To be a Catholic today means to experience the faith in the present, in a changing world, and in roles that are evolving. It means to be part of the Church and seeing /wanting her to change, for it to be more feminine and to be considered more so. Not to stop at tradition, but to accept the Church’s teachings and move forward.
In this issue of Women Church World, the reader will find stories of certain women who have taken this journey. To choose them was not an easy task. After all, so many women have inspired social and cultural change by bearing witness to their faith. They represent examples of new ways of being and living in the Church. Like Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, who is a pioneer of feminist theology, and the scholar who revealed its non-neutrality. There is Emilce Cuda, the first woman to be appointed head of the Pontifical Commission office for Latin America, and a theologian who believes in a social morality that starts with the people.
Teresa Forcades, the Benedictine nun who boldly explores new ethics and knowledge territories, and who invites us to understand and recognize “the feminine history” of the Church. We went to Montserrat, to the monastery, to visit her.
The terrain on which Catholic women walk is not always easy. While many difficulties have been overcome, being young in the Church can be exhausting, as Koketzo Mary Zomba, the Southern African representative to the Synod of Young People, testifies. It is also difficult to promote female leadership, says Zuzanna Flisowska-Caridi, the head of the Rome office of Voices of Faith.
Nevertheless, Catholics move forward; and challenge the Church with their courage. Maria Lía Zervino, the president of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations, asks Francis to take one more step. In a letter she wrote, “As a woman I feel in credit, not enough progress has been made to take advantage of the wealth women offer and who make up a large part of the people of God”. The Italian Women Theologians Coordination is part of this wealth. President Lucia Vantini writes about the role and tasks of feminism in the Church, the effort to build a theology that welcomes and values differences, and that takes the field against stereotypes and patriarchal resistance that risk distorting the Christian message. We open the magazine with Barbara Jatta, director of the Vatican Museums, who is the first woman in five hundred years to hold this position. As she leads us on a tour of the soul among the works with female subjects, she shows us how art can become the word of the Gospel. (WCW)