Bishop in Chad Speaks Out for Dignity of Women

Assails Abusive Practices

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SARH, Chad, FEB. 6, 2004 ( Discrimination in education is just one of the abuses endured by women in Chad, says Bishop Edmond Jitangar of Sarh in a recent pastoral letter.

«It is urgent that we speak clearly about some attitudes toward women; we cannot remain silent before certain abuses,» the bishop said, who is determined to see women take their just place in society.

Bishop Jitangar’s letter, sent to the Missionary Service News Agency, laments the «negligence in the schooling of girls,» who become victims of discrimination and submission to men.

The bishop of this southern diocese criticized the fact that, for some men, women are objects to be acquired, and that for the local society, a woman has financial value because of the widespread practice of exorbitant dowries.

Bishop Jitangar also condemned the genital mutilation of women, «prohibited in our Church-family of God, because it represents an attack on the integrity of the human person as God has created her.»

He praised «the courage of women’s associations and of Christian women who are committed to combating» this and other practices «which impede the growth of persons.»

«Women need to be recognized and respected as creatures loved by God,» the letter ends, inviting Christian communities to provide environments where women can develop their own consciences and discuss their problems, as well as have occasions for human and spiritual formation.

Of Chad’s 9.2 million inhabitants, 51% are Muslims, 35% Christians, 7% animists, and 7% practice other creeds.

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