Friday, January 20, 2012

New Secretary General


On the Vatican News, there was an announcement about a new Secretary-General for the Southern African Bishop's Conference. Her name is Sister Hermenegild Makoro. She talked about all the work women do for the church and how the bishops there have seen it and recognized it. It is very good to know they have appreciated the work of women in the Church and are showing it in a significant way.

Sister Makoro said she thinks there are two other women Secretary-Generals of Bishop's Conferences: one in the Nordic countries and another in New Zealand. Though three in the world is not a lot, it is a high post and we can only hope there will be more on the way.

Now I'm one of those Catholics who think we should not restrict priests to men. I know it is supposed to be for theological reasons. But is it possible some theology, like some science, is rationalized? (For the rationalization of multi-universe theory by scientists, see my previous post about Stephen Hawking's birthday.)

I have read that the understanding by some theologians of the choice of 12 men for apostles was that it symbolized the 12 tribes of Israel. Isn't there possible symbolism in that before the grave, the 12 men who stood for the tribes of Israel also represented the Law God gave to Moses?

But after the grave, when Jesus arose from the dead, He showed Himself first to women. Before, there was the Law, and Israel considered itself the only people of God. But after Christ's victory, all humanity could potentially be part of God's kingdom. As Paul told us, we could not overcome sin with the Law: 19 Now we know that what the law says is addressed to those under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world stand accountable to God, 20 since no human being will be justified in his sight by observing the law; for through the law comes consciousness of sin. (Romans 3:19,20, New American Bible, Revised Edition from the USSCB website). It is through Christ we are saved. Paul summarizes in 1 Corinthians 15: 57 But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (NAB).

Maybe I rationalize theology too. I can not help but think men want to keep power-making decisions to themselves. But in equality theology, men and women would have equal stature and work together, and in fact be servants of each other, as Christ has said we should. In fact, He has said that if we want to lead, we should serve.

Yet I do think there have been sincere wishes to see the people of Church produce souls for God, meaning, in effect, women stay home and have children. I want to always put Christ first, and to hold evangelization ahead of women issues in the Church. But we must all strive to live as Christ wants us, and we continue to need to sort out what that entails. We must remember that these days, children born to Catholics do not automatically become believers in God. And of course, we want to bring those who were not born in the Church to come to know Jesus. Our popes have called for a New Evangelization and all of us need to work together for the greater cause. Perhaps some women are meant to be full-time evangelists, and not only as nuns. We should have the freedom to follow what we discern as our call. It seems that is between the individual and God.

In Galatians 3, 26-28, Paul says, 26 For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (NAB).

It took Christians a while to realize persons did not have to be Jewish to be Christian. It took a longer time for them to come to grips with the fact that slavery was wrong. Christ told us to follow Him. How should women be treated?

Sister Hermenegild Makoro was already doing the work of the Church. I'm sure she is a humble and worthy servant, and I am so glad the bishops there have recognized that. May we all recognize each other's worth in our efforts to bring Christ to the world.

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