Virginia Saldanha, Ecclesia of Women in Asia, and Catherine of Siena Virtual College: The Ordination of Women as Priests

					MARCH 2012


Virginia Saldanha, Ecclesia of Women in Asia, and Catherine of Siena Virtual College: The Ordination of Women as Priests







Virginia Saldanha has only completed “certificate courses in theology for the laity” and that qualification appears sufficient for the Indian church to acclaim her as a theologian who even lectures bishops!

On the basis of those “certificate courses” and with the blessings of some bishops, she has helped other feminist nun-theologians organize women theologians into an Asian Women Theologians’ Forum.

Ecclesia of Women in Asia [EWA]
— of which she is in the vanguard — is the forum of Asian Women Theologians. She is one of two Indian lay women in the leadership – the other is Astrid Lobo Gajiwala.


Her background in parish and diocesan catechetics and other activities led her from the Women’s desk of the archdiocese to the Executive Secretary-ship of the Commission for Women in the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India [CBCI] and to the same chair at the Office of Laity, Family and Women’s Desk of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences [FABC].

By her own admission, she was “drawn to liberation theology” during her theological studies. She also immersed herself in the “theological writings of well-known feminist theologians“, to quote her.

In and through her own and reproduced articles and blogs in EWA, she promotes leading dissenters against the teachings of the Catholic Church, excommunicated or castigated priests,
women whose “theology is incompatible with the Catholic Faith“, women who are pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia, pro-artificial birth control, pro-sex education, pro-homosexuality and lesbianism, and most of all who advocate a radical feminist theology, including of course, the ordination of women as priests.

She has a problem with what she perceives as “the deification of priests” in the Catholic Church.

She is also an activist for the use of inclusive language — a radical feminist characteristic — in the Bible as well as in the liturgy, what they euphemistically term, “a
new reading of the Scriptures“.

She rejects the new, revised liturgy of the Mass, defiantly saying, among other things, “I do not believe that Christ died just for the many, but for all. I also will not use the word “consubstantial”…
I will continue to do what
I believe to be right and true,” but approves of liturgies that are blatant aberrations and abuses.

The bishops elevated her to influential positions and can now do little or nothing. A Bombay priest writes to me that she is a “Frankenstein monster” created by the bishops and remains to haunt them even after she quit her executive positions in the hierarchy. Despite having accepted and held influential and rewarding [for the promotion and development of her own agendas and contacts] posts in the hierarchy for over two decades, probably the highest held by any Indian lay woman till date, “hierarchy” has now become for her, as for all feminists, a four-letter word because “[t]he establishment of the hierarchy gives priests power and legitimacy to dominate and control the Church, and by virtue of the exclusion of women from the hierarchy, this power is used over them“, 1.



News of her activities and those of her feminist sisters-in-arms is regularly reported in Asia’s largest Catholic news agency, UCAN, [See the note on UCAN at the bottom of page 11; I easily located at least forty stories on the Internet] and in the liberal National Catholic Reporter [over a dozen]. None of these stories are critical of her — or their — positions or demands; instead they project the feminist agenda in a favourable light. Many of them indicate that she has plenty of grouses against the Church, its teachings and positions on critical issues of faith and doctrine.

I have reproduced the relevant sections of these articles in this report.

Still, UCAN eulogises her as an “advocate for women’s rights”, see

Virginia Saldanha is the face and strident voice of the feminist lobby in the Indian Church.

After wading through all their concerns about gender violence, exploitation of women, empowerment of women, discrimination against women, “space for Catholic women to have their voices heard, thoughts and reflections articulated” [a favourite refrain], the use of gender-sensitive language, the “‘searching’ and ‘finding’ of women’s identity“, the bottom line is this: they all want women to be ordained as priests.

When the smoke screen of various peripheral demands is dispelled by a little research and investigation, the ultimate “women’s rights” that they are concerned about is for women to be ordained.

That, Rome has repeated over and over again, is something that is impossible, unthinkable, and wrong to even bring up for discussion if one is Catholic.

Her latest new activity is as the Indian contact for the Catherine of Siena Virtual College which will conduct “gender studies” through an eight-week long online seminar for a small fee. We can imagine the curriculum.

“Gender studies” is a euphemism; it is a front for ex-priest John Wijngaards‘ movement for womenpriests.

The current President of the Catherine of Siena Virtual College is herself a researcher and avid fan of world number 1 New Ager Pierre Teilhard de Chardin‘s eco-feminist spirituality.

Ecclesia of Women in Asia [EWA]
has had five Asian conferences from its inception till date. In this report, I have documented enough of their anti-Catholic deliberations, activities, liturgies and statements for the bishops to be able to come down heavily on them and restrain their movement — if they have the mind and courage to. EWA “liturgies” appear to be horrible aberrations of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

As for their discussions on women’s sexuality, vaginas and orgasms, and not excluding an unprintable four-letter word relating to the female genitalia, the less said by me, the better. Read the report.


Ecclesia of Women in Asia [EWA], the forum of
Asian Women Theologians, is to meet in India in August 2013. It will be their sixth Asian conference since the first one in 2002.

The venue has not yet been decided. Will the Indian Bishops’ Conferences do what is necessary based on the damning evidences — especially of their main agenda,
women priests
— which have been thoroughly documented in this report?



SYNOPSIS and INDEX 1, 2, 131

Feminist “theologian” Virginia Saldanha – Profile 3

Catherine of Siena Virtual College 3-7, 71, 75-92, 98-104, 109, 110-118 [See separate 70-page report]

Ecclesia of Women in Asia 1 Bangkok, Thailand 2002 7-15

Ecclesia of Women in Asia 2 Yogyakarta, Indonesia 2004 15-21

Ecclesia of Women in Asia 3 Colombo, Sri Lanka 2007 21-28

Ecclesia of Women in Asia 4 Hua Hin, Thailand, 2009 28-29, 118-119

Ecclesia of Women in Asia 5 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2011 29-30

Feminist “theologian” Astrid Lobo Gajiwala 24-26, 27, 28, 51

Ecclesia of Women in Asia: Miscellaneous information 30-34, 118-119

Virginia Saldanha: Bishop Fathers child by nun; posts from the MumbaiLaity blog 35-39, 72-74, 129

Mirror meditation: Aham Brahmasmi, I am God – Virginia Saldanha defends the indefensible 39-40

Virginia Saldanha and the seditious Catholic Ashrams Movement 40, 41

Virginia Saldanha opposes the Document Ecclesia in Asia and evangelization 41, 42

National Catholic Reporter articles related to Virginia Saldanha 5, 30-31, 41-44, 128


A few UCAN articles related to Virginia Saldanha 44-47, 55, 79, 80



Conference of Religious India [CRI] and their support of the feminist lobby 56-58, 65, 118, 125-127

Ecclesia of Women in Asia 6 INDIA 2013 62-69

Sr. Margaret Gonsalves, feminist theologian, secretary of EWA 6, Interplay 62-67

Sr. Philomena D’Souza, feminist theologian 67-69, 71

Virginia Saldanha’s reactions to this ministry’s investigations 69-70, 72-74

Virginia Saldanha and her agendas get free publicity in the Catholic media 26, 40-41, 56, 70-71, 120-127

INDEX OF CONTENTS continued on page 131


Virginia Saldanha, Web Coordinator, Ecclesia of Women in Asia, B/4, Pearl Queen, North Avenue, Santa Cruz, Mumbai – 400 054, India. Tel: 26490161, Mobile: 9819626197 email:

NOTE: The usage of “womyn” is tied to radical feminism, see page 37.

Educational Background

Bachelor’s Degree majoring in Economics.

Done Certificate courses in Theology for the Laity offered by the Diocesan Seminary of the Archdiocese of Bombay. [UCAN upgrades this to a Diploma! See, see page 80; Smart Companion India does the same, see page 121]

Work, Church, NGO experience

Worked in the Church from my days as a college youth. After being widowed, worked in my parish of Sacred Heart, Santa Cruz, Mumbai as a catechist in regular school as well as Sunday school for 14 years. During that time I did in-service training at the Diocesan Catechetical Centre in Catechetics.
Served in the Diocese on the Executive Committee of the Justice and Peace Commission from 1991 – 1999. Was the Executive Secretary of the Women’s Desk of the Archdiocese from 1992-2000. Was a member of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council for a term of 4 years. Was the Executive Secretary of the Commission for Women in the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India from 1998 – 2004.
During my tenure I helped to organize the women theologians in India which functions under the name of Indian Women Theologians’ Forum today.
Continue to be on the organizing committee of the IWTF for the organization of the biennial meetings.
Was Executive Council member of Pax Christi International from 1997 to 2004. During this period I not only got in touch with international women’s organizations, but got a good idea of global issues in politics and economics.
In my personal capacity worked for the uplift of the domestic workers in my parish who were mainly poor dalit women. Continue to be in touch with that group till date by associating with my parish community centre which works with women’s groups in the slum areas of the parish. Thereafter I was associated with the Bombay Houseworkers’ Solidarity and the National Domestic Workers Forum for several years…
Member of Satyashodak, a catholic women’s study and reflection group in Mumbai.
Presently associated with Women Networking, a loose network of women’s groups in the city of Mumbai.
Am a free lance writer – contributing articles to various catholic and NGO magazines and papers.

Virginia Saldanha was Executive Secretary of the FABC Office of Laity, Women’s Desk (1996-2009), coordinator/founder member of Indian Women’s Theologians Forum and a member of Satyashodak. She is author of Woman Image of God (2005) and editor of two volumes of Discipleship of Asian Women at the Service of Life (2007, 2011) which are compilations of papers presented at meetings on Women for Bishops during her tenure with the FABC.



A. ONE OF THE EWA BLOGS Will Women Priests Change the Church? AND

Posted by Virginia Saldanha on February 10, 2011

My email is
and my phone is 314 3781080.
By September 9 I am finishing my Residency for the Clinical Pastoral Education. I would like to ask EWA
* if there is a job opening in the organization? A part time one may be ok. I can do some WEB maintenance, grant writing, pastoral assistantship. *Ecclesia for Women in Asia

BTW, I just attended a conference on
Catholics in Washington DC last July and stayed at the New Ways Ministry center with Jeanine Grammick***Erlinda

**LGBTQ: Lesbians Gays Bisexuals Transgenders Queers

Hi! Erlinda, I am working on something positive to bring about change – education for women and men on the Web which is a free space to think, analyse and express oneself.  Visit the website at


***Sr. Jeanine Grammick believes that “homosexual identity is not a sickness but an alternative sexual orientation“. In 1999, the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, CDF, under the present Pope Benedict XVI investigated and disciplined her for her teachings about gays and lesbians and her activities at her “New Ways Ministry” . See also by James Likoudis.



Dear Nyguyen [sic] A Quan****,

Greetings! I read your paper with interest. Are you interested in exploring this topic further? Then perhaps you can do an online course at the Catherine of Siena Virtual College. Go to the website and check out the courses on Women Ministries in the Church. The website is, click on the Academic courses and you can see the different courses offered. 

You can get a scholarship as well if you are interested. Courses are 5 to 8 weeks long and begin in January, April, July and October each year. Let me know. Warmly, Virginia

**** Nguyen Anh Quan is an avowed feminist. 3.



C. From: Virginia Saldanha
To:  Sent: March 2012
Subject: Be part of the change you would like to see in women’s reality.

Dear Friends,

I appreciate that all of you are supportive of issues concerning women. We would all like to see an end to violence against women, sexual harassment of women on the streets, workplace, public and private spaces. But the bottom line is how do we change attitudes to make the paradigm shift in bringing about change.

The CBCI brought out a gender policy that threatens to stay a dead letter, as very few have taken the initiative to read and implement it. It is left up to the women who have little or no power in the Church to act, to garner resources, etc. Again, it is an issue of coming up against attitudes.

The most common attitude is “Yes I support women’s empowerment and I am against violence to women. And yes I am all for women going ahead with programmes to do this”. But in reality very few men really support women in action. All programmes for women’s day are attended by women only, as if the women only can bring about change that is needed. What is lacking is a change in our own mindsets. Yes, we are all products of a patriarchal society/Church. We have deeply ingrained attitudes about what is takes to be male and female.

I invite you to look at these attitudes and challenge yourself to make a change. I invite you to take the course “Patriarchies of the Past, Masculinities for the Future”. It is a course offered by Catherine of Siena Virtual College. It requires you to register, read the lessons, answer the questions online and then participate in a chatroom where you will meet men and women from different parts of the world. There you can share your views, make comments and discuss your ideas in a safe environment of privacy and respect. It is an 8 week course requiring you to spend 2 – 3 hours a week at your convenience to read the lesson. But dedicated time for the chatroom of 90 mins.

Courses begin on 9th April 2012.

Those who want to get to know the Gender Policy of the Catholic Church in India and do what you can to implement it, please take the online seminar on the Gender Policy which will run for 5 weeks. Or refer it to others who should be having knowledge of this.

We have very reasonable rates for meeting our expenses of running these courses. You pay according to your means, beginning with Rs. 200 for students, Rs. 500 for religious. And freeships for those who say they cannot afford even that. I can send you our schedule of fees according to your afforability if you ask. The important thing is we are committed to bring about change for and with women.  

Women are also welcome to do the course, so that they can help men change, especially in the socialization of the young.

Please do go to our website to know more about what we do

Please do write back to me if you are interested in taking a course at

Be part of the change you want to see!

Thank you! With best wishes, Virginia

Catherine of Siena Virtual College
Imparting and Stimulating Awareness education to make our world more just and inclusive

In Mumbai: Mobile: 91-9819626197 Landline: 91-22-26490161


D. From:
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2012 5:21 AM To:
Subject: Course detail

I am a resident of Mumbai, India and was interested in doing your courses. However, before I do so and encourage others to, I would be grateful if you could please answer the following:-
(1) Is the institution Roman Catholic?
(2) Has it been approved by either Vatican or any related institutions?
(3) Are the courses in strict compliance with the teachings of the magisterium?
Awaiting eagerly on your reply to the same and will enroll for your courses as soon as I receive them.
From: dean
Date: Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 10:23 PM Subject: RE: Course detail To:

Thank you for your inquiry. We are an academic college teaching women and gender studies. We are not a theological institute. All the best, Deborah Rose-Milavec


E. From:
Name withheld1
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 4:37 PM

Subject: Catherine of Siena Virtual College

Before I join up:
You have given a Mumbai contact in your advertisement, but is your college affiliated with any foreign institute?
How i.e. on what basis will the evaluation of the student and her performance be done by your college and will you provide a certificate to those who complete the course?
Will there be contact classes in Mumbai?

From: dean
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2012 11:19:22 -0400

Subject: FW: Catherine of Siena Virtual College To:
Name withheld1
Thank you for your inquiry. Our Registrar passed this on to me to answer your questions about student evaluations. If you wish to sign up for a class, please contact her at

To answer your questions: 4.

We are a non-profit academic college offering women’s and gender studies online. Our main office is located in Cincinnati, Ohio USA and we have staff that work in various parts of the world, thus the contact you saw in Mumbai. We are not currently affiliated with any other institution but are working on an accreditation path with a university in the UK.
Our courses are evaluated according to college standards. Participation and writing form the core of our evaluation process and students who complete the course successfully are awarded a Certificate of Completion.
There are no contact classes in Mumbai at the present time, but students from Mumbai can take our courses online. It is a lovely chance to meet students from around the world.
Have you had a chance to visit our website at
Thanks again and let me know if you have further questions. Deborah Rose-Milavec


President: Ursula King, feminist theologian
a world expert in feminism and gender studies. [See page 90]

Among her numerous publications we find: Spirit of Fire: The Life and Vision of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Christ in All Things: Exploring Spirituality with Teilhard de Chardin.Also, The Spirit of One Earth: Reflections on Teilhard de Chardin and Global Spirituality and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Writings Selected With an Introduction.

Ursula King was the President, Teilhard Centre, London, 1992-1995.



Teilhard de Chardin is ranked as the world’s leading New Ager as per the February 3, 2003, Vatican Document on the New Age. The President of Catherine of Siena Virtual College has a fascination for him.

Deborah Rose-Milavec is Vice-President
of Catherine of Siena Virtual College.



Posted by Virginia Saldanha in and

Virginia Saldanha speaks out in the NCR – Interview by Denis Coday of the National Catholic Reporter

Also at and

October 21, 2011 [SEE MORE ON PAGE 128]

When I studied theology I was drawn to liberation theology*…

I then joined a women’s reflection group called Satyashodak (Search for Truth). We studied theological writings of well-known feminist theologians and discussed women’s role and status in church and society. When the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India held consultations to start a Commission for Women, our group was involved in the organization of the consultations. Our auxiliary bishop in Bombay then asked one of us to volunteer to work as secretary of the Diocesan Women’s Desk. All the women in the group refused as the bishop said he could not offer a salary at that moment. I decided to volunteer because I felt that if this opportunity was passed up, we may never get the Women’s Desk. This was in 1992. The post continues to be worked by women volunteers.

In 1994 I was selected to go to the first Asian Laity Meeting sponsored by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences in Seoul [South Korea]. After this meeting in 1995 I was asked if I would take charge of the Women’s Desk in the Asian bishops’ Office of Laity, which was to be started then. I took charge of the FABC Women’s Desk in 1996.

In 1998 I received a telephone call early one morning from my local bishop who informed me that I was appointed as executive secretary of the [Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India] Women’s Desk**. I said I already had two responsibilities and could not take on the third. But he insisted and promised that this was a stopgap arrangement; he would try and find someone else within the next six months. The six months turned to six years. I worked three jobs and received an honorarium only from the FABC Women’s Desk of $2,000 a year…

Looking back at all the work I have done in various capacities in the church, I’d say that the bishops saw me as a “loyal daughter” and perhaps safe to be in these positions. But I turned out to be a dark horse for them***…

I had proposed that the Women’s Desk hold a meeting for dialogue between women theologians and bishops. After that, I felt my work moving downhill. I think that the bishops felt threatened by such a proposal. For five years I worked to make such a meeting a reality. Several names of women theologians I wished to work with were turned down as unacceptable. Finally I was told to write to the bishops’ conferences to get them to nominate women theologians. After I did this I got the go-ahead.

The FABC Office of Theological Concerns agreed to partner with me. The Office of Theological Concerns chose dates for the meeting to facilitate its members’ attending. But when the meeting actually took place, just one bishop and one woman theologian, both of whom were scheduled speakers, turned up. The executive secretary himself and every other member found excuses not to attend. I had expected 40 bishops and finally had to work hard to get just 10. That experience finally made me realize that it was not worth continuing to work in the church structure for women. This was in 2008. By the end of the year I was told that my term was up and I should submit names of possible successors. I was happy to go.

I thought that the purpose of having a Women’s Desk in a bishops’ structure would be to help the bishops understand the problems of women so that they can carry out their pastoral ministry to women better. 5.



But since the bishops felt they had to tell me what to do and how to do it, I felt it is no use wasting my time in the structure.

In the earlier years however, I did meet with a lot of success. The women’s movement in the church in Asia was launched and grew fast. It will continue to grow even at the margins because there is a lot of awareness about women’s rights and status***. END [SEE MORE ON PAGE 128]

Dennis Coday is NCR**** managing editor. His e-mail address is



1. *Virginia Saldanha‘s theological formation and spirituality are influenced by liberation theology.

Benedict XVI cautions against dangers of Marxist liberation theology

Vatican City, Dec 7, 2009 / 11:42 am (CNA)- In a meeting with a group of Brazilian bishops on Saturday, the Holy Father warned of the dangers of Marxist liberation theology and noted its grave consequences for ecclesial communities…
2. **Virginia Saldanha is wooed by the bishops. By her account, she did not seek the CBCI post. It was conferred on her.

3. ***Virginia Saldanha becomes the bane of the bishops both at the national level and the Asian level. At first, things go well for her, but when some bishops encounter her underlying radical feminism and there are problems, she decides that it is better to quit and do her own thing with other like-minded women.

She says that she “turned out to be a dark horse” for the bishops. She used the wrong idiom. A “dark horse” conveys a positive image and is an unexpected winner in a race. I would rather call her a “Trojan horse” in the Indian church. But, maybe she is correct despite her linguistic error because the bishops provided her with national and international platforms which she ultimately used to extend her influence and agendas.

See pages 127, 128 in this context.

Recently, a priest wrote to me [like all other letters in my reports, this is unsolicited and 100% genuine]:

Rev. Father To:
Sent: Friday, March 09, 2012 11:38 PM Subject: Re: FOR THE LAITYTUDE

[…] In fact Astrid Lobo Gajiwala and Virginia Saldanha are Frankenstein monsters created by the Bishops […] and now they are there to devour them and the church…

4. ****The National Catholic Reporter [NCR] is a liberal, dissenting [anti-Rome] magazine which supports the writings of leading feminists and anti-lifers, see


H. Toward the future Church
Virginia Saldanha

Posted by Virginia Saldanha in

April 25, 2011

Dear Friends,

I had a very interesting Easter service here in Belgium at my daughter’s parish. It lasted only an hour – compared to the long services we have in India! It had everything – blessing of the fire, water and the sprinkling – with the readings – minus the sermon, the litany and all unnecessary things that were OK in the past centuries. The people who attended the service were given candles and the liturgy while entering the Church and an Easter egg after the service!
What was striking was the inclusive language
and a woman who was suitably vested assisting the priest.

