Pope Praises Prophetic Charism of Women

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Writer


Speaking to 20,000 faithful at a Papal Mass in Amman, Jordan, yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI stressed the prophetic role of women in God’s plans, saying public respect for women contributes to “the advancement of a culture of true humanity and the building of the civilization of love.”

Speaking at the same International  Stadium of Amman where Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in 2000, Pope Benedict reminded the congregation, which included groups from Lebanon as well as Iraqi refugees, that the Church in the Holy Land has dedicated this year to the family.

“How much the Church in these lands owes to the patient, loving and faithful witness of countless Christian mothers, religious Sisters, teachers, doctors and nurses!” he explained. “How much your society owes to all those women who in different and at times courageous ways have devoted their lives to building peace and fostering love!”

He continued: “From the very first pages of the Bible, we see how man and woman, created in the image of God, are meant to complement one another as stewards of God’s gifts and partners in communicating his gift of life, both physical and spiritual, to our world.”

The Holy Father went on to lament the fact that this God-given dignity and role of women has not always been sufficiently understood and esteemed.

“The Church, and society as a whole,” he added, “has come to realize how urgently we need what the late Pope John Paul II called the ‘prophetic charism’ of women as bearers of love, teachers of mercy and artisans of peace, bringing warmth and humanity to a world that all too often judges the value of a person by the cold criteria of usefulness and profit.

“By its public witness of respect for women, and its defense of the innate dignity of every human person, the Church in the Holy Land can make an important contribution to the advancement of a culture of true humanity and the building of the civilization of love,” he said.

He concluded his homily by telling Catholics that he came to encourage them to persevere in faith, hope and love, in fidelity to the ancient traditions and the distinguished history of Christian witness that they trace back to the age of the Apostles.

“The Catholic community here,” he explained, “is deeply touched by the difficulties and uncertainties which affect all the people of the Middle East.” He added, “May you never forget the great dignity which derives from your Christian heritage.”

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