Daily Archives:November 8th, 2018

Ethiopian Catholic Church glad with first female President

The Catholic Church in Ethiopia is optimistic that the election of Sahle-Work Zewde as the country’s first female president will Inspire women and girls to reach their full potential as influential actors in society.

Ethiopia’s first female president, Sahle-Work Zewde (AFP or licensors)

The Ethiopian Catholic Church says it is pleased that women in Ethiopia are getting their rightful place in the development of the country. According to a statement from the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat, it is a blessing to see that Ethiopians are recognising the invaluable talent women have to offer to the integral development of the nation.  The Church’s affirmation came in a statement made available to Vatican Radio’s Africa Service, following the recent election of Sahle-Work Zewde as the first female President of the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Appointment normalises women as decision makers in public life

Ethiopian Members of Parliament recently elected the veteran diplomat as its first-ever female head of state to succeed former president, Mulatu Tehsome, who recently resigned following a cabinet reshuffle. This makes Sahle-Work the only female head of state in Africa after Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf completed her term of office this year.

The office of president in Ethiopia is mostly ceremonial.

Ethiopia’s defacto leader, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed welcomed the election of the new head of state saying, “In a patriarchal society such as ours, the appointment of a female head of state not only sets the standard for the future but also normalises women as decision-makers in public life.”

An inspiration for girls and other women

In Ethiopia, the Catholic Church has for years worked towards the empowerment of women, by providing young girls with education and opportunities for them to explore their potential. The Church hopes that the election of a woman to the Presidency will inspire other women and young girls throughout the country to recognise their potential and strive to become influential actors in the international arena. – Africa Service, Vatican News, 06Nov2018

Christians in dialogue with Taoists

Discovering common values through Christian Scriptures and saints and Taoist holy writings and sages can lead to building a more harmonious society.

Stained glass windows portraying 4 saints (Christian Baum / Bonsai Multimedia)

Christian and Taoist scholars met for a Colloquium in Singapore from 5-7 November. In an interview with Sr Bernadette Reis, Fr Indunil Kodithuwakku, Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, spoke about how Christians and Taoists can contribute to resolving the crisis of ethics.

Colloquium background

Fr Kodithuwakku explained that the first Colloquium was held in Taiwan in 2014. The theme for the second Colloquium is on ethics. He said that the Colloquium can be characterized as a Christian-Taoist dialogue because the World Council of Churches was represented, as well as the Presbyterian and Anglican traditions. The majority of the 70 participants were from Singapore. Others came from Taiwan, mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, France, Malaysia and Switzerland.

Crisis of ethics

The world is facing an ethical crisis, Fr Kodithuwakku said. “Both Christians and Taoists have the spiritual resources to respond to this ethical crisis”. In the first part of the Colloquium, the crisis itself was analyzed. Scholars then presented the teachings of Jesus and St Paul, Lao-Tzu and other Taoist sages. After looking at the sacred writings of both traditions, “we tried to find some of the orientations, some solutions to make the world a better place”.

Similarities

In addition, both traditions presented aspects of their spiritual heritage. Fr Kodithuwakku mentioned that St Teresa of Avila and St Ignatius were 2 saints proposed from the Christian tradition. “We saw many similarities”, he said. “The human person is looking for something beyond this world. There are different spiritual paths, but there are also convergences”.

Building a harmonious society

Naming the common values then allowed the participants to plan what they can do together to “build a harmonious society, or for Christians, the Kingdom of God, together”. – Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp, Vatican News, 07 Nov 2018

 

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