Tradition in Action (TIA) is comprised of Catholics who think that Vatican II was a blight to Catholicism. They like to pretend it never happened and that Catholic doctrine ceased to develop around 1960.
They have so many problems that even Women of Grace think they’re sketchy.
At any rate, while tooling around the internet, I stumbled upon one of their articles: “The Home-or-Career Dilemma for a Mother” by Marian Therese Horvat, Ph.D. (the founder and president of TIA).
Dr. Horvat has a degree in Journalism as well as a Master’s degree and Doctorate in Medieval History from the University of Kansas. Information on Dr. Horvat is strangely difficult to find, so I was unable to ascertain if she ever had children. From what I can tell, the answer is no, so it seems as though Dr. Horvat is writing about a decision that she has never had to make. Gee, that sounds familiar.
The article, predictably, takes quotes from papal encyclicals and letters out of context to make it sound like the Church teaches that a woman should not work outside the home. I looked up each one of her sources and read them in their proper context, and in fact that’s not at all what the popes in question were saying.
The main point made by all is that a mother should not allow any outside interests, including work, to come before her home and family, which I think is a principle with which we can all agree.
However, I did find this excerpt of Dr. Horvat’s article interesting. She responds to the question of a reader who inquired about Catholic saints who were also queens as well as mothers (namely St. Clotilde and St. Margaret of Scotland), and how they corresponded to the Catholic ideal of a stay-at-home-mother and a working-outside-the-home father. Dr. Horvat responded (all emphases mine):
The exceptional vocations of those women who become queens do not deny the role they have in their family. What happened is that Divine Providence asked each of them to be not only the mother of their children, but also the mother of an entire nation. For this reason, just as a mother of many children has to divide her time among their children, so also those Queens shared their attention with their nations and families. Their cases do not eradicate the aforementioned rule, rather they represent the apex of the rule. Such Queens were not exercising different professions elsewhere, they were being mothers everywhere.
Even in face of so many solicitations and responsibilities, they never denied or shirked their duties as wives and mothers. A reading of their lives shows they carefully oversaw the Catholic education and formation of their children, which they considered a primary duty of life.
Well said, Dr. Horvat!
Now if only you could apply this same standard to all Catholic working mothers… because you just succinctly described what we all strive to do all day, every day.
Photo credit: By Kjetil Bjørnsrud New york [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], from Wikimedia Commons