ASIA/PAKISTAN - Christian women ready for courageous proclamation of the Gospel of Salvation. Seminar in Lahore focuses on struggle for women’s rights in Pakistan: Women ‘objects’ never again

Friday, 11 March 2005

Lahore (Fides Service) - The mission to announce the Gospel and spread the Good News is not reserved only for priests and religious. Lay women are also called to be ready and courageous announcers of the Gospel of salvation. This emerged at a recent Seminar in Lahore, Pakistan, organised by Catholic and Protestant associations including the Catholic Women’s Association (CWA) and the Justice and Peace commission of Lahore archdiocese.
The role of women in society and within the Christian community was the theme of the seminar attended, according to a report sent to Fides, by a thousand women members of various Christian denominations. Participants agreed that women can play a major role to promote peace and reconciliation starting with the family.
One participant Sr Tasnem Rehmat a Sister of St John of God, said: “Women disciples were the first to announce the news of salvation and women are co-creators with God. But today many women are maltreated, subject to oppression and social discrimination, denied their fundamental human rights and dignity”.
Speaking of the situation in Pakistan, Sr Genevieve, a Sister of Charity of Jesus and Mary, said: “We firmly oppose Islamic hudud and practices like the crime of honour which trample on the rights of Asian women. The Catholic Church condemns these laws and calls for equal rights and opportunities for women”.
Lay woman Gloria Canama of the CWA said: “To struggle for women’s rights means to work together to promote the rights of all human life and for a society of more justice and solidarity”. A woman doctor present at the seminar said: “60 % of women with AIDS contracted the virus from a man. Poverty is the main cause of AIDS in our society; men who treat women as ‘objects’ commit and even greater crime”.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 11/03/2005 Righe: 29 Parole: 292)