19 December 2018
A more “feminine” Church
A special report in the newspaper “Avvenire” includes an interview with Marta Rodriguez from our Dicastery
“The issue of space for women within the Church poses the question to the lay faithful that in the ecclesiology of the Lumen gentium and the Magisterium, above all post-conciliar, they are in no way ‘second class’ Christians. By virtue of baptismal priesthood, every Christian is Church. Without the presence of all the vocations, that are at the service of each other, the Church is not complete and cannot perform its mission fully. The issue of women must push the church to review its cultural schemes and to set out on a journey to cleanse them of the machismo and clericalism, strongly denounced by Pope Francis, that are, unfortunately, still very present”. This is what Marta Rodríguez from our Dicastery’s Women’s Office stated a few days ago in an interview with Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian Episcopal Conference. The pages of this special report, part of the newspaper’s initiatives to celebrate its 50th anniversary, all contain interventions on women and their role in the Church.
For example, Sister Roberta Vinerba, Director of the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences (Issra) in Assisi, highlighted that “regarding maternity, if the practice of surrogate mothers is not banned at international level, it will bring about a radical change in a woman’s perception of herself as a person, losing the idea of herself as a bodily-spiritual unity from the first instant of fertilization, a unity which sinks its roots in the transcendence from which it draws its value. Therefore, it should be said – she added – that the outcome of an individualistic anthropology focussed on self-determination, an anthropology underlying many feminist battles is, despite the intentions of the women themselves and their awareness, the body as an object, the objectification of the person reduced to being a market product, the last frontier of alienation”.
In conclusion, this theologian from Seville underlined that “in addition to teaching religion in schools and filling many ‘de facto’ ministries, especially those linked to catechesis and evangelisation. In the future women could fill other roles related to the liturgy, conjugal spirituality and perform the ministry of spiritual guides towards charity, and also weave interpersonal relations to encourage communion. It could take the form of a permanent diaconate, which has indeed been witnessed in the past in the Eastern Churches, that would, however, have different characteristics to the male diaconate. We should consider, for example, the training of catechumens or the task of accompanying and forming young people in their affectivity and sexuality, and likewise, together with their husbands, attend to the formation of engaged and married couples as well as separated couples and remarried divorced persons, in accordance with the dictates of chapter eight of Amoris laetitia. In an ever more secularised world, families – she concluded – must open the door to their 'domestic church'”.