My daughter refers to her as the pastor of the parish as she runs the parish. The PP is over 80 yrs old. The woman performs baptisms, funerals, marriages etc. The priest celebrates Mass and enters only for essential moments like the consecration. At the Easter service he did the blessings.
The people here accept the leadership of the woman as they do not want imported priests. They prefer to have someone from their own community and culture. I see this truly as the Church in the 21st century.  

There is another Catholic community in this area which has a male and female as co-celebrants of the Eucharist. Many people who are disillusioned with the traditional Church have joined to create this community. There are religious women, priests and others who serve in the Church who are members of this Community. I attended their Sunday Eucharist once last year. My daughter was called to give the homily one day during lent as she works on poverty alleviation policy with international governments. 
These are examples of a “Future Church”
which gives me much hope.  The traditional Church is destroying itself, but the faith of people which is very much alive will survive in these new ways.  But it requires a thinking people with courage to name the truth.

Warmly, Virginia Saldanha



Virginia Saldanha indicts herself here, as much as she does in many of her blog postings and articles.

At the short version Easter Eucharistic service in her daughter’s progressive “Future Church”
in Belgium, she is actually relieved that “the sermon, the litany and all unnecessary things that were OK in the past centuries” were omitted.

The liturgy of the service used inclusive language, not the rubrics of the Roman Missal which does not use any inclusive language. She exults in that, and in the “womanpastor” who virtually runs the parish. 6.


From her account, one finds it difficult to know if the “Mass” is celebrated by the aged parish-priest — who “enters only for essential moments like the consecration” — or by his woman assistant who is the “pastor” of the parish. Was it a licit/legitimate, valid Mass at all?

If there is doubt about that for some lack of detail, there is certainly no doubt that the other Community service that she records having attended is no Catholic Holy Mass by any stretch of imagination.

She describes it as a “Catholic community” which it is NOT. It is a rebel, breakaway church — whose members are “people who are disillusioned with the traditional Church” — that is doing its own thing.

What she proudly calls a “Sunday Eucharist” was an aberration, what with “female … co-celebrants of the Eucharist” and lay persons like her daughter being permitted to deliver “the homily“.

What was Virginia Saldanha doing there, giving the farce her approval by her presence and silence? Is she not aware that her Sunday Mass obligation was not fulfilled? As such, it is a mortal sin.

Has she confessed the sin? I may be excused for wondering — and doubting — whether feminists like her believe in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, especially since they would have to confess to a priest, a man.

Virginia Saldanha, by virtue of her background, is a person who should be knowing the correct teachings of the Church and playing a prophetic role in combating error, not fostering it.

Does she reflect the current trends in theological thought and spirituality of top level people in the CBCI and the FABC who are actually engaged — as she is — in teaching, lecturing and conducting seminars in seminaries and for bishops? If no, then why haven’t the bishops admonished or restrained her, or banned her from continuing to use Church forums to poison other Catholics?

Is there something that she knows, a secret knowledge that makes them fear her? See pp. 35-39.

In the following pages, I will reproduce an abundance of evidence of her anti-Catholic agendas. All of it is copied by me from the print or Internet media. In some of the stories, bishops were present to hear her speak. Surely all the bishops are not blind or deaf or cowardly, even if some of them are!

Virginia Saldanha is militating for an Indian “Future Church”, one where women will be ordained priests!!





Feminists – Are we or aren’t we?

I have nothing against feminists or feminism, but I myself do not want to be classified as a feminist. I feel I am restricted within “feminism”, and cannot think freely. I am concerned with women’s issues, and when I theologize, I can speak only as a woman. But I would like to see women’s issues as HUMAN issues. Sanae Masuda (Japan) Sat, 15 Jan 2005 (Japan, EWA 1)

I was tongue tied when I read Sanae’s email. I felt out of my depth as in this situation it was something too delicate to give her the right answer. Virginia Saldanha (India)

NOTE: “Ecclesia” is Greek for “church”


Ecclesia of Women in Asia [EWA],
Forum of Asian Catholic Women Theologians


There have been five gatherings of the EWA since its conception in 2001 and inception in 2002.


“Gathering the Voices of the Silenced.”

A. EWA 1 Organizing Committee for the first EWA Conference

Sr. Evelyn Monteiro SC
[India]; Annette Meuthrath; Hyon-Dok Choe, Fr John Prior, SVD; Bro. Edmund Chia, FSC, Lieve Troch (observer and speaker); Clare Law and Gemma Cruz (staff)
Conference Participants:
Australia: Sr. Christine Elizabeth Burke; Bangladesh – Sr. Mary Palma; China- Elizabeth Hui Zhou, Rachel Zhu Xiaohong; India – Diane D’Souza, Sr. Pushpa Joseph FMM, Sr. Lilitta Lewis, Sr. Clemens Mendonca*, Sr. Shalini Mulackal PBVM; Indonesia – Agustine Prasetyo Murniati (Nunuk), Intan Darmawati Supeno; Japan – Akiko Theresia Takahashi, Sr. Sanae Masuda, Okano Haruko Kunigunde; Korea – Sr. Leo Kim Jeong-Ja, Celia Han Kyung Ja, Sr. Sylvia Han Soon Hee, Sr. Silvia Chung Bok Ye, Sr. Hae-Young Choi; *former Executive Secretary, FABC



Malaysia – Grace L.K. Chung, May Angeline Bones Fernandez, Judith Koh, Theresa Chin Chin Lim; Myanmar – Sr. Patricia Mary Ma. Rita; Philippines – Carmelita Usog (Lilith), Andrea Lizares Si, Agnes M. Brazal, Sr. Judette A. Gallares; Singapore – Sr. Grace Chia, Sr. Christine Judy Santhou; Sri Lanka – Sr. Mary Canice Fernando, Bernadeen Lakshmi Silva; Taiwan – Sr. Theresa Yih-Lan Tsou, Katherine Li-hsia Ho, Sr. Antoinette Gutzler (Nonie); Thailand – Sr. Mary Walter Santer, Sr. Petra Darunee Likhittam, Sr. Kanlaya Trisopa, Sr. Vorunuch Parnommit; Vietnam – Sr. Mai Thanh, Sr. Therese Pham Thi Bach Tuyet.
Guests: Asian Women’s Resource Center (AWRC): Yong Ting Jin and Anna Marsiana.
Christian Conference of Asia (CCA): Hope S. Antone, Betty Abregana, Juliana Temparajaj


B. EWA 1 Call for Papers
for the first conference of
Ecclesia of Women in Asia

At a recent conference on “Ecclesia in Asia” held at the Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune, India, in Nov. 2001, about 40 theologians from all across Asia gathered to reflect on the Church in Asia. Significant at the conference was that only four of those present were women. However, thankfully, the women’s agenda featured prominently throughout. As a concrete response to this “problem” (which, as we are all aware, is pervasive in the Church all across Asia and perhaps in the world as well), a group of us (both women and men) decided to DO something beyond the lip-service*. *See page 44
Specifically, we are proposing to hold a conference solely for Catholic women doing theology in Asia. The conference will serve to initiate an Asian-wide forum which, hopefully, will facilitate some sort of long-term support and solidarity for women from all across Asia for the purpose of enhancing theological reflection. The proposed dates are 24 – 29 Nov. 2002 (check-in on 24 Nov.; check-out on 29 Nov.), and the proposed venue is the WE-Train Guest House, located in Bangkok, Thailand…

What do we mean by “Theologians”?
However, the term “theologians” is used here as loosely as possible. Firstly, it could mean women who have undergone some sort of formal and academic theological training beyond the foundational three or four-year university undergraduate or seminary theology programmes. Hence, this usually refers to those who have done Ph. D or M.A. studies, or its equivalent, in theology or its cognates. Secondly, it could also mean those who have not done any formal theological studies but who have been doing personal self-reading in the field of theology*. But, most importantly, “theologians,” we feel, refers to those who are “doing theology” or engaged in the activity of “theologizing.” Hence, our reference here is to women engaged in systematic theological reflections and the articulation of these reflections in the written and/or spoken form for the benefit of the Christian community. It is in view of this that the fundamental criterion used for this conference is the ability and willingness to write and present an original and creative theological paper. This, of course, is another way to encourage more women in Asia to theologize and have their theological reflections published and disseminated for a wider audience…

Dr. Evelyn Monteiro, SC (India)
Dr. (Ms.) Choe Hyondok (Korea; Asia-desk, Institute of Missiology, Aachen**)
Dr. (Mrs.) Annette Meuthrath (Germany; Asia-desk, Inst. of Missiology, Aachen**)
Dr. John Prior, SVD (Indonesia)

To allow for centralised coordination, please send all responses to:
Bro. Edmund Chia, FSC (Malaysia) 122/6-7 Soi Naaksuwan Yannawa, Bangkok 10120 Thailand Fax: 662-6815422



1. *By this criterion, I should qualify as a theologian: I have studied for an M.A. in Christian Studies as well as an M.A. in Philosophy and Religion at two eminent universities. This loose definition ensures that almost anyone who is a feminist can join the EWA. –Michael

2. **Missio: See page 13.

3. Virginia Saldanha is not a participant at EWA 1. [Neither is her fellow Mumbai lay ‘theologian’ Astrid Lobo Gajiwala].


EWA 1, Gathering the Voices of the Silenced

Larger source:

C. EWA 1, Gathering the Voices of the Silenced – Keynote Address by [Sr.] Evelyn Monteiro, SC

Our name “Ecclesia of Women in Asia” expresses the desire of women to enter the mainstream Church as fully responsible ecclesial participants and partners in the life of the Church. EWA seeks to bring to consciousness that women are Church and always have been Church. The sub-theme, “Voices of the Silenced” is open-ended. It enables women theologians to re-name Asian women’s spiritual powers, to redefine our collective struggle of doing theology, and reconstruct the distinctive nature of our emancipatory theological reflection. This website is our cyber-journal for EWA news and original writings by EWA members.




In a historic attempt at making Asian Catholic women seen and heard, women theologians from all over Asia gathered at the WE-Train International House, Bangkok, Thailand, for a five-day conference (24th-29th November 2002) entitled “Ecclesia of Women in Asia: Gathering the Voices of the Silenced”.

The dream to hold the EWA conference was born twelve months earlier in India, at an Asian theological conference to reflect on the Asian post Synodal document “Ecclesia in Asia.” At this conference, the 4 women present began to ask some soul-searching questions: Are there women theologians in Asia? Why are they not at our Catholic universities? If they do enter they are often considered as western because they deal with feminist issues. They are also expected to talk only about women, and when they talk about women they are not considered real theologians. Are they influential in curricula development? Many Asian women theologians do contextual theology: What would they say about the Asian reality?
Dr. Evelyn Monteiro, S.C. from India gave the EWA Keynote Address, underlining that the aims of the conference were:
i) to bring together Catholic women doing theology in Asia in academia as well as in grassroots situations;
ii) to provide space for Catholic women theologians to have their voices heard and their thoughts and reflections articulated;
iii) to invite Catholic women theologians – in their power and potential – to evolve a theology from the perspective of Catholic Asian women;
iv) to encourage more Asian Catholic women to engage in theological research, reflection and writing;
v) create networks with different Asian feminist grassroots/theological movements and global feminist grassroots/ theological movements in society, Church and academy, which are Catholic, ecumenical and inter-faith.
The 30 papers presented were on various themes: Women and Violence, Women and Spirituality, Women and Church Structures, Eco-feminism and Theological Method, Women and the Bible, and Women and World Religions.

(Link to list of Papers and Authors) Dr. Lieve Troch*, professor of systematic theology in Nijmegen, the Netherlands then looked behind the individual themes and issues to the broader context: of what it means to be “ecclesia”: the democratic assembly of free citizens. (See Conference Reflections below for more on the talk).

*Dr. Lieve Troch, author of “A Feminist Dream: Toward a Multicultural, Multireligious Feminist Liberation Theology

I. EWA 1 Keynote Address:

Ecclesia of women in Asia was ideologically conceived in such a dream at a Conference of Asian theologians at Pune, India in November, 2001. Exactly a year later this dream sees the beginning of a new reality through the birthing of EWA, which has brought together about 55 women theologians from 17 Asian Countries. We also have in our midst the esteemed presence of Prof Lieve Troch, who has been specially invited to be the feedbacklistener of EWA. She is quite a global theologian with rich and varied theological experiences. We also have four women theologians representing the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) and two from the Asian Women Resource Centre (AWRC).
As mentioned in our earlier communications, the faculty of Theology of Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth (JDV), The Pontifical Institute of Philosophy and Religion, Pune, India had invited 40 theologians from Asia to reflect on the synodal document “Ecclesia in Asia”. Its, aim was to rethink and revision what it means to be Church in the differing and diverse contexts of Asia. Significant at the conference was the presence of only four women participants of which two were from JDV and the other two were Annette, representing Missio* and Mal Thanh of Vietnam. *See page 13.
This does not suggest that the unequal women representation was deliberate. I was on the organizing committee and I recall how difficult it was to identify or contact Catholic women theologians from Asia. The experience of the near invisibility of woman at the Asian conference in India, undoubtedly reveals the stark reality that Asian Catholic women theologians are either not known or they are small in number. It also reflects the larger reality of the Church in the world. While we cannot deny that women’s thought and contribution have suffered from historical forgetfulness and the patriarchal Church structure dissuades women in leadership roles, I do not intend to comment on these issues now
More importantly, we need to explore why we, as Catholic Asian women theologians have not played our role to increase our visibility, to make our voice heard, our name known, and to claim our rightful place and space in the Church. Furthermore, Asian theologies are often associated with male theologians and Asian Feminist theology with our protestant sistertheologians like Chung Hyun Khung, Aruna Gnanadasan, Kwok Pul Lan, the late Sun Al LeePark, etc. The birthing of EWA has brought to light the existence of almost 50 Asian Catholic Women theologians present here and many more whom we could not invite due to financial constraints.
II. What is EWA: Its name, aim, and dream
The idea of bringing together Catholic women theologians in Asia was christened “Ecclesia of Women in Asia” on the day of its conception. The inspiring source is no other than Karl Rahner’s discussion on the indispensability of women for new tasks in the Church: “In view of the undeniable complexity of human, social and cultural factors in the midst of which the life of women in the Church and the world has necessarily to be lived today, …. woman is presented with fresh problems to solve for the world. These can be solved by woman herself and in her own way, and not in any direct or adequate sense, by directives issued by the authorities of the Church and in her preaching.” Rahner further asserts that “‘the Church which both can and must perform this task of providing a concrete model, the constructive pattern of life which is necessary for woman in the present age, is not, in any direct sense, the Church of officialdom as such, but rather the Church of women themselves.” (Theological Investigations Vol. VIII, 1971, pp. 86, 88).


This prophetic statement resonates with Pope John XXVII’s [sic] thinking in his encyclical of 1963 Pacem in Terris where he plants a time bomb within the Catholic Church with his bold reference to the rights of women: “Since women are becoming ever more conscious of their human dignity, they will not tolerate being treated as inanimate objects or mere instruments, but claim, both in domestic and in public life, the rights and duties that befit a human person.” With the vision and farsightedness of John XXXIII, Vatican II sought to free the Church of its exclusivist and hierarchal image by affirming the basic equality of all (LG 9181. It eradicates as incompatible with God’s design “every type of discrimination whether social or cultural, whether based on sex, race, colour, social condition, language or religion (GS 29), for by divine institution the Church is ordered and governed with a wonderful diversity (Rom. 12:45, LG 13) where all are “one in Christ Jesus” (LG 32 cf. Col. 3:11).
Closer home, the Asian Synodal document of 1999 “Ecclesia in Asia” voiced special concern for women, whose situation remains a serious problem in Asia and called attention to “the awakening of women’s consciousness to their dignity and rights: as one of the most significant signs of the times” (EA 34). EA acknowledges that the contributions of women have all too often been undervalued or ignored, and this has resulted in a spiritual impoverishment of humanity. It encourages a clearer appreciation of the importance of the feminine dimension in all things human (EA 34). It upholds women’s dignity and freedom more visibly and effectively by encouraging their role in the Church, including their intellectual life and recognizes women’s special charisms that could be absorbed for a wider participation of women in the life and mission of the Church (EA 45).
Against this backdrop of a certain openness found in the thinking of the Church Magisterium, the name “Ecclesia of Women in Asia” expresses the desire of women to enter the mainstream Church as fully responsible ecclesial participants and partners in the life of the Church. EWA seeks to bring to consciousness that women are Church and always have been Church. Now do not be put off with all the references made to the Magisterium. It is definitely not to use it as our starting point for theologizing as Asian women. Besides, we are also aware that the teachings of the Church on women are oftentimes ambiguous and inconsistent.
The sub-theme of EWA “Voices of the Silenced” is open-ended. It enables women theologians to re-name Asian women’s spiritual powers, to redefine our collective struggle of doing theology and re-construct the distinctive nature of our emancipatory theological reflection. To this effect, Dale Spender*, the Australian feminist scholar, in her book Women of Ideas (And What Men Have done to Them) states that the absence of women’s voices and their invisibility in intellectual history is fundamental to the hegemony of patriarchal power in the academy. Elisabeth Fiorenza** also forcefully pleads with feminists “to discover and re-create with hard intellectual labour a critical feminist systemic analysis of patriarchy” and may I add, to explore and re-articulate with hard intellectual labour the hidden and lost treasures of the Asian women’s world: her experiences, songs, stones, struggles, longings, visions and dreams. By constructing a cartography of the struggles and search for our own theological voice, we seek to prevent the erasure of women’s intellectual work from history. EWA is not so much interested in creating a reverse order of hegemony as in articulating a theology of the Church of women in Asia in order to reformulate an Asian ecclesiology that will include the forgotten partners in the Church. EWA is a forum that empowers, enables and entrusts the womenChurch to birth an alternate model of being Church in Asia, viz. an ecclesia of equal discipleship in Asia.

*Dale Spender is an Australian feminist scholar.

**Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza is a dissenting German feminist theologian. In 1984 she was one of 97 theologians and religious persons who signed A Catholic Statement on Pluralism and Abortion, calling for religious pluralism and discussion within the Catholic Church regarding the Church’s position on abortion.

III. Aim of EWA
EWA alms to bring together Catholic women “doing theology” in Asia. This includes all those engaged in theological endeavours academic theologians as well as those women promoting theology at grassroots situations, for Feminist theology is not just an intellectual exercise or a disembodied reflection of Christian faith. It is also rooted in lived experiences and struggles, visions and dreams, and hopes and fears of Asian women. EWA hopes to bridge the non-academic women and academic women ‘doing theology’ and synergize the grassroots experiences and intellectual work in order to evolve a relational Feminist hermeneutics of Asia.
EWA provides space to Catholic women to break from their silenced and obscured destiny, have their voices heard, and thoughts and reflections articulated, for I think there is no Christian denomination that is as patriarchal as the Catholic Church. EWA hopes that the efforts of Asian Catholic women will be seen and heard in the male controlled and male directed Church and society of Asia. It invites Catholic women theologians to pool in their power and potential to evolve a theology that is distinctively feminine, Asian and Catholic.
IV. A Briefing on the Programme:
The starting point of an Asian Feminist theology is a systemic exploration and reflection on our experiences as Church of women in pluri-cultural and pluri-religious context of Asia. This will include hermeneutic questions in the light of the praxis of women within the complex web of Asian realities for “in the long run history will not be changed by those who give new answers but by those who make new ways of questioning possible”, states J.A.T. Robinson. In the presentation of each Asian country context on the first day, we shall attempt to situate the position of women in the society and Church of Asia, and identify the common, different and distinct elements that both unite and separate the women of this vast continent. This will also require of us to identify our particularity as Catholic women theologians of Asia.




