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Theologian urges active roles for women

Says restrictions are biased, or based on traditional gender roles

Theologian urges active roles for women
An altar girl at Lahore Cathedral
ucanews.com reporter, Lahore
Pakistan

June 12, 2012

Women should occupy more active roles in the Church in Pakistan, say theologians and priests. “More than half of the congregation in any given Mass compromises women, yet the Church has been slow in using their talents,” said Nosheen Khan, a Church elder, during a seminar over the weekend on women in the Church. “It is the responsibility of Church leaders to remove this discriminatory attitude. Failure to do so only results in paralyzed churches,” said Khan, a faculty member at Gujranwala Theological Seminary, near Lahore. Father Emmanuel Asi, the main organizer of the seminar, said women need to play a larger role in decision making within the Church. “It is a concept yet to mature. They are only limited to being lectors, heading rosary groups and participating in the liturgy. The Church has to use them for preaching and in reaching out to areas where it has not previously been able to go.” For others, the limitation on roles for women in the Church has more to do with cultural norms than religions ones. Fr Bonnie Mendes, head of several social welfare projects in the country, says many women encapsulate themselves in traditional roles. “We organize many programs and encourage them to be part of NGOs, but we get no response. A major reason for their exclusion from Church is their lack of interest in doing something extraordinary.”
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