Women, trousers and witchcraft

Taken from a pastoral letter by Bishop Richard Williamson

Summer's end may not seem to be the cleverest moment to choose to write about women's dress. Surely the arrival rather than the departure of the warm weather would be the time to inveigh against immodest clothing. However, several ladies happen to have raised with me this summer the question of women wearing trousers or shorts (pants), and the problem is broader and deeper than just immodesty, grave though immodesty is.

For instance Bishop de Castro Mayer used to say that trousers on a woman are worse than a mini-skirt, because while the mini-skirt is sensual and attacks the senses, the trousers are ideological and attack the mind. For indeed women's trousers, as worn today, short or long, modest or immodest, tight or loose, open or disguised (like the "culottes”), are an assault upon woman's womanhood and so they represent a deep-lying revolt against the order willed by God. This may be least true of the long "culottes", trousers most closely resembling a skirt, and at best mistakable for a skirt, but insofar as "culottes" establish the principle of dividing woman's outward apparel from the waist down, they merely disguise the grave disorder...

Making idols of liberty and equality, to refuse any inequality or subordination of woman to man, it will deny any distinction between them, it denies of course any order of God in His creation, any need for Redemption, and it will deny if necessary God's very existence. Today's feminism is intimately connected to witchcraft and satanism.

These considerations have taken us a long way from the question of women's trousers, and of course not every woman putting on a pair of shorts is consciously thinking of defying God or of defying her menfolk. She is, however, conscious of something. She is clearly aware that divided shorts are not like an undivided skirt, and the difference is that abandoning the skirt gives her a vague feeling — surely of unease, or emancipation, or both .... What is that feeling based on?

Clothing divided for the legs obviously liberates the mobile lower half of the body for a number of activities for which clothing undivided like a skirt is relatively cumbersome. Adam then having to earn his family's bread by the sweat of all kinds of activities outside the home, it is entirely normal for the man to wear trousers, and if a girl gets it into her head to join him in these activities, obviously trousers likewise emancipate her to do so. Shorts are the outward and visible sign of her liberation from the restricted range of homemaking activities.

However, she is uneasy because trousers are not the natural wear of a woman. Howsoever it be with other species, in the human species the female is designed to attract the eye of the male much more than the reverse — compare the number of male and of female beauty magazines on the market. Now original sin wounds human nature with concupiscence (unlawful desire) particularly in the senses of sight, touch and imagination. It follows for questions of clothing that what might rouse concupiscence needs more to be disguised in woman from man’s eye than in man from woman’s eye. Hence as trousers benefit the activity of the man, so skirts disguisingly loose befit the dignity and honour of the woman. Hence while donning his emancipatory trousers, she feels uneasy – at least until her conscience is dulled – as she is moving away from her identity and role and dignity as a woman. In her conscience is resounding the voice of the Lord her God pronouncing in the Mosaic Law: “A woman shall not be clothed with man's apparel, neither shall a man use woman's apparel: for he that doeth these things is abominable before God" (Deut. XXII, 5). And trousers are normally man's apparel, for reasons given above. [But not in your case, obviously - Ed.]

Of course if one denies the original sin which inflamed man's concupiscence (Gen. III, 7) and sharpened woman's subordination (Gen. III, 16), women's trousers are not so unreasonable, but see all around you the absurd consequences of denying original sin ! — sweet Polyanna goes to the office dressed fit to inflame a stone, but woe unto the poor male colleague in the office who fails to react like a stone, because with recent laws (in the U.S.A.) she will attack him in court! Insanity! Places of work will soon have to extract in advance from women sworn declarations whether they do, or do not, want to have advances made to them! But what was to be expected when women were pulled out of their home? It all serves the liberal men right for so misleading their women.

Contrast the reflective good sense of an American grandmother who said to me this summer when she was on retreat here in Winona that, looking back on her Californian youth, she could see she had often been induced to wear trousers, and now she regretted it — she could see now that each time her womanliness had been diminished. As G.K. Chesterton said, there is nothing so unfeminine as feminism. Women's trousers are a vital part, maybe the crucial break-through, of feminism.

