Report on the Participation of Women
in the Catholic Church in Australia.
Published by Harper Collins Relgious, 1999, pp. 393.
9.9.2. Dominant Common Characteristics of Perceptions Concerning the Participation of Women in the Church
While 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;
- concerns for the future of the Church, especially in relation to the alienation of young people;
- agreement that there be no unjust discrimination against women in the Church on the basis of gender;
- recognition and affirmation of the great contribution of women to the Australian Church.
9.9.3 Need for Listening and Dialogue
In 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:
- . Clarity before all else; the dialogue demands that what is said should be intelligible.
- Our dialogue must be accompanied by meekness . . . It is peaceful, has no use for extreme methods, is patient under contradiction and inclines towards generosity.
- Confidence 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.
- Finally, the prudence of a teacher . . . who ís always at pains to learn the sensitivities of the audience. (n.81)
In a dialogue conducted with this kind of foresight, truth ís wedded to charity and understanding to love. (n. 82)
For other findings see:
- Selected Excerpts
- Patriarchal and Hierarchical Nature of the Church Seen as the Fundamental Barrier to Women's Participation
- Two contrasting Perceptions of Women in the Catholic Church of Australia
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