African theologian questions church’s exclusion of women

Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator and Fr. Bruce Morrill (NCR photos/Joshua J. McElwee)

Problems of discrimination and exclusion are so manifest within the Catholic community today that the church “totters on the brink of compromising its self-identity as the basic sacrament of salvation,” a theologian told his peers here Friday.

Speaking frankly to some 300 colleagues assembled for an annual meeting of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA), Jesuit Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator said that of particular concern is the disregarded role of women in the church.

Saying that women are often the “face of redemption turned visibly” toward those the church serves, but are often “banished beyond the borders of relevance,” Orobator said the state of their participation in the church community leads to an uncomfortable question.

“As a church, so long as we surreptitiously but tenaciously rehearse the politics of discrimination and exclusion, we stand before God, as Cain was, befuddled by a question that we simply cannot wish away at the wave of a magisterial wand,” said Orobator.

“And the question is: ‘Church, where is your sister? Church where is your mother?’”

National Catholic Reporter

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