Our particularity lies in our common colonial Christian heritage with its package of Christian and magisterial traditions that are highly patriarchal and western in nature. Consequently, every Catholic Asian woman is twice subjugated: by her own larger home context that is patriarchally stigmatized and by the patriarchal imperial Church planted in Asia. We will have to use this as a vantage point to assess the position of women in the ecclesial context within the Asian scenario.
By and large, the context presentations will enable us to found a base on which a feminist theology that is specific to the society and Church of Asia can be constructed. Within this framework of grassroots Asian contextconnectedness, we shall raise questions and set forth to reflect theologically with an Asian woman’s heart and mind, challenging androcentric theologies and history, and deep seated gender prejudices and stereotypes embedded in systems and structures. Werner Heisenberg has correctly argued that a system founded on a certain basic conceptual notion allows only those kinds of questions that are in keeping with its conceptual basis. This implies that the Church looks different from the standpoint of women as when it is done from the male perspective.
The presentations will also hopefully strengthen a connectedness among Catholic Asian women theologians that is bonding, growth-promoting and empowering for “when every text is seen as intertextual, every culture is interconnected and every religion interdependent, the task is seen not as one of contradictions but of seeing connections and links”, writes R. S. Sugitherajah, an Asian theologian.
V. Paper Presentations
The overwhelming and diverse response to our “Call for Papers” has obliged us to categories the papers in six groups: Women and Bible, Women and violence, Women and Church Structure, Women and eco-feminism, Women and spirituality and Women and other religions. The voices of the silenced expressed in this diversity of topics is an indication that the domain of EWA is open and wide and must be dealt with from an inter-disciplinary approach.
Women and Bible
The Bible has been one of the most misused books against women. The silence, invisibility and trivialization of the role and experience of women within the Bible are misread as divine principle rather than recognizing it as the work of men written in an ethos of patriarchy. The image of women as the ‘weaker vessel’ ‘created for the sake of man’, as ‘Inferior’, ‘temptress, ‘gateway to hell’, etc. is misinterpreted as deigned by the Creator rather than recognizing her as a being created in the image and likeness of God. Consequently, not only are women silenced but also the biblical notion of gender equality remains hidden within the pages of Scriptures.
Women and Violence
Violence against women cuts across all barriers of class, creed, caste, race and region. A woman is identified in terms of her body, which stands at the centre of all experiences of violence. In this regard, the Asian Synod voiced special concern for women in Asia, where discrimination and violence against women is often found in the home, in the workplace and even within the legal system (EA 34). Noteworthy to observe is that no mention of the discrimination, injustice, and abuse of women within the Church is made in the document.
Women and Church Structure
Does the Church structure lend itself to be supportive of the place and role of women in the life and governance of the Church? Is the Church of Asia womenfriendly? Is the Church, the Body of Christ, in solidarity with women through participatory opportunities and through enabling and empowering women for full and creative leadership responsibilities. These are some questions that perhaps need to be considered especially in view of the Synodal document that states, “the Church should be a participatory Church in which no one feels excluded, and judged the wider participation of women in the life and mission of the Church in Asia to be an especially pressing need” (EA 45).
Women and Spirituality
Ecclesia in Asia encourages us to seek a profound understanding of the elements of spirituality and prayer akin to the Asian soul. It also made clear that spirituality and life style must be sensitive to the religious and cultural heritage of the people. In this regard, spirituality for us Asian women must be an emmanuel experience, a God-with-women experience. This implies exploring women’s unique experience of God in the realities of our life and discovering our unique relationship with the divine. It also implies demythologizing a package of concepts, images and beliefs of God that is a product of a patriarchal culture and tradition. It is discovering the feminine and human face of God as revealed in women’s experiences. This unique God-with-women experience would inspire us to break forth into creative ‘Magnificats’, into songs of praise and pain, of deep longings and fulfillment, of our search and struggles, of beauty and wonder, of daring and dynamism that come forth from the wellsprings of our womanhood.
Women and ecofeminism
There is a natural nexus between women and nature. Nature is the embodiment of the female principle. Sallie Mc Fague‘s* rich metaphor of the world as the “Body of God” is a matter of grave concern when this ‘Body’ is raped and destroyed for selfish interests. Ecofeminism affirms the principle of concern for life in all its forms. Life is sacred and the world is a sacrament. In the human quest for meaning in life, women and nature nurture and promote life from within, allowing life to blossom and grow according to the true purpose of creation.

*Sallie Mc Fague is an American feminist theologian.



NOTE: Virginia Saldanha is a member of the Board of Directors of Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) This explains the publicity she gets at UCAN.



Women and other religions
Interreligious dialogue is not only a way of fostering mutual knowledge and enrichment but also a means of unearthing all that is dehumanizing and oppressive, specially to women. The on-going major issues of the global economic system and the feminization of poverty, the escalating violence against exploitation of women’s work force remain issues that we as Ecclesia of women need to battle against and push for solutions with our sisters of other faiths.
Within this framework of multiplicity of issues we will present papers, engage in discussions and bring out some constructive points that will contribute towards our dream project, namely, to evolve an
Asian Feminist Theology.
Feed backlistener
Having heard the country presentations, theological papers and group reports on the first two days, Professor Lieve Troch, the listener of EWA will give us a feedback on her observations. Each of us should also feel free to bring in our contributions and voice out any important movements, stirrings and enlightenment that we receive as individuals or in group-interactions. Remember, each one of us is a resource person of EWA as well. Hence any contribution from you will enable us to articulate better the process of evolving an Asian Feminist Theology.
VI. EWA‘s Dream
EWA is a groundbreaking event for the Catholic women theologians of Asia. I think this is the first time ever that Catholic women theologians representing such a wide Asian coverage have come together. The challenge is a very creative one. We hope EWA will embody the very best in feminist scholarship and sisterhood. EWA calls on women theologians to engage in theological talk, reflection and writing. Let us harness our power as Asian women theologians to serve as catalysts to create a network for Asian women doing theology. We hope EWA will eventually be able to build networks across the globe and enable Asian feminist theology to become an important part of the global feminist theological symphony.
The initiating committee would like to hand over its baby to you. We helped in its conception, experienced the pangs and joys of birthing it, but now we would like to gift EWA to its proper owners, namely, each one of you. It was never our intention of parenting EWA. We got this started in the name of every Asian Catholic woman theologian those present here, those unable to be with us, and those still unidentified.
We would want you to own EWA and take the responsibility to water this sapling and watch for new shoots of life. We will also have to be vigilant for weeds that inhibit its growth and for thistles that may choke the life out of EWA resulting in its premature death. Your ownership can be concretely expressed by selecting a steering committee to see to the running of EWA these days. It will be good to have a representative from each region. The steering team will have the task of an overseer: to listen and observe, to capture anything eventful taking place, to evaluate the day’s happenings, suggest improvement, if need be, and see to the smooth running of the programme.
Another important expression of ownership of EWA is the formation of a Continuity Committee, which will be taken up on the last day. This committee will comprise of coordinators of EWA, a treasurer, and maybe a secretary. Suggestions are welcome. The last day is crucial for we have to continue dreaming dreams for EWA. We do not have any set agenda but we would like to dedicate the whole day to explore issues, which have arisen in the first 3 days and to decide on how we should proceed from here. In a way, we hope we can formulate some sort of structure that will enable EWA to become an effective and relevant force in the Church of Asia.
As communicated to you earlier, we will be publishing those papers that have a certain academic scholarship either through ISPCK in India or Orbis Publishers. Hence we need an editorial team as well. It is our ardent desire to publish a Journal on a regular basis to enable Asian women to give expression to their theological reflections. An Asian Feminist Journal would be a constructive contribution to Asian and global theology.
Before I close, a word about our financial status. EWA was conceived penniless! Through the generosity of Catholic funding organizations like the CCFD* of Paris, the Institution of Missiology of Missio**, Germany and the Swiss Lenten Campaign Fund that have shown a keen interest in our project to promote Asian Women’s theology, we have had the joy of witnessing the birth of EWA.
May EWA’s dream continue to grow as new pathways and new visions intertwine to meet the changing and challenging needs of Asian women. The dream will then be dreamed and not alone.
November 25, 2002, Bangkok, Thailand

*Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development CCFD, (French acronym)

**See page 13.



1. Sr. Evelyn Monteiro SC is a feminist theologian. I believe that it is she who took the initiative to launch the EWA after the “conference on “Ecclesia in Asia” held at the Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune, India, in Nov. 2001“.

2. The theme for EWA 1 presumes that women in the Catholic Church have always been exploited, “silenced”, and unequal partners. EWA is a struggle towards theological and functional emancipation in an exclusivist, patriarchal, androcentric, gender-prejudiced, imperial and hierarchial western Church.

Translate as “We want an inclusive, gender-sensitive, autonomous Indian church”.

3. “Our name “Ecclesia of Women in Asia” expresses the desire of women to enter the mainstream Church as fully responsible ecclesial participants and partners in the life of the Church” and usher in “an ecclesia of equal discipleship in Asia “.

Read as “We want women ordained”. Not ordaining women as priests is discriminatory against women.

It is the same when they talk of “the place and role of women in the life and governance of the Church“. 12.


4. “Herstory“: the inclusive language usage of “history”.

5. Eco-feminism is New Age.

6. Werner Heisenberg,
who Sr. Evelyn Monteiro cited, is a leading New Ager.

7. “The Bible has been one of the most misused books against women.
The silence, invisibility and trivialization of the role and experience of women within the Bible are misread as divine principle rather than recognizing it as the work of men written in an ethos of patriarchy.

Hence the need for feminist theologians to explain the Bible [theologize] with the goal of justifying their interpretation of what gender parity in the Church is.

8. Of course, an Asian feminist theology cannot exclude “Interreligious dialogue“. In this report, I will provide the reader with a few shocking examples to show what they mean by it: syncretism!

9. Both ISPCK and Orbis, especially the latter, have published liberal “Christian” literature.


D. EWA 1 Closing Liturgy

Larger source:

A memorable enactment of worship and celebration as envisioned for Ecclesia of Women. After the celebration, we wondered if it was proper for us as Catholics to celebrate this way, and we wondered why women’s liturgy cannot be like the liturgy we just had.
The conference was sponsored by the Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development CCFD, (French acronym) in Paris, Institute of Missiology Missio* in Aachen, Germany, and the Swiss Lenten Campaign Fund.

*Missio funded EWA 1. One of its representatives attended.
Missio is a Catholic missionary organization. Its formal name is International Katholische Missionswerk missio e.v. It works mainly with Church organisations in India, etc.
Missio has funded organizations like CHAI, the Catholic Health Association of India, a CBCI-initiated NGO that was promoting New Age pranic healing, theosophy and Freemasonry by selling their books at Catholic venues till a report from this ministry got them stopped by the bishops: see PRANIC HEALING – SUMMARY


E. EWA 1 Closing Liturgy (by Intan** and the Southeast Asian Participants), November 29, 2002

**Intan Darmawali Supeno a participant from Indonesia

I. Opening : Ontario “The Liberator”
From different backgrounds and countries,
Bangkok, here they come,
Women from India, Indonesia, China, Thailand, Vietnam,
Australia, Japan, Korea, Ceylon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan […]
Narrator 1:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth
The earth was barren, with no form of life; […]
In the end, God created humans: man and woman
To be like Herself
And it was all good
Narrators: And it was all good […]
Narrator 6:
The women’s shrieks and the agonizing wail of suffering humankind melts God’s heart.
She sends Her only Son to free us from the rule of sin.
Words have become flesh and lived among us.
To be remembered and celebrated in the form of unleavened bread and wine, Eucharist.
Narrator 10:
Once again, the Spirit of God does not stand still.
She empowers the voices so that they are like ripples that disrupt the stability and comfort of the oppressors
Narrator 11:
The simultaneous ear-shattering wails and cries rock the Earth.
Asian skies are bubbling in turbulence and the oceans are boiling in anger. […]
(Women dressed in black enter the room carrying a bier – the symbol of death of the violence, injustice towards women, the silence and imprisonment towards women. Arriving at the Altar, the leader of the group breaks the earthen jug, as a symbol of “breaking the silence” for the women violence victims. “Syair Abunawas”, a song of repentance in Islamic tradition is sung). […]
II. Alleluia (entrance of the Scripture Reader)
III. Scripture Reading
IV. Song: Shiwa Shankara

Shiwa Shiwa Shankara Hara Para meswara
Om Nama Shiwa ya Om Nama Shiwa ya
Shiwa ya Nama Om Nama Shiwa ya
Om Nama Shiwa ya Om Nama Shiwa ya


V. Reflection:

VI. Offering: […]
Candle: Candle is a symbol of brightness and light needed to proceed to the next level. God, our Mother, sometimes we are worried about our steps and fate tomorrow: What will we become and what kind of life will we have in the future? Will we gain something from our struggles and hard work? Lord, we often forget that all we need is sensitivity to see the light shining in front of our very eyes, the light that will guide and light our way in the future. The art of living is having the ability to capture the light in the darkness, not merely cursing the darkness. Help us to survive and believe that there is enough brightness and light to shine upon our struggles, which seem to get darker and heavier.
(singing “Sri Ram”, other participants come forward to bring flowers)
Flowers: […]

Scarves: […]
Incense and perfume: […]

VII. Eucharistic Prayer of Community/Ecclesia:
PC: Ever-living God, we come before you this evening to thank you for calling us into the community of God, Son and Spirit. By creating and re-creating us, you have called us into solidarity with a constellation of communities:
The world community,
The Christian community,
Our local community.
So, we pause for a moment to thank you,
For all that we are in communion with:
The vastness of the universe,
The beauty of nature,
The infinitely diverse forms of life,
The entirety of humankind,
Our families and friends,
This worshipping community.
In the joy and strength of this solidarity, we proclaim:
Holy, holy, holy,…

God, our Mother, with gratitude for one another we celebrate this Eucharist.
We are brought together in community by your Son: for whenever two or more are united in The name, there The is in their midst. […]
PC: That we might live no longer for ourselves but for him, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit from you, God of Sophia, as his first gift to those who believe.
May this Holy Spirit consecrate these offerings […]
VIII. The Prayer of Peace:
IX. Blessings and Delegation:

The service leader picks the fruit from the Tree of Life and gives introductory speech on its symbol and meaning. Then, he hands it to one of the participants while giving some comforting, reinforcing and delegating words. This is also a sign of sharing the blessings. Next, the recipient of the blessings passes the blessings on the person next to him. This chained blessing-giving continues on to the last person, while the song “Biji” is sung in the background.

EWA participants giving each other the symbolic fruit of the Tree of Life

X. Ecclesia Women’s Holy Communion (Participants stand in a circle, then put their hands over each other’s hands to bless the food to eat while saying grace. Afterwards, they sing ‘Gereja Bagai Bahtera”, and eat together). 14.



1. From a puzzled study of a few EWA “liturgies”, I understood that they probably mean the Holy Mass.

2. The use of inclusive language is noticeable right away: Herself, Her, and She for the masculine Himself, Him, and He; “God, our Mother” for “God, our Father”.

3. I am not surprised to find the word “Earth” used always with a capital E. EWA is into eco-feminism which is New Age.

4. How could these feminist theologians be champions of interreligious dialogue without chanting the ubiquitous Hindu “Om” mantra sung to honour the Hindu deity Shiwa [Shiva] after the “Scripture reading”, and “singing “Sri Ram” “, etc? Is it possible that the “Scripture reading” was also from Hindu sacred texts?

5. I could not figure out what the acronyms “PC” and “CC” mean. I guess they might stand for Priest celebrant and Congregation Celebrants. Neither could I figure what the EWA means by this: “…for whenever two or more are united in The name, there The is in their midst“.

6. A couple of times, there is the use of the name “Sophia” as in “God of Sophia“. See also page 64.

Sophia is derived from the Greek translation of the word “wisdom” in Scripture – which is Hagia Sophia. Its New Age spiritual connotation is feminist. Google for “Sophia New Age” and you get:
Sophia Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico:
Wisdom recognizes and acknowledges Sophia-Gaia at the Center of everything we do. Gaia is the name of our Earth – Mother Earth. What we teach and what we offer must be in alignment with what’s good for our Mother Earth. Source:

[In New Age] shifts are found in everything from the Human Potential Movement and the worship of goddesses such as Gaia and Sophia… from traditional forms of religion to more personal expressions of what is now being called “spirituality” — to move from a male-dominated culture to one that celebrates the feminine, and to rely less on reason and more on feelings and emotions.
Source: Catholic writer Susan Brinkmann,

Sophia is a prototype of Gnosticism. Feminist-dissenter Sr. Joyce Rupp wrote “Desperately Seeking Sophia“.

To such people, “God’s feminine nature” is named “Sophia“.

7. The rite of Holy Communion follows some sort of “fruit” of the “Tree of Life” celebration, after which they “bless the food to eat while saying grace“; the EWA rendition of the Communion service?

8. The EWA liturgy, if purporting to be the Holy Mass, is a travesty of the true Holy Mass and a blasphemy. It is also a rejection of the teachings of the Magisterium, a rebellion against Rome.

I am confident that if more information about the EWA “liturgy” were available, one would find more abuses.


F. A participant at EWA 1 refuses to accept the feminist label, Virginia Saldanha flummoxed

I have nothing against feminists or feminism, but I myself do not want to be classified as a feminist. I feel I am restricted within “feminism”, and cannot think freely. I am concerned with women’s issues, and when I theologize, I can speak only as a woman. But I would like to see women’s issues as HUMAN issues. Sanae Masuda (Japan) Sat, 15 Jan 2005 (Japan)

I was tongue tied when I read Sanae’s email. I felt out of my depth as in this situation it was something too delicate to give her the right answer. Virginia Saldanha

Thank you, Sanae for your frank comment on refusing the label ‘feminist’. I would be assured that the ethos of EWA is on the spirit of inclusiveness: we thus embrace those who are born feminist, those who become one and those who have feminism thrust onto them! Sharon A. Bong, (Malaysia)


G. A disturbing term, Feminism: “What’s in a name….?” by Chris Burke

Sr. Christine Burke IBVM was a participant at EWA 1
and a member of the Committee 2002-2005.



“Body and Sexuality: Theological Pastoral Perspectives of Women in Asia.”

A. EWA 2

Conference Participants:
Australia – Sr. Christine Elizabeth Burke; Bangladesh – Rosaline Costa; China – Clara Liu; India – Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, Sr. Pushpa Joseph FMM, Clemens Mendonca, Marylou Menezes, Sr. A. Metti SCC, Sr. Evelyn Monteiro SC, Virginia Saldanha; Indonesia – Shienta Aswin Agustine Prasetyo Murniati (Nunuk), Intan Darmawali Supeno;, Iswanti, Lisbeth Cicih Ratwasih,; Japan – Midori Teranishi; Korea – Sr. Han Soon Hee; Sr. Song Jong-rye Gratia, SSPS; Malaysia – Sharon Bong, Sr. Margarete Sta. Maria, Tan Chin Cheng – Sister Felicity Tan, FMDM; Mongolia – Oyungerel Oidov ; Myanmar – Sr. Ann Shwe, SJA; Pakistan – Ann Mary Clement, Zakia Tariq; Philippines – Agnes M. Brazal, Sr. Leonila Bermisa, MM; Sr. Cecilia Claparols, RA, Gemma Tulud Cruz, Eva G. Guanzon, Jeane Caña Peracullo, Andrea Lizares Si, Sr. Silvina Espanueva Tejares; Singapore – Sherlyn Khong Swee Lin, Sr. Julia Ong, IJ; Sri Lanka – Marini de Livera; Taiwan – Isabel He; Thailand – Siriporn Lertthanognsak, Sr. Vorunuch Parnommit; Vietnam – Sr. Mai Thanh (Bui Thi Nhu Kha), Teresa Le Thi Kim Thu , Sr. Marie Phanxica (Nguyen Thi Quy).



Other participants/speakers:
Christine Gudorf* (U.S.A., plenary speaker), Dzintra Ilisko (Latvia, representing ESWTR- European Society of Women in Theological Research), Lim Hee Sook (Korea, professor Hanshin University, Indrianne Bone (Indonesia, coordinator PERIWATI), Evangeline Anderson-Raikumar (India, United Theological College, Bangalore, Association of Theologically Trained Women), Annette Meuthrath (Germany, EWA 1 Organizing Committee),
Continuity Committee – 2002-Jan. 2005: Coordinator – Agnes Brazal (Philippines), Jan. 2004-Jan.2005 – Sr. Pushpa Joseph FMM (India) November 2002 to Jan. 2004; Sr. Evelyn Monteiro SC (India); incoming coordinator for 2005-2006. Sr. Christine Burke (Australia); Sr. Theresa Yih-Lan Tsou (Taiwan); Sr. Antoinette “Nonie” Gutzler (Taiwan); Sr. Sanae Masuda (Japan); Intan Darmawati Supeno (Indonesia); Andrea Lizares Si (Philippines), Grace Chung (Malaysia), November 2002 to Jan. 2004; Annette Meuthrath (Germany), CC Adviser for EWA 2 Conference. Indonesian Organizing Committee for EWA 2: Agustine Prasetyo Murniati (Nunuk), Intan Darmawati Supeno *See page 17
Coordinators Team – 2005-2006:

EWA Coordinator: Sr. Evelyn Monteiro SC (India); Executive Coordinator: Sharon Bong (Malaysia); Finance: Virginia Saldanha (India); Secretary – Julia Ong (Singapore); Publications: Agnes Brazal (Philippines); Websites – Andrea Lizares Si (Philippines); Regional Representative for East Asia – Theresa Yih-Lan Tsou (Taiwan)



Virginia Saldanha makes her entrée in EWA at EWA 2. So does Astrid Lobo Gajiwala.


B. EWA 2 Conference Homepage – consolidated report based on conference documentation and articles by Virginia Saldanha and Astrid Lobo Gajiwala (with links to other pages)

Larger source:

A little history: For the four Asian women who were hopelessly outnumbered at a gathering of Asian theologians called to reflect on the post-Asian synodal document, “Ecclesia in Asia”, exclusion led to an “Ecclesia of Women in Asia” (EWA). According to the Call for Papers for the first conference, the objectives of EWA are 1.To bring together Catholic women “doing theology” in Asia, 2. To provide space for Catholic women to have their voices heard, thoughts and reflections articulated, 3.To evolve a theology from the perspective of Asian Catholic women 4. To encourage Asian Catholic women to engage in theological research, reflection and writing. In November 2002, fifty-five women theologians from seventeen Asian countries started the process of “Gathering the Voices of the Silenced”. (Link to pages on the first EWA Conference)

Two years later, the 2nd EWA Conference brought together at the St. Charles Borromeo Sisters’ Syantikara House in Yogyakarta, forty-eight women to discuss “Body and Sexuality: Theological Pastoral Perspectives of Women in Asia.” The women – religious, single, and married, professors and students of theology, pastoral workers, grassroots workers, ecumenical partners, feminists — came from Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Guest participants from the United States, Germany, and Latvia also attended…

Reactions to the Theme: On the first day of the conference, the participants, the majority of whom were attending EWA for the first time, were asked to share what they found exciting, enlightening, liberating, or puzzling about the theme. Single women in their 20s and 30s said they were uncomfortable when speaking about their body and sexuality. Women over 40 did not have the same difficulty and said the topic was relevant to women’s concerns, especially in relation to violence, HIV/AIDS and the family. One said, “My body consciousness exploded when I read the title of the conference and began to think about it.” Many participants saw the challenge of mainstreaming a theology of sexuality as one of the tasks for EWA. “We need to put women’s sexuality on the agenda and see it as celebration of women’s bodies, not just in terms of violence against women.” Most were eager to bring the body and sexuality out from under the covers using new interpretations and life-affirming attitudes. Nuns particularly welcomed the opportunity to reclaim their bodies from the asexual spaces assigned to them.


