Alice Ramos: Cultivating the power of attention to the other
In an age of instant communication, sensory overload and multi-tasking one wonders if all the technological advancements are really promoting the development of the human person. They can lead us to think that we are now more efficient and productive because we are “connected”; but are they not, rather, a source of distraction which makes us forget who the human person really is and the importance of relationships in our lives?
To counteract all the distraction that we seem to be immersed in, there is a need to recover what was once called the virtue of study, or the keen interest and application of the mind to knowledge, which will then be applied to our work and to the persons at hand. This is a virtue which is now being named the power of attention.
Because of their physiological and psychological makeup women have a particular gift for caring, for attending to the needs and potential of others, a gift which needs to be cultivated and from which men can learn. This power of attention requires a perceptive eye and a sympathetic understanding for the persons with whom we are in contact on a daily basis. It requires that we be thinking not simply in terms of transmitting information but rather of engaging in that formidable task, rarely spoken of today, which is the formation of the human person.
This task certainly demands attention, an enthusiastic interest in those persons who have been placed at our side, so that we can encourage them to become better human beings, more virtuous, more capable of those lofty goals that only human persons can undertake because they are endowed with intelligence and free will and so naturally desire the true and the good.
I think we need especially to cultivate this gift of attention in our care of young people; more than the information that technology affords them, they need to be formed by the moral and aesthetic values for which so many women have a particular sensitivity. If we do this, we will be planting the seeds for a new and more genuine culture.
Alice Ramos is Professor of Philosophy at St John’s University, Queens, New York
Maria Luisa Estrada: Rescuing the hearts of women
I just read two news articles. In Colombia, two girls, ages 16 and 14, performed a C-section on an 18-year-old girl to steal her baby away. The 16-year old girl had lost her baby as a result of a fall and since then she had been looking for a way to “replace” her little one to prevent her boyfriend from abandoning her.
In Mexico, a girl had skilfully hidden her pregnancy and when the time came to give birth, she shut herself in the bathroom at her home and with a pair of scissors managed to cut the umbilical cord and then killed the baby.
These horrifying events make me think, one more time, that our materialistic and hedonist culture is wreaking havoc in the hearts (intimacy) of women. Education about sexuality, instead of being a means to give value to life and associate it with love, is being reduced to merely preventing pregnancies and STDs.
Having a poorly educated heart is equivalent to emotional malnutrition, the mark of a mutilated being, unable to love, whose only objective is instant gratification of whims and needs.
Thanks to her heart, a woman is capable of sharing joys, bring consolation in times of sadness, being a companion for the lonely and perceiving feelings.
Her maternal potential makes her more sensitive to the needs of others, to suffering, and more willing to give of herself to others. It is essential to “fill” her heart with good feelings, great ideals, and constructive challenges; otherwise, she could become a tyrant or a monster that kills her own children and those of others.
I invite you to rescue the hearts of women so that they will be able to give all the love they are capable of giving!
Maria Luisa Estrada is Cofounder and Director of PROTEGE TU CORAZON (protect your heart), a sexuality education program based on character development targeting teenagers and parents. It has reached more than 75 cities in 18 countries of America, Europe and Asia.
Karen Doyle: Embracing feminine qualities essential for human flourishing
One of the tragic aspects of the feminist movement has been the
denigration of, and attack upon the intrinsic value and centrality of
femininity. Those qualities that truly mark the feminine are crucial
for a culture of life to flourish, for marriages to thrive, for
children to be nurtured and for society to be healthy.
My hope for all women is that they would embrace the full richness of
their femininity. That they would begin to see themselves not as a
problem to be solved but as an answer to the many problems that beset
culture. That, rather than being ashamed of those qualities that deeply
define the feminine, they would embrace their sensitivity, maternity
and receptivity. That in the quest for equality they would not seek to
masculinise their personality, but rather they would seek a
relationship of complementarity with men.
If women hope to improve their status by 2020 they must embrace their
womanhood, and those qualities that mark their true genius as women.
Equal, but not the same as men, capable of bringing something unique
and necessary to human relationships — something never more necessary
than it is today.
Karen Doyle is founder of CHOICEZ MEDIA and author of The Genius of
Womanhood and Theology of the Body; some thoughts and reflections. She
has been married for nine years and is mother to two children.
Sheila Liaugminas: With great power and influence come great
For decades, feminists have spread their ideology
of women’s empowerment through positions of influence in academia, politics,
media and the entertainment world. They’ve aimed at shattering every glass
ceiling for women, with much success. Increasingly over time, they’ve defined
what is and isn’t authentic feminism, but by doing so – and loudly – they
begged the very question.
That was crystallized in the 2008 US
presidential campaign. Of that year’s many dramatic surprises, two of the most
shocking were the eclipse of Democrat Hillary Clinton and the rise of
Republican Sarah Palin. Being two powerful women of political consequence
dominating news headlines was about all they shared, so divergent are their
worldviews. Media praise for Clinton’s pro-abortion credentials and their
revulsion over Palin’s pro-life views were jolting.
The questions are not how far can a woman
go and what positions of power can she achieve, but what does she bring to that
public service that is uniquely feminine? It is innately against a woman’s
nature to end the life she carries in her womb. In the next decade, women of
influence can restore human dignity by affirming motherhood and the maternal
instinct to protect.
Sheila Liaugminas is a Chicago-based journalist and broadcaster. She blogs for MercatorNet on Sheila Reports.