CULTURAL REVOLUTIONSrnWHAT DO YOU GET if you crossrnsix Catholic bishops with five “Christianrnfeminists”? The answer: economicrnignorance and cultural lunacy. In whatrnhas to qualify as the meeting from Purgatory,rnthe bishops and the feministsrnmet for eight and a half years. As a committeernof the National Conference ofrnCatholic Bishops (NCCB), they conferredrnwith each other and traveledrnaround the country to “dialogue” withrn75,000 feminists. The result, releasedrnlast June, is “Called To Be One in ChristrnJesus: A Pastoral Response to the Concernsrnof Women for Church and Society.”rnTwo previous drafts of this documentrnwere rejected by the majority of Americanrnbishops. The third, which was firstrnconsidered last June and was scheduledrnto be voted on in revised form lastrnmonth, deserves to meet the same fate,rnbecause it’s still the gospel according tornNOW. “We denounce sexism as a moralrnand social evil,” says the document,rnwhich also condemns “machismo,” “insensitivity,”rnand male “lack of interest.”rnBut what exactly is “sexism”? Not actingrnimmorally, unjustly, or uncharitably towardrnwomen; that has always been a sin.rnIt is rather the political iniquity of seeingrnmen and women as different. Surely wernare not called to be identical in Christ,rnbut to these bishops and their feministrncomrades, ACLU offenses arc the realrnones.rnWomen, the authors tell us with horror,rn”earn approximately 65 cents for everyrndollar paid to men.” This must berncorrected through government-mandatedrn”equality.” As even a liberal bishoprnshould be able to see, the Creator maderneach of us different. There is no equalityrnin the talents we receive from Codrnor the use we make of them. In fact, itrnis our radical inequality that makes therneconomy possible. If we were identical,rnthere would be no division of labor.rnEgalitarianism, as usual, quickly getsrnsilly. Are we really supposed to think itrnan injustice that poorly educated womenrntend to work in what the documentrndecries as “low-paying industries”? Butrnaren’t we all equal in God’s eyes? Whatrnblasphemous nonsense. St. John is notrnequal to Judas, and Mother Teresa is notrnequal to Mao, to God, or to us. Andrnfrom an economic standpoint, the bumrnis not equal to the businessman. Thernattempt to make him so only destroysrnsociety, as we see under socialism.rnYes—as the documents tell us againrnand again—women as a class earn lessrnthan men as a class. But women workrnfewer hours than men and average fewerrncontinuous years on a job than men.rnMothers take time off to raise their children.rnIf they go back to work, they havernless experience than men who stayed onrnthe job. Mothers also work much lessrnovertime than fathers and take off farrnmore days (to care for sick children,rnamong other duties). This is all praiseworthy,rnbut it has economic consequences.rnThe income difference between menrnand women is market based. If itrnweren’t, as economist Thomas Sowellrnpoints out, entrepreneurs would formrnall-women firms to outcompete overpaidrnmale firms. On the other hand, asrnthe document never mentions, womenrnwho never marry earn more than 90 percentrnof what men earn in the same occupations.rnThe “Pastoral Response,” however,rnwants all women to be treated for economicrnpurposes as if they were childlessrnand husbandless. It advocates morerngovernment intervention in the economyrnto bring this about, even hinting thatrnmen should be forced to take an equalrnrole in housekeeping. (I can see it now:rnthe Federal Vacuuming Police.)rnAt the risk of shocking moderns: onlyrnwomen are equipped physically, psychologically,rnand spiritually to bear and raisernchildren. (That seems a truism and it is,rnbut no form of truth is popular today.)rnBecause of this, women do not have thernsame drive for power as men, or thereforernthe same role in the division of labor.rnAs sociologist Steven Goldberg hasrnshown, men have dominated the highpaying,rnhigh-prestige positions in everyrnsociety in history. To the extent thatrnwomen come to dominate a formerlyrnmale profession—medicine in Russia,rnfor example—it loses status.rnBut isn’t there a moral obligation,rneconomics or no economies, to payrnworking women a “living wage”? No,rnfor as Father Luis de Molina and otherrnScholastics showed so many centuriesrnago, the just wage is the market wage,rnwhether or not it provides the standard ofrnliving the employee wants. “If you dornnot want to serve for that salary, leave!”rnhe wrote. Added the Franciscan priestrnVillalobos, “it is against reason and justice”rnto try to make someone hire yournat a wage he does not want to pay.rnHigher incomes can come only from increasedrncapital accumulation. If the authorsrnof this document want to raise therngeneral standard of living, they shouldrnsupport the free market and oppose capital-rneroding government intervention.rnNeedless to say, they take exactly thernwrong position.rnIt is admirable, we are also told, forrnmarried women to work “to enhancerntheir personal growth,” but not if theyrnare “compelled to work solely becausernof economic necessity.” I have news forrnthe bishops: ever since Adam and Evernwere tossed out of the Garden of Eden,rnthe vast majority of us have had to workrnbecause of economic necessity. It is certainlyrntrue that society is better off, notrnto speak of children, if married womenrndo not work outside the home. Butrnheavier and heavier taxes on familiesrnsince World War II have forced Americanrnwives into the workplace. Subversionrnof paternal authority and family independencernhave contributed to thisrntrend as well. So naturally, the reportrnwants egalitarian marriage and an economicallyrnomnipotent state. After all,rnin the bad old days, “women were seenrnas subordinate to the headship of theirrnhusbands.” Now we realize that “a couplernis called to be subordinate to onernanother.” liuh?rnScripture and 19 centuries of Christianrntradition tell us that the husband isrnhead of the family as Christ is head ofrnthe church. This doesn’t mean dictatorship.rnHusbands are senior partnersrnin the family as wives are senior partnersrnin the household. As elsewhere,rnequality in this realm is a recipe for disaster.rnThe authors also tut-tut the modernrndivorce rate, without mentioningrnthat it stems in part from the breakdownrnof male authority in the family and thernconcomitant increase in female adultery,rnfeminist-approved and usuallyrnwork-related. To combat divorce, by thernway, the report proposes a vigorous nationalrnprogram of . . . seminars.rnHispanic women, we arc told, arerndouble victims, for they “are not encouragedrnto learn English.” That’s correct,rnthanks in part to the bureaucratsrnof the NCCB, who ardently supportrn6/CHRONICLESrnrnrn