“Revisioning Eros for Asian Feminist Theologizing, Some Pointers from Tantric Philosophy”:

Dr. Pushpa Joseph FMM, teaching and post-doctoral Fellow in Christian Studies at the University of Chennai, India, linked the creative powers of Eros with the divine energy of Sakti in Tantric philosophy. She proposed a Sakti Theology with its rousing of all the energies one can discover in one’s body, emotions and mind, as an alternative to the excessive intellectualism of patriarchal theologies. Based on an egalitarian foundation that recognises both intense connectedness and distinct identity, this Sakti theology advocates ‘power with’ as opposed to patriarchal ‘power over’ relationships. The use of Tantric Philosophy to understand and theologize on our sexuality from an Asian feminist perspective brought up many interesting insights, and questions. Among these questions are: “How do we understand human sexuality from the perspectives and traditions of the different dominant religions?” Do we start with Asian anthropologies? Since culture and tradition vary in different parts of Asia, how much do these shape the concept of persons in the different countries? These questions brought into sharper focus the need for deconstruction-reconstruction. We would need to look into cultural and religious stereotypes and scripts that prevent the emergence of Asian women’s perspectives, especially in the context of our Asian reality where Asian traditions celebrate women, yet there is so much violence done to them. Women need to grapple with a lot of questions with regard to their identity. (Title links to a summary of Dr. Pushpa Joseph’s Paper)

REVISIONING EROS FOR ASIAN FEMINIST THEOLOGIZING – Some Pointers from Tantric Philosophy, by Pushpa Joseph


[Sr.] Pushpa Joseph (India) spoke of Sakti and Tantrism with fire in her eyes and a passion that made at least one person say, “Pushpa, I do not believe you have never experienced an orgasm.”


Conference Papers, Authors, and Schedule of Paper Presentations:
16 papers were presented in workshop groups during the first two days. After 20 minute presentations by the authors, members of groups had 45 minutes to discuss the papers. The papers covered a wide range of topics.

Hindu Goddesses shared space with a God who can wear high heels. The Buddhist mandala and Lotus flower formed points of reference side by side with the Kama Sutra. The lesbian body with its dialectical tension between sex and gender was used to critique Pope John Paul II’s Letter to Women. Explorations of the Universe as the Body and Womb of God complimented discoveries of an ecological self that is embodied, sacred and relational. The broken bodies and spilt blood of women’s Eucharistic lives were used to expose the scandal of a discriminatory communion ritual that prevents those who faithfully set the table from setting the agenda, and to call the Church to justice and healing in the scandal of clergy sexual misconduct…


Agnes M Brazal is full time faculty member of the Maryhill School of Theology and vice-president of the Catholic Theological Association of the Philippines (DAKATEO). She obtained her doctorate in sacred theology (STD) at the Katholiek Universiteit Leuven. She is the 2003 winner of the MWI (Institute of Missiology, Missio, Aachen) international academic essay contest for Contextual Theology and Philosophy on the theme “Religious Identity and Migration”.

Christine Gudorf* is professor at the Department of Religious Studies, Florida International University. She has written articles and books on liberation theologies, feminist ethics, ethics in world religions and in cross-cultural perspectives. Among the books she wrote are: Body, Sex, and Pleasure: Reconstructing Christian Sexual Ethics for which she won the Midwest Book Achievement Award in 1995 and Ethic in World Religions: A Cross-Cultural Casebook. She obtained her Ph.D. in theology at the Columbia University/Union Theological Seminary. *She is pro-contraception and pro-abortion, see

Gemma Tulud Cruz holds an M.A. in Religious Studies from the Maryhill School of Theology in the Philippines. At present, she is on a scholarship grant for Ph.D. in Intercultural Theology at the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands where she is doing a research on the Filipina domestic workers in Hong Kong. She has published a number of articles particularly in the National Catholic Reporter in the U.S where she is a contributor to the Global Perspective column.

Han Soon Hee, RSCJ is a sister of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She teaches at the Department of Religious Studies at the Catholic University of Korea. She finished an MA in Pastoral Studies, major in spirituality, at the Loyola University, USA.

Sharon A Bong presently lectures at Monash University Malaysia. Her main research interests include women and religious studies in postcolonial contexts. She received her PhD from the Department of Religious Studies, Lancaster University, United Kingdom in 2002. She was a specialist writer with the New Straits Times Press and a Programme Officer (publications) at ARROW, the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women. She has been involved with women’s NGOs at national, regional and global levels and currently serves as the First Vice President of the Young Christian Women’s Association of Malaysia.

[ Bong uses three focal points: 1) the lesbian mother; 2) the lesbian nun; and 3) butch/femme stylization—to evince a sex/ gender distinction, its de-stabilization and its parody, respectively. In the first section, she contends that the Christian image of motherhood that is premised on biology-is-destiny is over-determined. In the second section, she show how the Church’s ‘economy of signs’ that excludes women from ordination is contested through an eroticized spirituality and spiritualized eroticism in the lesbian nun configuration. And in the final section, she argues that heterosexuality, like gender, as positioned by Judith Butler, a feminist-postmodernist theorist, is ‘performative’.]

Ann Shwe, SJA, of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition, has an MA in Contemporary Theology from Heythrop College, University of London, UK. Before this, she pursued courses on pastoral studies and scripture at the Mill Hill Institute, London. Presently, she is a member of the Bible Translation Team organized by the Catholic Bishops Conference Myanmar (CBCM). At the same time, she is helping in the area of religious formation by conducting courses. Her dissertation on the “Incarnation” was published in East Asian Pastoral Review 40 (2003, No. 4) and also one of her essays on “The Missiology of the Hidden Presence of Christ in Asia” was published in the Lanterianum, (Nuova Serie, Vol. IX, n.1, Settembre 2001, Roma).

Dzintra Ilishko (Latvia, Eastern Europe) is a member of the International Board of the European Society of Women in Theological Research (ESWTR) and is in charge of ESWTR’s international contacts and relationships. She has a doctorate in theology and an incredible sense of humor.

Julia Ong is Singaporean and a sister of Infant Jesus. She obtained an MA in Education major in Religious Formation from the De LaSalle University, Manila. She taught at secondary schools and at the Infant Jesus’ Centers for Children.

Nozomi Miura, RSCJ is a member of the religious congregation, the Society of the Sacred Heart. She is a high school teacher with a Master of Arts in Theology and Religious Studies obtained from Loyola University, New Orleans, USA. Among her published works are her Master’s Thesis, The Redactional Study of the Johannine Prologue (John 1:1-18) with a Focus on Jewish Wisdom Traditions; “An Attempt Made in the World of Globalization—Reflections on Social Justice in the Bible and the Jubilee 2000 Campaign,” Journal of TAK (Fall 2004) in Georgetown University (coming), and “Jewish Wisdom Traditions—Personification of Wisdom” in Biblical Theology Bulletin (coming). 17.



Marylou Menezes graduated from Agnes Scott College in May 2004 with a B.A. in French and Philosophy. Continuing undergraduate education at Agnes Scott College for a 5th year, she is a member of Pi Delta Phi (French Honor Society), the Emory student Catholic center in Atlanta, GA, and the Agnes Scott College Newman Club. Marylou, the youngest participant in the 2nd EWA Conference, was born into a Roman Catholic family in Goa, India, but was raised for 15 years in U.A.E (in the Middle East), where the state religion was Islam. There, she was convent-educated and thereby exposed to Catholicism on a theological basis.

Jeane C Peracullo is currently teaching Philosophy for college students at the Assumption College in Makati City, Philippines. She received her MA in Theological studies from the Maryhill School of Theology. She is finishing her academic requirements towards a PhD in Philosophy at the De la Salle University, Manila. She is a member of Philippine Greens – a socio-political and environmental group and a founding member of CAVITE GREEN COALITION – a Cavite-based community environmental network that monitors environmental concerns in the province.

Valerie M D’Souza is a doctor of ministry candidate at the Catholic Theological Union where she also finished her MA in Pastoral Theology, major in Liturgy. Her doctoral thesis is on “Choreography and the Sacred: Exploring Bharata Natyam as a Feminist Strategy in Celebrating the Eucharist“.

Sr. A. Metti, SCC*, India is a full-time research scholar in the Department of Christian Studies, University of Madras, Chennai. She is also involved in theologising at Theologates in Trichy and Chennai. She obtained her masteral degree in theology at Vidya Jyoti.


*[Bodily Representation of Hindu Goddesses: A Feminist Perspective by [Sr.] A. Metti, India The cult of the mother goddess has an unbroken history in the Hindu religious ethos. If Brahman is fire, Sakti is its burning power. This energy or Sakti is ever pictured as female deity, as the consort of male deity. Four Hindu goddesses, consorts of male gods, are considered in the study: Saraswati, Lakshmi, Parvati, and Kali. Not only are there inconsistencies between what the goddesses symbolize and the situation of women in India, images of the first three goddesses reinforce the concept of beauty, modesty, and how men want their wives to be. It is Kali, who appears menacing and cruel but stands for rebirth after death and for fresh life from pain and suffering, who reflects the status of the lower class women, independent in her position, not dependent on any marital status.
Indian Christians hesitate to approach Hindu goddesses for four main reasons, 1. Christianity’s Exclusivist Attitude; 2. the Androcentric Attitude; 3. Christian Negation of Body; and 4. Centralised Ritual and Sacramental Power. The bodily representation of goddess with all its frills has had an adverse impact on Christian community, however. Even though Christianity favours theoretically and scripturally the equality of men and women, gender-based discrimination is prevalent as Indian Christians are taking up the ideal feminine characters perpetuated by the goddesses and women are considered even today as ‘helpmates’ who will be partners to their husbands.
The author concludes by proposing the deconstruction of oppressive goddess myths that perpetuate the ideal feminine and underscore the liberative elements in these goddesses Christianity on its part needs to re-examine her language of God and start addressing God in inclusive images, both male and female. Images should include symbols that energize instead of make women more submissive and passive. The celebration of the body, consciousness of the inner power as is realized in goddess-worship, and decentralization of ritual power are recommended.]


Mary Cecilia Claparols is Spiritual Director, on call at the East Asian Pastoral Institute for Spiritual accompaniment. She is also Formator, and consultant for Faith and Spirituality in Assumption College starting this year. She has a DUER (Diplome Universitaire pour les Etudes Religieuses) MA. Religious Education, Masters in Theological Studies (with concentration on Biblical and Christian Spirituality) and was admitted for D. Min in CTU for 2005-2006. She is involved in Buddhist-Christian Dialogue on Spirituality and Social Transformation.

Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, India, holds a Ph. D in Medicine and is the head of the Tissue Bank in Tata Memorial Hospital. She is a founding member of the Satyashodhak, a Mumbai based group of Christian feminists and is a member of the CBCI Commission for Women, Mumbai Women’s Desk Core Team. As a writer Astrid has published articles in the journal In God’s Image, Daughters of Sarah, Magnificat, Women’s Link, The Month, Vidyajyoti, Jnanadeep among others; Books: Body, Bread Blood; Community of Men and Women and a couple of others.

NOTE: Since Nov. 2011, she is on the editorial board of The Examiner, the archdiocesan weekly of Bombay.

The Passion of the Womb: Women Re-living the Eucharist by Astrid Lobo Gajiwala: Tragically, while it is women who set the tables of the world and spiritualise the meal, at the Eucharistic table of the institutional Church, women are banned from performing these roles. And despite the Divine seed having nestled in a female form, women are denied participation in the radical embodiment of the Divine in human flesh, evident in the exclusively male representation of Christ. Ironically, instead of silencing women, the prohibition of women’s ordination to priestly ministry has provoked women to discover their own priesthood and so uncover the paucity of patriarchal priesthood. Further, it has pushed the understanding of the sacraments to deeper levels challenging the Church to transform the ways in which it lives out the Christian belief that Christ lives among us in the flesh and blood of the Church.]*

*This, quite clearly, is a spiel for the ordination of women as priests. 18.




Nila Bermisa, mm, Philippines, is a sister of the Maryknoll Missionaries. She is currently the academic dean of the Institute of Formation and Religious Studies in Manila and a candidate of Doctor in Ministry at the San Francisco Theological Seminary, California.

Silvina Tejares, Philippines, is a member of the Religious Missionary Sisters of the Lord’s Table (Mensa Domini Sisters). She does counseling and teaching and is a member of the Formation Team, Mill Hill Missionaries Formation Center, Manduarriao, Iloilo City She is a Doctor of Ministry from the CTU, Chicago. She also has Masters degrees in Guidance and Counseling and in Religious Studies (MST)


C. EWA 2, Day 1, November 16, 2004

Rosalyn Costa (Bangladesh) articulated her group’s view that as women we ought to be proud of our bodies because God the Mother created a body that could create another human being…

Sharon Bong (Malaysia) said her group felt that the Catholic Church views body and sexuality in a very negative way therefore, a new interpretation is needed…

Christine Gudorf (USA) pointed out how St Thomas Aquinas justified the need for prostitution. He argued that prostitution should not be eliminated because men lack self-control, therefore prostitutes are necessary so that men won’t rape good women…

Sr Cecilia Claparols (Philippines) asked about orgasm outside marriage. Christine replied that orgasm depends on what we understand. Sexual pleasure may begin as just physical pleasure-recreational sex. But it can grow into marital love…

[Sr.] Pushpa Joseph (India)
spoke of Sakti and Tantrism with fire in her eyes and a passion that made at least one person say, “Pushpa, I do not believe you have never experienced an orgasm.”


D. EWA 2, Day 2, November 17, 2004

In the picture [below], Chris is not yawning as Intan lays a friendly hand on her shoulder. Chris is saying her most delicious Australian OUCH as Intan uses strong Indonesian fingers to knead the hardness out of the conference program coordinator’s muscles. (Agnes said Chris looks like she is having an orgasm. Ooops!!!)


[Essay: Vagina Monologues, Anyone? By Andrea L. Si. March, 2005

How it is to open up about vaginas to priests, daughters, a daughter’s boyfriend, a conservative mother, and an even more conservative unmarried aunt

Vagina Monologues is a play about social issues and as the title suggests, the content can be more than a little shocking. The author allows the play to be shown worldwide without payment of royalties, as long as part of the proceeds for each presentation go to an organization or program identified as the beneficiary for the year. Since our NGO was one of the play’s sponsors, when I gave the welcome remarks, taraaaa. In the audience were my mother, my unmarried aunt Ofelia, my daughters Sarah (24 1/2) and Josephine (21), and Sarah’s boyfriend Jake. Eva (almost 26) and Michelle (16) refused to watch because “vagina” is a dirty word. My 2 sons in their late teens didn’t watch for similar reasons. There were at least 15 others who were present at my invitation, among them a priest in his early thirties, one of my teachers in the John Paul II institute. I’d left him 5 tickets and I think he used three although I did not recognize other priests among his companions. This was the third or fourth year we’d brought the play to our city as part of our advocacy against gender violence. 19.



Calling the vagina by name
The evening began. On stage – women of varying ages and sizes lounging casually about in black clothes with pink scarves, shawls, drapes, etc. No one in skimpy clothes, absolutely nothing X rated about the scene. The introduction was easy enough. Three women talking about vaginas. One said the word sounds cold, like a surgical instrument, “Nurse, bring me the vagina.” Another said she knew her vagina was there but it was like the cellar, something that you don’t think about or visit. Part of this first scene is naming the vagina as it is called in different places in the US. Most of the euphemisms were completely unfamiliar therefore had very little impact. I was afraid my audience was going to get bored if this was how the play was going to continue. Local terms and euphemisms would have sounded a thousand times more terrible but the point of the whole play was to be able to speak the unspeakable without being ashamed. The first quite shocking monologue was that which was written to represent a woman whose husband required her to shave her pubic hair. Next was the monologue about a woman who flooded from down there, every time she found herself aroused. By then, I was beginning to wonder what my virginal daughters were thinking and if my mother was thinking that I was polluting their innocent minds. My greatest worry, however, was the priest, my instructor. It was time for me to thank God that the Bishop wasn’t in the audience although I actually tried to invite him the day before.
The funny and sad stories that vaginas tell
The scenes followed one after the other, women talking about their experiences in a vagina workshop, a monologue of a woman with a happy vagina, another monologue, this time by a woman about a man who liked looking at vaginas and made her feel beautiful because her vagina was beautiful. When, oh when would the talk about violence begin, I thought? It was a relief when the topic shifted to women’s recollections of their first menstrual period. This at least was informative, educational, not at all dirty or shocking by any definition. Gave me a chance to relax. I relaxed even more when the monologues were about not so happy sexual experiences, objects being inserted up vaginas, an unfaithful husband, an angry vagina, rape in Kosovo. This was what I was waiting for. Unfortunately, this part of the play didn’t last for too long. I wondered what my guests thought about the conversations on how women perceive their vaginas to smell. A woman who talked about why she uses a short skirt and that the short skirt does not mean she is inviting rape, should have been all right with a better actress, not this one. The next woman spoke about reclaiming Cunt, a word that doesn’t really scandalize here because somehow, for us in the Philippines, the “bad” words are not in English but in our local languages. The woman playing the part was a good actress so she got an applause but there were several who were greeted by silence when their messages fell flat. Of course there were times when the message was so painful that stunned and compassionate silence was the only appropriate response.
Lesbian Talk and Moaning
Anyway, I was beginning to feel that the play was bearable, even with at least one priest in the audience. Then the lesbian talk began. First, it was about a 16 year old being seduced by a beautiful and sophisticated 24 year old butch. Then it was about a woman lawyer who discovered that more than men and law, she enjoyed using props to make women moan. She went on and on about this moaning and how she loved causing it and listening to it. This was time for feeling the water get hotter and hotter around me. When the demonstration of various moans began, I thought I’d had it. What redeemed this next to last part was that after many many samples, the moans became hilarious. For instance, my friend Celia (a city councilor for 9 years) demonstrated the Diva moan. By then, we were all laughing and had forgotten that these crazy moans were part of a lesbian’s story.

After the play, I was relieved when several friends congratulated me and thanked me for inviting them to come. Although my mother did not show the same enthusiasm, it was enough that I didn’t hear any complaints from her or from my girls, who, despite movies and unrestricted television, still think that a woman who is not married should definitely refrain from sex. As for my aunt, I could sense that her virginal ears had been scandalized but I guess I thought she needed to be shocked a little. It was my priest guest I was worried about. I was sure that he’d finished the play, which by itself should have been a good sign. On the other hand, I could not imagine what he thought of the play or of me for inviting him, other priests, and even the bishop.
When Celia (the Diva moaner) and I talked later that evening, I told her about my apprehensions, including the fact that I had more priests, including the Rector of the Seminary and the Academic dean of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, invited for the next day’s performance. “You invited them?” Celia said, laughing. “While the play was going on, the cast and production crew wondered if the diocese sent the priests to spy on our infernal feminist activities.”
I had to know, what they thought of the play so at 8:40 a.m. the next day, I sent the priest who watched, a text message (SMS) that said, “Father, gud a.m. How did u & companions find play? R u thanking me 4 inviting u or did u find play 2 shockng and inappropriate espclly 4 men, espcially priests? Bahala ka (Up to u) to tell fr. ronald (my academic dean) & fr jerry (rector of the diocesan seminary) 2 watch or not.” No response. At 10:07, I sent Fr. Ronald a text message – “Gud a.m. Please ask Fr. Nitodel if he recommends you watch play. He might have found it “bastos” (dirty) and not recommended for people trying to be holy.” Soon after, Fr. Ronald replied, “He is with me. I will ask him discretely.” 1:05, a message finally turned up from Fr. Nitodel. I was almost afraid to open it but when I did, it said, “I find it very informative.



It gives a deeper outlook of a woman. . . her essence and worth. The Seminary Fathers are excited to watch. Ask them afterwards.” You can bet I had a good laugh and had fun telling the family table about this exchange. Geeeez. If there’s going to be another local performance next year, I’d like to see the play completely adapted to the Philippine setting and maybe next year, I’ll invite the nuns in my old school. Can you imagine…]



“Reimagining Women, Marriage, and Family Life in Asia, a 21st Century Theological Challenge.”

