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Women as Equal Disciples – Unfinished Task of the Church 

“Women as Equal Disciples – Unfinished Task of the Church” was released on September 23 at the opening of a national consultation on the impact of religion and culture on women’s empowerment in Hyderabad.

Vatican II is a watershed in the history of the Church. It set out to bring the Church up to date with the 20th century.

Vatican Council II opened up a whole new world for women in the Church. Women were allowed not only to read and study the Scriptures, but they could also study theology and begin to theologize from their perspective as women. Women missionaries were constantly doing path breaking work that was rarely recognized.

The Church was growing rapidly in the countries of the so called third world, which were then burgeoning nation States. India was among them.

Vatican II brought good news to women in the Church. Gaudium et Spes (#29) clearly states the equality of all “created in God’s image”, further, “redeemed by Christ, they enjoy the same divine calling and destiny, there is a basic equality between all and it must be given ever greater recognition.”

Raising women’s status from being ‘possessions of men’, now included among the ‘People of God’ women share in the common priesthood of all the baptized. All are invited to share their gifts in exercising a ministry/apostolate in the Church.

While there was a period that saw the changes being swept aside, the 50 year milestone, and more recently the installation of Pope Francis seems to renew hope in putting the implementation of the Conciliar documents back on track.

Streevani felt the need to look back and take stock of the impact of this path breaking Council on women in the Church.

The Conference on “Women and Vatican II” held in January 2014, took a look back at the changes in the lives of women in the Church & in and Society and assessed how these changes have impacted the mission and life of women and the Church in India.

This book is a collection of these papers. The statement articulated as an outcome of the deliberations at the conference sums up well the discussions, insights and the challenges seen ahead.

The commitment expressed is encouraging especially the launching of the Indian Christian Women’s Movement on the concluding day of the Conference.

We hope that the optimism with which the conference ended will be felt by the reader and you will also be drawn into the movement to make the vision for women expressed in these pages a reality.

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