Bible, is the most complete expression of this dignity and vocation. For no human being, male or female, created in the image and likeness of God, can in any way attain fulfillment apart from this image and likeness.” (5)

Perhaps that is the best way to understand why women in military combat is a poor philosophy: it goes contrary to the “feminine genius” and their true “dignity and vocation.” Women have a vocation to be life-bearers, and not just literally in the form of bearing children, but also simply by giving and receiving love. “When we say that the woman is the one who receives love in order to love in return, this refers not only or above all to the specific spousal relationship of marriage. It means something more universal, based on the very fact of her being a woman…” (29)

If the concept of vocation is measured by being in “union with God” and following His will, then combat – the purpose of which is the intentional destruction of life – is entirely contrary to the life-giving qualities inherent in the “feminine genius.”

War is brutal. The front lines of combat are a disgusting, abhorrent, crude, and destructive place. This may sound very old fashioned or even chauvinistic to a non-Catholic, but it’s not. It’s chivalrous because the simple fact is that combat is no place for women. They deserve so much better. As men, we should protect and uphold the dignity of women, and one very important way we can do that is to raise our daughters to be strong, virtuous, and holy, with Mary as their ultimate role model. Women deserve to be placed on a pedestal, not shoved in a foxhole.

*Some will argue that because women by-and-large are not as strong as men and not physically capable of the same things men, they are thus not physically able to fight. Yes, women are generally not as strong as men, but one need only think of the powerful “mama bear” instinct to know that women can fight if necessary, just perhaps not in the same way. Nevertheless, the point of the article is not about ability, but appropriateness.

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  • Felix_Culpa

    “Contrary to what the progressive feminist ideology would like to have you believe, we know that masculinity and femininity are actually not in conflict. One is not superior and the other inferior.”

    But masculinity is superior; that is why the wife must submit to the husband and why only men should be leaders. Not a popular thing to say, but that is only because of modern distortions.

  • FL Frank

    I had served for 20 years in the U.S. Army and trained Marines as a Govt. Contractor 2009-12 on combat vehicle operation (MRAP). Women are not a combat multiplier and anyone who believes so does not have first hand experience in the field and on the ground. It is disruptive to combat operations and only leads to unneeded deaths on the battlefield. Our job is to kill people clear and simple mot to create opportunities for employment. To place women into stud units such as Seals and Green Berets is especially asinine and standards will be lowered for accommodation. Additionally the service academies no longer serve a useful purpose as they now stress liberal arts and not killing 101. CWO4 USA retired “Live Free Or Die”

    • Kathleen Van Zandt Grant Bye

      I’m about as far to the left and feminist as they come and an Army vet to boot. But it is apparent to anyone who investigates that women cannot be used in combat units without serious detriment to good order and combat readiness. I believe it is this generation’s self indulgence that leads people to believe that the military exists for career opportunities and as a place to display one’s patriotism — that’s a good thing, I’m not knocking it — and professionalism. It is not, as you grimly but correctly stated, the military exists to defend us which usually entails killing people. High ranking military officials (mostly men) have been brought down by their own lack of control with fellow and lower ranking soldiers (mostly women), Petreaus is a good example but there are many others. Our youngest just got back from a tour in Afghanistan, I was very thankful there were no women in his EOD Special Forces support unit, he’s married but married or single, men don’t need the complications of women working in close quarters with men in a combat zone.

  • Phil Alcoceli

    Like the two poles of an electric battery, the obvious and undeniable differences between men and women make it possible for the energy and spark of true love, hope and beauty to exist, jump, fly, increase and move up to the excellence of True Life, a “fountain that springs up to Eternal Life” (John 4: 14). Erasing men/women differences blocks the reality of God’s Infinite, Electric Generosity and is a demonic stab at true love and true life. Gender “equality” is the Dragon’s Nest of Death. It’s significant that a great young woman, Ashley McGuire, has recently written and published the book: “Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female”. I strongly encourage everyone to read it. Women are women and don’t belong in combat and that’s a very good thing. Men are men and we are soldiers in charge of protecting Truth and that’s a very good thing.

  • Sarah Rose

    Great article! As a woman, i think it is shameful that women are allowed in combat. That is only one or two steps away from women being drafted and forced to fight, contrary to our vocation to love and nurture.

