African Women in the Church as the Family of God

Introduction

The model of the church as the family of God has been proposed as the most adaptable and understood model for our African culture. When a model is proposed, the intention is always for it to be lived and followed, the reason being that it is widely understood and beneficial to everybody. In the case of our African Church there are various reasons why this is the model of the church that is most appealing to us. This paper looks at the position of women in the church according to this model, which has been declared as the guiding idea in the evangelization of Africa.1

This paper looks at how “Church as Family of God”, which is intended to mean solidarity, warmth in human relationships, acceptance, dialogue and trust, is applicable in regard to women’s emancipation and freedom from inequality.2

The Church as Family of God

Jesus came to found around him a community of faith (Mk 16:15ff). The faithful were to enter a deep relationship with him as He brings them into close relation to the Father (Mt 11:27; Jn 12:44ff): We are a community down here on earth that is already in relation and communion with God through the power of the Holy Spirit.3 This community called the Church was to be the earthly part of the Kingdom of God, which was to find its fulfillment in heaven. Jesus announced that with his mission the “Kingdom was at hand” (Mk 1:15; Mt 4:17).

In this Kingdom — the newly established Family of God — there is life, love, truth, peace, justice and freedom. This is in itself a promise that any type of oppression will end. We acknowledge that this is God’s plan for humanity. “It is the transformation of society in the interests of the oppressed. The values of the Kingdom are the values of a liberating God, and what is anti-Kingdom is a negation of God’s desire for men and women”.4

As a follow up to this understanding of the Church as Family of God, we cannot permit in the human society or in the church to have people being exploited or treated unjustly. The church cannot be a true family of God if there are some people who are denied the dignity that befits children of God.5

The Church preaches that Christ reveals to people their inalienable dignity. This is the theological foundation for the struggle to defend personal dignity; for justice and social peace; for the promotion, liberation, and integral development of all people and of peoples. The integral development of every person and of the whole person, especially the poor and the most neglected in society lies at the very heart of the Good News message. In this regard, the plan of redemption touches the very core of injustice, which needs to be fought against if justice is to be restored.6 “The church cannot abandon man, for his destiny – that is to say his election, calling, birth and death, salvation or perdition — is so closely and unbreakably linked with Christ”.7 The church continues to preach abundant life in Jesus an 10:10). In this case, abundant life for women is a life free of rape, marginalisation, suppression and harassment.8

The Catholic Church acknowledges her vocation to announce the good news to the poor, freedom to the oppressed, and joy to the afflicted. In the document justice in the World, we find clearly stated: “Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the gospel, or, in other words, of the Church’s mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation”.9


The Word of God and Women

The debate on women’s liberation cannot exclude the Word of God. The Scripture in some important texts is far beyond our human culture world-wide where women have for long been considered passive, second class beings, without equal rights to those of men. The radical feminists are not in agreement with this position as they see no use for scripture for women in their quest for emancipation.10

“In the Beginning”

The book of Genesis especially in its revelation concerning the creation of humanity “constitutes the immutable basis of all Christian anthropology”.11 Genesis 1:27 contains fundamental anthropological truths, as it contains the basis of the belief that God created human beings as the crown of the whole of creation, and that both man and woman are equal human beings, both having been created in God’s image. Both are given the mandate to dominate other creatures (Gen 1:28).

Genesis 2:18-25 describes the creation of the woman from the man’s “rib” and concludes with the same pronouncement about equality. The words “flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones” in Genesis 2:23 are considered to be another proof of the equality that God intended for man and women. “The woman is another “I” in a common humanity”.12

Man and woman lived in harmony, respect and communion with each other until the original sin occurred. Genesis 3:16 describes the new situation after sinning with these words: “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you”. This “domination” refers to the disturbance and loss of the stability of the fundamental equality which man and woman had enjoyed when God established their communion of one flesh. “While the violation of this equality, which is both a gift and a right deriving from God the Creator, involves an element to the disadvantage of the woman, at the same time it also diminishes the dignity of the man”.13 As a consequence of this revelation “dominion over and possession of” woman is not God’s plan for humanity but the effect of sin.

