Subordination of women not of God, cardinal says, stressing role in family
Apr 24, 2007
God did not create and does not subscribe to the subordination of women, said an Indian cardinal, stressing the role of women in building a strong family life.
NEW DELHI, India (Catholic Online, 4/23/2007) – In an April 20 address to the participants at the at the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) South Asia meeting on women, Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), said that both men and women were created in the image and likeness of God and as equals.
“Women have always played an important role both in the family and society,” he said. “However certain traditions gave them a subordinate and hidden place in society.” Highlighting the fact that the subordination of women was a disorder created by human beings, the head of the Indian bishops’ conference said that “God does not subscribe to this line of thought of humans.”
He pointed to gospel accounts that, “among Jesus’ disciples, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were the first to go to the tomb to look for Jesus and rewarded with the vision of the risen Lord.”“In fact these two women were entrusted with the mission to share this good news with other disciples and thus became the first witnesses of Jesus’ victory over sin and death.” the cardinal said.
Pointing out to another reference in the Bible, he said that even in the Acts of the Apostles a woman called Lydia was the first to respond to proclamation of St. Paul in Philippi and make his missionary efforts possible and fruitful.“God created man in his own image, male and female he created them,” said the cardinal, asserting that since both man and women are created in God’s image they are equal in God’s eyes endowed with equal dignity and destiny.
“Rampant corruption, crime, exploitation, religious fundamentalism, violence, unstable marriages and disappearance of joint families” plague society today, Cardinal Toppo said, urging “women should play an active role in strengthening families.”Noting the impact that changing family values, he pointed out that children are not adequately educated for life at home and an increasing number of children are taking recourse to unhealthy media and Internet.“Love in a family seems to be replaced by a craze for wealth,” he said. “Society itself does not seem to support too much a stable marriage.
”To combat these challenges and evils, he said Catholics need “to open our hearts to the mission, which the risen Lord has given us and in order to understand this mission we have to spend time with the Lord in prayer.”“ It is only by praying that we will understand the world around us and the problems that plague the society. Moreover, prayer would enable us to discern God’s plan and see the role he has chalked out for us, both in the family and the society,” he said.
Cautioning on the spread of evil in society, he said that these evils mean death and destruction to many and we become aware that he commissions us to be the collaborators in combating the forces of evil and foster peace and harmony in the society.Highlighting women’s role in making a difference in society, Cardinal Toppo affirmed that “women are gifted by God with piety and the capacity to influence the world from within and they are called not just to announce, but also to live out the new life, which the Lord has brought to us.”
“God has a distinct plan for each of us and all of us. That is why the Lord brings us here together around the altar to pray together, to reflect on Word of God, receive the Bread of Life and be filled with the Holy Spirit,” the cardinal said.“By receiving God, we are not only enabled to understand the mission,” he said, “but are also empowered to be active partners in his work.”