Report on the Participation of Women in the Catholic
Church in Australia.
Published by Harper Collins Relgious, 1999, pp.
9.9.2. Dominant Common Characteristics of Perceptions
Concerning the Participation of Women in the Church
the characteristics listed above highlight differing perceptions of the role of
women, there are some characteristics which both groups have in common.
Dominant common characteristics identified in the research include:
love of and
commitment to the Church;
the future of the Church, especially in relation to the alienation of young
there be no unjust discrimination against women in the Church on the basis of
affirmation of the great contribution of women to the Australian Church.
9.9.3 Need for Listening and Dialogue
some of the public hearings, the distinguishing characteristics presented were
so pronounced that a polarisation of views on the role of women in the Church
was evident. One o the greatest challenges to emerge from the research is
the need for the Church to listen to women when they speak about their
experiences, needs and aspirations. The public hearings, as authentic listening
exercises, were appreciated greatly as rare opportunities in the Australian
Church. it is necessary that a variety of forums be available for respectful
listening to the range of views about the role and status of women from various
sectors of the Church and for promotion of genuine dialogue. It is instructive
that the first encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam (August 6,1964),
noted the following characteristics of dialogue:
before all else; the dialogue demands that what is said should be
dialogue must be accompanied by meekness . . . It is peaceful, has no use for
extreme methods, is patient under contradiction and inclines towards
is also necessary; confidence not only in the power of ones own words,
but also in the good will of both parties to the dialogue.
the prudence of a teacher . . . who ís always at pains to learn the
sensitivities of the audience. (n.81)
a dialogue conducted with this kind of foresight, truth ís wedded to
charity and understanding to love. (n. 82)