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Annual Meeting, 28 April to 1 May 2019
We, the members of Indian Women Theologians Forum, gathered for our annual meeting from 28th April to 1st May 2019 at Good Shepherd Convent Bengaluru, and deliberated on the theme, “Towards a Gender Just Church”.
In India, and across the globe, we see more and more women reclaiming their voice and agency in the secular sphere. Their subjugation, marginalization and exploitation are increasingly being exposed, countered and challenged. Inclusion and diversity are now an essential part of any discourse on gender. The emergence of new movements like the #MeToo campaign, the moves for temple entry, the triple talaq debate and the many initiatives by ecumenical churches that are creating platforms for a collective assertion of the rights of women and sexual minorities are indicative of the decisive steps taken by women on the path towards greater freedom and affirmation of their personhood.
We have countless opportunities to bring new life where there is death. As we live through the death and resurrection of Jesus during this sacred season, let us look inwards to see what each of us can do to be true followers of Jesus and to give new life to our Church. We at CCRI have moved from exerting so much energy into "reforming" the institutional church. Rather, we are focused on "re-founding" our church in the spirit of the early Christians. In that first century after Jesus ascended into Heaven, there were small gatherings of Christians with an anointed leader. They were simply followers of Jesus meeting in catacombs and in Christian homes doing what Jesus asked: remembering him by replicating the last supper. In all likelihood, this gathering was not just 12 men but included women and children as well.
Colm Holmes with We Are Church Ireland commissioned this picture to be painted
[ Swedish ]
The Abuse Summit (21-24 Feb 2019) was a disappointment and a missed opportunity.
For over 3 decades clerical child sex abuse scandals have been prominent in several countries (Austria, Germany, USA, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Chile) who have introduced safeguarding measures. These measures have been refined through experience and audits. More recently clerical child sex abuse scandals have surfaced in many other countries (France, Spain, India, etc) and continue to be reported where previously such abuse was kept secret.
The Abuse Summit was therefore an opportunity to share the knowledge and expertise that has been built up so that children in Delhi or Dar es Salaam are as safe as children in Dallas or Dublin. But this did not happen. There was an absence of concrete actions to safeguard children:
Reactions to the Bishops Conference
Now that the Bishops Conference on the protection of minors is over, here are the reactions that have come in so far.
Concrete changes are coming from women, not from the hierarchy
As the anti-abuse summit of the Presidents of Bishops' Conferences ends in Rome, the consensus emerges that the most powerful voices belonged to the survivors gathered in Rome, and the few women whose voices were heard in and around the Vatican.
But the question still remains: Will anything change?
All Nice things were said about the responsibility to victims – listen, take on the journey and responsibility to respond.
We tried to provide listening to victims, heard the cry of young, have guidelines to stimulate discussions which include financial responsibility, relationship between Bishops and Superiors of Religious Congregations, ensuring health community life of priests, etc.
Pope gave a short speech he emphasized listening, Spirit of solidarity and what he expects to happen, a conversion and purification. We need to obtain concrete results. He has prepared a handout of 21 points which will be made into a booklet. Collaboration with all people of goodwill. He will raise marriage age (and change Canon Law), from 14 to 16 (is this progress??? Which century are we living in??)