As for the true womanliness of woman, its importance cannot be exaggerated. It all turns on women being essentially designed by God for motherhood; for the bringing of children into this world, and for their rearing; for the giving of life, warmth, love, nursing, and nourishment, everything represented by mother's milk. For this, men are not designed, of it they are intrinsically incapable yet upon it they are wholly dependent if they are to become human, as opposed to inhuman, beings. In a valuable book, The Flight from Woman, a cultivated Jewish psychiatrist, Karl Stern, tells how he could discern in countless ills of the big city patients coming through his Toronto practice after World War II a pattern of womanlessness with which he was familiar from the works of famous modern writers such as Goethe, Descartes, Tolstoy, Ibsen — not a lack of women, but a lack of truly womanly women, because modern men and women alike are trampling upon the womanly qualities and virtues. Shakespeare distilled this spirit in Lady Macbeth, proto-feminist and satanist:­

"Come you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty.... Come to my woman's breast
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers..." (Act I, Sc. V).

Heaven help us! The womanliness of our women is being rooted out and the result is a way of life doomed to self-destruction, doomed to abort.

Girls, be mothers, and in order to be mothers, let not wild horses drag you into shorts or trousers. When activities are proposed to you requiring trousers, if it is something your great-grandmother did, then find a way of doing it, like her, in a skirt. And if your great-grandmother did not do it, then forget it! Her generation created your country, your generation is destroying it. Of course not all women who wear trousers abort the fruit of their womb, but all help to create the abortive society. Old-fashioned is good, modern is suicidal. You wish to stop abortion? Do it by example. Never wear trousers or shorts. Bishop de Castro Mayer was right.

September 1 1991 (reproduced without permission). Source.

P.S. Quote of the day has to be this from the Mail:

'It's just so sad. He was always such a thoughtful boy who used to come and sit and have coffee with me and talk about things. I can't imagine what's got into him.'

Mrs Edna Andrews, 81, talking about the Richard Williamson she used to know.


Matt said…
My word. The mind boggles.

Then the mind recalls that this chap believes in fairy tales so strongly that he actually promotes them *for a living*.

And the mind ceases boggling.
Wasp_Box said…
I shall pass on the good Bishop's instructions to my wife when she returns from work.

Pray for me, I'm going to need it.
The Heresiarch said…
Bishop Williamson also has some interesting things to say about The Sound of Music:

Dear friends, please excuse this long excursion into the audio-visual scenery of an average modern Christmas, but no less maybe necessary to rub noses in the falsity of this soul-rotting slush. Clean family edification? Nothing of the kind!

As for cleanness, many films may be worse than the Sound of Music, but stop and think - are youth, physical attractiveness and being in love the essence of marriage? Can you imagine this Julie Andrews staying with the Captain if "the romance went out of their marriage"? Would she not divorce him and grab his children from him to be her toys? Such romance is not actually pornographic but it is virtually so, in other words all the elements of pornography are there, just waiting to break out. One remembers the media sensation when a few years later Julie Andrews appeared topless in another film. That was no sensation, just a natural development for one rolling canine female.

Dear friends, any supposed Catholicism in The Sound of Music is a Hollywood fraud corresponding to the real-life fraud of that "Catholicism" of the 1950's and 1960's, all appearance and no substance, which was just waiting to break out into Vatican II and the Newchurch. Right here is the mentality of sweet compassion for homosexuals and of bitter grief for Princess Di, of sympathy for priests quitting the SSPX for the Novus Ordo. Everything is man-centered and meant to feel good, the apostasy of our times.

But of course he's right. It's an evil film.
Apologies to any clergy, of course, but I've often thought organised religion must be a great career for someone who is pompous, quite good at remembering assorted stuff, and rather lazy. A former colleague of mine who was usually late for work despite living just round the corner once revealed he considered becoming a priest, simply because you only had to work one day a week. That said, Bishop Williamson goes beyond the 'not that bright but very self-important' school into the 'stark-staring loopy' end of the spectrum.
WeepingCross said…
I don't believe for a moment that Bishop Williamson really wrote any of that. 'Cultivated Jewish psychiatrist' is a complete giveaway, isn't it?

I could be wrong and he may be an agent provocateur to judge by this. Perhaps when he dies the insignia of the British Humanist Association will be found tattooed over his heart and the words 'I did it for Dr Dickie D' scrawled on a crumpled sheet of paper. A bit like that Victorian surgeon who turned out to have been a girl all along, you know the one.

Nevertheless, I think 'Old fashioned good, modern suicidal' is a perfectly good creed to live by. But I have The Best of The Chap sat on my shelf so perhaps my opinions count for nothing.

