The War on Women. A powerful slogan. A rallying cry for the champions of reproductive rights, claiming that those who range themselves against them are seeking to repress, abuse, demean, even enslave womankind. Meanwhile, their opponents dismiss the terms as fear mongering. But the truth is, there is a war on women, one of the longest running, most vicious wars ever waged. The battle lines were drawn while we were still in the Garden of Eden, when God declared to the serpent: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
The war’s toll has been high since the outset, damaging the relationship between man and woman. Adam, who had just greeted Eve as bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, suddenly distanced himself from her and his God, calling her “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me.” The couple who had been in harmony with each other, with creation, with their God and with their natures now saw their own nakedness and were ashamed.
Through the ages Satan’s hatred of woman only grew stronger, more implacable, cemented by his great defeat at the hands of Jesus. It was that definitive, perfect yes of His mother Mary that welcomed the Incarnation and therefore the redemption of the creatures Satan had led astray long ago. Little wonder then that his failure against this incorruptible woman should strengthen his loathing for her entire sex. Throughout history women have suffered. They have been treated with indignity, they have been stripped of human rights, they have suffered physically because of their gender. Now here we stand in this most modern battle in the war on women and our enemy has barely changed his strategy since that morning in the garden.
The serpent tempts woman saying, eat of this fruit and you will be like a God, able to determine good and evil for yourself. You will have freedom, and power. You will be your own moral lawmaker. He whispers that those who urge her not to give in are seeking to repress her, to keep her in subjection. We see women freely taking medications that destroy their natural cycles and come with warnings of stroke and heart attacks, which are at least suspected of causing many other problems, all in the name of freedom. Yet this very freedom and dignity should exist naturally, in a world where men and women respect each other and themselves. He speaks through celebrity culture and popular entertainment, suggesting that women objectifying themselves is “empowering” as they debase themselves sexually for the adulation of men and the envy of women. As a mockery of his great enemy Our Lady, Satan has raised rejection of motherhood and fertility to be modern goods.
A resounding “No” made in fear, duress, or selfishness in place of that beautiful “Yes” full of faith, hope and love. And everywhere we see the casualties. Poisonous relationships, broken families, women abandoned by men, children abandoned by fathers, millions lost to abortion, the list goes on. The father of lies has made great inroads, playing an elaborate con on our entire gender, trumpeting that we have been freed from earlier repressions at the hands of others while hiding that we are now subjecting ourselves to a whole new set of woes.
Yet all is not lost. As we were promised in the Garden of Eden, as was reaffirmed through the prophets and in the message of the Angel Gabriel, the serpent will not win. Stand tall women. We are at war, but we still have that powerful, brave, noble General. A woman, clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars.