ORLANDO, FL, February 21, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Teresa Tomeo is an accomplished woman. She’s an author, syndicated Catholic talk show host, and motivational speaker with more than 30 years of experience in TV, radio and newspaper. She’s spent 19 of those years working in front of a camera as a reporter and anchor in the Detroit market.
“I’d never be called oppressed,” Teresa tells me as we sit down at the Legatus Summit, a meeting of Catholic leaders in the world of business. Yet she supports the notion of male leadership in the family, and she’s even willing to say so publicly.
Teresa co-hosts the EWTN television series, The Catholic View for Women, a show where women “dish” on current events especially as they apply to Catholics. In 2008, she was one of a select group of international delegates invited to the Vatican Women’s Congress in Rome.
Teresa tells me that radical feminism is damaging to women and men. She blasts the mainstream media where “men [are] consistently displayed as weak, incapable of decision making.” There is, she explains, a “constant emphasis from the culture that men are not important – ‘what we need them for is our own immediate needs of sexual gratification and help us have a baby.’ I think it’s frightening.”
Rather, says Teresa, men and women are “equal but different.”
“The message that we don’t need the other is really an attack on God.”
The truth is, she said, that we do need each other, men and women. There is a beautiful teaching of “male and female complementarity” — the understanding that the different gifts of men and women complement each other, creating a wholeness.
“Women are spiritual and physical mothers, men are leaders in the home, protectors,” she said. “Anytime you go against the natural gifts you’ve been given it’s damaging, we’re hurting ourselves.”
“Society has been telling guys, ‘No, women don’t need you, don’t want you.’ Women desire a man who’s going to take charge, but it’s all twisted into sex,” she said, pointing to the popularity of the salacious novel 50 Shades of Gray.
What women really want, says Teresa, is “somebody who’s going to be responsible, love you, want to lead the family and embrace you for who you are. He’ll understand his role as leader and protector in the home.”
For more on the topic, Teresa directed me to a good-looking young couple, proud parents of five children – John and Kristan Hale.
Kristan came right out and said it: “Wives having to be submissive to their husbands is an absolutely perfect recipe for success.”
She explained, “Because when you look at Christ hanging on the cross and you know that your husband is called to be Him for the family, to lay down his life for me and the family, it makes it very easy to want to serve him. So there is this reciprocity going on. There is no sacrifice that is too big, there’s nothing that John wouldn’t do for me and the kids so that we can be the best versions of ourselves that we could possibly be. If you have a man who’s willing to do that for you, it makes me want to serve him so that he can do a good job in that role.”
John piped in, “There is a confusion about what it means to submit and what it means to be a leader. It doesn’t mean to lord over. Leadership is self-sacrifice in putting another first even unto death. That’s what sacrifice is. Christ did endure the ultimate sacrifice and with Him as our role model it is hardly the kind of oppression that the world would teach.”
But how do you deal with disagreements? John responds, “On your knees praying for an honest and open discussion rather than to be right.”
“If you’re trying to prove your point then you’re both going to lose,” he adds. “If you’re really open and listening and empathetic with the heart and mind of Christ then these issues aren’t so difficult. You may not immediately agree, you may have to agree to disagree, you may compromise, there are all sorts of outcomes but none of them have to be a fight or consternation if you have the right mind and the right heart. It becomes most times an opportunity to listen and talk to each other.”
Kristan summed up our discussion in closing: “I have nothing to worry about. My needs are being fulfilled because I have this man who is watching out for me and he doesn’t have to worry I’ve got back. It is this completely liberating love and joy in all things.”