UCAN Spirituality Catholic Church News

Women and Discrimination

Women and Discrimination thumbnail

M. Baby Kamala

We are the Church. If our calling is to be one people of God, we need to ask what it means to be the Church in the contemporary society. Contemporary society is fragmented by discriminations of caste, creed, gender, and a host of other factors. God has created us in God’s very own image and gifted us with our own capabilities so that we can become what we are called upon to become. As one people of God, it is our task to build up a community without such discrimination….

The divine image is neither male nor female, neither white nor black, neither rich nor poor, high caste or low caste, but multi-colored and multi-gendered and more. We, the people, are God’s visible representatives. Created in the Divine image, we are equal. We are integral members of the body of Christ. Our ministries are linked to the fulfillment of God’s desire to reveal God’s glory in us, as one people. As each member of the body of Christ allows the expression of Christ to come forth, the divine presence will be revealed. Since women, too, are equally rooted in God’s divinity, they need to actively participate in building up the Church. The late John Paul II, realizing the need for greater participation of women in the Church, asserted the dignity and rights of women as seen in the light of the Word of God (John Paul II 1995).

 

John Paul II

While the dignity of woman witnesses to the love which she receives in order to love in return, the biblical “exemplar” of the Woman also seems to reveal the true order of love which constitutes woman’s own vocation. Vocation is meant here in its fundamental, and one may say universal significance, a significance which is then actualized and expressed in women’s many different “vocations” in the Church and the world.

The moral and spiritual strength of a woman is joined to her awareness that God entrusts the human being to her in a special way. Of course, God entrusts every human being to each and every other human being. But this entrusting concerns women in a special way – precisely by reason of their femininity – and this in a particular way determines their vocation.

The moral force of women, which draws strength from this awareness and this entrusting, expresses itself in a great number of figures of the Old Testament, of the time of Christ, and of later ages right up to our own day.

A woman is strong because of her awareness of this entrusting, strong because of the fact that God “entrusts the human being to her”, always and in every way, even in the situations of social discrimination in which she may find herself. This awareness and this fundamental vocation speak to women of the dignity which they receive from God himself, and this makes them “strong” and strengthens their vocation.

Thus the “perfect woman” (cf. Prov 31:10) becomes an irreplaceable support and source of spiritual strength for other people, who perceive the great energies of her spirit. These “perfect women” are owed much by their families, and sometimes by whole nations.