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Synod urged to recognise 'feminine genius'

Two lay auditors at the Synod of Bishops in Rome have urged the Church to be more open to what they termed 'feminine genius'.

"We women do not want the priesthood, nor do we claim a conflict of power," Brazilian pastoral worker Maria Noronha de Sa told the assembly on Saturday. "We would like to offer our sensitivity and to experience the joy of communion, enriching the common mission of the Church, of which the bishops, with the Holy Father, are the teachers, priests and pastors."

Noronha De Sa illustrated her argument by speaking from personal experience during her 30 years working with Rio de Janeiro street kids as director of the archdiocesan office for the pastoral care of youth.

"That which is most divine in the nature of humanity is found in the hearts of these children," she said. "It is here that the Church fulfills her prophetic mission, next to the many who are born in the gutters of the streets of the world."

"It is important to surmount the dichotomy between assistance and social change; it is necessary to convert the world," she added.

Indian religious Mary Kallupurakkathu, superior general of the Sisters of Our Lady, appealed to the bishops to follow the example of John Paul II, who "has continually given exceptional prominence to the dignity of women, recognising their 'feminine genius' for the creation of a more just world."

She said: "Women religious need to be seen and accepted as more than just the work force in the Church."