Pope Francis, everything is not OK yet for women in the ChurchFutureChurch heads to Rome to advocate for women's leadership in the VaticanOn March 8, 2015 FutureChurch Executive Director, Deborah Rose-Milavec will moderate a Vatican panel discussion that will discuss the experiences of women and how to expand their roles in the Catholic Church. Entitled "I Have a Dream" the panel is part of the secondannual Voices of Faith event (www.voicesoffaith.org). Panelists include four prominent women from around Panelist Dr. Astrid Lobo Gajiwalathe world: Dr. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala of India, Gudrun Sailer of Germany, Swedish Ambassador Ulla Gudmundson, and Dr. Rocio Figueroa Alvear of New Zealand. While women have made some gains in the Vatican, you can still count on one hand those who hold top-level positions. Only four percent of upper level leadership roles in the secretariats, congregations and pontifical councils are held by women. Pope Francis, everything is not OK yet for women in the Church.Recently the world's cardinals agreed something has to change. At consistory meetings on February 12- 13, 2015, Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi, reported that "a number of speakers Panelist Ambassador Ulla Gudmunson[cardinals] expressed the hope of 'an increasingly active role' for women, especially regarding women in positions of leadership within the Roman Curia." If Francis and the cardinals are serious about a more incisive presence for women in the Catholic Church, there is a roadmap. Dr. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, one of the panelists, helped the bishops' conference of India develop the first gender policy of its kind and scope in the Catholic Church, an experience she will talk about as part of the panel discussion.Approved in September 2009, the Gender Policy of the Catholic Bishops of India http://cbci.in/DownloadMat/Gender_Policy.pdf has yet to receive the attention it deserves.Rooted in scripture and Catholic Social Teaching,Panelist Gudrun Sailerthe document contains a solid roadmap for opening doors to women's leadership:Without qualification, the bishops state, "The ultimate goal of the policy is to achieve gender equality"(2). They say the Church's mission is to form a "discipleship of equals"(11), effectively avoiding the "complementarity" language that evokes gender apartheid rather than the full equality of women and men.The document recognizes, "Gender equality is a cross-cutting issue that needs to be integrated in all the Commissions, Church bodies, institutions, policies and programs of the Church"(12). Recognizing the current restrictions on women's roles imposed by a ban on ordination, they seek to maximize women's equality in all other ways possible.The bishops of India understand that achieving gender equality means that women should have a right to decision making in the Church and must speak in their own voice. The bishops write, "Gender equality is achieved through equal partnership and involves women's equal right to articulate their needs and interests as well as their vision of society and the Church and to shape the decisions that affect their lives" (13).They recognize that training for seminarians, Panelist Dr. Rocio Figueroa Alevarwomen religious and even priests, bishops and major superiors is critical. They recommend that these groups receive courses in "gender sensitivity" and feminist theology in their formation and ongoing education.The bishops recognize that in order to achieve gender equality, "time-bound action plans" (xiv) must be developed that include monitoring mechanisms and strategies for "affirmative action" in reserving leadership positions for women (33).The bishops hope the Gender Policy of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India will inspire the Universal Church to create a world of co-partnerships (x).The Bishops of India have shown themselves to be prophetic leaders in our universal Church. They took to heart the precepts they penned. They gave women a central role in writing a policy that would affect women everywhere and stood by the final composition thus making it their own. The bishops created the kind of collaboration badly needed in today's Church. They listened deeply and created a space for women to be subjects, and not objects, in their own future thus confirming the legitimacy of women's faith, experience and hope for the Church.Pope Francis values the voice of bishops' conferences when it comes to making vital decisions for the people they pastor. He could showcase this initiative as a roadmap for creating more room for women's leadership in the worldwide Church and inside the Vatican. That would be one important way to create 'a more incisive presence' for women in our Church.RelatedAstrid Lobo Gajiwala speaks about the Gender PolicyUlla Gudmundson on the Pontifical Council on Culture's event on womenA woman's place is in the Vatican by Ulla GudmundsonWomen in the Vatican by Gudrun SailerDr. Rocio Figueroa Alevar on conquering chauvanismFutureChurch's chart on women's leadership at the VaticanVatican Conference of Complementarity of Man and Woman Ends
(This information is provided by “Voiceoffaith.org” )
Schaan (LI) / Vatican, 16 February 2015International Women’s Day ‒ strong women share their stories at the heart of the VaticanThe second Voices of Faith storytelling event brings together extraordinary Catholic women from all over the world. On International Women’s Day they will share their stories on how they accompany the poor and fight for human dignity. As part of the event, the € 20,000 “Women Sowers of Development” prize from Caritas Internationalis and Voices of Faith will be awarded. The event will be streamed on www.voicesoffaith.org starting at 15:00 Central European Time (14:00 UTC) on 8 March.The Voices of Faith storytelling event will happen at the heart of the Vatican on 8 March 2015 at the Casina Pio IV. In honor of International Women’s Day, the event will highlight the contribution of women to the work of the Catholic Church in accompanying the poor, upholding human dignity and promoting equality. The speakers will include human rights advocates, policy makers, academics, visionaries and many who have faced adversity and seemingly insurmountable challenges in carrying out their work.Among the speakers are these remarkable women:Mukti Bosco is co-founder and secretary general of Healing Fields and an Ashoka Fellow. She will share insights into what it takes to make quality