Women Theologians to Reflect on Vatican II

Council’s Teaching on Mary Seen as Path to Reconciliation

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By Antonio Gaspari

ROME, OCT. 3, 2012 (Zenit.org).- A conference gathering women theologians to reflect on the Second Vatican Council will begin Thursday in Rome. 

Organized by the Coordination of Italian Women Theologians (CIT), the three-day event will take place at the Sant’Anselmo Pontifical Athenaeum.

According to Marinella Perroni, president of CIT, the congress will be a moment of ecumenical comparison between scholars involved in different realms of theological learning and of ecclesial life, to consider the recognition of women’s contribution within the Church in the last 50 years.

Bishop Domenico Sigalini of Palestrina, national assistant of Catholic Action, spoke to ZENIT at the presentation of the conference.

“If we are only going to look at the seats where the women sat we resolve nothing, but if we see the pervasiveness of their experience of faith within the People of God I think it has increased very much,” the bishop reflected. 

From the social and ecclesial point of view, the bishop of Palestrina said that statistics also prove that the transmission of the faith to the new generations is stronger if it passes through grandmothers and mothers.

In regard to theological research, ZENIT asked what CIT will do to reflect further on Mary’s role, in an age when women have been recognized as doctors of the Church.

Bishop Sigalini spoke of the tendencies in Marian devotion in the late 1960s, noting the impression then that “to magnify Mary seemed an affront to Jesus.” 

“Then there was a very big discussion at the Council. Paul VI intervened personally to have Mary recognized as Mother of the Church,” he recalled. “I must say that that intervention of Pope Paul VI enabled me to be reconciled with Mary.

“I come from a generation that exalted feminism, but I understood the profound faith of that woman […] when Mary had to render an account to her father and mother saying that she was expecting a child, although she didn’t know man. When Mary had to face other women who began to laugh as they saw her swelling. When Mary had to render an account to the law which could have stoned her and her child. In sum, a woman of great faith who was plunged in tremendous trials.”

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