Genesis 3:15 presents the woman in a positive light as she is involved in the struggle against evil. The mention of God’s redemptive plan is introduced by “the woman” whose seed will be crashing and overcoming evil in the world. This text understood as referring to Mary, the mother of Christ, is giving humanity through Christ a new beginning, and is revealing the dignity and vocation of every woman as the mother of life. “In Mary, Eve discovers the nature of the true dignity of woman, of feminine humanity. This discovery must continually reach the heart of every woman and shape her vocation and her life”.14

Scripture refers to God both as male and female. There is no gender bias in Him. When speaking of God in an anthropomorphic way, He may be described as a mother (Is 49:14-15, G6:13; Ps131:23). The generating characteristic of the inner divine life, that is, fatherhood, is neither “feminine nor masculine”. It is by nature totally divine’s .

Jesus and Women

Jesus brought to us the Good News in which God was revealed as requiring “a radically new social order where people would relate and socialise not only within, but also across class, gender and descent barriers — with equal dignity”.16

“The New Testament attitude toward women is hardly revolutionary in the proper sense; yet it proposes principles which are in opposition both to the social and legal depression of women of the East and the excessive emancipation of the women in Rome”.17

Jesus went beyond the bounds of Jewish custom and outlook when he dealt with women.18 The way He dealt with them is in itself quite inspiring. He confirms in this matter the “newness of life” in his Gospel.19 He showed in his various interventions that he was aware of the life and responsibilities of the women of his time: baking (Mt 13:33), cleaning the house (Lk 15:8ff), the widow with a lawsuit (Lk 18:1 ff) and the girls who comprised the bridal party (Mt 25:1 ff). He had an equal concern both for men and for women. He allowed himself to be touched by a woman with an issue of blood, though that made him ritually unclean (Mk 5:27-34). He performed miracles for Peter’s mother-in-law (Mt 8:14ff), the daughter of Jairus and, the woman with the haemorrhage (Mt 9:18),20 the Canaanite woman (Mt 15:21), the woman with a deformed back (Lk 13:10-17), and the widow of Naim (Lk 7:11-17). Even when he knew that his behaviour would draw criticism, he went beyond the gossip of the Pharisees or the pharisaic scandal of some. He accepted the anointing offered Him by a woman and defended her against their criticism (Mt 26:10). Various women looked after his needs (Lk 8:2), and were near him at the time of death and resurrection. He enjoyed a deep relationship with Martha and Mary (Lk 10:3842). He spoke without embarrassment to a strange Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob much to the surprise of his disciples (Jn 4:7ff).

From Jesus’ behaviour towards women, it is quite evident that he held no puritanical prejudices or superiority complex over them. In this respect, he distinguished himself from the prevailing culture of his times. McKenzie says, “His teaching in this respect is not revolutionary, but his conduct is”.21 Schnackenburg adds to this comment that “The religious equality of rights recognized by Jesus for women and given expression by him in practice, this equality of dignity in the sight of God, was bound in the long run to exert a deeper influence and be more conducive to the raising of the dignity of women than any particular social reforms could have done. Above all, by his attitude, Jesus saved women from being thought of as merely sexual beings, honouring them as human beings, persons, children of God”.22 Jesus remains untouched by any of the opinions about divorce and just refers the jews to the original unity between man and woman found in Genesis 2:24.

The early church continues in the tradition established by Jesus. Women were full members of the community (Acts 1:14; 12:12), they participated actively (Acts 6:1; 9:36f; 16:15), and several of them who got converted are mentioned with special attention being given to their new attitude towards the goods news (Acts 16:13ff; 17:4, 12, 34). They helped the apostles in their ministry especially in practical assistance (Rm 16:1,3,6,12; 1Cor 16:19), while Priscilla shared with Aquila the office of instruction (Acts 18:26).

