Equal Representation Of Women In Catholic Church
It might have denied the priesthood for women, but the Catholic Church in India has surely not opposed to the equal representation of women at all levels of internal decision-making.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), the permanent association of the Catholic Bishops of India, is to introduce a policy that will render equal representation to women in the Church's matters.
This means, women will have a representation in the various CBCI commissions, seminaries, parish and diocesan pastoral councils, finance committees, marriage tribunals and social service societies.
It would be the "first time in the history of the Catholic Church" across the world that such an "attempt" is being made, a source told The Telegraph.
"Women, no matter whether they are nuns or ordinary laity, have never got their due. Ours is an attempt to redeem this century-long injustice," the Calcutta daily quoted Sister Lilly Francis, executive secretary of the CBCI Commission on gender policy, saying.
"The gender policy would be a landmark," Sister Lilly said. "It is the first time in the history of the Catholic Church that this kind of an initiative is being taken. Even fellow sisters from the so-called liberated western countries could not believe that the Catholic Church in India is going to have an egalitarian system this soon."
According to the policy - which is to come out after a meeting of the CBCI executive later this month - women can "also become pastoral assistants in all parishes and take part in a common decision-making process."
Further, each parish should have a women's cell and a vigilance cell against violence. It has recommended gender sensitisation workshops for bishops, priests and other office-bearers.
Among other suggestions made to the CBCI is emphasis on equal partnership while conducting marriage preparation courses and ensure equal pay for work for women employed in Church-run institutions, and land and property rights for women.