Saturday, June 8, 2013

Women's Role within the Church

A symposium of the many women groups within the Church recently met to talk about the Korean Catholic Women's Movement--"yesterday, today and tomorrow." It reviewed the history of the discipleship of women in society, and presented prospects for the future.

Of great concern was the women's role in spirituality-of-life issues: healing, service, works of mercy, and the extension of these endeavors within society and the Church, as well as a concern to see the roots of  equality continue to be deepened, and to work to accomplish this goal within society and the Church. Individual efforts, the symposium stressed, have to develop into communal efforts. There has been much progress, said one participant, but there is still more to achieve, which will require that everyone participate.

In the introductory remarks, a group representative said that living as a woman demands a lot and yet is still joyful. At the same time, when looking at history, we have to acknowledge, she said, the yoke we have had to carry and have had to deal with.

The editorial in the Catholic Times commented on the symposium's overview of the women's movement within the Church since 1990. The work of the women within the Church is at the center of their ongoing work within society, and is what supports that work, the editorial pointed out. This can easily be seen in any of the parishes within the country. The women, much more than the men, are keeping the works of the parish going.

The reality is that the women are doing most of the work, but their roles as leaders are few. It is understood that we are dealing with a patriarchal society, a fact known to all, but the editorial wonders whether this is most evident within the Church, and suggests that more leadership roles be opened to them.  The Church has to help form these leaders, educating them to take positions of leadership within the Church. Women themselves, the editorial said, have to work to bring this about.

However, more importantly, it would be enlightening if more of us were to reflect on the current role of women as individuals within our societal and church structures to see the depth of the discrimination. This has to be quickly remedied.  After the resurrection, women were Jesus' first witnesses--not men, something  the editorial urges us to remember as we reflect on these issues.