  • Gabe Jones

    Caro, thank you for reading and for your thoughtful response. You are correct. There are Christian examples of women in combat. However, these examples only occurred 1) because God specifically intervened, and 2) because of the failure of men to do what they were supposed to do.

    Aside from divine intervention, we as men, should be doing everything in our power to keep women from the undignified experience of combat.

    • Adriana

      What is vocation other than the intervention of God in one’s own life plans? If God called these women to battle rather than some of their male peers (surely there were plenty of male leaders whose hearts He could have touched?), He meant for them to be there. And if He meant these women to serve in combat then, He can mean for them to serve in combat now.

  • Luis Caleia

    Interesting article, and I agree with most of what you say. However, your last paragraph had me feeling a little uncomfortable. Gage, you must lnow that we live in an age where it’s all about the feminine, at least in Western nations. Whether in the media, academia, art, literature and practically the entire roll-call of popular culture you will find its women who are being elevated. Women, who are made to feel important. Women, who are always being told how special, worthy, unique etc etc etc they all are. In view of this, I think it’s more than time that the spotlight was shone a little on those dejected males out there…You know, the ones who are always being told to make their women feel special, unique, important…etc. yes, war is brutal, and the front lines are appalling, but they are no less appalling for men, who,have no fewer feeling, and certainly no less dignity, than women. Your exalting women by saying ” they deserve so much better” risks giving added weight to the current false Western thinking that diminishes men, their dignity and their worth because, after all, it’s all about women. Always, and at all times. Well, no it’s not. It’s surely Catholic thinking to recommend that daughters are taught to lead virtuous and holy lives in imitation of our Lady, but as for this pedestal business……ahem…I would say, politely, just leave that out. The world has raced ahead of you on that anyway and its lead to a whole lot of damaged relations between the sexes in the last four or so decades. If anything we need to address the imbalance and let the pendulum swing a little in favour of men…for once.

    • Gabe Jones

      Luis, thank you for reading. I can appreciate where you’re coming from, but I think your reading of that last paragraph is too apprehensive. In some ways, you are right that women are being exalted in today’s world like never before. In many ways this is a positive development, but at the same time women are being encouraged to do things which can be to the detriment of men (and boys). We should be asking, at what cost?

      You say we need to “let the pendulum swing a little in favor of men,” but I could very easily counter that argument by showing you the objectification of women that is so very rampant in the digital sphere – and is driven by men. Plus, depending on which woman you ask, the pressure on women today to be “perfect” is overwhelming to some, not to mention unfair and undignified. Again, driven by men. The modern world claims it wants to “elevate” women by putting them on the same “pedestal” as men, by telling them they can do all the same things a man does. To most, that is “elevating” women. But is it? And are women really being “elevated” if you stop and think about it? Are women today being made to feel as though they can be true to their “genius” as a women, or are they being made to feel as though they have to do everything a man does, and then some? Does that really “elevate” women?

      In the Catholic view, “elevating” women to the same “level” as men is the very cause of the imbalance of which you speak. We, as men, need to return to upholding, promoting, and elevating women to their true dignity as women, not the false notion so prominently advanced in today’s society.

      When I write of protecting and upholding the dignity of women, and placing women on a pedestal, I’m not speaking as a 21st century feminist. I’m speaking in unison with the venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen who said:
      “To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, and goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”

      I hope that makes sense. Thanks again for reading.

      • keith marino

        Hi Gabe,
        I think this website is a great place for men and women to come to in order to gain a proper understanding of who we are to be and how we are to live in accordance with God’s design and will. I’m a combat veteran and find it abhorrent that our weak politicians would think that women in combat is a good thing and that so many in our emasculated society just go along with it. I reject it wholeheartedly. Women open themselves up to variety of possible ills including sexual ills, whether engaged in voluntarily of involuntarily, when they are in the midst of combat and all the pressures and ravages associated with it. What happens if a woman in combat gets pregnant? Then you have an innocent child in the womb out there in the combat zone who is now exposed to death before he has a chance to breath air. Also, men will sacrifice themselves to save a woman and so having women in combat just adds greater risk to all the men who are on the battlefield.
        One thing I will somewhat disagree with you on is that the objectification of women and the expectation of women to be perfect is merely driven by men. I find that women are very competitive amongst themselves and do a lot of the “driving” themselves in this regard. If women would hold themselves to higher standards, the men would elevated their standards as well. In the end, I believe this is what we all hope for here.

