Rhode Island Catholic Essay

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What is the ideal relationship between men and women?

When I used to serve as a lector during Sunday Mass in Fall River, Mass., that reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians was like pulling the short straw. You know the one: “Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body.”

As a recently married young man at the beginning of the third millennium after the birth of Christ, reading Paul’s instructions for husbands and wives took a great deal of care. I had to read the scripture reverently, of course, but with no hint in my voice that I offered the reading as a reminder for wayward modern women. My imagination may merely be filling in the gaps of silence, but to this day, I seem to hear guffaws from the congregation as the words echo in the church.

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