Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mulieris Dignitatem!



Today is the Church’s celebration of the Assumption of Mary. Today also marks the anniversary of the publication of the Apostolic Letter of John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity of Women). It has been twenty years since the publication of this exceptional insight by the late Holy Father on the critical and essential role that all women have played in the life and mission of the Church. It is especially appropriate that the anniversary is celebrated on the Feast of the Assumption, a Marian solemnity, which recalls not only the life and death of the Blessed Mother, but also her total commitment to the actions of salvation history through her unconditional response to the Archangel Gabriel, God’s messenger of, “Fiat!”
I recently learned through a website associated with Catholic authors in the United States that the Pontifical Council for the Laity is encouraging a worldwide renewal and appreciation of the document as the Church celebrates its important message worldwide. Especially important is the discussion of the role of women in light of the Pontifical Council’s theme for this year’s celebration, The Dignity of Women in a Technological and Consumeristic Society.
The topic which has far ranging implications is especially important to consider for Catholics of all ages. There are various matters that always and everywhere need to be part of not only our Marian studies, but in our everyday Catholic applications of how the role of women effects our faith and life experience on a daily basis. With this in mind, there are such matters that need revision and change and further Catholic action…such as the exploitation of women in the workplace, the perpetual moral issue that society attributes to the erroneous movement of Prochoice, and not often mentioned the physical exploitation as well as technological destruction of a female’s human dignity in the production and distribution of pornographic materials.
With all of these contempoy issues, Mulieris Dignitatem clearly offers Catholics with the opportunity to study, pray and act in the correct Catholic accord to correct the immoral actions associated with some of our society’s injustice against women.
This year as outlined by the Pontifical Council for the Laity also presents a prayerful and spiritual opportunity to reexamine the role of all women in the multiple apostolates in which they serve within the Church. Hopefully, as we celebrate the anniversary on a local, national and international level, there will be new opportunities for female Catholics to provide service to the Church in many ways other than sacramental priesthood. Such an examination this year will clearly show that all persons in the Church are called to uniquely serve God’s plan of salvation through their own individual talents and gifts.
Today, we celebrate the consummate example of female service in the history of the Catholic Church, Mary the Mother of God. Additionally we commemorate the anniversary of Mulieris Dignitatem, which illustrates the Church’s need and desire to continue in prayerful contemplation, discovering the role all women play in the life and mission of the Church. With the Virgin Mary as the role model and example of selfless sacrifice and love towards ecclesial service, our imitation of Mary’s superlative example of faith is the best guidepost to understanding the critical role of women in our Catholic Church.