Stephen Heiner is having problems with the term "asshat." In the spirit of charity, I would like to inform him that "asshat" is equivalent to "shit for brains." Good folks, a note: if you have shit for brains then it is simple. Exchange shit for godliness.
But. Seriously. When I read Stephen's post on dowries I almost had a heart attack. The essence of his post seemed to be "either marry or (you fool!) get an education - and don't work." For, people who get an education typically incur $15,000-$20,000 in debt. That's an average. In prestigious colleges, anything up to $70,000 (or more) in debt isn't uncommon. This definitively rules out marriage for the woman who wants to be well-formed because - well - it's over (negative) $5,000 (the 'anti-dowry').
I derno. I like knowing things. I like the idea of being able to converse with a future husband (if such is my call) on the hypostatic union rather than saying 'Oh yes, dear. You are SO manly. Romance me now by going to Mass with me. I'll just. Cook. Here. While you. Blog about. the Co-Redemp---whass.' The knowledge of Christ is greatly enhanced by...knowledge. No. We don't have to go to college to become educated. We can read. We can write. But it certainly helps to learn in a structured environment. Are colleges a hotbed of vice? Sure. I've overheard any number of vile conversations at UC Berkeley. But I've also observed a longing for truth, an inclination towards truth, and so on - I guess. If all Catholics were good Catholics... We'd never even associate with these miscreants. Hah! That'll teach them. We're sure preaching the Gospel now - booyah!
And who cares about God's will? Sure, we want this anti-dowry to be an exception on both sides - debt is never a pretty thing - but the reality is that...it just doesn't work that way and will not, in the foreseeable future, work that way. If this is the context, then I'd think it safe to say that God does indeed will that His subjects marry other subjects who have debt.
It is practically impossible for a couple with a big family to subsist on a single income. It's not an ideal situation, but it's the situation we're in. As such, it would be imprudent if a young woman did not pursue a degree which is increasingly necessary in getting a good job. And if the woman's husband were to die? If she did not marry? When her parents died? Presumably, such a woman would live off her parents for all her life. So. When her parents died. Um. There wouldn't be anything left because it had already been given? She would, in any of these scenarios, be forced to get a job. She could get a job that does not grind against human nature if only she had received that degree. But no. She will flip burgers for the rest of her life - quite fitting for the dignity of a woman, ne? Yes. There's nothing like flipping burgers in a corporate environment to express our femininity.
It is not the fault of the father. If anyone said that my father was at fault for 'sending his daughters out to work,' I would likely kick them where it counts. I'm an accountant. I work for the family business. I know how much my father makes. I know how much it costs to have a big family because I also pay the bills (in the guise of an accountant, so only secondarily). I know the cost of food, of clothes, of rent. Asking my father to take 'drastic' measures and work day and night to support my leisure is one of the most selfish tenants I have ever encountered. How is he to be a father if he's never home? How is he to be a husband if he never sees his wife? How is he to be a Catholic if he never has time for God? Is it better that he'd never married? This question contains another question: is it better that I'd never been born? Am I an exception? No - this is common. Will I ever be an exception? Not likely. So if it holds that the father should always provide for the family and never be in a position where his daughters must work, and that one should marry if one does not have the money, then it appears as if my father should never have married (because he is not an exception), that my mother should not have had me, that I should not (in Stephen's ideal world) be.
In addition, I'd like to point out that it is very difficult to make enough money to support a big family without being morally compromised. (Eye of the needle and all that.)
Now, anyone who holds the above ideology (and it is entirely possible that in the heat of passion I have misinterpreted Stephen's arguments), which results in the belief that I should not exist, is an asshat.