While the role of women in the Catholic Church is hotly debated among undebatably not hot, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has a slightly different approach.
The German Episcopal Conference has expressed its commitment “to promoting the role of women further, respecting their responsibility, entrusted to all Christians for the life of the Church” and “increasing the number of women in positions of responsibility.” The Archbishop of Milan, Angelo Scola, underlined that Francis’ focus on the role of women “is hugely important.” But while Rome appears to be opening up to the gentler sex, Moscow remains closed to to it. The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russias, Kirill, warns against the “danger” of feminism, condemning the existence of a propaganda which encourages women to take on roles that jeopardise their household and family duties.
“I believe that this phenomenon, feminism as it is called, is very dangerous,” Kirill said in a speech to an organisation of Ukrainian Orthodox women, the content of which is published on the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church. “Feminist organisations proclaim a pseudo-freedom for women, which must be manifested outside of marriage and the family,” Kirill said, adding that “it is the man’s job to take care of things outside the home; he must work and earn, while the woman’s place is inside the home, looking after the family.” “If this incredibly important role the woman has is broken, then everything else will collapse along with it: family and, in a broader sense, the country,” he added. Nevertheless, Kirill did say he was in favour of women pursuing careers, as long as they got their priorities straight, fulfilling their duties as wives and mothers.
Of course, women have always been vital to the life of the Church, particularly consecrated women but it is equally true that the demale role of wife and mother is the lynchpin of society as a whole. It is just a matter of emphasis.
So where should the emphasis be right now? It seems to me that the last 50 years have been very destructive to women, mothers, and wives and society as a whole has been devastated by it. SO I understand the other emphasis. Do you?