Westenberg, L. (2016). Incarnating the feminine genius in the contemporary Catholic Church. New Theology Review: an American Catholic journal for ministry, 29 (1), 30-37.
As Western society has seemingly become apathetic about faith and religion, many within the Catholic Church have simultaneously become concerned with issues of relevance. The call from Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis has been to examine the fruits of the Second Vatican Council, with a view to evangelisation, emphasising the role of the Church in modern society. Responses to this call on a pastoral level, however, often fail to recognise the specific needs of women in society and in the Church today. The goal of this article is to examine practical movements in the contemporary Church that are instigated by women, addressing the distinct needs of women in our communities in terms of vocation, spiritual motherhood and the ‘feminine genius’ (Edith Stein), with receptivity and empathy for others, including the disenfranchised and excluded. Is the Church on a local level utilising women’s ‘care thinking’ in the practical outpourings of its faith and charity? In answer to this question, this article discusses the emergence of grassroots movements that exemplify the incarnation of the feminine genius in the contemporary Catholic Church.
women, feminine genius, Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, women’s ministries