Saturday, December 14, 2013

Catholic Women and the Church

An article in the Peace Weekly, reporting on a seminar on women's issues in the Korean Church, mentioned that the first thing women wanted to see was a more harmonious way of speaking between clergy and their women parishioners.  Secondly, women wanted to actively participate with clergy in making decisions affecting the parish. Also mentioned was their desire to see a change in the authoritarian governance of the clergy and their patriarchal mindset. The comments were the results of a questionnaire taken among our Catholic women.

More than 85 percent of the women did not feel there was any prejudice in the Church against women, but felt that a more mature Church needed women who are both interested in their families and interested in being educated for leadership within the Church. They also indicated the importance of knowing the problems existing in society and how they were to go about helping to solve these problems; mention was also made about finding ways of encouraging more Mass attendance and more awareness of the evangelization process.  

They indicated that the biggest problems the Church faces today involve those who have left the community of faith, and doing more for the poor.  More than 46 percent of the women  were against women priests, 32 percent didn't know what to think, and nearly 22 percent were in favor.

250 women in 4 dioceses of the country were given the questionnaire. The general  manager of the Bishops Subcommittee on Women's Issues said that the questionnaire did not uncover anything that was not known from the past.

The subcommittee was set up  to empower women in the local Churches. They have not always run smoothly, and the women have expressed their desire to be more than a subcommittee of the bishops' governing structure, a feeling that has been expressed in the past.

During the seminar, the  dissertation  by a seminary professor on the well-known animated film and best-selling children's story Leafie: A Hen into the Wild was discussed.  His dissertation,  "Women's Identity and Beauty" dealt with  the despair of the "chicken coop," and the "wild" as the place where the male rules supreme in the present capitalistic and patriarchal world. The mother hen Leafie leaves the coop and in her life outside displays her motherly instincts which overcome all difficulties.  There was a lively discussion on the presentation.

The archbishop of Seoul was quoted, "We are always thankful for the place of  women in the Church. With their moral strength, they have become a great influence for good in the Church. Women themselves have to realize this position of strength and take the initiative, to respect themselves, and to work to get the support that is required for a healthy Church."

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