Nearly there!

Nearly there! Every time we think about it, our hands shake. Nearly 200 persons have registered for our conference in October. But: at the concluding celebration, will we be able to fill up a hall that seats 1800 people in order to express, together with many others, the confidence and hope that the memory of Vatican II still infuses in us, in spite of everything?

People from all over the world have registered for the conference, even from the Southern part of the globe, where economic resources certainly don’t permit women, lay and religious, who are active in the life of the church, to dedicate themselves to luxury. But to celebrate, as women, the opening of a Council that although timidly, for the first time in history demonstrated attention to a humanity made up also of women is not a luxury, indeed.

In the last years, several female colleagues, who also teach at theological faculties, have told me repeatedly that they follow the CTI “from a distance” because they were worried that their direct participation would cause unpleasant reactions on the part of bishops, priests and their male colleagues. Others have watched with a certain suspicion a “women’s association”, for the various reasons. Obviously, the vitality of women’s participation in theological teaching and research cannot be measured with the thermometer of membership in an association. But as far as we are concerned, and we will never forget it, the CTI has become what it is thanks to our efforts, certainly – but also thanks to the cordial, solidary accompaniment of bishops, priests and male theologians, as well as that of many others who are interested in supporting in the most diverse ways the visibility in institutions – and not in  power structures – of female theologians in the church and in society. The fact that by now 800 persons have registered for this newsletter speaks volumes.

In a difficult moment for our church, the question rings loud of the authenticity and freedom of theology in relation to the dynamics of power that are no different from those in the worst of possible worlds. Those who have been able to see the wonderful exhibition Lux in arcana, which has attracted many visitors to the Musei Capitolini at Roma for some months now, know well that in a couple of centuries, the Vatican Secret Archives will be able to exhibit original evidence from the current, sad ecclesiastic events as milestones in the history of a power which, although it does not want to recognise that its legitimation derives from human occurances, shares with them intrigues and misdeeds.

To think that a church, like politics or sport, guided by women would be different, is ridiculous, even more than simply false, just like it is ridiculous to think that the evangelist Mark had postulated, as an alternative to the betrayal by the male disciples, a testimonial community of female disciples.

Without offending those who have been lulled by the cynicism of “power wears out only who doesn’t have it”, I would like to affirm that any kind of power carries in itself the moth of corruption, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s male or female sovereigns who wield that power.

However, the decision to reflect on the last fifty years of the history of the church and the world, i.e. the first fifty years since the opening of Vatican II, from the perspective of women’s history is a methodologically reasoned choice because the entry of women into the life of the churches as well as in civil societies as protagonists is a clear sign for the great epochal transformation that for the last two centuries has constructed a new future.

This is what we wish to do at the conference, daring to believe that our church needs our voice, too, in order to find again the reasons of its own hope.

See you soon (at) Rome!


                                                                                             Marinella Perroni

 CTI President