      • Luis Caleia

        Gabe, thanks for the reply. I would agree with your statement that women are being encouraged to do things, such as fighting in trenches etc, which they shouldn’t. But this is where I think you are missing your target. Who do you think is behind these preposterous notions that are pushing women to do these
        things ? We read about standards that are being lowered in the police and security forces in a number of countries to allow for physically-weaker women to enlist, despite the fact that lowering standards poses a security risk down the track. Where does this unbalanced thinking come from ? Answer…from women themselves. If a finger must be pointed it should be at the feminists whose writings, influence, and lobbying everywhere populate the most influential policy making spheres. Whether in Government, courtesy of the rad-fems in such groups as Emily’s List, or feminist academics in Universities, or the endless feminist groups and bloggers online, it is invariably women themselves who are pushing into roles that were traditionally men’s. Sure, you and I can agree that most women are utterly unsuited to many of these roles ( many of which demand incredible strength and physical endurance ), but can you see any of these radical feminists agreeing ? They would sooner hold onto their delusions that they are equal to men in every way than admit for a second there are some tasks where most women are just not capable.
        I contend, then, that your aim should be to challenge those women who are actually behind the warped thinking that women can go on the front line, women can excel at the most demanding elite military task forces because there is ‘no difference’ between men and women, and to argue that there is just makes you a
        “misogynist, chauvinist pig”. They are the ones who fight so hard against traditional gender roles, and do their best to undermine these at whatever cost, even national security. Rarely do you find any man willing to take on the feminists, even though the facts are plain and speak for themselves. And if men are culpable in any of this, it is because whether they be in Governemnt or some other sphere of influence, they simply don’t speak out as they should. Or when they do, they miss their proper target. The result- the lunatics are allowed to run the asylum.

        Men’s instincts tell them the feminist-view is hogwash but to say so directly risks inviting an avalanche of hostility, not the least of which comes from the pro-feminist liberal media. Most men have been, in effect, silenced. And the price of that silence is the wacky policies and unhinged social policy experiments that have been unleashed on society to everyone’s detriment. Again, the thinking behind this mess is largely perpetuated by women themselves, not men.
        Mens responses range from cowering into silence, capitulation, and sometimes forming their own communities that reject mainstream preconceptions and cultural definitions of masculinity ( such as Men Going Their Own Way ).

        A couple of other points. You mention “the objectification of women that is so very rampant in the digital sphere – and is driven by men”. I would argue that is only part of the story. Certainly, things such as pornography objectify women. But what about men being objectified by porn ? Decades ago you might have won the argument that porn was all about men, and their demands. Not any more. That awful industry has morphed such that it caters to women’s ‘tastes’ and has no issue with objectifying men as once it did solely women.
        But even beyond pornography, there are plenty of examples in the media where it is obvious that men are the ones being objectified, not women. Television ads are awash with examples of men being portrayed as the useless, stupid, needy clowns who are there to be mocked or pitied. Invariably, the women will be presented as the switched-on, fast-talking character with the right answers and putting the male character in the shade. Who is being objectified ?

        Finally, you maintain that ” …the pressure on women today to be “perfect” is overwhelming to some, not to mention unfair and undignified. Again, driven by men.” With respect, I would argue this is another fallacy which again portrays women as victims, and men as perpetrators. What substantial evidence The modern world claims it wants to “elevate” women by putting th

  • Scott Tactical

    @Caro starts with St Joan? I think we know what happened to her. Church no likey. I am guessing you aren’t military. I think the military has full right to be discriminatory. If we are working in an expeditionary role then your feelings about equality are irrelevant.

    • FL Frank

      Yes it is all about feelings !

  • LilB

    Mama was very upset at the idea decades ago. Born in the 1920’s she supported our troops through the Depression, and was heartbroken at the thought of our boys on the front lines having a woman next to them in combat. “They have enough to deal with already. A man will want to protect that woman, that’s what they’re made of,” she’d say. “The slightest distraction, just one wrong move, could cause unnecessary loss of life, or even the battle itself.” I believe she was referring to your average “gentleman,” i.e., those who respect others. So I can only pray. (Lord hold our troops in your loving hands and protect them as they protect us. In Jesus’ most Holy & Sacred Name.

  • buckyinky

    Gabe J., thank you for making your thoughts know through this article.

