05 Editorial - Women's Role in the path of Peace and Pace of Progress

posted Mar 1, 2018, 7:31 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 1, 2018, 7:34 PM ]
Today more than ever, it is necessary that women are present. A woman, possessing special characteristics, can offer an important contribution to dialogue with her ability to listen, to welcome and to generously open herself to others. Her role is of prime importance for the path of humanity towards pace of progress, peace and fraternity—a path which is not at all obvious and clear, but marked by difficulty and obstacles.

Unfortunately, today, we see how the figure of woman as an educator in universal fraternity is blurred and often unrecognised, due to many evils that afflict this world, and which, in particular, affect women in their dignity and in their role. Women and children are the most frequent victims of the blind violence that takes place in the world today.

However, women have a key role to play. Women must collaborate with men in carrying out their mission as educators, in a serene and effective way. We cannot undervalue the inestimable role of women, educating in fraternity and dialogue. Within a complex society, marked by plurality and globalisation, there is need for a greater recognition of the ability of women to educate in universal fraternity.

If women are able to freely put their gifts at the service of the entire community, the way in which society understands and is organised is positively transformed, reflecting better the substantial unity of the human family. Because of this, a beneficial model for society is one that amplifies the presence of women in social, economic and political life at the local, national and international levels, as well as in the ecclesial. Women have the right to be actively involved in all areas, and their right must be asserted and protected, even by legal means, wherever they prove necessary. This involves expanding the spaces of a more incisive feminine presence.

There are so many women who, in their daily commitments, with dedication and conscience, with courage that is at times heroic, have developed and put their genius to use, their precious traits in the most varied, specific and qualified skills, combined with the real experience of being mothers and teachers.

Women as educators have a special vocation, capable of creating and growing new forms of acceptance and esteem. Education brings a wealth of implications, both for the woman herself, for her way of being, and for her relationships, for the way she deals with human life, and life in general. Because of this, men and women are called to contribute together in fostering universal brotherhood, which is, in the end, also an education in the peace and complementarity of their various and sensitive roles.

Women, intimately linked to the mystery of life, can do much to promote the spirit of brotherhood, with their care for the preservation of life, and with their conviction that love is the only force that can render the world habitable for all. In effect, women are often the only ones to accompany others, particularly the weakest in the family and in society, and victims of conflicts.

Educating in fraternity is also an essential part of interreligious dialogue. Women are often committed more than men in this area, and so contribute to a better understanding of the challenges characteristic of a multicultural reality.

However, women can also become fully involved in exchanges at the religious level, as well as those at the theological level, and are well prepared to face encounters of interreligious dialogue at the highest levels, and not just from the Catholic side. This means that the contribution of women is not limited to feminine arguments, or to encounters of only women. Dialogue is a path that man and woman must accomplish together.

(Extracts of Pope Francis' talk to the members of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, exploring the theme of 'the Role of women in the path of humanity towards Peace'.)