Philosophy professor continues discussion on complementarity of men, women

Photo by Luna Oppus

Maggie McCarron
Staff Writer

The path to understanding masculinity and femininity is through the institution of Christian marriage and parenthood, a philosophy professor stated at the second part of Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Human Sexuality Symposium Monday.

Robert McNamara, who holds a doctorate in philosophy, centered his presentation around marriage and the family. Sexuality and marriage are inseparable, he said, and each is necessary to understand the other.

“We are more similar than we are different,” said McNamara. He remarked that though man and woman are marked by key distinctions based on gender, each complements the other through these differences.

The closer they grow to God, the closer man and woman grow together, McNamara said.

The genius of man and woman, McNamara stated, is their capacity to become parents. Becoming a mother fulfills a woman’s femininity in the same way that becoming a father fulfills a man’s masculinity.

“Motherhood is the capacity to bear a person toward maturity and help them to bear their talents toward maturation,” said McNamara.

However, biological children are not necessary to fulfill the call of motherhood or fatherhood, McNamara noted. Even those called to a celibate life, such as priests and religious sisters, are able to fulfill their masculinity or femininity by being spiritual mothers and fathers.

“Dr. McNamara laid out the purpose and calling for every man and woman in the simplest possible terms,” commented sophomore Mara Ohlin. “I really enjoyed what he had to say.”