Jesus came to redeem creation from the bondage of sin. Man and woman are equal in Christ.
By Msgr. John Wynand Katende
Our being male and female is grounded in the universal honour of God. God made us different and ordained different roles for us in society and in His order (Gen. 1:26-31).
Before sin came into the human story, humankind lived in a perfect paradise. Sin was our rebellion against God as sovereign. The oneness of harmony and mutuality for which God made his dual-gendered human creature was replaced by a power-hunger which turned woman into man's property. Men generally suffer from superiority complex and women suffer from inferiority complex.
Jesus came to redeem creation from the bondage of sin. Man and woman are equal in Christ. The real women's liberation movement starts with Jesus and Mary, in fulfilment of God's promise (Genesis 3). As the Mother of Christ, Mary is the new Eve, just as Christ is the new Adam.
Jesus had a liberated attitude to women. Jesus' mother had a great influence on him. He learned many of his ideals from her. During the wedding at Cana it was Mary who urged him to perform his first miracle. Jesus was very much aware of the concerns of women. Jesus drew His disciples from men and women. Both men and women are initiated into the Church by one and the same baptism.
Education is the basis for a profound respect for every human person. It raises the human spirit by giving both training and opportunities for flourishing. The Church, throughout its long history, has been peopled with empowered women, many of whom are now revered as saints.
The monasteries have produced great women scholars. Many modern women in government and international agencies have been educated by the Church. Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity maintains shelters for battered women, orphanages for girls and boys, and homes for destitute and dying women and men around the world.
Yet the Catholic Church does not ordain women to the ministerial priesthood, because the male priesthood is a supernatural concept (sacrament). During worship, the priest acts in the person of Christ. Women can no more be priests and fathers than men can be mothers.
Modern feminists have, unfortunately, the attitude that woman can be everything a man is. They view the traditional role of a stay-at-home mother as inferior. They advocate promiscuity, contraception, and abortion-on-demand. By deliberately killing a life that they created together, a woman literally weakens her relationship with her husband and the special bond with her child. This results in the breakdown of the family results.
Immodesty has also played a major part of modern feminism. The female body is exploited and objectified, exposed for all to see and for men to lust after. In his Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II proposes a ‘new feminism' which rejects the temptation of imitating models of ‘male domination,' in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation."
The truth is that men cannot be men without the strength of a woman. But liberation from sin is a continuous exercise. It requires effort, and struggle, and time. The family is indeed the first and the most basic institution where human rights of the girl child, are fostered and protected.
Women need to reclaim their womanly dignity and authenticity. "Where the woman is faithful, no evil can befall. The woman is the root and the man is the tree. The tree grows only as high as the root is strong." says philosopher Confucius. Jesus is renewing our minds. By His resurrection power, we are all able to conquer mightily.