Valerie, your friend is wrong: we don't even work one day a week. You can't call poncing round in embroidery and reciting elaborate texts for an hour or two work. I get paid not to work, but add to the gaiety of nations. It was the same when I was a museum curator: none of us could have survived a minute in what all those bankers who are now unemployed and drenched in public obloquy used to refer to in so self-satisfied as manner as 'the real world'. You must feel rather the same, working for the Council. :)
WeepingCross said…
More seriously, I think Mrs Andrews's question is the interesting one. The main motivating factor behind the 'Bp''s pronouncements, and the main impression that comes across, is a visceral rage at the modern world. He doesn't seem to talk about Jesus a great deal, or the resurrection, or the assumption of our human nature into the loving heart of the Godhead, or any of that kind of thing. Papa Benny may be a dreadful reactionary, but you never get the sensation that what motivates him is rage or a feeling that the world has let him down; on the contrary, he seems to be quite a joyful person in a quiet way, and that's what the people I know who like him like him for. I wouldn't be surprised if the God Richard Williamson thinks he believes in looks rather different from the one (most of) the rest of us do, and that pokes through the surface. So is the Christianity simply the mode in which he expresses his disappointment, or has it played a role in producing it rather than just shaping it?

Nice to see The Mail in such a liberal mood, however. Mind you, I suspect what they really wanted to say was, 'How Did This Nice English Boy End Up So German?'
Anonymous said…
It's too fecking cold to wear a skirt
Anonymous said…
Nice try, but you need to work on your spoof writing - it is simply too long.

If, perchance, that was indeed genuine and not a spoof then that man is in need of serious psychiatric help!
Ha! You got me there, Father Weep. But, as it happens, my friend who thought about being a vicar was lamenting the pressures of council employment when he told me that story. It's all relative, innit?

You're right about the gaiety of nations. I think we should set aside funds for people to ponce around in various robes, but I can't see why professing religious belief should be a requirement.

Anyway, all this is far from Bishop Williamson. His actual letters are weird, to say the least. This is a man to whom history, as most of us know it, simply hasn't happened. Hard not to wish it would all suddenly strike him in a big hard lump.
Waltz said…
So a man who wears a long dress dislikes women in trousers. Can someone lend the man a mirror?

It reminds me of that series 'Make Me A Muslim', in which a hapless Imam wearing traditional North African garb was tasked with introducing a flamboyant, camp gay man to Islam. Despairing of the gay guy's fondness for stylish clothing, the Iman dragged him into a men's outfitters, telling him that his clothes were too feminine. The gay guy gave the Imam a startled look and informed him that *he* was the one wearing "a frock".
WeepingCross said…
It only struck me this morning. When did Jesus take up wearing trousers?
Edwin Moore said…
God what a man - thanks for the quote Heresiarch.

WC the surgeon was James (probably born Margaret) Barry - the DNB entry is excellent as is the Guardian's 1856 obituary of her.
Montserrat Algarabel said…
I thought we had already reached the XXI century, but there are people still living in the ... dark ages? Is it even possible?
Olive said…
Valerie, your friend is wrong: we don't even work one day a week. You can't call poncing round in embroidery and reciting elaborate texts for an hour or two work. I get paid not to work, but add to the gaiety of nations.

That made me smile. Thank you, Mr Cross!
Anonymous said…
A little further digging suggests that in fact the author of the piece was the Archbishop of Genoa, and that Williamson was simply the translator. See here: http://www.stas.org/apologetics/morals/Family_Marriage/men%27sdress_bywomen.shtml

There are obviously hordes of these loonies out there.
The Heresiarch said…
Smogsblog: Thanks for the link. The article by Cardinal Siri is dated 1960, and makes most of the same arguments - but Williamson's words are his own. He translated the Italian and appended his own notes - from what I can gather - in 1997. But he was presumably familiar with its arguments in 1991, when he wrote the letter I quoted from.

But you're right, Williamson is not the only loony out there. Presumably this tract by Cardinal Siri is typical of the pre-Vatican 2 church he would like to recreate.
WeepingCross said…
There is a connection. The sedevacantists - traditionalist Catholics who go one step further than the SSPX and claim that Vatican 2 was so heretical only a heretic could have organised it, and so the See of Peter has been vacant since then - look to the great Card. Siri as an inspiration. He was certainly the leading reactionary candidate in the papal conclaves of the 60s and 70s, and the moderates organised to stop him being elected on several occasions. There is a rumour in Sedevacantist circles that he was really elected in 1958, and took the name Gregory XVIII, but was bullied into stepping aside in favour of John XXIII. The resulting rage, fulmination and sense of thwarted entitlement gives them something to do.

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