It was the Spanish writer, philosopher and diplomat Ángel Ganivet (1865-1898) who identified three types of nation, categorised according to their countries’ topography: (1) Continental  represented by people who could take a hit, might be put down but never down and out; (2) Insular  composed of fiercely independent, separatist people and (3) Peninsular composed of people, a half-way house between the other two.

With Spain already in the final throes of empire, Ganivet argued that the peninsular nation to which he belonged was like a mother releasing the countries under her tutelage as they took it in turn to reach maturity and begin to make their own way in the world. To that mother he attributed almost Marian, divine characteristics.

Respect for women in general and for mothers in particular figures large in the Christian tradition. It’s hard for us Christians in particular to get our heads round sex slavery, trafficking, FGM and the many other degradations brought upon womankind.

Yet, having followed and supported the feminist argument over some time, and an avid respecter of the Marian Doctrine, I also ask why we now hear women, females, the fairer/gentler sex, ladies – I don’t know how not to give offence these days – regularly referring to themselves as actors (not actresses), authors (not authoresses), hosts (not hostesses) and the like?

Jay Kettle-Williams


e: editor @
Diocesan Office,
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Bishop Crispian Way,