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St Paul not anti-women, says Sister Chakkalakal

August 12, 2011 by  
Filed under newsletter-india, Persecution

The era of St Paul was a time when women “subjugated” under the patriarchial thumb, but he was not anti-women, says Sister Pauline Chakkalakal, a Biblical scholar.

She was expounding on the theme – ‘Women’s Empowerment from a Biblical-Theological perspective’, during a workshop organised by the Council of Catholic Women, Archdiocese of Delhi (CCWAD) on Aug 9.

Sister Chakkalakal said “We need to distinguish between Paul’s disciplinary norms and doctrinal statements.”

Dispelling doubts that St Paul was anti-women, she said his writings reflect both the cultural practices and social aspects prevalent at that time.

The author of ‘Discipleship: A Space for Women’s Leadership’ explained the socio-cultural context of Paul’s recommendations that women be silent, veiled and subordinate.

She introduced the letters of St Paul and contrasted the texts of 1 Cor. 11:2-16, (women’s head covering) and 1 Cor. 14:26-36 (women keeping silence in the Church) with the liberative vision of Paul in Gal. 3:26-28,

The nun of the Daughters of Saint Paul said God’s Word in human language is liberative and empowering not enslaving and dehumanising.

During the interactive session, Elizabeth John, a housewife, stated how she was berated in Kerala last month for not wearing a veil in Church.

Sister Chakkalakal,who also hails from Kerala, said she too defied her relatives and attended Mass without a veil while at home during vacation.

Explaining the phenomenon of wearing the veil, she said open hair in ancient times was associated with “loose characters” and the veil was considered one’s own authority to chase away all evils.

Pearl Drego, an accredited psychotherapist and lecturer who chaired the session, made the participants aware of the dangers of some genetically modified food and asked them to take part in the protests against such campaigns.

Sister Helen Saldhana, National secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India’s Women’s Commission, and Sister Leona, legal advisor and activists also spoke on the occasion of the International Indigenous Day.


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