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1/18/2014 10:26:00 AM
Women in the church and in the world
Catholic News Service
Women sing and dance during a New Year's day Mass of thanksgiving at Holy Rosary Church in Abuja, Nigeria,
Catholic News Service
Women sing and dance during a New Year's day Mass of thanksgiving at Holy Rosary Church in Abuja, Nigeria,

Here is an unsigned editorial from the Jan. 9 issue of the Rhode Island Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of Providence, R.I.

Beginning this January, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano will feature a new insert that focuses particularly on women in the church and in the world. The impetus for this new section -- to be offered monthly -- has come from Pope Francis' recent comments about the need to encourage discussion on the role and theology of women.

Back in 1988, Blessed John Paul II, always attentive to culture and what the church refers to as the "signs of the times," likewise recognized the inherent necessity for focusing on the dignity and vocation of women. He issued his apostolic letter "Mulieris Dignitatem," which, like our late beloved Holy Father himself, continues even now to inform and guide the church.

It is no coincidence that the men who have held the keys of St. Peter during these modern times have also held a special place in their teaching, and in their hearts, for women. They personally witnessed the Second Vatican Council, a council that in its closing message to women declared: "The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of woman is being achieved in its fullness, the hour in which woman acquires in the world an influence, an effect, and a power never hitherto achieved."

The challenges today in general, and the crises that the human family faces in particular, can seem overwhelming and perhaps even insurmountable. Nonetheless, the council continues, "That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women impregnated with the spirit of the Gospel can do much to aid mankind in not falling."

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