healthcare affordable and accessible to the poor and marginalised in India.Sr Hatune Dogan, the Founder of Hatune Foundation International, will talk about putting her life in jeopardy in dangerous places to help persecuted minority Christians in the Middle East.Mary McFarland is co-founder and international director of Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins (JC:HEM). She will tell the remarkable story of how they created distance learning for higher education in refugee camps. With her at the storytelling event is Suad Mohamed, a former Somali refugee who participated in the JC:HEM programme and finally earned her diploma.Sr Marta Pelloni founded Infancia Robada (National Stolen Childhood Network). She will tell the audience how they fight against domestic violence, the trafficking of women and children, and organised corruption.For detailed information about all the speakers participating at the Voices of Faith storytelling event, the program, and to access the live streaming, please go to www.voicesoffaith.org.A more incisive feminine presence“The idea for Voices of Faith was born with the election of Pope Francis”, says Chantal Götz, Executive Director of Fidel Götz Foundation and Founder of Voices of Faith. “He set the tone for opening the door to discuss the role of women in the Church. His desire to ‘broaden the space within the Church for a more incisive feminine presence’ is perfectly aligned with our initiative and with the goals of the Foundation.”Women Sowers of Development PrizeAs part of the event on International Women’s day, the “Women Sowers of Development” prize from Caritas Internationalis and Voices of Faith will be awarded. “The prize recognises projects which highlight the contribution of women to secure food and improve the livelihoods of their families and communities. Through this project, women are empowered to take a more active role in their communities,” says Michel Roy, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis. “By listening to the stories of these women, we make their efforts visible, we learn more about the importance of women’s empowerment and how important it is for the Church to value it.”In many parts of the world, women have less access than men to resources like credit, education and land. If women had equal access to resources, globally 100 to 150 million people could be lifted out of hunger.The Women Sowers of Development Prize consists of two prizes of €10,000 each. One category is aimed at programmes carried out by Caritas organisations. The other is aimed at organisations outside the Caritas network.About Voices of FaithVoices of Faith is a core initiative of the Liechtenstein-based Fidel Götz Foundation, whose work aims to enrich the lives of women and girls globally. The Foundation supports different initiatives within the Vatican and works with global Catholic organisations to develop and implement programmes that produce results. For more information about the FGF go to www.fidelgoetzstiftung.com.About Caritas InternationalisCaritas Internationalis is the official humanitarian and development organisation of the Catholic Church, dedicated to serving the poor and promoting charity and justice. Caritas works to attend to the poorest, responding to disasters, providing social services, promoting integral human development, speaking out against the causes of poverty and violence and galvanising all people of good will. Inspired by the Gospels and Catholic teaching, the 164 national members of Caritas Internationalis seek to promote peace between peoples, sustainable development, the right to food, safe migration, decent work and good health, especially for people living with HIV and AIDS.www.caritas.org
← Weekly Homily from Fr Jim Hogan, 3rd Sunday in Lent, March 8, 2015Papa Francesco and the Altar GirlsPosted on March 10, 2015 by Reyanna RiceYesterday was World Women’s Day. Below is a part of the Angelus greeting that Papa Francesco gave and two pictures from the Mass he celebrated at the Roman parish of Santa Maria Madre del Redentore yesterday evening.Quote from Angelus greeting:“Today March 8, I greet all women! All the women who every day seek to build a society more human and welcoming. And a brotherly thanks also to those who in a thousand ways witness to the Gospel and work in the Church. And this is for us an occasion for confirming the importance and the necessity of their presence in life. A world where women are marginalized is a sterile world, because women not only carry life, but transmit to us the capacity of seeing beyond–they see beyond them–, transmittting to us the ability of understanding the world with different eyes, of feeling things with hearts more creative, more patient, more tender. A prayer and a blessing to all the women present here in the piazza and for all women. A greeting!”From the Mass at Santa Maria del Redentore:I watched the video of this Mass There were six young women altar servers taking an active role in this Mass ranging from about 7 up to late teens. They processed in with all the clergy and male altar servers. Two of the older ones were the ones who held PF’s crozier and miter when it was not in use by him. The first screen shot picture is of them helping with the washing of his hands. The second is from the consecration. At all of these papal Masses there is this kind of “honor guard” of altar servers in front of the altar with candles and one with the incensor during the consecration. The two you see on the bottom left of the second picture are both girls. There were two also at the other end of this lineup. Throughout, these young ladies did not put a foot wrong or show any nervousness being around the pope and all the other clergy. Papa Francesco showed no hesitation or concern in working with them. This isn’t the first Mass in which I have seen where there were women altar servers. The Mass he said at a stadium in Jordan last spring had women altar servers present . I also saw them at the Mass he said this last Saturday evening at another Roman parish, marking the 50th anniversary of the first Mass said in the vernacular. My thoughts on all of this: I think PF speaks volumes in how he sees women taking an active part in the Church and in the liturgy by his acceptance of the presence of these young women in his celebration of liturgy and he obviously does not think having female altar servers near him are going to give him cooties as do some who have had stories in the press lately. Wonder if those guys even saw this video.