Welcoming traditional Pope’s move towards a new digital arena of Twitter on December 12, Hindus have urged His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and Vatican to introduce real change by reconsidering favorably the ordination of women priests in Roman Catholic Church.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Pope’s embracing of new media initiative showed that the age-old institution was trying to catch up with 21st century and it was thus highly appropriate time for the Holy See to hold a referendum among its congregations worldwide to learn about the feelings of Catholics on the subject of ordination of women.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stated that women could disseminate God’s message as skillfully as men and deserved equal and full participation and access in religion.
Quoting Hindu scriptures, Zed says: Where women are honored, there the gods are pleased. Men and women are equal in the eyes of God and religions should respect that, Zed stresses and adds that time has now come for the women priests and bishops.
Rajan Zed suggested that theologians and canonists of the Church needed to address women ordination issue urgently; re-evaluate Church doctrine, theology, male hierarchy and history; and give women a chance. Women should be ordained to priesthood and should perform the same functions as male priests. Treating women as not equal to men was clearly a case of discrimination promoting gender inequality.
Church’s Cannon Law 1024 says—Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination.
Zed noted that there had been, however, some positive signs regarding status of women in Roman Catholic Church as Vatican invited women to participate in the Synod of Bishops in 2010 and 2008 and girls outnumbered boys for the first time at the altar servers gathering in Vatican in 2010, where about 60 percent of young pilgrims were reportedly female. Pope reportedly appointed record 29 women to participate in October Synod of Bishops on Evangelisation. Holy See being the largest religious organization in the world should show exemplary leadership in women equality to the rest of the planet, Zed pointed out.
Rajan Zed argued that reprimanding of the US Catholic nuns’ group, Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), founded in 1956, by Vatican for reportedly raising the subject of ordination of women and other issues was unfortunate. Mission of LCWR, an association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in USA, included “fostering dialogue and collaboration among religious congregations”, “developing models for initiating and strengthening relationships with groups concerned with the needs of society”, etc.
Roman Catholic Church, largest of the Christian denominations with about 1.2 billion adherents, is headed by Pope and headquartered in Vatican. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.