    If you’re still monitoring comments, I’d be interested in knowing whether you take the same approach to the subject of women in the military after reading the blogger Dalrock’s thoughts on it. He makes the point that the issue is not men cowardly demanding that women take up military arms, but that men are cowardly caving in to the demands of women, rather than having the courage to say “no” to them.

  • Pat_h

    Note that this past week this Administration’s top military leaders went from being required (in the case of the USMC) to allow women into combat formations, to proclaiming that, in essence, should conscription resume women will be drug into combat formations whether they wish that role or not.

    Conscription in and of itself has problems associated with it, but a society that so ignores the basic differences between men and women and so despises them that it would require them to fight by compulsion for the first time in the history of our species really lacks both a sense of reality and a sense of compassion.

  • E Power

    Please use images of actual U.S. Army women for your article, not models wearing the uniform incorrectly.

    • Pat_h

      Would it be better if the photo was the one the Stars and Stripes recently ran of a large number of female soldiers feeding their infants, while in uniform, the natural way?

  • Pat_h

    I blogged on this myself recently:


    As an old soldier myself, but also as a person who studies nature and science, I’m frankly appalled by the degree to which we, as a culture, ignore basic nature and are forcing women to be something they are not. In turn, we’re converting men into something they should not be. This development is simply bad in every sense it can be examined and the consequences, in an era in which we appear to be in a very long war, will likely not be good for anything. Not for men, not for women, not for a natural realistic view of things, not for our society, and not for the nation’s defense.

  • Emily

    Mary is the Queen of Peace, but Jesus is also the Prince of Peace, so I’m not convinced that because Mary is the Queen of Peace, women should not fight. I am still thinking about this issue, but I don’t think women should be barred from combat because they are women. I understand the author’s qualms about an attempt to erode the natural and good differences between the sexes, but I don’t think women in combat necessarily contributes to that. I think women should be able to fight in the military. I would have a problem with women being drafted, because I think that being a soldier is something that a woman should not be forced to do – and something that most women are probably not called to do – for some of the reasons mentioned by the author. (Is that a double standard? Maybe. Like I said, I’m still thinking through this issue.) However, Joan of Arc was called by God to fight. Not saying that that is the experience of most women, but I think it’s something we should respectfully consider. — Sincerely, a Catholic feminist

    • Mrs. C.

      Emily, I look at it this way. The Cathechism teachers that God has the best attributes of both fatherhood and motherhood. God created mankind in His image – male and female- He created them. Each man and woman is an image of God and man and woman complementing each other in their relations with one another are also an image of God. So although Christ is the fullness of all things, us humans, being made male and female, represent different aspects or ways of being. Christ being the Prince of Peace doesn’t contradict the sacrificial role he played in his battle against sin which he won on the cross. St. Edith Stein said (I’m paraphrasing) that the more one becomes Christ-like, the more one embodies the best of all virtues. Male saints can show a tender love and mercy and female saints can show manly courage. There may have been exceptions and women, like Joan of Arc, were called to fight but that doesn’t mean that as a rule women should take on more masculine roles. Joan of Arc had God’s call and blessing and His strength to back her up so His will would be carried out. However, opening combat roles to women in general who most likely don’t have a specific calling from God, goes against what women as life-bearers represent to humanity. If God wants a particular woman to fight in combat, no rule of excluding women from the military will stop His will. He will open a way. I think we can probably say that the government’s decision to do away with this rule wasn’t by the prompting of God.

  • Anonymous

    You lost me the moment you brought in motherhood as being a conflict. Yes, it can very well be. It ought to be a conflict for fatherhood too, but thats a bit more feasible. But conflicting with motherhood does not mean unholy. If God intended for every single woman to be called to motherhood, he would not call women to be religious sisters, and there would not be women incapable of having children. Both should signal to us that God in fact does have intentions for women to find callings that may be in conflict with motherhood.
    Dignity on the battlefield ought to be based on what you are fighting for. If God calls you to fight in military for a just cause, then gender doesn’t matter. Follow what God calls you to do.

    • Gabe J.


      Thanks for reading my article. I hope to clarify a point in your comment where you write: “If God intended for every single woman to be called to motherhood…”

      I never made that claim in my article. In fact, I never wrote anything about women being mothers. What I wrote is that “Women have a vocation to be life-bearers, and not just literally in the form of bearing children, but also simply by giving and receiving love.” Then I go on to quote JP II.

      I would say that this comment does, in fact, include religious sisters and women incapable of having children. It’s not simply through bearing children that women display their “feminine genius.”

