Women Theologians Challenge Their Group

National Catholic Reporter, December 27, 1996 | Go to article overview

Women Theologians Challenge Their Group


Female members of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians staged a symbolic walkout at the association's fourth international assembly to prod their male counterparts to undertake a serious discussion of gender issues.

United Church of Christ pastor Elizabeth Tapia brought the evening plenary on women to an abrupt halt Dec. 15 when she announced, "We will leave you for a moment for serious reflection."

About 30 nuns, women pastors and lay theologians accompanied her out of the seminar, where more than 80 theologians from the Third World and from minority groups in the United States had convened.

Benedictine Sr. Mary John Mananzan, a conference planner and women's committee chairwoman, said the gesture resulted in an apology to the women and a "serious discussion."

After supper, the meeting resumed with six suggestions from the women, including annual circulation among association members of five articles on feminist theology for study and comment.

In all future assemblies, 50 percent of the major papers will be delivered by women, Mananzan said. Obligatory dialogues between male and female theologians on gender issues will also be held at all regional assemblies.

Holy Child of Jesus Sr. Teresa Okure of Nigeria told the meeting, "We women are only allowed to speak on matters of concern to the women's committee. No woman has ever been a keynote speaker or delivered a major paper or has a position of authority" in the association.

The Dec. 10-18 assembly, which had as its theme "The Quest for a New Just World Order. …

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