The place of women in church and so­ci­ety

Sun.Star Pampanga - - OPINOIOPNINION -

POPE Fran­cis has an­nounced a com­mis­sion in the Vat­i­can to look into the pos­si­bil­ity of fe­male dea­cons, and there has been talk of more women be­ing given se­nior po­si­tions in Vat­i­can de­part­ments and of women be­ing al­lowed to de­liver the homily at mass.

The most strik­ing thing is that the com­par­i­son of the po­si­tion of women in the con­tem­po­rary church with the po­si­tion they en­joyed in the early church.

Many his­to­ri­ans ar­gue that women were dea­conesses in the first years of Chris­tian­ity and played a more prom­i­nent part in lead­er­ship and min­istry than they do to­day.

All of this is ex­tremely in­ter­est­ing, given that we of­ten look to the early fol­low­ers of Christ for mod­els and blue­prints for the Church to­day.

It shows again how se­ri­ous this pope is about shak­ing up the church also in the us, he wants bish­ops who are hum­ble pas­tors not cul­ture war­riors.

And it sug­gests that Fran­cis some­times re­gards poor treat­ment at the hands of the Ro­man Curia in years gone by as a pos­i­tive rec­om­men­da­tion. When the Pope was in Swe­den some time ago he pro­posed six new beat­i­tudes for the con­tem­po­rary era. He did not sug­gest they should re­place Je­sus’words, but he was of­fer­ing his own rep­e­ti­tion of the Ser­mon on the Mount.

Fran­cis’ beat­i­tudes in­clude de­scrib­ing as “blessed” those who care for and pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment and those who work for full com­mu­nion be­tween Chris­tians. The oth­ers fo­cused on for­give­ness and caring for the marginal­ized and on re­nounc­ing one’s “own com­fort in or­der to help oth­ers.”

Fran­cis firmly be­lieves that the un­chang­ing Chris­tian mes­sage must res­onate with con­tem­po­rary sen­si­bil­i­ties and con­cerns, and when the Gospels were writ­ten, the threat to the en­vi­ron­ment from cli­mate change and the cri­sis of mass mi­gra­tion were not at the fore­front of peo­ple’s minds.

On an­other note, Pope Fran­cis in­vited 1,000 con­victed crim­i­nals to mass at the Vat­i­can some time ago and he called for clemency for pris­on­ers in the year of mercy.

The pope urged in­mates not to lose hope in God’s mercy, say­ing all peo­ple “have made mis­takes.”

Again, the Ir­ish mis­sion­ary Fr. Shay Cullen who has cham­pi­oned the pro­tec­tion of women and chil­dren from sex­ual slav­ery in the Philip­pines says the work of the Church’s an­ti­traf­fick­ing Santa Maria Group is too sl ow.

Cullen was awarded the Hugh O’Fla­herty In­ter­na­tional Hu­man­i­tar­ian Award for his work with chil­dren as young as nine who have been forced into sex­ual slav­ery for pe­dophile rings said also that the Santa Marta ini­tia­tives had “many years to catch up with.”

He also stressed that amnesty’s in­ter­na­tional’s sup­port for the de­crim­i­nal­iza­tion of pros­ti­tu­tion was one of the ma­jor is­sues fac­ing the Santa Marta Group.

The de­crim­i­nal­iza­tion of pros­ti­tu­tion “has opened the door for traf­fick­ers who are able to bring in women and put them in mega broth­els and they are pro­tected by law – the sex mafia say it is all le­gal,” he said, “But the women are vic­tims of traf­fick­ing and in debt. They owe money and their fam­i­lies are threat­ened back home by these traf­fick­ers. This may be where law en­force­ment and the Church peo­ple must get work­ing.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.