The texts which seem to contradict this tradition speak about the imposition of silence and submission on women in the assembly (1Cor 14:34f; 1Tim 2:11). “It probably comes from a slightly later period and is intended to be total…. The apparent antinomy probably arises because Paul, conditioned by the customs of the society in which he lived, saw in the emancipation of woman in the Roman world a breakdown of genuine morality Rather than surrender to the general relaxed morals Christians should maintain what to Paul was the traditional and solid basis of Jewish family life, even though he knew that the subjection of women was the result of a curse”.23 On the other hand, Paul clearly asserts the mutual interdependence of the two sexes (1Cor 11:11-12); in Christ they are equal.

Women in African Society and the Church

In the AMECEA region, women bear the responsibility of producing food, caring for family members including the aged, collecting water and fuel, and bearing children. In many cases, they do not have access to modern tools, which makes life more difficult.24

According to Nasimiyu Wasike, in traditional Africa especially in the religious sphere, women stood at the centre of life in the clan, as religious leaders, priests, or medicine women. They had the authority to be final arbitrators in marriage proposals. The problem is, however, how many such women were there? According to Amba Oduyoys, a Nigerian scholar, this may be the case if the society is matrilineal.25 Nevertheless, African traditional societies respected women because of their roles as mothers within a valid marriage. “In traditional Africa women were not always seen as citizens of inferior status. They were ultimately in the centre of life in a matrilineal system. In a patrilineal system they had the right to a great respect because of their motherhood”.26

This does not mean that everything in traditional Africa was flowery for the woman. With the coming of capitalism women continued to suffer from inequality in job opportunities and renumeration. The economic value of women’s full-time employment in the home and out in the fields was not considered.27

This resulted in what is called “anthropolical poverty”, that is, the denial or absence of all that contributes to the well being, essence and dignity of the human person culturally, socially, economically, politically, and spiritually.28

Most African societies and systems are patriarchal. This is evidenced by the following facts: authority is traced from male descendants, after marriage the residence becomes patri-local (not in the urban areas). In some communities, children are named after relatives from the man’s side.

African Christian churches have been accused of being influenced by western ideology to enslave women. “Religious women are not trusted…. A bishop or a delegate must be present to approve women’s religious elections; … If a cleric fails… he is sent for higher studies or promoted to other ranks in church; but a Sister is sent home with very little help, if any at all”.29 This is a reaction by a religious woman who herself had occupied an important place in an education institution. With regard to the canonical approval of the canonical elections from the local ordinary, there has been a change towards more autonomy to diocesan religious in the New Canon Law. What is important here is the attitude which may render women, even the religious, appear to be responsible and mature.

Traditional socio-cultural values did not place any commitment on the males to do house work. Some were objected to it outright.30 The institution of polygyny itself was meant to be a sign of social prestige and wealth for men. It had very few advantages for women. It was the fruit of a situation where the family was seen as a unit of both consumption and production.31 The same could be said about the custom of “widow inheritance”: It looked into the heredity of the deceased. His wife or wives were regarded as the property of his family. In a sense, it could be regarded as offering security to the widow. However, human freedom for the widow is not considered.

Selection of a marriage partner was mainly the role of parents, or they needed to be involved in the man’s choice. The woman’s views were rarely taken into account as families were more interested in the breadwinner (the man) and the dowry which was to be paid. Ladies who went against the will of their parents would be ostracised.

Circumcision is a rite subjected to men and women in many ethnic groups in Africa. While for boys it involves cutting the foreskin, for girls it is clitoridectomy, which involves cutting a portion of the female sexual organ.32 Circumcision should be valued for its educational purposes and studies conducted as to the place it can occupy in society today rather than doing away with it completely and leaving a vacuum which already exists in much of Africa. However, in our concluding remarks, we have our reservations about the female cut.

