18 Notes & Comments

posted Mar 8, 2018, 11:03 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 8, 2018, 11:03 AM ]

Women in Church decision-making is a process


The fuller participation of women in decision-making in the Catholic Church is a continuing process that still needs time, said Cardinal Kevin Farrell, during a question-and-answer session in Rome on March 1, after the presentation of the book - A Pope Francis Lexicon. Cardinal Farrell said that a greater role for women in the Church "is going to take more than just issuing a decree."

"It's a question of changing a culture, and I believe that will take time, but I think that Pope Francis — more than anybody — has tried, and continues to try and bring about that change each and every day," he said. The book features a collection of essays edited by Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service Rome bureau chief, and Joshua McElwee, Vatican correspondent for National Catholic Reporter.

Responding to a question regarding an essay written by Tina Beattie, a theologian, in which she noted the exclusion of women "from many offices of Catholic teaching," Cardinal Farrell said the Pope would not totally agree that "he has not tried and is not bringing women into positions of authority in the Church." Some dicasteries once led by cardinals are now led by bishops and priests, and thus, pave the way for more participation by lay people, especially women, in Church decisions, said Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, who also spoke at the conference.

"Every day, more and more, the presence of the laity is taking place," the cardinal said. "It's a process of changing the culture, but I can assure (you) it's taking place."


The Paschal Mystery in our lives


There is no smooth sailing in life. Even if we have been brought up in a sheltered and loving family, we cannot escape difficult times. Jesus' Passion, Death and Resurrection are meant to find an echo in our lives. If we thought things would be hunky dory all the way, we are mistaken. Everywhere, we experience conflict, war, violence, intimidation, minority bashing, and sometimes zero tolerance.

The Cross and the Resurrection are so closely linked that we cannot live, one without the other. As disciples of Jesus, we must expect the same in our lives. When we are condemned by others, when we are judged even though we are innocent, when we are stripped of our reputations, and become the laughing stock of others, we find that we are face to face with our own passion, death and carrying of the Cross.

Jesus surely had a message of the utmost significance when He said we have to carry our cross daily and follow Him. As God-man, he knew that our lives would be full of problems. Our crosses may differ, with some having more than their share of crosses in their lives. Some may have unhappy homes, others may be harassed in offices, some have to struggle against daily oppression.


Saving the children of Aleppo - at risk of becoming a ‘lost’ generation


This school year (2017-2018), the Latin Parish of Aleppo is helping more than 150 children, aged 6 to 13, to "recover psychologically, educationally, and spiritually" through after-school activities. The goal is to "rebuild bonds and heal deep wounds" caused by years of brutal war, said Fr Ibrahim Alsabagh OFM, 44, who spoke to AsiaNews.

Young people in Aleppo, once Syria's economic and commercial capital, show signs of mental troubles, learning disabilities, and trauma-related problems. But "this is one of the best projects in the fields of education and assistance to the young victims of the conflict," said the Franciscan clergyman, who is also the local Parish Priest.

In the war-torn country, teachers and educators have a hard time providing education and support to all the students, and there is a real risk that the young will be condemned to become a "lost generation."

In light of the hardships teachers and many parents face, the local Church has decided – albeit amid a thousand and one obstacles – to offer learning and rehabilitation programmes in accordance with the teachings and spirituality of Saint John Bosco.