Men and women are created equal and made in the image of God. This position has always been the preoccupation of the feminists. Feminism as a concept is now a global issue. From the United States to the Great Britain, from Africa to Asia, feminism has always hold sway. The question therefore is, can this advocates of feminism succeed in bringing about an equal opportunities between both sexes? Also in this paper, there will be a closer look into the relationship between feminism and the Catholic Church.
In this paper also, there shall be a cursory look at the history of feminism and the conflicts that have arisen over the years between the holy Catholic Church and the concept of feminism. A cursory look at feminism shows that it comes out of women’s experiences of injustice, and is committed to social change, toward equality for women and men. Also from a religious point of view, Feminist theology uses the resources of religious traditions to argue for women’s dignity and to recover or invent images that can provoke believers to imagine a more gender-equal religious community.
It must be noted that a key inspiration of feminist theology is New Testament texts that portray Jesus interacting with women, calling women to be his disciples, appearing as risen first to women, and sending a woman, Mary Magdalene, to announce the gospel to the other disciples. Feminism can also be described as a movement or a revolution that includes women and men who wish the world to be equal without boundaries. These boundaries or blockades are better known as discrimination and biases against gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status and economic status.
Everyone views the world with his or her own sense of gender and equality. Feminists view the world as being unequal. They wish to see the gender gap and the idea that men are superior to women decreased or even abolished. Over time, the holy Catholic Church has always preached against equal rights for men and women. They view women as subordinates. In fact, feminism has been recently linked with gay marriage, consumerism, hedonism, lesbianism, among others.
In another vein, the maleness of Jesus, and the post-resurrection proclamation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, has been used historically, doctrinally, theologically, and sacramentally to make women second-class citizens in the Catholic Church and to exclude them from roles reserved, either by official norms or by widespread practice, for men. The need for a full participation of women in the various spheres of the holy Catholic Church cannot be over-emphasized. In a recent study, it has been authoritatively shown that there is a gross shortage of priests in some parishes in the United States.
Thus, there is an urgent need for women to have an equal say as men in the Holy Catholic Church. It has even been revealed that women take active part in pastoral duties and some other parish activities than men. Nevertheless, the church still refuses to allow women to become part of the clergy, even as deacons. So therefore, women still maintain their second-class status for no other reason than the fact that they are not men. This backward position of the Vatican has attracted a lot of criticisms all over the world. Today, women participate actively in almost all spheres of human endeavors.
Historically, women were seen as a weaker sex and therefore should be subjected to the whims of their husbands. For instance, until the middle of the twentieth century, official Catholic documents (like Pius XI’s Casti Connubii, 1930) still taught that women should be subordinate to their husband’s authority, and should not even control their own economic affairs. It’s quite sad that despite the global village status the whole world is right now, the holy Catholic Church still hasn’t moved from the old and archaic mindset that women are created to cook food in the kitchen and to cater for the children.
Women are no more subordinates to men. There is a now an equality of status between men and women all over the world. The question that’s on the mouth on many deep thinking populace now is why the continued discrimination against women by the Vatican? Is the time not ripe yet for men and women to have the same opportunities since both are born equal? If we go on and on to examine feminism and the Vatican, the same issues will continue to rear its head.
But the fact still remains that the arrival of women in positions of power has always bring new perspectives, new ideas, and new ways of doing things. From the filed of law to science, from politics to arts, women have always proved themselves. From another point of view, it can be said that the refusal of the Vatican to recognize women shows that men are afraid of women and therefore, don’t want them in important positions for the fear of dominance. As a matter of fact, the present Pope and the Vatican in 1997 reaffirmed its ban on women priests.
Also in 1998, the late Pope John Paul wrote a papal letter rejecting liberalism in the church, including the ordination of women. These all point to the fact that women have become a threat to the Vatican. In fact, the Vatican more recently said that it is weighing a proposal to limit the use of girls as altar servers. What really informed this is the fact that more girls than boys have been signing up since females were first allowed at the altar few years ago. Feminism has always been a “culture of equality” and therefore shouldn’t be seen as an advocacy of superiority and dominance.
And therefore women should be given a full participation in the internal life of the church. Again a good reason why women must be given the opportunity to fully participate in all parish activities is the fact that the secretive, all-male, disconnected culture of the church’s hierarchy has done more harm than good to the name and integrity of the Holy Catholic Church. So therefore, Power and authority must be shared with women if the church is to be true to what it says it stands for: the dignity and worth of all human beings.
The inclusion of women in the church affairs will definitely go a long way in fostering a harmonious relationship between Catholics and also, the growing restiveness of those who feel shut out of their own church will definitely ebbed. .In conclusion, in the light of the above discussed points on Feminism and the Holy Catholic Church, it can be safely concluded that the time has come for a review of the Vatican decrees which forbids women to have an equal participation in parish activities.
Women are now seen in virtually all spheres of humanity and as such, there is no justified continuance of unreasonable ban on women in the Holy Catholic Church. Men and women are created equal and created in the image of God. The world is now a global village and as such, the Holy Catholic church should try as much as possible to move away from their doctrine of woman subordination and embrace the modern and more acceptable way of life and Christian-like views.
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“Framing ‘Heretical’ Identities: Pro-Choice Catholic and Pro-Life Feminist Organizations in the American Abortion Controversy” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Hilton San Francisco & Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel, San Francisco, CA,, Aug 14, 2004 5. Clark, Thomas. “Thou Shalt Not Play God” The Humanist July-August 1995: p3 6. McMillan, Jeff. “Focusing On a Woman’s Right To Self Defense” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 6 December 1996: pA12 7. Hunt, George W. “Of Many Things” America 31 January 1998: p2
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