A. EWA 3 – Who are We?

EWA 3 Conference: Reimagining Women, Marriage, and Family Life in Asia, a 21st Century Theological Challenge. Jan. 21-24, 2007, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Conference Participants:
Bangladesh: Dora Dorothy D’ Rozario, Sr. Purobi P. Chiran. India: Sr. Ranu Biswas, RNDM, Sr. Evelyn Monteiro SC, Virginia Saldanha, Sr. A. Metti SCC, Sr. Kochurani Abraham AC, Sr. Pushpa Joseph FMM, Astrid Lobo Gajiwala. Korea: Gratia Song. Malaysia: Sharon A. Bong. Myanmar: Sr. Elizabeth, Ms. Josephine Aung, Jeya Mary (a) Ma San Kyi, Van Lizar Aung. Pakistan: Almas Emmanuel, Ann Mary Clement. Philippines: Agnes Brazal, Andrea Lizares Si, Jeane Peracullo, Kristine Meneses, Sr. Claudia S. Stecker, RNDM, Eva Guanzon. Singapore: Julia Ong. Sri Lanka: Bernadeen Silva, Canice Fernando, Marini de Livera. Taiwan: Nonie Gutzler. Vietnam: Bui Thi Nhu Kha (Mai Thanh), Tranh Y-lan, Teresa Le Thi Kim Thu. Others: Lieve Troch (Netherlands, Plenary Speaker), Angela Wong (Hong Kong, Plenary Speaker), Annette Meuthrath (Germany, EWA Adviser), Kamalam Joel (Methodist guest)
Coordinating Team 2006-2008:

Coordinator: Sharon A. Bong (Malaysia). Executive Secretary: Andrea Lizares Si (Philippines). Finance: Astrid Lobo Gajiwala (India). Website: Jeane Peracullo (Philippines). East Asian Coordinator: Antoinette “Nonie” Gutzler (Taiwan). Consultants: Sr. Evelyn Monteiro SC (India), Agnes Brazal (Philippines), Virginia Saldanha (India), Annette Meuthrath (Germany).
Sri-Lankan Organizing Committee for EWA 3: Bernadeen Silva, Canice Fernando, Marini de Livera

EWA Coordinating Team 2006-2008: Coordinator: Sharon A. Bong (Malaysia). Executive Secretary and Webmistress: Andrea Lizares Si (Philippines). Finance: Astrid Lobo Gajiwala (India). East Asian Coordinator: Antoinette “Nonie” Gutzler (Taiwan). Consultants: Sr. Evelyn Monteiro SC (India), Agnes Brazal (Philippines), Virginia Saldanha (India), Annette Meuthrath (Germany).


B. Morning Liturgy
(January 23, 2007, EWA 3)
[Sr.] Kochurani Abraham AC [India]


She who holds the Universe in Her womb source of all creative energies
Maha Devi who conceives
and bears and nourishes
all that exists-
She is the ghanibuti
the massed condensed power of energy;
She is the sphurana
the power that bourgeons forth into action;
She is the purest consciousness and bliss,
inherent in the manifestation of all being.
Some say that there are many worlds
each ruled by a goddess or god,
but that there is just One Great Mother,
the Jagad Amba, the Makara,


Shakti of all existence,
She to whom even the gods bow down
in reverent worship and respect
anxious even for the dust of Her feet
to touch their waiting heads-
for it is Shakti who is the ultimate source,
the infinite Cosmic Energy of all that occurs,
Maha Devi of the thousand-petalled lotus
(The Goddess who holds the entire universe in her womb, manifests her existence in the many Goddess images of the land of India. Knowledge of Shakti, literally power, occurs primarily in the Tantric texts. As cited in Merlin Stone, Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood, Boston: Beacon Press, 1984, pp216-17.)

Flame Spirit Dancing

Flame-Dancing Spirit, come
Sweep us off our feet and dance
us through our day
Surprise us with your rhythms,
Dare us try new steps, explore
new patterns and new partnerships
Release us from old routines
To swing in abandon joy and
fearful adventure
And in the intervals
Rest us in your still center…Amen.


A Blessing for Women
In blessing our foreheads
We reclaim the power of reason



In blessing our eyes
We reclaim the power of vision
To see clearly the forces
Of life and death in our midst
In blessing our lips
We reclaim the power to speak
As well as the power
To choose not to speak
In blessing our feet
We claim the power to walk the path
Of our courageous foremothers
And when necessary to forge new paths
In blessing each other
We reclaim the power that rests collectively
In our shared struggle as women



The reader has already seen my comments, page 15, of the EWA 1 “liturgy”. Any comments on the EWA 3 “liturgy” above would be superfluous.


C. EWA 3 Conference Homepage

Larger source:

Front: l-r Tran Y-lan (Vietnam), Sr.
Ranu Biswas RNDM (India), Van Lizar Aung (Myanmar), Purobi Chiran (Bangladesh), Elizabeth (Myanmar, Josephine (Myanmar), Dora Dorothy D’ Rozario (Bangladesh).

Second Row: l-r. Jeane Peracullo (Philippines), Sr.
Kochurani Abraham AC (India), Jeya Mary (Myanmar), Angela Wong (Hong Kong), Teresa Le Thi Kim Thu (Vietnam) Almas Emmanuel (Pakistan), Sharon Bong (Malaysia), Julia Ong (Singapore).

Third Row: l-r: Lieve Troch (Netherlands), Bernadeen Silva (Sri-Lanka), Nonie Gutzler (Taiwan), Virginia Saldanha (India), Sr.
Monteiro SC (India).

Last Row: l-r: Agnes Brazal (Philippines), Gratia Song (Korea), Devika? (Sri Lanka), Andrea Si (Philippines), Ann Mary Clement (Pakistan), Astrid Lobo Gajiwala (India), Marini de Livera (Sri-Lanka), Eva Guanzon (Philippines), Sr.
Metti A., SCC (India), Annette Meuthrath (Germany), Sr. Pushpa Joseph FMM (India), Canice Fernando (Sri-Lanka), Claudia Stecker (Philippines).



Not in picture: Kristine Meneses (Philippines), Bui Thi Nhu Kha (Mai Thanh) and Tranh Y-lan (Vietnam), Kamalam Joel (Sri-Lanka).


Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, founder member of Satyashodhak (Mumbai-based Christian feminist group), celebrated differences within her marriage with a Hindu. She emphasized its sacramental nature, the spirit of dialogue and the responsibility of the church to nourish inter-faith marriages and families. After 18 years, she still remembers the pain of exclusion. The Church needs to provide space for interfaith families especially in Asia where Catholics are a very small minority. It is within interfaith marriages that we have genuine interreligious dialogue. While membership in the Catholic Church can become oppressive, Astrid said that she belongs to the Church on her own terms.


Celebrating Differences: The Inter-Faith Family in Dialogue
by Astrid Lobo Gajiwala

Notes on Astrid Lobo Gajiwala’s presentation
“The challenge of an interfaith marriage begins with the decision to love,” says Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, founder member of Satyashodhak (Mumbai based Christian feminist group). Married to a Hindu for more than 18 years, according to Astrid, living out the interfaith marriage covenant demands a dialogue of life that can be more challenging than the Ashram experience. Unfortunately, few opportunities are provided for dialogue and little is done by the Church to aid these families in their efforts at inculturation.
Early on, she had to grapple with differences in culture, tradition, upbringing, etc. In Hindu households, for instance, the bahu (daughter-in-law) plays an important role many pujas (family worship of a deity) and the welfare of the family is seen to be dependent on her participation Is it okay to worship an alien God? What about religious festivals?
Because the sacramentality of marriage is linked to baptism, inter-faith marriages are not sacraments in the eyes of the Church. “Does this mean that Divine grace is reserved only for the baptized?” Astrid asks. “Christ has raised the marriage covenant to the dignity of a Sacrament (Canon 1055: 1) but did he say that he was doing this only for the baptised? Further, when speaking of the sacredness and indissolubility of the bond of marriage Christ refers to the ‘beginning’ (Mt 19:4-6), which precedes the birth of the Christian community. Can we then say with certainty that Christ seeks to enrich conjugal love by linking the love of the couple for each other with the source of all love only in the case of baptised Catholics? What of the sacredness of the marriage vows of other religious traditions some of which predate Christianity; are they too not signs of God’s love for God’s creation?”
“There is no place for inter-faith children in the Church,” says Astrid. For the children, “there is painful exclusion when the entire class is being prepared for and receiving First Holy Communion or Confirmation.” Teachings that ‘only Jesus is God’ stand in direct opposition to what her children learned at home. Baptism of desire is not stressed in Sunday school. “Tell them you are a Hindu who wants to know more about Christ,” she taught her children. But it was not a choice of her liking for it obliterated a faith they were born into and placed it second to their Hindu origins.
“The ability to get people out of their religious and cultural ghettos is a gift that interfaith families have to offer. The natural respect for family ties leads them into an inter-religious dialogue that brings with it an experience of a wider community and a new openness to another’s culture.” “I find it ironical that the Church spends so much energy and money to promote inter-religious dialogue and yet it neglects this, the most intimate of inter religious dialogues?” Married to a Hindu whose love for and faith in the Divine is unmistakable, Astrid finds her marriage rich with promise as both of them strive to make God the Ground of Being, irrespective of the names they give Her/Him. Their diversity has become their strength, and they have slowly progressed from voicing fears and struggling with opposing viewpoints to overcoming prejudices and finally celebrating differences.
Like any child, couples in interfaith marriages need love, acceptance, guidance, a listening ear, and support from the Church. Canon law insists that religious authorities have a responsibility “to see to it that the Catholic spouse and the children born of a mixed (or inter-faith) marriage are not without the spiritual help needed to fulfill their obligations; they are also to assist the spouse to foster the unity of conjugal and family life” (Canon 1128, 1129). Families should be accompanied pastorally both before and after marriage in a more sustained manner. A good starting point for bridge-building would be the initiation of Satsangs centred on the experience of their inter-faith marriage, spaces created within the Church structure for them to learn from each other.
“If the situation is to change, bishops and priests must be catechised so that they can encourage Catholics in inter-faith marriages “to assume their proper role … as witnesses to Christ wherever they may find themselves” (EA, 44). As families that teach and give witness to the Christian faith they too qualify as domestic churches (AA, 11) and are entitled to the pastoral care of the Church.” If only the Church would grasp the opportunity presented by inter-faith couples, the Catholic partner would serve as an entry point for true evangelisation in these families, Astrid suggests. What we need to do is plant the seeds of the Gospel without the pressure of baptism. Tools needed for inter-religious dialogue should be provided, the well meaning other-faith partners should be embraced, recognising that they are bound to their Catholic spouses in love.
For the theologians the challenge is to review church policy on interfaith marriages in the light of the current thinking on inculturation and interfaith relations. Astrid looks forward to the day when the Church will have full fledged ministry to interfaith families, one that does not just support these families in their Christian witness but also serves as a listening ear for the universal church so that it may be enriched by the diversity of these inculturated domestic churches. 24.



Given the increasing number of inter-faith marriages, this may well be an important step in the Church’s mission “to live the Gospel in a spirit of fraternal love and service (with a view to being) a solid starting point for building a new society, the expression of a civilisation of love” (EA, 25).
Astrid concludes with her ‘8 Beatitudes of Interfaith Families,’ inspired by Matthew 5:3-12:

1. Blessed are the interfaith spouses who, aware of the limits of their individual spiritual experience, are open to the God-experience of their partners who belong to another religion; they shall reign with God.
2. Blessed are the interfaith families who mourn because there is no room for them in the religious traditions and families of their birth; they shall be comforted.
3. Blessed are the interfaith couples who in humility risk the darkness of moving with the Spirit; they shall inherit the Earth.
4. Blessed are the interfaith couples who hunger and thirst for a communion that respects and is enriched by the unique spiritual gifts each partner brings; they shall be satisfied.
5. Blessed are the merciful interfaith couples whose pain of their aloneness moves them to work with religious authorities to expand their understanding of God and our relationship with God through our ‘Kin-dom’; they shall know mercy.
6. Blessed are the interfaith parents who dare to teach their children to centre themselves on the ‘I AM’ who goes beyond all human boundaries and limitations; they shall see God.
7. Blessed are the peacemakers who offer support to interfaith couples and celebrate God’s gift of love to them, as part of reconciling the whole world to God; they shall be called daughters and sons of God.
8. Blessed are interfaith spouses when they insult you and persecute you and utter all kinds of slander against you because you have married a person of another religion; on you God’s favour rests. This is how the prophets who lived before you were persecuted.
Notes on the Discussion:
The presentation allowed us to journey with Astrid, said Metti. Sharon said she is able to resonate with Astrid and she asked about dealing with extended families. Extended families learn to grow with us, was Astrid’s answer.
Baptism being a big issue in inter-faith marriages and for Astrid personally, Nonie pointed out that baptism is an immersion and she asked if it possible to have a dual faith belonging without baptism. Using prophetic imagination, what could be the form of baptism to ritualize this?
Angela appreciated the presentation and the difficulties Astrid encountered. Added to Astrid’s feminist sensibilities; where did she draw her strength? My husband and I discussed a lot of things, Astrid said. There were a lot of negotiations and compromises. The most important thing is the relationship of the couple. Also, children give a different perspective on things that one tends to neglect.
Interfaith marriage can be liberating because it frees the couple from the very constricting laws of the Church and gives opportunity for women to redefine themselves, Julia commented. Should we really desire to want to belong to this Church when it becomes too oppressive, Evelyn asked. I belong to the Church in my own terms, said Astrid.
Kochurani: The word theology is very male; why would we draw distinction between theologian and non-theologian when theology can be done from one’s context? As a Christian and feminist, how does your extended family look at your feminism vis-à-vis being Christian?

Astrid: It is very funny to realize that a lot of boundaries disappear when you really love the person.
Lieve: I had an ecumenical marriage to a Protestant. In the West, Catholics and Protestants have closed themselves off to each other. The effect is that both are losing their members.
Astrid: the challenge is to organize a group of interfaith families.



1. “While membership in the Catholic Church can become oppressive, Astrid said that she belongs to the Church on her own terms.” If that is the way she experiences being Church, I can only say that — theologian or not — she does not even vaguely know her Faith; and if she thinks that she can dissent on some issues and still believe that she belongs to the community of the Church on her own terms, she is fooling herself.

As my research on her has revealed, she does not accept quite a few teachings of Holy Mother Church.

Since I intend to publish a separate report on Astrid Lobo Gajiwala after this one on Virginia Saldanha, I will only deal with her briefly in this report, limiting it as far as possible to her association with the EWA. Excerpts:



She is a Mangalorean-origin Mumbai housewife and doctor, a skin specialist who married a Hindu, studied theology in the Bombay archdiocese and became the assistant coordinator of “Ecclesia of Women in Asia“, a visiting faculty member of St. Pius X College, Mumbai and Jesuit Regional Theologate, Gujarat [she actually teaches our seminarians!], a consultant for the Women’s Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, and President, Asia Pacific Association of Surgical Tissue Banks.




She and her husband Kalpesh Gajiwala, a plastic surgeon — who is neither a Catholic nor a believer in the unicity of Jesus Christ — and whose only apparent qualification is that he was encouraged to attend some theology classes with his wife, were consulters to the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences Eighth Plenary Assembly on the Family, 2004.




Gajiwala was felicitated
for having

“contributed to the journey of women’s empowerment in Mumbai”,
receiving her citation
“from Bishop Bosco [Penha] amid loud cheering”. Source: The Examiner, March 6, 2010.

The Church’s Gender Policy, 2010,
mentions Astrid Lobo Gajiwala as one of those who drafted the document:
Now she uses that to further her demands for women’s ordination.

2) From page 16 of the referred report: SHE … BELIEVES THAT CATHOLICISM AND HINDUISM ARE ON PAR: “Catholicism and Hinduism lead to the same Divine.” From page 22: “[D]espite the misgivings of the hierarchy, I agreed to bring up my children in two religious traditions, leaving them free to choose their own response to God.” Source:

3) From page 21 of that report: “Hinduism affirmed my yearning for a Mother God who had been denied to me for so long.
It put me in contact with the Universal God whose revelation cannot be limited.” Source:

4) From page 22 of that report: “My forehead was to be marked forever with a “tikka”, sign of a Hindu wife… Today I proudly flaunt my crimson “tikka” as a sign of my “shakti” (power)

5) From page 23 of that report: “I have no inhibitions about my children worshipping the Hindu pantheon… With much regret,
I also make Jesus take backseat… Sometimes
I find it awkward praying before the picture of Krishna and Radha…”

Astrid Lobo Gajiwala‘s comments and visions on inter-faith marriages and inter-religious dialogue [on the previous two EWA-related pages] can be seen for what they really are in the light of her above statements.

2. “The Ashram experience“: Both Astrid Lobo Gajiwala and Virginia Saldanha [see page 40] have been associated with the Catholic ashrams movement which I have shown in my several articles and reports on the subject to be New Age and which opposes the Holy Mass and the Eucharist in favour of “meditation”, usually yogic, which does not constitute a threat to inter-religious dialogue and syncretism while the former does. I have also demonstrated the ashrams movement to be blasphemous, sacrilegious and seditious.

3. If the reader wishes to understand the gravity of the threat from Astrid Lobo Gajiwala to the Sacrament of Holy Orders for male priests please read my report THE NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 15…


I now return to the information on the
EWA 3 Conference Homepage:

D. Dialogue with Pieris and Balasuriya.
An afternoon visit to distinguished theologian, Aloysius Pieris was a learning and refreshing experience, as was the dialogue with noted theologian Tissa Balasuriya.

Dialogue with Fr. Alloysius [sic] Pieris, S.J., January 22, 2007

Fr. Alloysius [sic] Pieris, S.J., founder and director of the Tulana Research Centre in Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, earned his first doctorate in Buddhist studies, the first ever awarded to a non-Buddhist by the University of Sri Lanka. A pioneer of Liberation theology in Asia, he teaches that spirituality is not the practical conclusion of theology, but the radical involvement with the poor and the oppressed, and is what creates theology. Pieris being what he is, no visit to Sri Lanka is complete without a visit to Tulana and a meeting with the well known theologian…
After the brief talk by Pieris, the tour of his center, the talk by the peace activist and by a priest who assists at the center, EWA had dinner with Fr. Pieris and time for casual conversation with him. The day ended with EWA’s paying tribute to the father of Asian Liberation Theology, and as our gift to him, the presentation of an autographed volume of EWA’s 2nd collection, Body and Sexuality, Theological-Pastoral Perspectives of Women in Asia.

Notes on the Dialogue with Fr. Tisa [sic] Balasuriya OMI

On 5 June 1994, the Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka publicly declared that the publication entitled “Mary and Human Liberation” by Fr Tissa Balasuriya, O.M.I. contained statements incompatible with the faith of the Church regarding the doctrine of revelation and its transmission, Christology, soteriology and Mariology1.

For the EWA participants, the unexpected lunchtime dialogue with him was a mini course in theologizing.
Tissa began by thanking EWA for lunch. Saying that he would like to learn from the group, he posed the following question for reflection: 26.



Suppose you were the person who decides what theology is and you were allowed to change one item… what would that item be?
Before listening to answers, the outspoken Sri Lankan shared on two points:
1. the need to relearn all learned in youth
2. don’t waste too much time on research
The study of economics favors the affluent, he said. In 1953, returning from Gregorian, he was asked to take responsibility for Catholic schools. He couldn’t accept things such as salvation through the Church alone as this made interfaith dialogue impossible. How was it decided that the Son and the Spirit flow from the Father? What does that mean? What is theology? What is truth? These questions made him decide to research on Jesus and so he wrote “Jesus and Human Liberation.” He discovered that what Jesus taught is different from what the Church teaches!
The Eucharist scandalized him.
He asked, what is prayer? What is Eucharist? These questions made him write “Eucharist and Human Liberation” and “Mary and Human Liberation“. The fundamental values of religions are the same; the test of theology is in going to the heart of doctrine.
Returning to the question “Suppose you were person who decided what theology is and you were allowed to change one item… What would that item be?
Astrid: I would like Christianity defined in some way other than by the waters of Baptism…
Kochurani: I would like all male images of God eradicated. They have many repercussions for women.

Nonie: I would change the fiction that Jesus founded the Church. That has given birth to misconceptions about roles. I would like followers of Jesus known as such rather than followers of the Church.
Angela: I would like to add more texts or readings, to have an open canon. The tradition of resources is too narrow.

Tissa: What is Baptism supposed to do?
Bernardeen: Bring to life what Jesus really was all about. This is Church.
Tissa: What is central to Christianity?
Astrid: Love your neighbour as yourself. But a lot of religions teach that!
Tissa: And someone said they would like more texts!!…Basically, we have misrepresented Jesus Christ as one who came to save us from sin, that salvation is in being members of his “club” rather than his followers… Also the concept of original sin – a whole misrepresentation of what Jesus Christ was about. If only we could come to a better idea of Jesus. Many doctrines are ecclesiastical elaborations. They are recited each Sunday, but not understood, and we just go on repeating. Purification lies in liberating the self from this baggage.
Evelyn: Thanks for insightful and profound sharing. You have given us insight as to how to do theology. If each of us kept questioning like this, we would all be able to write books!



EWA‘s day out: What do feminist theologians do when they want to be affirmed? Visit a liberation theologian and a priest who was excommunicated by the Catholic Church.