Today, with education and career, women in cities and towns have discarded some traditions. They marry at much older ages than their traditional counterparts. Many with very low incomes or without jobs panic as they search for husbands and may easily enter sexual relationships that offer hope for marriage. Many end up being cheated, get pregnant and remain single mothers.

Women are also being bombarded by propaganda on fertility control. They are not only the targets of foreign agencies who advocate for contraceptives and sterilization, but are also lured by slogans such as “safe motherhood” to commit abortion. Some of the contraceptives availed to them freely by these foreign agencies are banned in Europe and America as they are considered unsafe.

The rate of adultery in marriages is very high. Some husbands who live far from their families into temptation with other women. In this way, women are used and abused as objects of convenience.

While recognising that the “dowry system” needs to be studied thoroughly, we also realise that it may easily change to mean complete ownership of a woman’s procreative power and her offspring.33

Recognition of the Real Dignity of Women

Theological Arguments

The Church has been entrusted with the task of preaching the good news to humanity at all times. The good news, which is really good because it brings life and hope to people, also brings peace and justice.34 Christ’s church is herself asked to continue being a dynamic movement for the integral liberation and salvation of people, a liberation constituted by love and unity that overrides all differences. Christ’s church thus remains an activity of love.35

The Church-as-family is God’s constant self-revelation in history Through this family, God instills courage and hope to those who are suffering any form of discrimination, injustice and inequality. This family looks forward to achieving integration and unity, because “if unity is not the nature, the essence, of family, of church-as-family, then nothing is…. The closer the church moves towards universal solidarity, the more it becomes genuinely a family. The further away it moves from solidarity, the less it can claim the right to be called a family of God”.36 This call for justice and solidarity, unity and communion in the Church-as-family is considered to be deeper than the one considered to be structurally necessary in the human family. The church-as-family embraces everyone irrespective of class, gender, race or ability. This communion is based on a “humanity” that is common to all human beings and that is a basic and important element for this unity.

The Church’s Official Position

The Council Fathers regretted that fundamental human rights are not yet universally honoured. They insisted that women be given the right to choose their status in life and to acquire education or cultural benefits equal to those for men.37

Blessed John XXIII reminds us that today, women are “gaining an increasing awareness of their natural dignity. Far from being content with a purely passive role or allowing themselves to be regarded as a kind of instrument, they are demanding both in domestic and in public life the rights and duties which belong to them as, human persons”.38

Paul VI, in his message of 29 October, 1967 to the peoples of Africa, stated that the Church should feel proud when she helps women to be glorified and liberated. Today the African women are asked to become more vividly aware of their dignity, their mission as mothers, and their rights to participate in the social life and progress of the new Africa.

Paul VI says that women are not to be regarded as instruments, and should be respected in their dignity and liberty, especially by giving them the right to choose their partner freely or even when they choose to consecrate themselves in their virginity. In her feminine nature, the African woman brings into society devotion, sweetness and refinement. Paul VI affirms the right and duty of women to participate in political and administrative work, and sees this participation as a useful contribution to the renewal of social institutions.39

At the Synod for Africa, Pope John Paul II deplored African customs and practices which deprive women of their rights and the respect due to them. There is a fundamental equality and enriching complementarity between man and woman. He insisted that the Church in Africa is to make all efforts to foster the safe-guarding of these rights.40 The Church bears in mind that there is a theological foundation for the call of the church in this pastoral ministry.

The New Vision

The UN as a global institution has made it known through various commemorations the need to become more conscious of the rights of women: 1975 was declared the International Women’s Year; 1975 to 1985 was the decade for women; the 1995 Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women was held to discuss issues concerning women.

