Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Synod’s Final Document: Where Are the Women? By Angela Bonavoglia | November 20, 2014


"While the watching world focused on whether the Catholic church would continue to condemn gay sex and same-sex marriage, and whether the divorced and remarried would be invited to communion, what was missing from the church’s recent Synod on the Family was women—not only in the ranks of the celibate, all-male voting bishops, but also in the final document that sets the stage for a year of dialogue about the future of church teachings, which arguably have their greatest impact on women.

But equally important, though absent from the public conversation, was the invisibility of women and the negative impact current church teachings have on women’s lives....
There were passing references to violence against women in the family and in the world in the final Synod document, but nowhere do the Church fathers make a moral case for protecting women from such violence in their own homes and supporting them in leaving such relationships. On the contrary: in addressing “those who have been subjected to the maltreatment of a husband or a wife,” the document reads: “To forgive such an injustice is not easy, but grace makes this journey possible. Pastoral activity, then, needs to be geared towards reconciliation or mediation of differences.”

The word “rape” appears not once in this document, even though raping one’s wife remains a prerogative of husbands in many countries worldwide, where women have absolutely nothing to say about when or how they have sex. This omission is doubly concerning coming from a church that forces childbirth on unwilling women by supporting laws that block access to birth control and condemn women to unsafe abortions, which take the lives of nearly 50,000 women worldwide each year.,,

But no women priests means no women bishops, including women theologians who could have brought so much to the table. In fact, the US bishops continue to censure the leading Catholic feminist theologians, such as Sister Elizabeth Johnson, while Pope Francis has dismissed them and their work out of hand by insisting that what we need is “a profound theology of the woman.” What the church actually needs is to integrate the perspectives of these Catholic feminist theologians—on God, sexual morality, the very notion of revelation as a living, breathing process—into church teachings.,,,"

Bridget Mary's Response:
Excellent analysis by Angela Bonavoglia! If women priests, women bishops and women theologians were present, there would have been a totally different perspective.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org

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