Aloysius Pieris SJ, the father of Asian Liberation Theology, has made extended visits to the Saccidananda Ashram, Shantivanam, in India. See my report on Catholic Ashrams: He has “laid the groundwork for theologies of Eastern spiritualities“,

Apparently, this visit helped set the theme for EWA 4, see following page.

Aloysius Pieris SJ is the first Sri Lankan priest (in fact the first Christian) ever to win a doctorate in Buddhist philosophy.

Tissa Balasuriya OMI: See
The Balasuriya Affair
Pravin Thevathasan:

He was excommunicated in 1996 for his disturbing book in which he demolished important articles of the Creed, and was then readmitted to the Church on condition of repentance,

Mary and Human Liberation“:
The Vatican warned that the book contained heretical content because it apparently misrepresented the doctrine of original sin and cast doubt on Christ’s divinity,

Despite knowing fully well — and defiantly quoting EWTN — that his book “contained statements incompatible with the faith of the Church regarding the doctrine of revelation and its transmission, Christology, soteriology and Mariology“, the women theologians visited Tissa Balasuriya to listen to and imbibe his erroneous teachings on original sin, salvation and interreligious dialogue.

The EWA wishing well is revealing: they [Angela] would like to use sacred texts of other religions in addition to te Bible which is apparently not God’s complete and final revelation for mankind; they [Nonie] believe that it is fiction that Jesus founded the Church; they [Sr. Kochurani Abraham] want to eradicate all male images of God; they [Astrid Lobo Gajiwala] want Baptism as an initiation into Christianity [John 3:4, 5] replaced by other more inclusive criteria. 27.




E. EWA 3 Opening Liturgy





Prayer: We confess our blindness and our slowness in recognizing the oppression and violence against women, and our reluctance to get involved in the process of liberation and transformation. For the times we permitted men to take roles of responsibility, so that we could sit back and look on; for the times we feigned ignorance in order to avoid difficulty and hardship, and for the times we have blindly followed the ways of patriarchy in order to be successful in the world.

Kochurani was invited to clean the paten and chalice after the communion.
(It is a practice in India, especially when the Eucharist is celebrated with a small group that the priest shares the cleaning of the paten and chalice with a member of the congregation)



“Practicing Peace: Towards an Asian Feminist Theology of Liberation.”


A. Cheers! To the birth of EWA 4



B. EWA 4 Call for Papers/Participants

Practicing Peace: Towards an Asian Feminist Theology of Liberation
Fourth Biennial Conference, Venue: Hua Hin, Thailand, August 26-29, 2009

EWA Coordinating Team:
Sharon A. Bong (Malaysia), Andrea Lizares Si (Philippines), Astrid Lobo Gajiwala (India), Antoinette (Nonie) Gutzler (Taiwan), Jeanne Peracullo (Philippines).
Advisors: Agnes M. Brazal, Annette Meuthrath, Evelyn Monteiro (India), Virginia Saldanha (India).
Please send all emails to Andrea Lizares Si

C. Synthesis of EWA IV by
Astrid Lobo-Gajiwala*

Salesian Retreat House, Hua Hin, Thailand 26-29 August, 2009.



We have finally come to the conclusion but not the end, I hope, of ‘Practising Peace: Towards an Asian feminist Theology of Liberation’. During the past three days we listened, shared, reflected, prayed and embraced each other. We opened our sacred spaces to one another and we entered bearing blessings, healing and love… Shalom.
Peace be with you.
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti. *Separate report follows on feminist ‘theologian’ Astrid Lobo Gajiwala



Coordinating Team 2009-2011: Coordinator: Judette Gallares (Philippines), Vice-Coordinator:
Astrid Lobo Gajiwala (India), Executive Secretary: Marini de Livera (Sri Lanka), Finance: Intan Darmawati Supeno (Indonesia), Website: Virginia Saldanha (India), Consultants: Ex-officio Coordinator Sharon Bong (Malaysia), Antoinette “Nonie” Gutzler (Taiwan), Julia Ong (Singapore).



“Wired Asia: Towards an Asian Feminist Theology of Human Connectivity.”

A. EWA 5 Call for Papers/Participants:

EWA Coordinating Team:

Judette Gallares (Philippines), Assistant Coordinator:
Astrid Lobo-Gajiwala (India)
, Secretary:
Marini Delivera (Sri Lanka), Treasurer: Intan Darmawati (Indonesia).

Consultants: Sharon A Bong (Malaysia), Antoinette Gutzler (Taiwan), Julia Ong (Singapore) 

Web Coordinator:
Virginia Saldanha (India)

Please send all emails / applications / abstracts / papers to Julia Ong:


B. Report of EWA 5


By Ms. Virginia Saldanha

Asian women’s feminist perspectives on “Wired Asia – Towards an Asian Feminist Theology of Human Connectivity” had academic audiences in the West for the first time at a theological conference in Asia.

One session of the 5th biennial conference of the Ecclesia of Women in Asia (EWA) was hooked up to locations half a world away where three papers by Dr. Kochurani Abraham, Ms. Virginia Saldanha, and Dr. Agnes Brazal were listened into by Fordham in New York, Loyola in Chicago, Santa Clara University in California, Barry University in Florida and Boston College. 

Papers at the conference ranged from “Take Back the Tech! Take Control of Technology for Women’s Rights”, “From Cyber Church to Faith Tweets: Religion 2.0 on the Rise?” to concerns about women in Call Centres, the Gendering of Cybertech, the ‘dangerous’ terrain of Twitter & Facebook, the negative/positive impact of the internet in Bangladesh and the impact of the misuse of the internet on Migrant Workers, High School Girls, women’s sexuality and body. On the more positive side, papers spoke about how the “Digital Revolution is Flattening the World for Asian Women”, “Women in Cyberspace – A Key to Emancipatory Politics of Location”, women as “Spirited Cyborgs”, and “Spiritual Praxis through Photography: towards an Authentic Media Behaviour”.

From 5th to 9th November the evening reflections led by Julia Ong helped participants to realize that the democracy of the internet has no boundaries so it can pose both a great challenge and opportunity. Stories of how children and vulnerable people are victims of crimes in cyberspace raised many questions and fears about introducing this as a space for women, therefore the need to recognize that negotiating cyberspace with safety demands tremendous maturity and balance. Stealing of identities, stalking, cyber-bullying, masquerading, sexual harassment, pornography, virtual sex, etc. are real threats. Women have to be guided and trained to become effective netizens in the globalized digital networked age so that they can use it for their benefit and avoid the pitfalls.

While the real world is reflected in the virtual world, the virtual world does impact the real world.  This is seen in the way changes are taking place in the ideas of ‘intimacy’ and ‘public’, in demands for transparency and accountability while new benchmarks for authority are being sought.

Connecting is not necessarily bridging, therefore we have to be consciousness of using connectivity to bridge the gaps so visible in Asia between the rich and poor, male and female, majority and minority populations, etc.

We need to be aware that cyberspace is a capitalist venture which feeds masculine fantasies. Women are insignificant as owners of capital therefore women who have little or no voice have to negotiate for space. This points to the need for much awareness raising on the unethical practices of Corporates, and the possibilities of being cheated.  “There will always be lights and shadows in the digital world; there is a need to continue to question, and not to take things at face value. What is offered for free may not always be ‘free’. What are the true costs of being connected 24×7? Is it sustainable? Does it enhance my health, my relationships and my lifestyle?” advised Dr. Pauline Cheong, from the Arizona State University. The boundaries of truth presentations could be blurred so while young people are by far tech savvy, they need our guidance in negotiating this dangerous terrain.

“There are tensions and paradoxes in the new media, but like the yin and yang there can be co-existence”, pointed out Dr. Cheong. While recognizing the power of space women have to move to the space of power so as to empower, transform and create new ideas towards justice and peace.  29.



The new publication of EWA “Practicing Peace – Feminist Theology of Liberation, Asian Perspectives”, edited by Judette A. Gallares, RC and Astrid Lobo-Gajiwala was released at the conference. The book is a compilation of the papers of the EWA 4 conference on the title.

A regular feature of the biennial meetings is a dialogue with women working to bring about change within other faith traditions. We found much common ground in our dialogue with the Sisters in Islam represented by Ms. Marina Mahatir, daughter of former prime minister of Malaysia. She shared how the ‘Sisters’ have taken up  issues like violence to women, imposition of the hijab, and done research on the impact of bigamy, reforms in Islam (e.g. the concept of male authority) and worked on various laws to protect women.

Four members who have recently acquired their PhD, Fu Lan Yap, Kristine Meneses, Bibana Ro and Teresa Tsui were introduced and two presented a synopsis of their thesis.  Myanmar EWA working to empower women at the grassroots were given a space to share their about their work as well.

EWA started in Bangkok in 2002 and is running its tenth year. EWA is a space created by women theologians in Asia to give visibility to the contributions of Asian women in shaping and transforming the Church and world.  EWA is evolving from just a forum of paper presenters, to becoming a forum where the praxis of study, reflection, action and transformation is being implemented. Their growth through study and taking up concerns of women in Asia could make them a source of women’s empowerment in the rapidly changing world of the 21st century.



One must certainly hand it to these EWA people! This is unique: “cyberspace is a capitalist venture which feeds masculine fantasies“!!


EWA: MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION [Virginia Saldanha is the web coordinator]


Asian women religious caught between ideals, realities

Theological education viewed as critical to the advance of Catholic women

November 02, 2009 by Thomas C. Fox Samphran, Thailand

Asian Catholic women religious leaders find themselves entering an uncertain limbo, caught between their church’s gospel teachings and lofty pro-women rhetoric, on the one hand; and limiting, social, cultural and ecclesial realities, on the other.

It seems this is a place where countless educated Catholic women throughout the world find themselves, but it is a special reality in Asia where centuries of patriarchal religious customs resistant to change clash with Catholic women who are increasingly being exposed to contemporary spirituality and feminist theological thought.

The tensions between Christian ideals and Catholic realities, between gospel imperatives and more traditional women’s roles in Asian societies, were on display during nine days of talks and reflections at AMOR XV, a gathering here of 115 women religious leaders from throughout Asia and Oceania.

When the women concluded their meeting with great enthusiasm and hope they issued a statement pledging radical shifts in the way they carry out their missions, and another offering prayerful solidarity with U.S. women religious facing two Vatican investigations.

AMOR stands for Meeting of Asia and Oceania Religious and the women gather every few years to listen, share stories and encourage each other. In the process, many of their common frustrations come to light as they talk about ways in which church structures limit their contributions as active agents of the gospel.

Echoing a passage in Mark’s gospel (7:24-29) in which a Syro-Phoenician Woman challenged Jesus, the women pledged to “move beyond” and renew their internal spiritual centers as they gather strength to challenge external structures and habits.

The gathering was held Oct. 13-21 and the theme, “Called to Move Beyond,” was the primary motif of the meeting and the women took it seriously throughout their discussions, which included many spiritual reflections.

Notably, AMOR XV was held in Thailand, a nation characterized by ancient patriarchal religious structures but a nation in which women have made great social strides in recent decades. Thailand mirrors much of the rest of Asia, where conservative traditions have come into conflict with outside forces, some for the good, and others for the bad.

Throughout this change, women in Asia have had greater access to education and with it have come more demands for gender equity. Moves in the direction of equity have gained foothold in politics, social and financial structures. A notable exception has been within the ranks of the Catholic Church.

Several years ago, for example, Korean women, after having had virtually no role in the nation’s political life, pushed hard and won a 30 percent quota in the Seoul parliament. Following suit, Catholic women pushed for a 30 — then a 20 — percent quota on church committees, including parish councils. The Korean bishops, however, have ignored these requests.

Indian Catholic women have also pressed hard for more open dialogue with the church hierarchy on women’s roles within the church. These requests have also largely been ignored.

When the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference met in Manila last August reportedly of the 60 people who addressed the assembly only one was a woman.

Educated Asian women religious, pious by nature and characteristically reluctant to challenge authority, nevertheless, feel pinched between the liberating mandates of the gospel, as they have begun to see them, and the more restrictive habits of local bishops. 30.



The pot has been simmering for four decades now.

It was in 1970, in the wake of Vatican II that the Asian bishops formed the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences, (FABC) a pan-Asian umbrella organization aimed at increasing dialogue. This dialogue eventually was to include women.

When the FABC met in a plenary session Tokyo in 1986 enough women’s voices had been heard to pressure the bishops is address the issue. They wrote that it is “not just a human necessity but a gospel imperative that women are recognized and their dignity restored, and that they are allowed to play their rightful role in the world and in the church.”

The FABC, meeting in Malaysia in 1993, recommended setting up a women’s commission and encouraged the national bishops’ conferences to do the same, with one of the objectives to promote “encounters and dialogue between women and men in the church, especially in decision-making.”

The FABC, meeting in Manila in 1995, said it was “an urgent pastoral imperative” for women “to exercise their right to co-responsibility and mutuality with men — in society and in the church.”

The Asian bishops called for women’s commission to be set up within the office of the laity and in the years that followed women and bishops came together, but out of this little changed.

For its part, AMOR was part of the spiritual awakening and justice response that followed Vatican II and the 1971 synod on justice at which the bishops of the church stated that “action on behalf of justice is constitutive of the gospel.” Asian women recognized that a call for justice could not exclude the church itself. There have now been 15 AMOR gatherings.

It was, meanwhile, in November 2002 that the Asian women took discourse and organizing to a new level. Fifty-five Asian women theologians that month gathered in Bangkok to create an organization called “Ecclesia of Woman in Asia” (EWA). The idea for the organization was given birth a year earlier in India at an Asian theological conference held to reflect on the document, “Ecclesia in Asia,” issued in 1999 by Pope John Paul II, following the 1998 Asian synod held in Rome.

Reflecting the growing frustration of Asian women theologians, the title of the five-day 2002 gathering was “Ecclesia of Women in Asia: Gathering the Voices of the Silenced.” Their aim was to build a more inclusive church.

That first EWA conference drew 60 women from 18 Asian nations: China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, East Timor, Thailand, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Australia.

Neither AMOR nor EWA have canonical status. Both have provided platforms for Asian women.

Asian women religious, meanwhile, have quietly found ways to take their missions increasingly into their own hands, breaking out of models of religious congregations that have worked to keep clerical institutions running.

An example of this self-determination is evident in the opening earlier this year by Indian women religious of a new theology research institute whose purpose is to empower women religious.

The ideas for the center came out of a meeting last year of some 350 women religious superiors, representing more than 90,000 women religious. Its stated aim is to carry out research on gender issues and women’s studies, with special emphasis on theological and religious perspectives. The Indian women religious say they recognize education and particularly theological education, is key to advancing women in the church.

Asian women religious, as the AMOR XV assembly showed, increasingly are finding the need to become active agents of their own journeys. No congregation has mentioned bolting from the ranks, but many are increasingly vocal about perceived injustices outside — and inside the church – and together they are working to respond to a call to “move beyond.”

Tom Fox is NCR editor and can be reached at


B. An EWA critique of the CBCI’s Gender Policy

Statement from a Consultation on Gender Relations in the Church – Call to Integrity & Justice

Posted by Virginia Saldanha on September 6, 2010

Pune, 15th August, 2010.
1.1 On the 15th August, 2010, feast of the Assumption of Mary and the anniversary of India’s Independence, we, 24 women and men responded to the call of Streevani*, Pune, to ‘ponder’ like Mary and discern the liberating voice of God’s Spirit in recent events that have challenged the Catholic Church. *See page 57, 91-94, 99
1.2 Mary’s revolutionary song of freedom from oppression expressed in her Magnificat, was a fitting backdrop to this national consultation on “Gender Relations in the Church: A Call to Integrity and Justice” that focused on two important concerns: 1) “The Gender Policy of the Catholic Church of India“, published by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, 2010, and 2) the need for a policy to address sexual abuse in the Church in India.
Our Reflections on the Gender Policy:
2.1 We recognize at the start that a
Gender Policy brought out by the Bishops
, while well meaning and a visible sign of the Bishops’ sensitivity to the low status of women in the Church and society, cannot but have limitations given the patriarchal nature of the Church.
2.2 However, we express our appreciation for the sincere commitment of the Bishops of India for drawing up guidelines for empowering women in the Church and society and to the allotment of financial resources and personnel for its implementation. This Gender Policy when critically interpreted will stand as a yardstick for transformation, both for the bishops and the faithful, for generations to come. 31.


2.3 While we realize that the gender policy is not exhaustive, we experience hope in the progressive objectives that leave scope for creative interpretation, and the suggested strategies and mechanisms for creating awareness, networking and implementation.
2.4 Reflecting on the main themes of the Gender Policy we identify some lacunae which need to be addressed. Thus it is observed that:
1. Gen 1:27 could have been developed from the perspective of a Trinitarian God
described as a community of equals who are same, different and relational.
2. The Supreme Court Order dated 13.08.1997 for “Implementation of the Guidelines Contained in Supreme Court’s Order in the Case of Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace and Other Institutions” has not been adopted by the Gender policy. There is need to recognize the institutions of the Church as the workplace of priests and other Church personnel, and therefore subject to the relevant laws of the country.
3. The power structures that subordinate women in the Church have not been adequately dealt with. Primary among these is the hierarchical nature of the Church which effectively keeps women out of leadership, decision making and access to resources.
4. No mechanism has been provided for the redressal of women’s grievances against Church personnel and structures.
Our recommendations:
To make the vision, mission and objectives of the Gender Policy a reality we realize that the Catholic Church of India needs:
1. To form groups at all levels of the Church to discuss and critically deliberate on the Gender Policy.
2. To conduct awareness programmes on the Gender Policy in seminaries, formation houses and among women and men in religious congregations.
3. To set up Resource Committees and Monitoring Committees in all dioceses for the implementation of the Gender Policy.
4. To form advocacy and task groups to ensure that the gender-sensitive provisions of the policy are implemented in letter and spirit.
4. Our Concern for the Victims of Sexual Abuse:
4.1 We place the recent episodes of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church within the larger context of widespread violence against women resulting from ‘Man’ having “broken the right order that should reign within himself as well as between himself and others and all creature” (Gaudium et Spes, No. 13.)
4.2 We proudly proclaim the Church’s consistent stand on behalf of the poor, the marginalized, and victims of conflict, injustice and violence and recognize these Christian values as the roots of the altruism and respect for human rights that imbues our contemporary world.
4.3 We express deep concern for the victims of sexual abuse by Church personnel and identify some factors that have given rise to such situations. These include:
1. The patriarchal society which provides the milieu for a patriarchal Church with men exercising power as control and domination over women and children.
2. The disparity between our democratic society and our vision of an egalitarian community, and the governance in the Church which is hierarchical.
3. Christian teaching and images of God/man/woman that have promoted the image of the ruler and the ruled, and socialized women, especially women religious, to subservience, silence and inferiority, making them vulnerable to various forms of exploitation, violence and sexual abuse by men.
4. The deification of priests through the inordinate and disproportionate focus on the person of the priest alone as ‘Alter Christus,’ entitling him to unquestioning obedience.
5. The vulnerability of women, who are dependent on priests for spiritual and/or emotional counseling particularly in times of personal crisis or difficulty*.
6. The culture of silence borne out of women’s fear of bringing shame to themselves, their family/congregation and the Christian community in India.
7. The clerical culture of secrecy that seeks to deny and cover up the cases of sexual abuse among clerics in an attempt to uphold celibacy of the ordained.
4.4 While searching for solutions to the problem of sexual abuse, we note with pain that whereas paedophilia has received the attention that it deserves, women’s stories of abuse are frequently discounted. “Consensual” sex is often cited as a mitigating circumstance with little or no awareness of the defenselessness of the woman trapped under the weight of ‘double patriarchy’ – patriarchal relations in the wider society which are accentuated and rendered more powerful by the patriarchal authority structures within the Church.
4.5 We observe too, with a sense of shame that attempts to address cases of sexual abuse frequently focused more on preserving the good name of the Church rather than on our obligation to protect and obtain justice for the vulnerable amongst us in keeping with the mission and example of Jesus Christ, in whose name we serve.
4.6 We also draw attention to the distinction between sexual abuse as a sin and as a crime and the implications therein including the complicity of religious institutions in not reporting crimes.
5. Our recommendations:
5.1 A We would like to initiate a dialogue with the Bishops of India so that together we can work towards providing a safe and secure environment for children and vulnerable individuals in all institutions of the Church, and a pastoral and just response to victims, their families, the accused, and the community.
5.2 Towards this end we recommend:


1. That every diocese, province and congregation have a formal policy to address sexual abuse from the perspective of the abused; the Visakha Guidelines issued by the Supreme Court of India must be used as a reference document while framing the policy.
2. That instances of sexual misconduct be treated as a crime and offenders prosecuted under existing laws regarding violence against women and children, and sexual harassment in the workplace.
3. That structures be set up in every diocese based on the recommendations of the Guidelines for Sexual Harassment at Workplace that requires the formation of Gender Development Cells which are responsible for the promotion of a gender-sensitive environment and redressal mechanisms; such grievance cells must have counsellors, legal professionals, women and representatives of the clergy as its members, and, most importantly, must be headed by a woman.
4. That women in the Church be educated about ‘double patriarchy’ and its implications.
5. That information be disseminated on the implications of sexual abuse, mechanisms for its prevention and avenues of redressal; a manual may be prepared as a resource.
6. That a code of professional ethics be articulated for pastoral workers including priests.
7. That priests and people be educated on the vision of Church as a community of communities and a discipleship of equals, where priests, women religious and laity work in partnership and are co-responsible for bringing about the Reign of God on earth.
8. That the servant priesthood of Jesus be emphasized and the “fatherhood” and “lordship” of priesthood be demythologized.
9. That formation programmes for priests and women religious:
§ Deconstruct notions of women’s dependency on men that render women docile even in the face of sexual harassment;
§ Address issues of intimacy, friendship and emotional health within the context of celibate life.
§ Teach a celibacy that enriches consecrated/priestly life,
10. That women’s congregations:
§ Encourage intellectual formation and research;
Empower their members to become assertive and critical thinkers.
Form leaders with imagination, creativity, courage and commitment.
6. Our Commitment:
In the light of our reflections we commit ourselves:
1. To engage in an ongoing critical discussion on the Gender Policy from the perspective of women and promote all in the policy that empowers women;
2. To hold the bishops to their commitment to the implementation of the Gender Policy;
3. To advocate zero tolerance towards sexual abuse of women and children in the Church;
4. To campaign for a policy that views sexual abuse in the Church as a violation of Human Rights and therefore as a crime punishable under Indian law;
5. To work towards the putting in place of processes and structures for reporting sexual abuse, that are sensitive and confidential, and that include women.
7. Conclusion:
The Consultation is but a first step towards a sustained commitment and proactive participation in the Church’s initiative towards gender justice. It is a “call to integrity and justice” through networking and collaboration with family institutions and structures in the Church. As we strive to wipe away every tear (Rev 21:4) and bring healing and wholeness, we are inspired by Mary’s Magnificat that proclaims the “greatness of our God” who looks with compassion upon the hurting

*This is one of the reasons for their wanting to have women ordained as priests.


