Women's rights in the Church - in the context of sex abuse

by Virginia Saldanha

Abstract:

Towards the end of the 20th century the increased awareness of women’s rights has resulted in the critique of culture, tradition and practices responsible for depriving women of their rightful place in the family and society. The creation of international instruments, laws and protections for women have given women the opportunity to take their place in all spheres of life like politics, business, law enforcement, etc. However, in the Catholic Church women are still kept submissive to patriarchal authority. The nature of religious leadership that compels women to go to men for spiritual guidance and most of all for confession has created a number of problems for women in their working relationship with the clergy, especially sex abuse. Looking at this problem from the framework of universally accepted women’s rights and protections, it is important for the Church to take steps to address this grave issue.

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