Monday, February 23, 2015

Women's World: Pontifical Council for Culture

An article in the Catholic Times reports on the recent meeting of the Pontifical Council for Culture at which meeting one of the Korean bishops participated. The article gives us an insight into what  transpired. The  meeting reflected on  women's culture and the place of women in society.

Women's generativity, and particular values need to be understood and made known. The women's movement is part of the Christian cultural movement. Bishop Lee  reminds us that women's values have to be respected and become part of our culture and movement for life, and inculturated in our theology.

The subject matter can be divided into  4 brief statements:
1) Between equality and difference-- the quest for an equilibrium.
2) "Generativity" as a symbolic code.
3) The female body:between culture and biology.
4) Women and religion: flight or  new forms of participation in the  life of the Church?

 Bishop Lee mentioned that in the meeting, the generativity of women was considered symbolically;  they divided it into four moments: desiring, bringing into the world, looking after, and finally letting go. Women have  a great deal to do with this generativity but it is not only the woman's work but also the man's: both in the beginning and end of the generative process. 

One of the big obstacles to this generativity is the  materialism of our life style. Another social evil is the commodification of the women's body: plastic surgery, so prevalent  in society, is a good example.

The bishop mentioned at the meeting the exaggerated importance of appearance, and the need to address this in our moral teaching and education. The bishop reported the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery says Korea is the Cosmetic Capital of the world. The  percentage of citizens with cosmetic surgery are the highest in the world. “Plastic surgery is like a burqa made of flesh.” These are the  words, one person used to describe the cosmetic surgery being performed on women. 

 Young people don't even know why they are having the surgery; they are moved by the positive popular feeling  about the procedure. Even pastors  have nothing to say  about the surgery. "The body  expresses the being of a person, more than an aesthetic dimension closed in on itself; how can we avoid a purely functional approach to women and their bodies (seductive,  commercialization, marketing)?"                          

"Women and men in their personhood are equal but  have different values. These values should be at the center of the  women's culture and we need to understand them. Men and women complement each other and this should be made known in our programs within and outside the  church."