Monday, November 21, 2011

Wisdom of the Woman in the Early Church

Writing in the Catholic Times the director of the Seoul Caritas Volunteer Center mentions that after returning to the documents of the Second Vatican Council, she now understands why the Pope wants us to become familiar with those documents.
She attended, in 1967, the first lay meeting in Rome. She was able to learn a little bit about Europe and to reflect how the death of many young men in the war gave women the opportunity to take their place in European affairs.

Returning to Korea and learning that forty or more women groups had been formed, she wanted to devote herself to the work of women and the country, becoming a head officer of a conference of women to lend support to the various groups.   At that time the situation of women in society was difficult: many were abused, shunned, harassed for not having a son, stressed by overwork, forced to obey unconditionally, sexually violated, among other difficulties they had to endure.
This has been acknowledged by many the world over, and in 1975 the Year of Women was convened, formally proclaiming the equality of women. Since then there have been meetings on women problems continually over the years. The presidents of several countries have also committed themselves to advancing the place of women in society, with the goal of getting rid of all discrimination.
Results of this have been seen in Korea. For a time men faced a great deal of pressure. However, both men and women have seen that our greed has brought many other problems to the fore in our society. She uses Erich Fromm's book The Sane Society to explain that widespread acceptance of an exploitative orientation within many cultures as the reason for our many societal problems.
She concludes her piece by telling us about the incident in Mark's Gospel (chap.14) where a women goes to the house of Simon the leper and anoints Jesus with expensive ointment. She was criticized for spending money that could have been used for the poor, but she was unconcerned about the criticism. She had no exploitative intentions but only wanted Jesus' message to go out to the rest of the world, like the fragrance of the ointment. We can learn much from the wisdom of this woman of the Gospel.

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