  • Señor Pepe

    If women want to fight, more power to them. Chivalry might not be dead today, but it certainly is on life support, at best. I got slapped in the face once for opening a door for a woman. Obviously, in her mind, a chauvinistic act. This never dissuaded me from continuing the practice, however. Sure,a I have reservations about women in hand-to-hand combat, but a trained fighter pilot who can battle the G-forces as well as the enemy? You go, girlfriend. It’s the 21st century. If your mama wants to wear Army boots, God bless her.

    • Don Antonio

      Yes, a lotta truth there. Wish it didn’t have to be that way. Now they’re talking about including women in the draft. Wow, how we have changed as a civilization.

  • Arnold

    This will sound rather pessimistic, but if the Christmas Truce of 1914 couldn’t wake government leadership of the time up to the needless wasting of life war brings with it, then I’m doubtful seeing large numbers of your neighbors mothers and daughters marched off to the next war could. If anything, I think the opening of combat positions to women may be the single greatest deterrent ever conceived to keep women out thus far. Last years PT failure rates suggest military women were quietly protesting the plans to seek their inclusion in the infantry. Howver, I’m more curious to know what Pope Pius XII and his predecessors thought of the formation of women’s auxiliaries army corps during WW2 and WW1. He surprised me with his writings on the subject of divorce and contraception. He very accurately predicted the degeneration our society has experienced.

    • Pat_h

      PT failure rates don’t evidence protest, they evidence physical capacity. That’s part of the problem here.

      But not the only one, this entire development is part of the long standing one in the West in which we simply refuse to believe there are actually gender differences. Providing equal employment opportunities in the civilian world is one thing. Enforcing a gender blind policy that ignores reality is quite another, and in the context of combat, which has been a male role, for good or ill, since day one, it’s simply insane.

      But, back to PT rates and the insane, another statistic that should be noted is the rate at which American female service personnel are assaulted. It’s huge. And in spite of what the service attempts, it’s not going to stop. Putting young women next to young men, in that scenario, away from home, is going to encourage assaults. Even college campuses have this problem, as is well known, and college students don’t live in the close earthy contact a lot of troops do. Female combat troops are going to be the subject of that at a prodigious rate, even discounting that combat is awful and some contact is a rapid ticket out of it. And this ignores that the brutality involved in being a Prisoner of War will take on new heights for women prisoners. Let’s consider, for example, what happens to the first female POW that is taken by ISIL. It’ll be horrific.

      So we see the full height of ignoring nature at work here in the West. We’re going to ignore biology and our psychological makeup so that we can force women into lousy male roles, get them killed and assaulted, while encouraging them to be exposed in the worst possible ways.

  • Sue

    Mary…..became a living example of what it means for a woman to engage in combat with sin itself.
    When did our Mother Mary need to combat sin? Being sinless (I believe) protected her from these battles as a grace from God for her “Yes”.
    Women of this world are in “combat” daily; abuse, mistreatment for being a woman. Porno and slave/sex trafficking are rampant.
    We women are not all frills and lace. I thoroughly enjoy a hammer and shovel to a pedicure and hair coloring. As a mother of six and grand mother of 12 my personal femininity is completely fulfilled.
    I can fully except a military vocation for Some women. I do admit I am, personally, not in favor of mothers in combat. The role of nurturing should always be a priority.
    God bless all men who honor women as their distinctive partners of God’s holy plan to lead us to a holy life.
    Mary Mother of God pray for us through your son our Lord Jesus.

    • Gabe J.

      Thanks for reading and thank you for your response.

      You are correct in that Mary did not have to “combat” sin as you or I do. But, the portion you quote when considered in context with the rest of the paragraph makes it clear that the reference is to her combating Satan directly by her saying “Yes” to God. By saying “yes” to life, she crushed his head, which I would consider a very combative image. But done so through the virtues of selflessness, love, etc.

      And you are correct: women do have to engage in spiritual (and sometimes physical) combat with those evils you mention. But again, those evils diminish the dignity of women and do nothing to lift them up. Any man who knowingly put a women into sex trafficking or pornography would be acting “contrary to his own personal dignity and his own vocation.” Ultimately, my point in writing this article is to challenge men to do whatever they can to lift up women to the dignity which they deserve.

  • John

    This is not entirely consistent with the role of women described biblically. Judith beheaded Holofernes. Deborah helped command armies and Jael pounded a tent peg through the head of an enemy general. Their “military roles” added to their dignity.

