In the age in which we live, try as we might for one reason or another, in no matter what walk of life we might be, we cannot avoid the topic of this last session of Aquinas Week: Womanhood and a Community of Persons. For those who have even a cursory acquaintance with St. Thomas' doctrine on woman, there may very well be wonderment that the two phrases "Womanhood" and "Community of Persons" can be related in any way. You might suspect from what I have said up to now that you are in for an attempted defense of Thomas' doctrine on woman. I assure you that nothing is farther from my mind, since I agree with one of my Dominican professors of seminary days who, in speaking about the attempts of his fellow Dominicans to defend Thomas' stance on the Immaculate Conception, characterized them as "an unfaithful fidelity." I rather fear the contrary: that after you have heard the first part of my exposition, you might apply to Thomas the words of Marc Antony at the funeral oration for Caesar: “I have come to bury Thomas, not to praise him.” I make no apologies, however, for the extreme negativism of the first part of this paper, since not only does fidelity to the record require it, but it is also imperative in view of the undeniable truth (so often spoken about in the works of authors in the feminist movement) that St. Thomas' theory about woman has influenced (and still does influence) the Church and civilization down to our present era.



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