The E-catechism: August 1998
|Mary||Women and the Church|
Each month the team working on this catechism presents you with two texts, and we hope that with your help and cooperation they will improve. Any suggestions you may have would be most welcome, as would ideas on subject matter.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Much later on, she shows her preoccupation. The word is going round that Jesus is behaving in a strange manner. He is teaching and they come to tell him: "Your mother and brothers are asking for you." Mary could feel that the opposition to Jesus was growing. She knew what was the fate of prophets. She feared for the life of her son. Perhaps she was also a little troubled that his teaching did not always fit in with that of the High Priests. To oppose those who are supposed to be the holders of the truth demands a lot of insight and of courage.
WOMEN AND THE CHURCH
At the same time, the Church blocks women into an image and into a certain status. The image of women that is promoted or even sacralized by the Church is essentially that of the mother, who knows so well how to devote herself and how to sacrifice herself. It is as a mother that she reaches feminine perfection. The figure of the virgin does not escape from spiritual maternity. Women are identified by their sexuality. Was it not said when referring to them: "the people of sex ?" Only maternity can manage to sublimate that disquieting sexuality. However, nowadays even more than yesterday, women are not entirely determined by their maternity. Many other sectors of activity are open to them, namely in professional work. The control over reproduction and the increase of life expectancy has allowed women to embrace all sorts of activities which also contribute to fulfil them. In its internal organisation, the Church does not concede the same possibilities to men and to women. By not being allowed to enter the priesthood, because of the singular vocation that the Church attributes to them, women are set aside from the decision making spheres, which are reserved to the ordained ministers.
Two consequences are forthcoming as a result of this situation. On the one hand, there is a disfunctioning effect, due to the fact that it is women who are the majority of those at the service of the Church while remaining enclosed in underling roles, in spite of the concrete responsibilities which they in practice have to carry. On the other hand, the representations of the feminine image that the Church communicates to society owing to these discriminatory practices, invalidates the beautiful principles that She preaches. For how long more can the Church remain in this false situation with regard women ?