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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

versão On-line ISSN 2412-4265
versão impressa ISSN 1017-0499

Studia Hist. Ecc. vol.34  supl.1 Pretoria Abr. 2008


Raising consciousness regarding the dignity and vocation of women in the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe: A historical developmental process



Francisca Chimhanda

Department of Religious Studies, Classics and Philosophy, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe




Shona culture, Church tradition, and the Roman Catholic Church in particular, are very patriarchal. Thus culture and Church have the capacity at once to include and exclude, liberate and oppress, empower and disengage. The corollary is that just as these structures demonstrate a history of patriarchy, so, in an agenda for an inclusive paradigm, they can be transformed. Since men in the Roman Catholic Church enjoy a monopoly on power, they are generally reluctant to liberate women from patriarchal marginalisation. In this article, the raising of consciousness regarding the dignity and vocation of women in the Roman Catholic Church in Zimbabwe is explored. The discussion is based on an important tenet of liberation theology that states that women themselves, as proactive agents of their own history, have the capacity for intentional or conscious becoming. Thus, women, in their historical situatedness, must respond to the imperative of their creation and baptismal status of imago Dei/Chrristi and the baptismal vocation to participate in all areas of church life.



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1 Research Associate, Research Institute for Theology and Religion, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa.

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