· Vatican City ·



Widening our gaze: the challenge for the world and the Church today

02 March 2024

Never without one other. Two –that is one plus one- has accompanied me throughout my life; in fact, from the moment I was born. For my birth was preceded just two mins before by Alessandra, my twin sister. Two minutes between us, on the 22nd.  There has always been two, there has always been another, and if the companion is a woman, then it is truly 'other'. I experienced my childhood and adolescence in a very 'female' family, then, just 40 years ago, I embarked on a path with my wife Elvira, a life together that is full of joys, hardships, and surprises. We often pull each other’s leg by saying, “the day we 'understand' each other will be the day we will perhaps leave each other!”

It is true what the Pope says in the document of universal brotherhood signed February 4, 2019 in Abu Dhabi, where he states, to experience dialogue it is necessary to have the courage of identity and, at the same time, the courage of otherness. Therefore, with this twofold courage, I have tried (with many wrong steps and frailties) to face the challenge inherent in the appointment as director of L’Osservatore Romano, a challenge that has inevitably also involved the relationship with female otherness.

From the get-go, in the spring of 2019, I found myself rebuilding the editorial board of Women Church World. Today, so many women, from different geographical, cultural and religious backgrounds, of different ages and professions, think about and produce this magazine in total autonomy. To give voice to women all over the world, to tell their stories and invite them to tell their stories too. With the same complete faith in female talent, I have also renewed the editorial staff of the newspaper, with no less than three of the four new staff who have been hired in these five years being women.

Women are creative. In a different way from men. Jesus realised this too, for example when his mother instructed the wedding servants to do what he would tell them, or with the Syro-Phoenician woman (Mk 7:24-30) with her tenacity coupled with a fine art of dialectic to the point that Jesus had to give in and change his decision, broadening it. What women do is they widen our gaze, they break the habitual patterns (which are often those of men); they demand a re-vision that broadens our vision.

I needed and need this stubborn and concrete creativity to face the adventure proposed to me by the pastor of the universal Church, which is a feminine noun. Moreover, speaking of the noun, women make me think of what the Pope often says, we need to move from the culture of the adjective to the theology of the noun. Human beings often do this, when they take a short cut and label other people, adject-ifying them, while disregarding or trampling on the dignity of that person as such. It occurs to me that women, who are so essential, are more “theological” than men are, for they have eyes that look at the substance of things and people, without wasting time classifying them. This is one more talent that can; actually, must bear fruit.

The collaboration between such distinct worlds, of men and of women, is a demanding challenge. However, it is as necessary as it is urgent, both for the world and for the Church today.

by Andrea Monda