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Collaboration between women and men

If we look at the Church from the outside the impression we get from any Vatican ceremony, any high-level meeting concerned with the future, any moment of communication with the outside world is that we are looking at a rigorously male world in which there is no collaboration with women. Women – and it is well known that they are many and indispensable in the Church’s life – do not appear, their voices are not heard and thus one may often come to the somewhat hasty conclusion that they merely obey in silence. 

On the contrary – fortunately – this is not how it is: not only in recent years but throughout the Church’s thousand-year-old history collaboration between women and men has been important and fruitful. In this issue the saint of the month, Paula, can also boast a history of collaboration with Jerome at the very beginning of Christian life. From their joint effort the Vulgate was born, namely the Latin translation of the Bible on which for centuries scriptural tradition was based. And this year our theological page opens a new series – on the female figures in the Old Testament, who tell us of great projects of collaboration between matriarchs and patriarchs, supportive albeit sometimes also in conflict. In recent times the increasing autonomy attained by women in social life has fostered the birth of new and interesting forms of collaboration: let us think, for example, of the close relationship between Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr, a doctor and mystic, from which were born important and innovative theological writings. And we certainly cannot forget Clara Lubich, founder of the Focolari Movement, who in addition to being the first and so far the only woman to found an ecclesial movement, based its entire organization on collaboration between women and men, developed over the years with great creativity in many sectors. What Lubich proposed was clearly a Church based on collaboration between and men, a Church which makes the difference between the sexes the source of her riches. Moreover the movement Lubich founded is committed to being an example that points the way forward. In this issue we present other living experiences of collaboration between the sexes which today are increasing, as well as stories of the past, important because they reveal the ancient roots of this working together, both in the Church and for the Church. Taking note of this is very important because it is the first step to conceiving a livelier and warmer Church, a Church which does not limit herself to defending the difference but finds it within her and is at last deciding to live it in all its vital forms. (lucetta scaraffia)

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