Women can be parish in-charge: Cardinal Gracias

October 24, 2019 Matters India


Cardinal Oswald

By Christopher White

Rome, October 24, 2019: Catholic bishops are not fully utilizing Church law to maximize the role of women in decision making capacities, Cardinal Oswald Gracias said on October 23.

While acknowledging that women are unable to hear confession, say Mass, or administer confirmation, “she can do practically everything else,” said Gracias. “Women can even be in charge of a parish according to Church law.”

The cardinal’s remarks came during a press briefing as the Synod of Bishops on the Amazon nears its final conclusion this week, where the role of women in the Church has been a repeated theme as the Church considers how to better respond to the pastoral needs of the Amazon region.

“We must use all of this,” Cardinal Gracias added, noting that Pope Francis “very [much] wants decentralization,” and for bishops to enact changes where they can already do so without the permission of the Holy See.

In addition to being the archbishop of Mumbai, Cardinal Gracias serves on Pope Francis’s Council of Cardinal Advisers.

The role of women in the Church dominated much of the press conference with several of the other representatives from the Amazon speaking for the need for concrete and tangible action, while steering clear of addressing the question of women’s ordination to the diaconate, which is anticipated to be addressed in some form in the Synod’s final document.

Bishop Ricardo Ernesto Centellas Guzmán of Potosí, Bolivia, who heads the country’s bishops’ conference, also called for a change in “mindset” when it comes to women in the Church.

“We all have to change our mentality to make sure participation of women becomes authentic and that is equitable and fair,” he said.

At present, he said the role of women who are involved in decision-making power is “very low,” adding that in some places it is “almost invisible.”

“Things must change by starting with the smaller things,” he said, noting that work in the parish level and local communities is the place to start. He specifically called out pastoral councils that only give women consultation status, without any real decision making abilities.

A walking Church, he said, included “walking together and deciding together,” adding “otherwise we will be limping together, not walking.”

Sister Roselei Bertoldo, a nun from Brazil who works in human trafficking, echoed his words, telling reporters that the structure of the Church is often focused on men when it comes to questions of authority.

“We want to become the protagonist in this process,” she said. “We will not keep silent. We want space, and we will start building a space.”

Also a part of the discussion on October 23 was the theme of inculturation and how to best adapt the practices of the faith to the Amazon region in a specific way that is mindful of local customs and traditions.

Inculturation, said Cardinal Gracias, “flows from the Incarnation. Our Lord became incarnated.”

Historically, he said when discussion of inculturation has been raised, the focus has been on questions of liturgy, which he deemed to be a “mistake” in its singular scope.

He argued for the need for greater consideration of question of inculturation when it comes to priestly formation, seminaries, and their staffs.

The Synod of Bishops on the Amazon is set to conclude with a Mass on October 27.

On October 26, the bishops will vote on the final document, which on October 23, Jesuit Father Giacomo Costa, said would not be the end result of the Synod, but rather a “tool” that “everyone can use to take steps forward.”

Source: cruxnow.com

Kerala nun elevated to sainthood

Pope Francis canonises Mariam Thresia along with three others; she
was beatified by Pope John Paul in 2000


People gather at shrine of Mother Mariam (right) on Sunday

Indian nun Mariam Thresia and four others were declared Saints by Pope Francis at a grand ceremony at
the Vatican City on Sunday.
Mariam Thresia, who founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family in Thrissur in May1914,
was raised to the highest position within the centuries-old institution during the ceremony at the St Peter’s
The nun from Kerala was canonised along with English Cardinal John Henry Newman, Swiss laywoman
Marguerite Bays, Brazilian Sister Dulce Lopes and Italian Sister Giuseppina Vannini. “Today we give
thanks to the Lord for our new Saints,” Pope Francis told the gathering.
Huge portraits of the five new Saints were hung from Saint Peter’s Basilica during the ceremony, which
was attended by tens of thousands of devotees. Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan led
the Indian delegation at the ceremony. The event was also attended by Prince Charles.
Noting that three of the new saints canonised on Sunday were religious women, the pope said, they show
“us that the consecrated life is a journey of love to the existential peripheries of the world”.
Mariam Thresia was called during the first half of her life simply Thresia, the name given to her at baptism
on May 3,1876. Since1904, she wanted to be called Mariam Thresia as she believed that she was asked to
add ‘Mariam’ to her name by the Blessed Virgin Mary in a vision. It was as Mariam Thresia that she was
professed in 1914, the founder and first member of the Congregation of the Holy Family.
“In imitation of Jesus, she helped the poor, nursed the sick, visited and comforted the lonely people of her
parish. She was also blessed with the stigmata but kept it secret to avoid attention. She received several
mystical gifts like prophecy, healing, an aura of light, sweet odour and frequently had ecstasies and
levitations. Her entire existence was tormented by demons and she offered her sufferings for the remission
of the sins of the world,” the Vatican News said.
Sister Thresia died on June 8, 1926 at the age of 50 and was declared Blessed by Pope Saint John Paul II
on April 9, 2000.



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