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8 March, Day of the Believing Woman Too

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For me, the first thing to celebrate on March 8 is to thank so many feminist women who have advanced so much reflection and so many paths for us. And there is no other way to thank than the commitment.
It is a day of claiming rights because there is still a long way to go for the full and equal participation of women in society. It is true that this is not often due to a premeditated plan, but to unconscious practices and stereotypes that indirectly promote men or facilitate their participation to the detriment of women (from there, they make sense and are just “positive discriminatory actions” in favour of these).
And this hurts us all. A society without the full participation of women is lame and impoverished. There are unreleased possibilities in women for expressiveness, for plasticity, for building bridges and capturing nuances, for listening to body language and emotions, for making available arid concepts, for communicating without imposing, for using persuasion instead of imperatives. And, despite this, it is not easy for the woman’s word to break through. Historically our tradition has been interpreted, articulated, celebrated by men and, therefore, expresses the masculine as the really existing, the dominant, the normal. Therefore, as many times, as Dolores Aleixandre says, men are heard saying when they give their opinion on the way women think, work or express themselves: “how strange”, or “how original”, or “what complicated ”, or“ how simplistic ”, and these appreciations reflect a conviction not guilty, of course, but always introjected, of possessing the“ pattern-type ”of reality and what does not coincide with it, by excess or by default , can be the object of the balanced judgment of those who believe they have objectivity.

And if this happens in society, in the Church "cries to heaven" the situation of women. Being a woman in the Church carries with it a situation of subordination that does not occur with this degree of imposition in the rest of the civil structures or that, if it occurs, at least maintains the right and the possibility of protesting against it.
And this is not evangelical. In God, both feminine and masculine are present as expressions of Life. It is necessary to rebuild the face of God also in feminine. No one ever saw God, but both, men and women, reveal and manifest God when they take care of life.
Jesus left his traditional masculine space as part of his communication of the Good News (he assumed values attributed to “the feminine”: care, passion and compassion, nonviolence, closeness, empathy, intuition, spontaneity ...) Jesus recognized himself in women’s gestures and learned from them God’s way of proceeding.

As Leonardo Boff says, every time a woman is marginalized in the Church, our experience of God is impaired; we become impoverished and close to a radical sacrament of God.
Therefore, we have to commit ourselves so that, in a Church in which it seems that there is only one way to organize, to think, to speak, to decide and to act (the way that corresponds to the masculine half of humanity), also present another perspective, another way of being, of feeling and intuiting, of articulating thought and of creating language. Returning again to Dolores Aleixandre’s words, it is not customs or traditions but the truth that sets us free.
When we find a radical rejection of the feminine demands, we can only interpret it as an attempt to demonize for free a whole new understanding of human rights that is maturing in the consciousness of humanity and that demands new social relations.
I agree with Ana María Bidegain that this rejection, in reality, occurs because it cannot bear the guilt of sin of that continued injustice over women. And as it is not accepted, we do not change and domination continues. Because recognizing requires changing, and that would mean for some to lose the benefits granted by the status quo.

In the commitment to walk in justice in the Church and make women visible, we can begin with language. As Magdalena Fontanals states, words have an enormous power to evoke collective conceptions and behaviours. They model our way of thinking, understanding and believing. The fact of appearing unnamed women in the Christian community (in the liturgy, in the official texts ...), has reinforced the presence and therefore the dominance of one sex over the other, in a way as invisible as the air, so soft as the impact of the sacred. Conversely, experience demonstrates the force of pronouncing the words: woman, Christian, sinner, daughter ... They are a call to existence, to feel involved and recognized within the community of believers, men and women. Taking seriously the existence and specific situation of women, involves adopting their own language when expressing themselves.

And it is essential to claim participation spaces. Nowadays, at the big decision-making meetings, at most some women are invited, but we don’t have the right to intervene on our own initiative. The affirmation of women’s equality is not denied in theory, but practice denies it. With Consuelo Vélez we question: when will we have a voice and vote in the ecclesiastical instances? When will the clerical, sexist and patriarchal structure that today is clear characterize the Church change? When can we truly see an inclusive Church?
We have an evangelical duty to contribute from our being as women in the Church, claiming participation and visibility, avoiding confrontation as much as possible, but without renouncing to advance the Church more in the style of Jesus.

Mariángel Marco Teja Ursuline of Jesus- Ecuador, March 4 2019