When we speak about the need for women to be respected and considered as equal, we know that this may raise a query of whether we are pro-feminism. We are for a feminism “which constitutes a critique of culture and society in the light of sexism, i.e. the oppression and injustices meted out against women on the grounds of their gender”.41 Thus, by feminism we do not mean to “call women to act in competition against men folk”.42 John Paul II reminds us that in the struggle for liberation from male domination, women must not appropriate to themselves male characteristics contrary to their own,feminine “originality”. Doing so would rob them of what constitutes their essential richness.43

We agree with John Paul II that we are very often conditioned by our past, which has been an obstacle to the progress of women. While apologising for past sins committed by the Church in this. regard, the Pope expresses his hope that it will be more committed to the Gospel vision.44 The Synod for Africa has asked the Church in Africa to examine her procedures and life style with regard to justice: “The Church must continue to play her prophetic role and be the voice of the voiceless”.45

The church-as-family cannot continue with its traditional patriarchal dominance if women are to be fully in union with the rest of the communion of the faithful. The priest must in no way lord it over women in the church. Mgr. Lebulu recognises that the church is sometimes choked by an exaggerated clericalism which turns the laity into passive spectators.46 Whatever is permitted within the Law of the Church concerning women is to be promoted, and perhaps with some force, the faithful made to understand the stand that we as Christians are taking on the issue. The appeal of U.C. Manus to priests is very opportune: “I therefore call on the clerics to jettison the ‘convenient’ age-old traditions and stereo-types which have justified the laos being kept at a safe distance in Church policy and organisation”.47 S.N. Parratt points out that the majority of church members especially in rural areas are women, but while they often play an important role within the church’s organization, they however, hold negligible positions within the church structures.48

In his letter to all priests on Holy Thursday 1995, John Paul II reminded them that each one of them “has the great responsibility of developing an authentic way of relating to women as a brother, a way of relating which does not admit of ambiguity… In view of this, women can only be sisters for the priest, and their dignity as sisters needs to be consciously fostered by him”.49 Women are to be listened to on the same level as men in the church-as-family. As in the African family which considered listening, consulting and discussing as important steps to making a decision, we need also to fully give women the chance to air their views and reactions in the running of the local church-as-family. This may lead us to live a noble and powerful life as the African family, and this is solidarity.

We need to recognise that women are active and able participants in the Church-as-family of God. They are not to be called to do work which others cannot do. They can do some work much better than others. We therefore need to recognise what are they able to do well and professionally and not take it for granted.

In their active presence and apostolate in the church, women bring to the family of God “feminine genius” in their ability to give love.50 By their availability, they can be a healing presence in a special way in the church against pressures of divisive and destructive forces. Women are to be given the opportunity and trust to utilize their full potentials and talents as women in playing active roles in the Church.51

Women are vulnerable to abuses by men. Sexual promiscuity may leave them carrying unwanted pregnancies, while the men go on with their lives as usual. We need to realize that men very often go on in life unnoticed. We need to exercise care and understanding by creating a community that helps rather than judges or at worst condemns such victims. Any pastoral intervention can only be medicinal if it heals without condemning to death.

In African culture, the woman is looked upon as the one who is instrumental in uniting the life force by giving birth, especially to boys. Although we are to respect procreation at all costs, we are also called to respect even women who cannot enjoy maternity, either due to infertility or opting to remain single. Human dignity is more in the person than in other functions one can carry out in society, especially in a childless marriage or for an unwed woman.

Female circumcision is to be viewed differently as it results in mutilation. In this case, we cannot apply the “principle of totality” as the whole organismis noon danger.52 The issue becomes more serious if the female cut is carried out for purposed of restraining women’s libido or putting them under the dominion of men. Wives have a right to enter the marriage sexual union as whole beings. If the wife does not participate fully in marriage life including the marriage act, then the couple cannot experience a new and original communion which confirms and perfects natural and human communion.53 We are to participate in all endeavours to substitute circumcision with another rite that respects women in their corporal integrity and human equality.

