I have to say last year when I first ran across the collect done for EF Masses for virgins and martyrs I was really irritated with whomever wrote it.
The collect in question is from the Mass "Loquebar de testimoniis tuis..."
Today's Mass was for St. Martina, a virgin/martyr of the 4th century.
The beginning of the common collect reads:
"Deus, qui inter cetera potentiae tuae miracula, etiam in sexu fragili victoriam martyrii contulisti:...."
Translation: "O God, who among the other marvels of Thy power, hast granted even to the weaker sex the victory of martyrdom...."
I couldn't decide, at first, to laugh at him, or punch him in the nose...but considering he's long dead and GONE, GONE, GONE....
I think Aloise Buckley Heath (eldest sister of William F. Buckley) probably had the best thing to say about this "weaker sex" business. She has the author of the collect's "number."
In a humorous article she penned for National Review entitled "Merry Christmas to Every One in the World Except Men" (Dec. 31, 1962) she says:
[some paragraphs into the essay] "Now here, for the first time published ever, is the absolutely definitive list of the fields in which men excel women: athletics, arithmetic, musical composition, physical strength, singing baritone, and superiority.
Woman, is, of course, a much better physical specimen. She operates more efficiently, under greater stress, with fewer breakdowns, on less fuel, for years longer than men. Men, on the other hand, at all ages eat like horses, die like flies, and suffer from constant malfunctioning of the relatively simple apparati. They are also susceptible to exclusively male conditions like distichiasis, hypertrichosis, ichthyosis and nystagmus, which are, respectively, double eyelashes, dense hairy growth on the ears, barklike skin and rhythmical oscillation of the eyeballs. (Men who have all these conditions at the same time usually die without issue because no one will marry them.) In between times, men don't feel very well. BUT: the average man can lift 75 pounds and the average woman can lift 62 pounds; so that nakes women the weaker sex; what else?
The average man is well into his twenties before he is able to get angry without trying to fight; and he is well into the next world before he stops losing his temper, shouting, slamming doors, swearing. Twice as many men as women have nervous breakdowns, three times as many commit suicide, four times as many have ulcers, and there are fifty times more unpremeditated attacks and a hundred times more unpremeditated murders by men than by women . But you know what women do, don't you? Women cry! Women cry because women are more emotional than men, that's why."
Later in the essay [after she rips on St. Paul, who she believes reinforced this sort of attitude] she had this to say:
""Tennyson is the poet who is commonly considered to have given definitive expression to this thesis of St. Paul's [i.e. "man was not created for women, but women for man"-gem] - not presumably because it drove him to unprecedented heights of un-rhyme and un-rhythm, but because it inspired in him the requisite heights of un-reason.
"Man for the field and woman for the hearth," wrote the parson's desk-bound son; "Man for the sword and for the needle she," proclaimed the ex-soldier who never met an enemy;
"Man with the head and woman with the heart," declared the man who never could remember where he had lost his money and his manuscript; "man to command and woman to obey," announced the in-and-out-inmate of mental institution after mental institution; "all else is confusion," concluded poor confused Alfred Lord Tennyson."
And, I might add, besides the apostle John, who was the only one with the guts to remain with Mary and the other women - where where those other 11 guys? One offed himself, and the other 10 were cowering, hiding from "the Jews" wondering how to make a quick exit stage left, as soon as John escorts Mary back so she can sit shiva.
[Aloise later goes into high gear in this same and gives gives St. Paul the best smack-down, EVAH - that I've seen . I'd first read this essay of hers when I was in my late teens, and had been doing a burn re: Paul since my early teenaged years when I'd first read Corinthians. I keep meaning to get around to posting that part of the essay, but for now this will do.]