C. Patriarchy and Bodily Constructions of Femininity by
Sr. A. Metti (India)

Metti uses a Tamil myth to illustrate how the patriarchal system has taken control of the female body and continues to its grip on it.

The author presented this paper in April 2005 at the Indian Women Theologians’ Forum (IWTF).


D. Promote the Human Dignity of Women by
Sr. Shalini Mulackal (India)

Sr. Shalini Mulackal asks how far the Indian Church is aware of and concerned about the situation of women, how the Church understands her mission today, and what are concrete ways in which the Indian Church- dioceses and parishes can help the Indian women battle discrimination and injustice.

There is also a need to re-design the seminary formation to enable seminarians to experience equal partnership with women working in the Church, one way being to include women as formators and professors in seminaries.


E. Theology of Womanhood: Towards a Critical Theology of Liberation
by Sr. Kochurani Abraham AC (India)

Kochurani Abraham’s article on how Women becoming thinking and acting subjects and equal partners with men in all areas of life, brings a new power and fullness to human life and enhances the integrity of creation. 33.


But this calls for an on-going task of ‘searching’ and ‘finding’ of women’s identity, and with it, the kairos of women becoming true celebrants of Life!

[5] See Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, But She Said: Feminist Practices of Biblical Interpretation, Boston: Beacon Press, 1992, 199.

[7] Cf. Rosemary Radford Reuther, Sexism and God Talk: Towards a Feminist Theology, Boston: Beacon press 1983, 73-74.

[9] Rosemary Radford Reuther, Sexism and God Talk, 93.
[10] Ibid., 94.

[17] See Rosemary Radford Reuther, Sexism and God Talk: Towards a Feminist Theology, Boston: Beacon press 1983, 12.

[18] Natalie K. Watson, Feminist Theology, Cambridge, U.K: William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company, 2003, 2.
[19] Ibid., 3

[23] See Elizabeth A. Johnson CSJ, Truly Our Sister: A Theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints, New York, Continuum, 2003 as cited by D. Alphonse, From Semi-Divine Mother-Mediatrix to our Sister in R.K Samy (ed) Mary In Our Search for Fullness of Life, Bangalore: NBCLC 2006, 31.

[24] See Kathleen Koyle SSC, Marian Tradition: A Re-reading as cited by Jacob Parappally Marian Images and Devotions Through the Ages in R.K Samy (ed.) Mary in Our Search for Fullness of Life, 39.

[27] See Ursula King, Christianity and Feminism – Do they need each other? Anne Spencer Memorial Sermon, Thursday 14th March 2002University of Bristol Anglican Chaplaincy Church, St Paul’s, Clifton. See

[30] Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Sharing Her Word, 3.

[31] These expressions of oppression helps to ascertain how much a given social group is oppressed. See Iris Marion Young*, “Five Faces of Oppression” in Justice and the Politics of Difference (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), 38-65…

[32] …See Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Wisdom ways: Introducing Feminist Biblical Interpretation, Maryknoll N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2001, 165-205.

[34] See Rosemary Radford Reuther, Sexism and God Talk: Towards a Feminist Theology, Boston: Beacon press 1983, 19.
[35] Joan Chittister, Heart of Flesh: A Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men,

*was a feminist social theoretician



1. I had noticed that in several of the articles and papers presented at EWA seminars, the common noun ‘women’ is written as ‘Women‘ with a capital W as in Sr. Kochurani Abraham‘s!

2. For a leading feminist theologian, Sr. Kochurani Abraham gets the spellings of leading fellow-feminists’ names wrong: Reuther for Ruether, Koyle for Coyle.

3. Among the experts cited by Sr. Kochurani Abraham for her “Theology of Liberation” paper:

a. FEMINIST THEOLOGIANS ALL: Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Natalie K. Watson, Sr.
Elizabeth A. Johnson CSJ, Kathleen Coyle SSC, Ursula King, and Sr. Joan Chittister OSB!

b. Of them, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Sr.
Elizabeth A. Johnson CSJ and Sr. Joan Chittister OSB are listed in as

c. Of them, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Sr.
Elizabeth A. Johnson CSJ and Sr. Joan Chittister OSB promote

d. Ursula King is President of Catherine of Siena Virtual College [pages 3-6] of which Virginia Saldanha is the Indian contact person. She is also an avid student of leading New Ager Teilhard de Chardin‘s works.


F. “God cannot be Female” – Echoes of EWA in Myanmar by
Andrea L. Si.

The last day’s liturgy was Sr. Ann’s version of the meditative walk through the uterus. Not having the original words, Sr. Ann Shwe composed a beautiful chant about the blood being life-giving, being sacred, being cleansing, etc. After the walk, the women and the two men [religious brothers] (yes, they joined the walk through the uterus) passed around a tray with aromatic healing herbs as each prayed for healing and wholeness.


G. Larger source:
Virginia Saldanha’s page

DR. T. MERCY RANI’s page

D. Th. (Doctor of Theology), M. A. Sociology, BD., M. Th., Chennai, Tamil Nadu Specialized in the area of searching and finding Holy Spirit as God, the Mother.

ANDREA SI’s page

I’m Catholic but my God is not limited to what the Catholic Church says about God.


The total male domination and exploitation of women especially women religious in the church is a great concern for me. I am in the search for a liberative, empowering spirituality. 34.





My following letter to the mumbailaity, Mumbai, was published by them on March 20, 2012:

Virginia Saldanha: Bombay Bishop Fathers Child by Nun – By Michael Prabhu Posted on March 20, 2012

Michael Prabhu from Chennai is one of the few catholic apologists who writes on various Catholic issues in India. He has his own web on which he has written a number of articles on certain practices which are going on in the Catholic Church. His knowledge on those subjects is deep and profound. Readers are requested to visit his blog. Michael Prabhu’s email id is


Dear Mumbai Laitytude/Association of Concerned Catholics of the Archdiocese of Bombay,

As you can see from records that I have reproduced CHRONOLOGICALLY below, your article of March 9, 2012 under the caption

“Gender sensitivity grows in Church- Then why is the Bishops name not being revealed”

is at least the FIFTH TIME [see serial no {5}] that the article by Virginia Saldanha has been published in the Catholic media in India over the past 21 months.

I second the question that you asked which is “If Virginia thinks so strongly about women why is she not revealing the name of the bishop who according to her fathered the child?

I also agree with you when you say, “Some persons use information in their possession for their personal gain and glory. Let’s hope that the name of the Bishop is revealed so that this statement is proved wrong.


From the extensive research I have been doing on Ms. Saldanha, a “theologian” who has served in the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) and in the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) in prominent positions for many years, I imagine that she would not be lying in so grave a matter which concerns the immoral acts of a bishop of her archdiocese and a nun who had to leave her congregation and become a cook after he impregnated and discarded her. There are a number of issues involved including that of abuse of clerical office/authority and of suppression of truth, leave alone the problem of the abuse of women and women’s rights.

Since the story is now around two years older than the “10-12 years ago” conversation of Ms. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala also a supposed theologian — who is stated to have reported it to Ms. Saldanha, the guilty bishop might have retired or worse, become an archbishop or a cardinal by now.

If Ms. Saldanha’s allegation is true, it appears to me that there are grounds for a criminal investigation to uncover the identity of this bishop and bring him to justice while at the same time assuring justice to the victimised ex-nun. 

If Ms. Saldanha cannot substantiate her allegation, then she is guilty of slander and bringing disrepute to the Church. Either way, Mumbai-ites must ensure that they get to the bottom of this. The longer this allegation remains unverified, even innocent bishops will be viewed with suspicion and distrust.


1) The ex-nun revealed her shame and ignominy to Gajiwala — who also militates for women’s empowerment and against gender violence — only so that the guilty may be brought to book. Instead Gajiwala has used that knowledge to their advantage, ensuring that Ms. Saldanha reported it to support their contention that there is gender violence in the Indian church.

Virginia Saldanha and Astrid Lobo Gajiwala are vocal on issues of women’s rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality, which ultimately converge in their demand for the ordination of women as priests. See THE NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 15 – PRIESTHOOD UNDER ATTACK, DEMAND FOR ORDINATION OF WOMEN PRIESTS – FR SUBHASH ANAND AND OTHERS

Do they refrain from confronting/exposing the bishop in question because they know that the bishops can make their lives miserable as they do some priests and lay persons who have stood up to them?

Or do they wield this secret knowledge like a Damocles’ sword hanging over the Church to extend the reach of their radical feminism through their influential positions?

It must be noted that Ms. Gajiwala — who can hardly be called a model Catholic woman and parent [read her blogs!]– is now on the editorial board of The Examiner, the Archdiocesan weekly of Bombay since November 2011!!! The two women – and several other feminist nuns — are article contributors to the latest issue of the New Leader, March 1-15, 2012, and the most recent issue of The Examiner, March 3, 2012.  35.



2) As my records below show, though yours is the fifth internet forum that has carried Ms. Saldanha’s article in the past one-and-a-half years, few Catholic voices have demanded that an inquiry be instituted. Fewer still have seen through the feminist agenda of these lay women “theologians”.

3) The Archdiocese of Bombay is indisputably the largest propagator of institutionalised New Age [Interplay, vipassana meditation, yoga, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Christian Meditation (the WCCM and KRIPA Foundation), to name some] and other error [the “Catholic” Alpha Course, etc.] among the around 170 dioceses in this nation. Learned “theologians” like Astrid Lobo Gajiwala and Virginia Saldanha have never questioned those in authority responsible for these errors. If they did, they would lose the platforms from which they are currently able to promote their feminist agendas. Or, it is just possible that they do not protest because they too subscribe to the New Age ideologies of these practices?





Women are also victims of clergy sex abuse by Virginia Saldanha
UCA News
June 18, 2010

The issue of sexual abuse of women in the Church in Asia has been simmering beneath the surface for a long time. It is not a new issue. It has just never made the news before. But that must now be rectified.

Over the years I have become acutely aware that the problem is widespread. Many victims are crying out for justice, healing and support. But too often those cries for help are silent, made by the women victims to themselves alone.

That must stop.

For the women who have approached me already and for those I am yet to hear from, my pledge is simple. I will reach out to you with hope of justice and the path to recovery and peace.

No shortage of evidence

There is no shortage of anecdotal evidence of the scale of the problem which in some cases dates back many years.

Astrid Lobo-Gajiwala, a prominent leader in the women’s movement in the Church recently shared this story with me:

“I had gone for a family camp organized by Church personnel about 10-12 years ago. I wandered into the kitchen to meet the helpers and got into conversation with the cook.

When she came to know who I was she told me her story. She was a former nun who was forced to leave because she became pregnant. She was very, very bitter.    

She said she had been working for a bishop and he was the father of her child, a boy, who was being looked after by a church run orphanage. The bishop continued in his position as shepherd of the flock.”

Brief public appearances

Occasionally the issue becomes public – at least briefly – before retreating beneath the surface again.

The first study of the problem was in 2000 when the Women and Gender Commission of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines ( did research on the sexual abuse of women in the Church. They presented their partial findings to the Catholic Bishops.
Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)

In 2003 the CBCP came up with “Pastoral Guidelines on Sexual Abuses and Misconduct by the Clergy.”  The final document was signed by Archbishop Quevedo, then president of CBCP on September 1, 2003. 

At that time I was Executive Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India’s Commission for Women ( as well as the Executive Secretary of the Women’s Desk in the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences Office of Laity & Family.

Spurred on by the Philippines survey, I began to investigate the issue in India. I found Indian sisters shy about talking about it so I approached a Mother General from Switzerland.  She confirmed that it was an issue, but that congregations were asked to deal with the issue “in house”. 

The drawback of this approach was that only the Religious sister concerned was “dealt with”, rather than the problem itself.

Prepared to speak out

Some sisters were prepared to speak out, although few appeared to hear them. When 26 Indian women theologians met in Bangalore in 2002, they issued a statement saying:

“We raise our voice of concern and protest against the individual clerical abuse of women.

“We decry Institutional injustice to women that strips them of dignity and renders them powerless.” 

But progress in addressing the problem was slow and frustrating. I worked with the then Executive Secretary of the Commission of Clergy and a woman theologian to produce a syllabus on sexuality, to be used in the training of seminarians. 

It was rejected.

I feel the response to the issue was a questioning of the links between the women theologians’ group and the CBCI Commission for Women. They were subsequently de-linked in 2003.

Once again, the problem slipped back beneath the surface. But women’s voices could not be fully silenced and we continued to hear stories and the cries for help.




At a seminar for Religious, some years ago, I sat with a group of sisters to talk about the impact of patriarchy on women in the Church.  One sister spoke about her experience as a nurse being summoned by the priest in the mission area as he was sick.  When she was attending to him, he pulled her down on top of himself. 

An elderly sister sitting by my side said to me: “Virginia, this is a big problem, something must be done about it!”   

I agreed, but where to start? For a long time I was not able to do anything except raise the issue at various talks and discussions in the Church.

Hopeful signs

However, there were some hopeful signs that some men in the Church were prepared to address the problem. Calcutta Jesuit Provincial Father George Pattery, for example, raised it when talking to at the February 2006 General Body meeting of the Conference of Religious of India.

“The tendency is to silence the victims whenever complaints of sexual abuse are made.  From now on, we will work to formulate a policy that will ensure justice for all within the Church.” 

Montfort Brother Mani Mekkunnel*, national secretary of the Conference of Religious India (, a strong defender of women’s rights in the Church, also spoke of the need to chart a policy on sexual abuse of Religious within the Church. *a supporter of the feminist agenda; see CRI, {2} and p. 56

But the momentum only really began to gather over the past year or so. With the avalanche of child sex abuse cases in the Church coming to light in different parts of the world, women began asking, “what about the sexual abuse of women which is also a violation of women’s dignity, abuse of priestly position, and violation of the vow of celibacy?” 

Sexual misbehavior

More women began to approach me personally.

In February this year, a Religious sister from Asia living in the UK contacted me because she had suffered from the sexual misbehavior of an Indian priest while he was in the UK.
He even boasted to her about his other sexual escapades! 

Since then, I have been accompanying and supporting this brave and tenacious woman on her journey to bring justice and healing to herself and other victims of this priest. 

As she has pursued her case of sexual harassment, she has found that the priest’s boasts were far from idle. Reports to the authorities came to light from when he worked in India of his sexual misbehavior with many women, included sending inappropriate emails, betraying their trust and physical abuse.

In May this year I met with another victim of sexual abuse by a priest. She said that she had emotional problems and went to retreats organized by the priest, looking for counseling and healing. She was convinced by the priest that healing came from God in the form of his “loving touch”, which developed into a sexual relationship. 

She later discovered that he had relationships with other women who also came to his retreats for counseling.

Time for action

More cases came to light during the East Asia Bishops’ Institute on Women (…) in Taiwan in May this year, where the issue of violence to women in society and in the Church was brought up. 

A participant from Taiwan shared tearfully her own experience of sexual abuse by a priest while Sprout women’s group in Taiwan said that they have helped with a case of sexual abuse in the Church and developed a course for sexual harassment prevention in all the dioceses of Taiwan.

But the time for talk is over. We in the Church need to address this problem urgently.

First we need to acknowledge a problem exists. Then we need a survey to quantify the scale of the problem and then we need action – to bring justice and healing in existing cases and to do our best through education and policy to address this issue in future.

But most of all we must ensure that no more are women left to cry for help and not be heard. END

By Virginia Saldanha, former executive secretary of the FABC Office of Laity and Family. She can be contacted on
and would like to hear, in absolute confidence, from any women who have suffered from sexual abuse in the Church.

NOTE: Out of 28 comments, 27 encouraged Virginia Saldanha, including the following from UCAN itself!

My name is Paddy and I work on the editorial team at If you need to get in touch with Virginia, you can email me at and I will make absolutely sure your message reaches her.

NOTE: Only one anonymous respondent saw through the subterfuge. He wrote:

                     The author’s email ID reveals more about the author than what is written here. “womynvs” evidently refers to “womyn” followed by the author’s initials. For the uninformed, the word “womyn” is tied to the concept of radical feminism, the kind which will not tolerate the spelling “woman” because it has “man” in it. The earliest use of the term “womyn”, according to the Wikipedia essay, is attested in the Oxford English Dictionary as being the name of a 1975 “womyn’s festival” mentioned in a lesbian publication. It is absolutely essential to discern the rising strains of militant feminism within the Church from the real sociological/gender issues. Bishops beware! By “Guest”.



Women are also victims of clergy sex abuse



Conference of Religious India [CRI] Bulletin, June 23, 2010

Virginia Saldanha, the former executive secretary of the FABC Office of Laity and Family, raises concern over the issue of sexual abuse of women in the Church in Asia.

{As in {1} above}



Forum of Asian Catholic Women Theologians

Women are also victims of clergy sex abuse!

Posted by Virginia Saldanha on June 29, 2010 at 4:28pm in General Discussion

{As in {1} above}


MangaloreanCatholics yahoo group digest no. 2060

July 8, 2010
Ancy D’Souza Paladka a.k.a. Salu Soz, a supporter and promoter of liberal issues]

19. Women are also victims of clergy sex abuse says Virginia Saldanha

Posted by: “Allwyn Fernandes” Wed Jul 7, 2010 10:48 pm (PDT)

Virginia Saldanha speaks up at last, says “Women are also victims of clergy sex abuse”.

{As in {1} above}

When people like Virginia Saldanha speak up, you know the wind has turned!!!
Better late than never, but better never late! It takes greater courage to speak truth to authority when authority is powerful. Now the bishops have been weakened considerably and people are developing the courage to speak up. But still, I am glad that Virginia has decided to speak up – she did not even reply to my email earlier giving her a specific case. Now she wants people to come forward and confide in her. By all means, Virginia, we will because, as you say, “That must stop.” Amen to that!
Bishops had better beware – nothing like women roused to anger. You have treated the complaints of victims shabbily for far too long. Allwyn Fernandes, Mumbai


Your site, The Association of Concerned Catholics,

Gender sensitivity grows in Church- Then why is the Bishops name not being revealed.
Posted on
March 9, 2012

The below mentioned article {Gender sensitivity grows in Church Ashley D’Mello TNN} [not reproduced here- Michael] appeared in the Times of India issue of March 9th 2012.

The article under it* is taken from the blog of Virginia [Saldanha].The link to the said article is also given.

If Virgina thinks so strongly about women why is she not revealing the name of the bishop who according to her fathered the child?

Some persons use information in their possession for their personal gain and glory. Lets hope that the name of the Bishop is revealed so that this statement is proved wrong.

Link to check authenticity: Women are also victims of clergy sex abuse!:

*{As in {1} above}



A. At regular intervals, this ministry receives information concerning the moral escapades and financial mismanagement of prelates, with requests that this ministry report on them.

However, this ministry as a rule restricts itself to reporting what is already in the public domain and then too in exceptional cases, and also only in instances of liturgical abuse, Hinduisation as opposed to inculturation, doctrinal error, New Age error, and the like.

So why the exception in our making and publishing the report “Bishop Fathers Child by Nun“?

The report was in the public domain not once but five times [at least]; the original report was made by Virginia Saldanha, a former high-ranking executive of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, who “studied theology” in a Catholic seminary and lectures to Cardinals and bishops in India and overseas; and because as the source of her information she cites Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, who herself “studied theology” in the same Catholic seminary, also lectures on feminist issues to Church leaders, and is on the editorial board of The Examiner, the Bombay archdiocesan weekly.

Their having been in close proximity to the bishops of their archdiocese for about three decades, their report cannot be taken lightly or be dismissed as frivolous.


