Vatican Reflects on Women's Roles in the Church, Culture

Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture Is Addressing Problems and Issues Relating to Women

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What posts are being proposed for women in the Church? Have we asked ourselves what type of woman is necessary for the Church of today? What are the characteristics of women’s presence in the different societies and cultures?

The Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture will address these and other questions on the theme: “Feminine Cultures between Equality and Difference,” which will be held in Rome from February 4-7.

Taking part in the presentation of this event today in the Holy See Press Office were Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Anna Mara Tarantola, president of RAI [Italian Radio and Television]; Monica Maggioni, director of RAI News 24 and Nancy Brilli, actress.

As they explained, the assembly will be divided into four sessions, in which several topics will be addressed: “Between Equality and Difference: The Search for Balance,” “Generosity as Symbolic Code,” “The Feminine Body: Between Culture and Biology” and “Women and Religion: Flight or New Forms of Participation in the Life of the Church.”

Taking part in the congress will be Members and Consultors of the Pontifical Council with papal appointment.

To follow this event on the Social Networks, users can search using the hashtag #lifeofwomen. A public event in the Argentine Theater of Rome is also planned for February 4th. There will be 50 minutes of videos, brief interviews, readings and live music.

Cardinal Ravasi has offered some readings on the congress. He specified that “the expression ‘women’s culture’ is not meant to divide it from men.  Instead, it manifests the awareness that there is a look on the world and on everything that surrounds us, on life and on experience, which is proper to women.” On the other hand, he announced that there is a desire to build afterwards for the Dicastery – and, therefore, not officially for the Holy See – a permanent feminine consultation.”

Anna Maria Tarantola added that this congress will attempt to reflect on women’s role in the contemporary world and in the Church, as well as on the contribution they can make thanks to their specificities and competencies.

“There are studies that stress that women are more apt in managing crisis,” she said. She also said: “the endeavor towards equality does not mean homologation of models.” Therefore, she affirmed that women have characteristics that differentiate them, though in the equality of human beings.

Another issue to be addressed in the Assembly, and which was referred to during the press conference, was that of cosmetic surgery, referred to as a “burka of flesh” in the preparatory document. “Safeguarding the freedom of choice of each one, are we not under the cultural yoke of a sole feminine model? Do we think of women used in advertising and in mass communication?,” the document asks.

In this connection, Cardinal Ravasi called attention to the “degenerative dimension” of the practice to follow an image.

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Rocío Lancho García

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