BY A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT THE day of the deaconess was nearer than we thought, said Mgr. Michael Buckley on Sunday. Perhaps the twentieth century would see the Christian emancipation of women, and they would be given their proper role in the Church.
Mgr. Buckley, of Wood Hall Pastoral Centre, Wetherby, Yorkshire, addressing a oneday conference of women at the Cenacle Convent, Manchester, said we should ask ourselves: "What would Christ do now?" and not: "What did Christ do?"
The Church had accepted unquestioningly the Jewish, Greek and Roman cultures which "debased women." Christ set aside Judaic law and accepted women as people. He often took domestic scenes, with women in the major role, to show that Heaven was a place where people countdti., rather than physical sex differences "The co-responsibility of women must be accepted by the clergy. It is only when women are trusted that we can go forward into the future. The Church of the future presents a challenge to the Church of today. That challenge will not be met unless we are people of hope.
'MORE HOPEFUL' "Women are by nature more instinctively hopeful. Men worry about structures: women are interested in people. Men cannot work without institutions, and in an age without institutions women have more to offer than they are allowed to."
There was no roo-n for the prophets of gloom. .. was where women had a vital part to play because their role in the Church of tomorrow was hope. Women had a tremen dous capacity to r.. storm.
Risk and exile must come from won "_.e.cause men would fight to save institutions. This wa, contrary to current trends hoc, use we were seeing the end of institutionism. In its place we were witnessing a revolution, with power passing to the people from institutions such as the British Empire.
DIRECT APPROACH In such a society the simple, direct approach was needed, and women did this much better because they had a knack of cutting through red tape.
Mgr. Buckley said that one of the dangers of our time was worrying about our neighbour, not about God. Women, he said, could do much to redress this because they had more ability to pay.
"Women worry about people. Therefore, the liturgy and spirituality of the Church of the future must be fashioned by women and young people. The lowering of moral standards brings with it a consequent debasement of the women, and matters affecting human life require the full support of women's voices.
"If we give the formation of a child under eleven to women, why will we not allow them to speak to adults? Why do we not have women preachers now, rather than when we run short?"
FR. JOHN MAHONEY, S.J.. Dean of Studies at Heythrop College, will discuss euthanasia with Mr. H. J. Blackharn, of the British Humanist Association, at a public meeting at the London School of Economics next Thursday.
The panel will also include Dame Albertine Winner of St. Christopher's Hospice and Dr. 13. Joseph, Director of the Jewish-Christian relations department of the Chief Rabbi's office.