The early Church faced persecution from the Roman authorities. One of the reasons was the way that early Christians treated women with honor and respect. The Romans could not understand why they were treated in such a way. That was the history of our Church. For today’s Church it would be important to capture again a way of life that raised women to a status of equals, status of honor and dignity.
The perception by some in the world is that the Church has a strong voice in protecting the life in the womb. And the question we can ask ourselves, is this enough? What language and ideas can we express that help women know they can be empowered to make a decision to honor the life within their womb?
The Church’s position could be strengthened if we became stronger advocates for a better commitment of healthcare for women. Research, funding and the resources that give women some of the best healthcare would give women the confidence that they deserve the best this field can give them. Could the Church be stronger and give women the economic strength of better pay, and not settle to give wages that are less than just? Would women be free to feel they have support to choose life because they can support themselves financially? What if the Church looked for ways to share authority/power in the Church which would send a clear message that their gifts are valued and do contribute to the Kingdom of God?
The point I am making is, what if women could count on the Church as a more powerful support, that goes way beyond what is being offered now, so that their concern goes from thinking they are alone to one of saying Christians have our backs?
I feel disappointment about the recent historic vote in Ireland which now makes possible abortion for the women of Ireland. Rather than blame women and men for voting in such a way, how about we look at the way we tell the story of life, dignity, respect and real support.
It is the history of our Catholic faith. We once were the leaders of the world in how women were raised up, honored and treated. We were once persecuted for such practices. We can be that type of Church again that goes beyond what is happening right now. To speak advocacy on behalf of women, giving them the support that often is missing from our social make up and really seeing women as our equal, which by the way, is the teaching of our faith. Just something to reflect on: We should never tire from telling our story in new and different ways. When we do, hearts can be touched and changed and then the courage of doing the right thing can be done by many when they know they are supported and loved.
Peace in Christ, Fr. Eric