How women can be part of Church's rebirth
Some time ago Cardinal Sean Brady asked for suggestions on the renewal of the Irish Catholic Church.
He has received a number of postcards asking for the rightful inclusion of women in the Church and we find encouragement in his acknowledgement of these.
The third Sunday of Advent (December 12) is named 'Gaudete', or Rejoice, Sunday. But what can women rejoice in, given their current exclusion from decision-making in the Church? What "glorious expectation" can they have?
We have three positive suggestions around that day.
Firstly, women might focus on their role in the rebirthing of the Church. By rebirthing we mean the painful shift from a patriarchal, hierarchical model of church to a relational one.
How can we assist in the rebirthing of the Church so that relationships of dignity and inclusion emerge?
Secondly, concerned women (and men) could send an Advent postcard to the Cardinal answering the following question: how can the Christmas message of the birth of Jesus shed light on the authentic role of women within the Church?
Lastly, the Advent wreath: those who wish to symbolise the spirit of the liturgy that day could wear a pink rose to reflect the light of its rose candle, or a green ribbon to reflect the new life of rebirth in its green leaves.
CHRISTINE GILSEN, PHYLLIS BRADY, EILEEN CULLEN and FIVE OTHERS
Bangor, Co Down