Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Expanding the Meaning of 'Motherhood'

At present, the equality of the sexes, cooperation between them is the direction in which society is going. The Church needs to redefine its understanding of this relationship. An article in the Kyeongyang magazine by a professor at a university graduate school shares her thoughts with the readers on the subject.

The Bishops in 2005 seeing the results of a consciousness survey, became determined to have a greater number of women in leadership positions and to change the structures that are preventing this from happening. Mentioned also were programs to facilitate this change. However, she says, this is easier said than done for many still feel the women's role is behind the scenes as a cooperator and not as a leader.

The Second Vatican Council was to become an updating of the church (Aggiornamento). It was a call to open the windows and reform. It was to be like the first community led by the spirit, fellowship, conscious of being the body of Christ, returning to becoming the people of God. We are all part of the church. The church was to change from a vertical to a horizontal understanding of Christ and the community. From a woman's view let us look at what we have.
                                                                                                                                                     In 1994 the pope makes clear to the church: "I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful." Understanding this teaching the writer looks for the place of women within the church and sees the role as motherhood.

The Church understanding of woman related to motherhood and their mission is seen by many feminists as the motherhood myth: women are born with an innate instinct for sacrifice and giving love.  Many feminist see this as ideology and criticize it greatly. They see this as curtailing the rights and freedom of women. This kind of thinking on motherhood that enters society limits the role of women both in politics and society and gives men their patriarchal control over women as a settled given.

There is a departure in the teaching of the Church and many of the feminists in the way they look at the women's role in society. She proposes the role of women as mothering but not as some of the feminists see the concept. It is a caring, an understanding that is not limited to the family and the raising of children. She quotes the passages of Scripture where the praise of Mary was not as a mother of a child but as a person who listened and obeyed the word of God.

Motherhood is not limited to the family but is a characteristic the world needs today and our Blessed Mother is an example of this type of motherhood and caring and it was not limited to the birthing and nurturing in the family but extended to the church and the community that was born.

The spirituality of women is based on a motherhood that spreads to the whole world. This motherhood needs to go beyond the family and begin to influence the whole world. This social characteristic of motherhood contains love, caring, mercy, sacrifice, wisdom and hope. Qualities that the world sorely needs.

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