Availing education opportunities without any bias against women is in recognition of their rights. The church cannot tolerate discrimination against the girl-child. Education is considered to be of utmost importance for attaining personal dignity. It is not only a means of earning a living, but is also important in enabling a person to actively participate in life. Women cannot be denied an education just because they will not be the breadwinners for their families. They need to fully realise their dignity. Today, many women prefer to get jobs before entering marriage. They prefer professional careers and therefore need qualifications.

Conclusion

The Church-as-family of God has certain responsibilities that she cannot ignore. Top on the agenda is to create in the world and in her institutions a kingdom of justice, respect, and equality based on the dignity given by God to every human being whether male or female. Concerning the issue of justice to women, she needs to have courage to say both to the world and to her members like Jesus did, “but I say this to you, it was not so in the beginning” (Mt 5:31 ff; 19:4ff).

We as the church are not living in a vacuum. Human society should also be involved in this change of human heart and mind where women are to be recognised as equal to men. “It is recommended that Episcopal Conferences establish special commissions to study further women’s problems in cooperation with interested government agencies, wherever this is possible”.54

However, we cannot move outside if we would not first be prophets ourselves through our witness of fairness and respect to women in the Church-as-family. Manus concludes: “Women have a legitimate place and role in the Church today because they belong to her. Their talents are needed in building up the Church and in her fight against foes -neo-paganism, and the theistic anti-religious tempo of our times”.55