    It’s also not clear to me how military roles for women imply the sameness of male and female. How far will you go with this logic? Does a woman’s role as a company leader also erode the gender differentiation? Further, this article gives not credence to the way women have actually been mistreated and disenfranchised. Are these historical realities also tricks of the “progressive feminists?”

    • Gabe J.

      John, thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment. I have a couple thoughts in response to the points you raise.

      Yes, there are examples in scripture of women engaging in “combat” with an enemy. There are non-scriptural examples too (e.g., Joan of Arc). But these examples are necessitated because of the weakness of men and done only with recourse to, or because of prompting by God. I would be hesitant to say that this sweeping policy change of allowing women in combat is in accordance with the promptings of God.

      You also ask how far this goes logically. Of course a woman being a company leader does not erode the distinctions between sexes. A woman can lead a business while fully embracing her femininity, just as a man could lead a company in a “manly” way. The sexes are different and different leadership styles are to be expected. But there is a difference between being in a boardroom and being shelled in Ramadi. It’s the threat of physical abuse, violence, and ultimately being killed that erodes those differences between men and women, and there’s a problem with that. Neither sex really “deserves” combat. But men should shudder at the possibility of women being blown apart by enemy fire. We need to shield them from that because they deserve better.

      • Pat_h

        You’ve touched on it already, but these examples tend to point out the exceptional. While these examples are real, it cannot be maintained that they were ever the historical norm. Most Biblical armies were all male. Indeed, the Old Testament provides instruction on what should occur should a Jewish soldier seek to make an enemy war widow a bride, which presumes that both combatants are male.

        If a person takes this view (women in combat is fine), then the logical response should be that, by doubling the number of possible combatants, the standards that apply to joining the service should accordingly be heightened for everyone. The percentage of women in the military is under 20% of any of our armed forces. If standards for physical fitness were raised (which actually already makes a very high percentage of American youth ineligible for service), that would be for the good of the service in general. But how many women would actually be capable of completing training. Not many.

        By extension, the far more likely result will be that training rigor will be reduced.

        Indeed, I’d find it very hard, having served myself, to feel that this isn’t already the case. Basic training could, quite simply, not be what it was in all male training platoons. Not everything was good about them, but they certainly exposed a person to rough behavior in anticipation of combat, and in some pretty rough, male, ways. The point of an army is to kill people and break things, not to provide equality for the genders.

      • John

        Just as male and female company leaders would lead differently based on their gendered styles, so they would also have to engage in combat based on gendered styles and advantages. For example, women would have to not rely on superior physical strength, but rather on more nuanced techniques. So I still fail to understand how combat roles erode gender differentiation.

  • Cody Kreisl

    Even with the mama bear “strength” women can’t fight as well as men. To suggest they can is incorrect. How many women do you see winning a hand-to-hand fight with the average man? Even if she is more muscular than the man she probably still won’t win.


    • Kristine

      I am a woman who was trained in hand to hand combat by a marine who trains marines in this area of defense. Hand to hand is not about muscle.
      That being said, I believe women on the front line of combat is a militant mistake and certainly not God’s will. My training took place prior to my conversion and at this point I don’t even care that I have it.

      • Pat_h

        Indeed hand to hand combat training is one thing, training in the military mind is another.

        In spite of the romantic view of it, being a soldier is about death, and that means causing the death not only of the enemy, but of men you regard as your brothers. You have to be willing not only to die yourself, but to kill you own. That’s an unspoken aspect of service life.

        A good soldier has to be capable of ordering somebody to be left behind. Of ordering somebody to go around a corner to probably get shot. Of being the driver in an enemy city where he will be a target. Everyone who has been in the service knows this, and indeed high award for those left behind are not unknown.

        It would, quite frankly, be one thing for me to leave behind somebody I loved as a brother. Leaving behind a woman I loved quite another.

        And its folly to think that the natural aspect of putting men and women together will not occur. Finding examples of male/female officer/NCO relationships being discovered and resulting in one having to leave the service is quite easy to do. In one unit I served in a highly respected Mormon NCO fell in love with a Catholic female NCO and married her. Would he have left her behind to die? I doubt it, he converted to her faith. The dynamics of inserting women into combat roles are all wrong, and are wrong for reasons far beyond just being able to fight in a singular instance.