Spanish Catholic women theologians are shouting “Enough!” with the “deep discrimination” women suffer in the Church, calling at the same time on Catholic women “to revolt until equality becomes a habit” in Catholicism.
Driving the news
“We can’t and we won’t keep quiet”, the Asociación de Teólogas Españolas (Association of Spanish Women Theologians”) warned in a February 7 manifesto.
“We’re tired of the incoherence and authoritarianism we see daily” in the Church, the women theologians denounced, deploring “the multiple forms of injustice and invisibility that we suffer in the Church”.
The Catholic institution, “with its structure and organisation, is being left out of social advances in equality and co-responsibility, and is making a mistake”, the women decried.
“Clericalism is the cause of many evils. For example, the painful violence exerted on women, religious and lay, as well as other deplorable forms of violence”.
The big picture
The Spanish women theologians went on to condemn the “cowardice” of the Catholic hierarchy in not even considering changes to Church organisation, “in the face of signs of the times that cry out for themselves”.
They also denounced the “stubbornness” of bishops in the face of what for the women is an “essential need”: “a female diaconate and presbyterate to serve the Christian communities”.
But it’s not only in ordained leadership that women are underrepresented in the Church, the Association of Spanish Theologians denounced.
They also recalled “the disproportion between the number of qualified women theologians and the number that are employed in Theology faculties and other positions of responsibility”.
“The institution corners, despises and silences the women who support it; male hegemony is legitimised and perpetuated without any self-criticism”, the women deplored.
“We want to visibilise our tireless and voluntary work”, the Spanish women theologians claimed in their manifesto.
“Women are the overwhelming majority in volunteering, in religious celebrations, in catechesis, in pastoral work, in social action with the most impoverished people, in ecclesial movements, in teaching, in religious life”, they said.
“We are the hands and the heart of the Church, but we are denied the chance to have our turn, to speak up, to vote [and] to participate in decision-making and leadership… as has been shown, once again, at the Amazon Synod“.
The Spanish Catholic women said they want to show, once again, that they can do their work and volunteering with “creativity and responsibility”, and to overcome the “clear disproportion between what we give to the Church and what we get back”, just because the Church’s “patriarchal and feudal mentality” and “outdated theology” justifies the marginalisation of women.
“What would become of the Church and the churches if we stopped doing all our jobs, because we are tired of the invisibility and injustice?”, the women asked.
Why it matters
The Spanish Catholic women theologians demanded the Church recognise and adopt feminist theology, scrap “patriarchal and sexist” language from liturgies and homilies, dialogue with women’s liberation movements and denounce the “neoliberal economic system” that continues to keep women under its thumb.
“We’re working and will continue to work to get back a Church where women are recognized as fully-fledged subjects, with a voice and a vote everywhere and valued for our talents and charisms”, the theologians promised, recalling that “we’re not alone” in that push for women’s dignity in the Church, and expressing their solidarity with other gender-equal Church movements as Maria 2.0 in Germany or Voices of Faith worldwide.
But to achieve their goals, in the short term, of the full liberation of women in the Church, the Spanish Catholic women theologians announced a “Revolt” this coming March 1 in Madrid.
An event, they explained, to visibilise their struggle through “music, reflection, silence, prayer, song, dance” and the reading of a new pro-Catholic women manifesto, in solidarity with other women doing the same “in many other places in the country and around the world”.
“We’ve taken up the witness of the Good News that Jesus brought”, the Spanish Catholic women recalled.
Jesus “transgressed the norms of a deeply patriarchal society and spoke with women face-to-face, treating them as equals and disciples”, the women reflected.
They also cited as the inspiration for their “revolt” other brave women in Christian history from Mary Magdalene to Dorothy Stang, “and many other women who throughout history have fought and worked for our dignity and the recognition of all our rights”.