Notes

1. John Paul II. The Church in Africa. Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 1995, n.63.
2. Ibid.
3. R. Schnackenburg. The Moral Teaching of the New Testament London: Burns & Oates, 1975, pp.177-184.
4. P Ryan. “The Search for a Liberating God” in African Christian Studies, Vol. 10, n. 3, Sept 1994. See also D.K. M’mworia, “Theological Basis for Church Involvement in Social Justice”, in AFER 40 (5/6 Oct/Dec 1998), 275-276.
5. Ryan, art. cit., p.22
6. John Paul II. The Church in Africa. n. 68, see also nos. 69 and 107.
7. John Paul II. “Redemptor Hominis”, n. 24 in M. Walsh & B. Davies (eds). Proclaiming Justice and Peace, (Documents from John XXIII to John Paul II). Bangalore: Theological Publications, 1985, p. 252.
8. D K M’mworia, art. cit., p. 279.
9. Synod of Bishops, “Justice in the World”, n. 6 in M. Walsh & B. Davies (eds), op. cit.
10. T.M. Hinga, “Women Liberation in and through the Bible: the Debate and the Quest for a New Feminist Hermeneutics”, in African Christian Studies, Vol. 6, n. 4, Dec. 1990, pp. 38-40. See also DS. Williams, Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-talk. Orbis Books: New York. 1993, pp. 143-170, 187-196.
11. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter: Dignity and Vocation of Women. Nairobi: St. Paul’s Publication-Africa, 1988, n. 6.
12. Ibid.
13. Ibid., n. 10.
14. Ibid., n. 11.
15. Ibid., n. 8.
16. L. Magesa, “Christ’s Spirit as Empowerment of the Church-as-family” in The Model of Church-as Family: Meeting the African Challenge, Nairobi: CUEA Publications, 1999. p. 23.
17. J.L. McKenzie, Dictionary of the Bible, London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1985, p. 937. See also John Paul II, “Apostolic Letter: Dignity and Vocation of Women”, nos. 12-16.
18. R. Schnackenburg, op. cit., p. 133.
19. John Paul II, “Apostolic Letter: Dignity and Vocation of Women”, n. 12.
20. For a detailed commentary on this event seen as paradigm for women’s liberated as reported by the gospel of Mark see J.C. Loba Mkole, “A Liberating Women’s Profile in Mk 5:25-34” in African Christian Studies, 13 (2 Jun 1997) 41 ff.
21. J.L. McKenzie, op. cit., p. 937.
22. R. Schnackenburg, op. cit., p. 133.
23. J.L. McKenzie, op. cit., p. 937.
24. O.D. Luena, “The Role of Women in Development in the AMECEA Countries”, in AFER Vol. 37 (5/6 Oct/Nov 1995), pp. 304-306.
25. See J.C. Loba Mkole, “A Liberating Women’s Profile in Mk 5:25-34” in African Christian Studies, 13 (2 Jun 1997) 37.
26. Ibid., p. 38.
27. G.B. Okolo, The Liberating Role of the Church in Africa Today, Eldoret: Gaba Publications, 1991, p.52. See also “Letter to families from John Paul II”, Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1994, pp.68-69.
28. A.M. Ng’weshemi. “The Search for a Christian Answer to Human Suffering in Africa” in AFER, Vol. 40 (5/6 Oct/Dec 1998) p. 289.
29. J.C. Loba Mkole, art. cit., p. 40.
30. A.P Zani. “The Family in its African Socio-Cultural Context” in The Model of Church-as-Family: Meeting the African Challenge, Nairobi: C.U E.A. Publications, 1999. pp. 51-53.
31. J.M. Bahemuka, “Polygyny, Social Change and Women’s Response in East Africa” in African Christian Studies, Vol. 6, n. 1, 1990, p. 32.
32. J.S. Mbiti, Introduction to African Religion, Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers Ltd, 1994 (2 edit.), pp. 96ff.
33. S.N. Parratt, “The Status of Women and Issues in Development in Botswana” in I. Phiri, K. Ross & J. Cox (eds.), The Role of Christianity in Development, Peace and Reconstruction, Nairobi: AACC, 1996, p. 141.
34. A. Shorter, “Evangelization and Culture”, London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1994, p. 16.
35. L. Magesa, art. cit., p. 28.
36. Ibid. , p. 29.
37. “Gaudium et Spes”, n. 29.
38 Let. “Pacem in Terris”, n. 41.
39. Paul VI, “Message of October 29, 1967, to the Peoples of Africa”, n. 36, in J. Gremillion (ed.), The Gospel of Peace and Justice. Catholic Social Teaching Since Pope John, New York: Orbis Book, 1988, pp. 424-425.
40. John Paul I,. “Church in Africa”, n. 82, 121.
41. T.M. Hinga, “Women Liberation in and through the Bible: the Debate and the Quest for a New Feminist Hermeneutics”, in African Cbrisfian Studies, Vol. 6, no. 4, Dec. 1990, p. 34.
42. U.C. Manus, “The Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity and its Significance in the African Churches” in African Christian Studies 3 (1 Mar 1987) 39.
43. John Paul II, “Apostolic Letter: Dignity and Vocation of Women”, n. 10.
44. John Paul II, Letter of Pope John Paul II to Women, Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 1995, p. 5.
45. John Paul II, “The Church in Africa'”, n.106.
46. L.J. Lebulu, “The Church’s Social Teaching on Development”, in AFER 37 (5/6 Oct/Nov 1995) 324.
47. U.C. Manus, art. cit., p. 41.
48. S.N. Parratt. art. cit., pp. 146-148.
49. Letter of the Holy Father Pope John Paul II to Priests for Holy Thursday 1995, “The Importance of Women in the Life of the Priest”, Nairobi: Paulines Publ. Africa, 1995, pp. 11-12.
50. John Paul II. “Apostolic Letter: Dignity and Vocation of Women”, n. 30; “Letter of Pope John Paul II to Women”, p. 10.
51. U C. Manus. art. cit., p. 40.
52. K.H. Peschke, Christian Ethics Moral Theology in the Light of Vatican II, VoI.II, New Delhi: Indira Printers, 1993, p. 255.
53. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation: The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World, London: Catholic Truth Society, 1981, nos. 18.
54. John Paul II, “Church in Africa”, n.121.
55. U. Cf. Manus, art. cit., p. 41.

[Ref.: African Christian Studies, Vol. 17, n. 1, March 2001.]