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by Astrid Lobo Gajiwala
Mumbai: On November 29, more than 50 Muslim women and social activists entered the inner sanctum of the Haji Ali shrine which houses the tomb of the 14th century saint Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari.
The entry came after a ruling of the Supreme Court that questioned the ban imposed by the trustees of the dargah five years ago.
The event touches a sensitive spot – the situation of women in religion. While the second class status of women in society is openly acknowledged and addressed the discrimination against women in religions is usually excused and justified with claims of it being divinely ordained.
Thus in the case of the Haji Ali dargah the Maharashtra State Minorities Commission when initially approached by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) in 2013, refused to intervene on the ground that this was a religious matter. That is why the Supreme Court ruling is a victory not just for the BMMA who fought the case or Indian Muslim women, but for all women across the globe who are fighting the male appropriation of religion.
Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, a valued CCRI Advisor, preaches on the readings for the Second Sunday of Advent
To all interested in the reform of our Church:
There is a movement underway to bring together worldwide organizations and Christian communities who want to see the reform of the Roman Catholic Church and to work in collaboration toward this renewal. Whether you are an individual or part of a reform organization, we invite you to join with us.
Vatican City -- Pope Francis is firing back at foes of his efforts to make the Catholic church more open and pastoral in its ministry, telling an interviewer that “they are acting in bad faith to foment divisions.”
The pontiff’s lengthy interview in Avvenire, the official newspaper of the Italian hierarchy, was published Friday and followed days of news coverage of demands by four hard-line cardinals who have grave concerns about Francis’ approach.
The four say that focusing on ministering to people in their particular circumstances is eroding the church’s doctrinal absolutes and that Francis must dispel any ambiguities or face serious consequences.
After efforts to persuade the Catholic church in India to deal with sexual abuse of women by clergy, and upset over the church's slow progress, a group of Christian women, mostly Catholics, announced steps for addressing the issue on their own.
"We should move outside the church to seek answers to abuse cases. We should treat this problem as a crime and take recourse to the law," said Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, a lay woman theologian.
Gajiwala, who heads the women's collective Satyashodak (meaning "seekers of truth"), made these remarks at a recent national seminar that studied the impact of religion and culture on the empowerment of women from an Indian perspective.