Editorial Fr. Peter Baekelmans, CICM Director of SEDOS

Dear Readers,
The latest Encyclical of Pope Francis, signed in Assisi, is called Fratelli Tutti. The aim of the Encyclical is to teach the need for fraternity and social friendship. It is a follow-up to the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, also known as the Abu Dhabi
document, dated 4 February 2019. Although the Italian word “fratelli” and the English word “fraternity” includes both brothers and sisters, the Encyclical makes few remarks on the great contribution women make in the world. We thought therefore to select some articles that put women in the “religious”

The first article is a guide to the Encyclical, written by Luigino Bruni in Italian for Paoline Publications. He mentions where the contribution of women could have been mentioned on several occasions. Besides that, the article gives a fine summary of its content.

The second article, by Fr. Subhash Anand, is a theological study of the New Testament regarding the important role women have in the plan of God. This role becomes especially clear in the different Infancy Narratives. The whole article describes how from the very beginning of the Church the
equal value of both sexes in religious and ministerial life was stressed.

The next article by Fr. Gabriel Witaszek makes us aware of the fact that “the
participation in the sanctity of God opens itself to the pagans as one can deduct from what happens between the Moabite Ruth and Noemi”. The Moabites were excluded from the Israelite community because of conflicts
that had happened in the past, (Dt. 23:3-4).

The last article in the context of the contribution of women to “fraternity” in  the Church and the world is by Jesuit Father Lock Gauthier Malulu. He takes an aspect of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises and makes a negro-african reading of it: a person in retreat has to contemplate at a certain moment on the meeting of the Resurrected Jesus with Mother Mary, the first person he
appears to. This contemplation can be extended to the role of women in traditional African society as wife, mother, and the children’s relationship with their mother. As our Document we have selected an article by Carles Such, SchP. Based on his experience in the slums of Lima, Peru, he discusses the effects of the Covid-19 sanitary crisis on the two possible ways we may live
our religious life. Namely, one who lives as a bear and thinks only of its survival (which is not the same as being egoistic) or as an ant whose role may be that of a worker, a soldier, a princess, or a queen (which means to have an active role in society).  We close this year with an overview of the SEDOS’ activities as the Director reported at the Annual General Assembly on 4 December 2020, in Rome, but online.


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