B. Separate articles on Feminist Theologians to be released shortly at

1. Virginia Saldanha and Ecclesia of Women in Asia: Vaginas, Orgasms, and the Ordination of Women as Priests [The title was later modified by me- Michael]

2. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala: Feminist Theology, Interreligious Dialogue, Hinduisation, and the Ordination of Women as Priests

3. The Indian
Church’s leading Feminist Theologians and their supporters among the religious and priests.



1. Pietro, 20 March: This is investigative journalism.

2. Croydon, 20 March: Thank you Michael and Mumbai Laity for this article/response. I am a personal fan of Michael’s work and have studying some of his impeccable research. I am sure he has left no stone unturned in researching the above subject. Protecting women’s rights is a necessary step. But when it distorts the Church’s teachings and is based on falsity, then it must be dealt with. If the authorities can’t deal with it, then the laity must. Moreover, anybody fighting for women priests has definitely got their theology wrong. There is an official document/ Encyclical* clearly explaining the reason the issue of women priests is foolish (refer *It is an Apostolic Letter, see pages 47-51
I would like to remind Michael and Mumbai laity that “although we are flesh, we do not battle according to the flesh. For the weapons of our battle are not flesh but enormously capable of destroying fortresses. We destroy arguments and every pretension raising itself against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ” (2 Cor 10:3-5)

3. Francis S. Lobo, 21 March: Why Virginia Saldanha and Astrid Lobo are not revealing the identity? It looks like “Bishop and the Nun” are not real character, but cooked up story by Virginia Saldanha and Astrid Lobo to strengthen their feminist motives in the Church. Virginia should either reveal the identity and the Church will deal with the same or else she should accept that it is a lie to strengthen feminism in the Church.

The above report “Virginia Saldanha: Bishop Fathers Child by Nun” continues from page 72.



Virginia Saldanha defends the indefensible. The following story, see my report
THE UNIVERSAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT, FR VARGHESE ALENGADEN, INDORE, is about the meditation room of Fr. Varghese Alengaden in Indore. The room has no crucifix, Bible or the Blessed Sacrament, just a huge mirror on which one must focus while meditating. The meditator focuses on his or her own image in the mirror which has above it a plaque with the words in Hindi, “AHAM BRAHMASMI” [I AM THAT or I AM THAT DIVINE BEING, loosely translated as “I am God”, the proclamation of the yoga adept when he or she achieves moksha or the monistic oneness with the Brahman], below which is “GOD WITHIN” in English.

Leo Fernando, UCAN reporter, who had interviewed me on the New Community Bible controversy, sent me the following link
for the 57 comments posted against the UCAN report on the “Mirror meditation”*. Of course, as always, there were those who saw nothing wrong in praying to the God-within and even some merit in praying to oneself. However, I reproduced more than 40 of those postings that recognized grave error [New Age, pantheism, Eastern mysticism, Gnosticism, lunatic theology, narcissism, cafeteria Catholicism, heresy, the sin of Satan [pride], idolatry, and against the First Commandment] in the mirror meditation technique,
see my report.

I posted the following comment to UCAN on May 29, 2009, at 5:45 pm:

A detailed report on this subject, with feedback and comments from Catholics, will be posted shortly on our ministry’s website at Thank you UCAN for publishing this story…

Michael Prabhu, Metamorphose Catholic Ministries, Chennai; Joint Editor, The Catholic Times [Registered], Chennai.

The above comment was “awaiting moderation” even several days after its posting.

Virginia Saldanha‘s long comment is the last but one published post on the topic:

Virginia Saldanha, India
September 9, 2008 at 2:55 am

It makes me sad to read all the comments above.
It reminds me of the poem – ‘Six Blind Men and the Elephant’. Each sees the elephant from their own perspective and concludes what the whole elephant is like.

I would like to highlight a few things that seem to have been overlooked. First that Universal Solidarity Movement is started in India which is a multi-religious country. There have been recent upsurges of religious extremists attacking the Christians on so called ‘issues of conversions’. Fr. Varghese’s attempt is to invite people from different religious communities to come to this meditation room, which cannot have religious objects of any one religious denomination (I think), so that they may realize some common truths that are shared by all, i.e. we are all made in the image of God and therefore the concept of ‘God within us’, (which is easily understood by the Hindu majority in India).

He clearly mentions that “The movement aims to generate responsible citizens to promote harmony among India’s various groups by encouraging them to live the values of their respective religions. The “mirror room” is just one of various methods he uses to promote harmony and solidarity.”

If we only read the news of the severe attacks by religious extremist forces on Christians in Orissa, India, we will appreciate the need for some concrete measures to help people towards peaceful co-existence.

I think the involvement of sisters in this programme is necessary because they are all working with different religious groups and they need to be catalysts for peace and harmony.

It is also necessary to understand the cultural context of the interior parts of India where missionaries like Fr. Varghese and the sisters’ work in order to appreciate their work for inter-religious harmony and peace. I personally feel it is unfair to judge this initiative from a lens of “Western Catholic culture”. 39.



And this is the last post on the topic, the response of one UCAN reader to Virginia Saldanha:

Anne, Australia September 30, 2008 at 8:50 am

The teachings of the Catholic Church do not change with different cultures and different countries.
The First Commandment is for everyone. “I am the Lord thy God, you shall have no other god’s before me.” Only through the Truth, (which is Jesus Christ Himself, for He said: ‘I am the Truth’ will peace and harmony ever exist. If the truth is changed by words or actions it is abused and is no longer the whole truth. Consequently we will not have true peace or harmony.

*’Mirror Room’ Helps People Discover Divinity Within Themselves August 20, 2008…



Ms. Saldanha
offers implausible arguments [
“to promote harmony and solidarity”] to justify the need for the
Mirror meditation” room. The room is used not by people of other faiths but by Catholic nuns, according to the nuns and priest interviewed by UCAN, and as the article’s accompanying picture shows. Even in the Catholic Ashrams, it is not so much the people of other religions who are participating. To that extent, the movement is an utter failure, and despairingly recognized as such by the leaders of the movement. It is Catholics – lay community leaders, nuns, seminarians and priests who are being subverted at these Ashrams.

Below, she once again hurries to encourage Fr. Varghese Alengaden and his Universal Solidarity Movement:

Crown the living gods September 11, 2009 EXTRACT:

Religion has to promote life beyond temples and churches, says Father Varghese Alengaden, who aims to promote religious harmony through his Universal Solidarity Movement….

Virginia Saldanha on Fri, 11th Sep 2009 10:28 pm wrote: 

Thank you for this excellent and insightful article. It is applicable across the board to all religions.



The Universal Solidarity Movement is a breakaway/offshoot of the Dharma Bharathi ashram/movement which is New Age. Visit my site and read the reports to appreciate the spiritual dangers that these two movements pose to Catholics. All the talk of religious harmony is nothing but a smoke screen for syncretism.



When I sent her a pilot letter concerning my report on the Ashrams movement, she replied:

Virginia Saldanha
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2005 12:55 PM


Dear Michael Prabhu, I am no longer the Executive Secretary of the Commission for Women in the CBCI.  Please go to the CBCI website for the latest information.  However I would be interested to know what you have to say about the Ashram movement
					– if you could send a hard copy to my address: B/4 Pearl Queen, North Avenue; Santa Cruz, Mumbai 400 054.

I do not agree with your position, but am open to your views. Sincerely, Virginia Saldanha

She was then serving at the FABC. I sent her a soft copy and she wrote:

Virginia Saldanha
Sent: Sunday, October 30, 2005 12:53 PM


I will find an opportunity to go thru the soft copy sometime.  I am busy with my travels till end Nov. Virginia Saldanha

Virginia Saldanha
Sent: Friday, April 07, 2006 9:16 AM Subject: Re: From Michael

Yes I did receive your material on Ashrams.

With best wishes for a deep experience of God’s transforming love at Easter. Virginia
Virginia Saldanha
Executive Secretary FABC Office of Laity, Family & Women’s Desk HONG KONG

Ultimately, I did not receive feedback from Virginia Saldanha on the Catholic ashrams report.


On page 24, I had already mentioned that Virginia Saldanha was favourable to the Ashrams movement.

This probably concerns a meeting held at the Sameeksha ashram of
Fr. Sebastian Painadath
SJ at Kalady.

I have reported a great deal abut the dangerous teachings of this priest in various articles:

“Lay Faithful – Servants of the Word”
Ms. Virginia Saldanha, The Examiner June 21, 2008 EXTRACT

Recently, on a visit to an ashram in Kerala, for an inter-religious exchange, our group of women were…


Indian Women Theologians’ Forum (IWTF) by
Virginia Saldanha
The New Leader June 1-15, 2009 EXTRACT

The 9th Annual meeting of the Indian Women Theologians’ Forum (IWTF), consisting of 19 Indian women from various Religious congregations, Secular Institutes and the laity, coming from different states of the country, was held in
Sanjeevan Ashram, Pune on 23-25 April 2009. The Forum reflected on the theme “Space Women can claim in the Church for Theologizing” from a Biblical perspective, and on “Feminist Ethics – Perspectives and Challenges”…

The Forum invited all women and men of goodwill to join hands in supporting the cause for justice to women in the Church as well as for creation of spaces that recognize women’s autonomy and dignity as equal members of the Church. 40.





Virginia Saldanha‘s theological positions are no different than those of the liberal professors of the seminaries about which I have written in my other reports.
Fr. Kurien Kunnumpuram S.J.
is one of the priests who publicly defended the heretical St Pauls’
New Community Bible [NCB], 2008.


Forum calls for Women Empowerment,
The Examiner
March 6, 2004,
SAR news

The Women’s Forum of the Jesuit-run Institute of Philosophy and Religion, Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth Pune, celebrated the International Women’s Day, February 5.

Over 300 participants affirmed the need for women to move from enforced passivity to a partnership in mission, both in the Church and in society at large.

The Secretary of the CBCI Commission for Women, Ms. Virginia Saldanha spoke of the obstacles faced. “There is need for theology and spirituality to be viewed and scripture to be interpreted from a feminine perspective,” she emphasized…

Jesuit Fr. Kurien Kunnumpuram, retired Professor of Theology, Jesuit Father Noel Sheth, president of JDV, took part in the celebrations.


Talking of the
St Pauls’
New Community Bible, 2008 which, following a media campaign launched by this ministry, was withdrawn — though St. Pauls and some of the bishops may deny that — only to be brought out with some placatory revisions in 2011, here is the response from Virginia Saldanha to a letter from me:

Virginia Saldanha
Sent: Saturday, July 26, 2008 7:44 PM Subject: NCB

Dear Michael,
I am on a long holiday away from India and so have not heard about the NCB. However if there is anything that is troubling you I think you should take it up with the authorities in the Church by going through the structures of subsidiarity i.e. your local bishop, the regional bishop, perhaps the doctrinal commission of the CBCI, and then the CBCI executive. It is only when you do not get a satisfactory answer at all these levels, then it is advisable to go to the Vatican. 
I would be interested to have more information about this. Yours truly,

Virginia Saldanha Executive Secretary, FABC Office of Laity & Family

Sent: Sunday, July 27, 2008 9:21 AM Subject: Re: NCB

Dear Virginia,

[…] I am attaching here the report on the NCB for your study, as requested for by you. […]

I am confident that you will share our concern about the sections of the commentaries that we have only briefly analysed.
Could you please respond after you receive/read the report, in acknowledgement? Michael


I sent the soft copy of the NCB critique to Virginia Saldanha at the FABC. It was not acknowledged by her.

How could it have been acknowledged by her when she could never have agreed with what I wrote in my analyses of the errors in the NCB‘s commentaries?

The “Mirror meditation” of the Universal Solidarity Movement, the ideology of its progenitor Dharma Bharathi and the Catholic ashrams movement preclude any possibility of genuine evangelization of this Hindu nation since they offer syncretistic alternatives to the “proclamation of Jesus as Lord” which is exhorted of us by the Church in her Document, Ecclesia in Asia.



Proclamation vs. dialogue – Pope John Paul II criticized for calling for evangelization of Asia

By Thomas C. Fox,
National Catholic Reporter, December 3, 1999 and

Mixed reactions to pope’s call for conversion of Asia

Reactions to Pope John Paul II’s call for the conversion of Asia in the third millennium were mixed as scholars, bishops and pastoral workers deciphered the pope’s words. Some spoke about the problems they would face living out the new directives. The pope made a 62-hour stop in New Delhi where on Nov. 6 he unveiled his long-awaited response to the April 1998 Synod for Asia. He boldly proclaimed Jesus Christ as humanity’s “only savior” and called upon the church to bring Christianity to Asia during the third millennium. “There can be no true evangelization without the explicit proclamation of Jesus as Lord,” the pope emphasized…

Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, retired archbishop of Seoul, South Korea, and synod delegate, said that the fruits of the Synod for Asia have been “well-harvested.” “In the exhortation, the pope added his personal stress that Jesus Christ is the only Savior, though dialogue is needed,” Kim explained. He said he disagreed with the concern that the “Asian face” of Jesus in the document may be inconsistent with the unique essence of Christianity.



Virginia Saldanha of Mumbai, India, a lay member of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference, an umbrella organization of the Asian bishops, said the papal document is being received in India with “a lot of unease.” She said the problem is that it “has been made by men who are far removed from our reality in the streets of India.” She said that Catholics “will receive the brunt of the reactions not only from militant fundamentalists but from level-thinking people.”

She added that a Muslim had asked her how she would feel if a command had gone out to all the Muslims of the world to go out and convert the whole world. “Would you not feel threatened?” she quoted him as asking.

UCA News also contributed to this article.



1. The National Catholic Reporter and its publisher Thomas C. Fox are listed in the Catholic web site as dissenting from Catholic Faith.

2. The Vatican Document Ecclesia in Asia was released on November 6, 1999. It is now 12 years since Virginia Saldanha is quoted as prophesying violent reactions against the Church from Hindu fundamentalists.

Nothing of the sort has happened. See her other false prophesy on page 43.

More than the Hindu extreme right, it is those in the Catholic left, especially theologians like Virginia Saldanha, who are inordinately concerned about Rome’s exhortation to the Indian Church:

If the Church in Asia is to fulfil its providential destiny, evangelization as the joyful, patient and progressive preaching of the saving Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ must be your absolute priority“. EA #2

Rome also stated: “There can be no true evangelization without the explicit proclamation of Jesus as Lord. The Second Vatican Council and the Magisterium since then, responding to a certain confusion about the true nature of the Church’s mission, have repeatedly stressed the primacy of the proclamation of Jesus Christ in all evangelizing work. Thus Pope Paul VI explicitly wrote that ‘there is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the Kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, are not proclaimed’. This is what generations of Christians have done down the centuries.” EA #19

Those who are involved with the Catholic ashrams movement or who are propagating their personal interpretations of Rome’s guidelines on interreligious dialogue are sworn opponents of evangelization.

Virginia Saldanha is certainly one of them.

3. According to Virginia Saldanha, Ecclesia in Asia “has been made by men who are far removed from our reality in the streets of India.” That was the exact same response of our liberal Indian theologians to the Document Dominus Iesus released by Rome on August 6, 2000.

See Indian Theologians Regret Vatican Inability to Understand Them
[The Vatican “does not sufficiently understand and appreciate the implications of religious and cultural pluralism in India in particular and in Asia in general.”]

4. Just an example, below… NCR/Tom Fox report on EWA or women theologians’ activities; Virginia Saldanha reproduces it in the EWA blog. Birds of a feather…

Asia/Oceania Meeting of Women Religious in Bangkok

Read the reports on this meeting posted by Tom Fox of NCR who is present at this meeting at this link. The theme of the meeting is “Called to Move Beyond”. I have attached some pictures of the cultural night.

Move beyond boundaries, Asia, Oceania women religious urged October 14, 2009…



A. Voices from Catholic India

Virginia Saldanha,
Executive secretary, Office of the Laity, Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences
Bombay [Mumbai] May 4, 2001

My girls don’t like to go to church. They come back angry*. Yet they work with the poor. They do good work. I keep telling the bishop this. I say that by the year 2020 the churches will be empty* and there will be no women unless the church wakes up to the way women feel about things.

The young people will not put up with some of the things we put up with. So I end up feeling tremendous anger and pain. Often the things that are being said in the gospels are not being practiced in our church. I cannot leave the church, but my daughters will not be a part of it. This makes me sad.

We recently had an archdiocesan synod. During the four days a lot of subjects came up. There was a lot of talk about what we should address, how we should be in solidarity with the poor. On the fourth and last day, the issue of women came up. The priest who was running the meeting said we should give women a chance to express themselves. Some did.

Then it was time for the closing Mass. It was a time the archbishop [Ivan Dias] told us he had listened and would respond to our concerns. He went through the list mentioning all sorts of subjects. However, one was most absent. It was the subject of women. He left women out completely. 42.



In Bombay the church allows altar girls, but there was none during the synod. No young girls were allowed. What kind of signal does that send out? As a token, two young girls were allowed to stand at the far side of the altar and hold a miter and a cross. They sat in the corner the whole time. A man read the words. It could have been a woman.

The archbishop was giving us a signal that he did not accept women. This is the man who tried like anything to close the [archdiocesan] Women’s Desk. In the end, he was not able to because we stood up for our rights. This is sad for the church of Bombay. We have a cardinal, but he does not have an Asian mind. He comes to us from the Roman diplomatic corps. This is bad because Bombay gives direction to the rest of the church in India. .



Its almost eleven years since
Virginia Saldanha made this irresponsible prediction, “I say that by the year 2020 the churches will be empty“. The churches are not emptying of women; neither will there be eight years from now in the year 2020. See her earlier false prophesy on page 42.

If at all the parish churches are emptying of entire families, it is because of “Catholics” like Virginia Saldanha [and her side-kick Astrid Lobo Gajiwala]. They are scandalized and disgusted by what passes for ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue, an inculturation [my term for it is Hinduization] gone awry, liturgical abuses, liberal theologians, institutionalized New Age, and bishops who do nothing about it all.

2. *We know the type of Catholic that one of Virginia Saldanha‘s daughters is. See pages 6, 7. Our sons and other family members are witnesses to the syncretism and the decadence in the Indian church. So are hundreds of our friends. They too experience “anger and pain”.

None of them want to leave the Church. Instead, they stay, catechize their families with the true doctrines that come from Rome, and fight the errors and abuses much like my wife and I do.

If the Belgium daughter of Virginia Saldanha is how she is with regard to her Catholic faith and praxis, she only has her mother to thank.

3. Kudos to Ivan Cardinal Dias for having recognized and acted against the threat from the feminist lobby.

He realized that the liberties granted to them were being exploited to further their main agenda… well, by now we all know what that is.

It appears that with the departure of Ivan Cardinal Dias from the archdiocese, things have swung in favour of women like Virginia Saldanha and Astrid Lobo Gajiwala. Could it have something to do with their knowledge of the identity of the bishop who [according to them] fathered a child by a nun?


B. Can we spread true peace at Christmas?

By Virginia Saldanha December 18, 2003

Last year there was an interesting anecdote circulating on the Internet around Christmas. It asked, “What if the three wise men were women?” The author went on to answer the question:

If they were women, they would have brought cooked food, clean diapers, and the skills of a midwife. They would have cleaned the stable, prepared a meal, shoved the animals out of the way and given sound advice about childcare.

They would have been able to see through the evil intentions of the tyrant Herod and they would have escorted the newborn to a safe haven. They would have filed charges against Herod for child abuse and organised a non-violent rally. But the men, they brought unusable gold, and the inedible incense and myrrh. So impractical.



C. Open Letters to the New Pope: Asian women request a true dialogue

By Virginia Saldanha July 20, 2005

(Editor’s Note: Global Perspective is featuring Catholics from across the globe writing open letters to the new pope, Benedict XVI. Today, Virginia Saldanha writes from Mumbai, India.)

Dear Pope Benedict,

Greetings from women in Asia.

We warmly welcome you as head of the universal Catholic church. We are hopeful that as the head of the Catholic church and our Holy Father, you will adopt an understanding and dialogical approach towards the concerns of women in the church. Permit me to bring to your attention the situation of women in Asia.

The Gospels tell us that Jesus included women in his ministry and responded to women’s concerns with courage and empathy. He challenged the oppressive laws and culture of his time to bring fullness of life to women. Asian women yearn for this fullness of life promised by Jesus.

Our churches are full on Sundays. Women form the majority of the congregations. In the small Christian community which is promoted by the Bishops of Asia as the “New Way of Being Church” (5th Plenary Assembly of the FABC in Bandung, 1990) women are trainers, facilitators and the most reliable and regular participants. In fact, women help build and maintain small Christian communities. Women “minister” to the communities in the absence of men. “If women go, we have to close the church,” a Japanese Bishop commented. A Sri Lankan bishop said that in a Gospel sharing session he attended, the deep spiritual experience of a married woman touched and helped him realize that the small Christian community is the way to be church. The women keep the faith and church alive in Asia. 43.



However, the existence of the majority of women in Asia is a struggle to survive beneath the weight of poverty compounded by negative attitudes in culture and tradition. These are women who give birth throughout their reproductive lives; they take care of the family and are forced to go out and earn to keep their families from hunger. They are women victims of physical, psychological and sexual violence; women deprived of opportunities for advancement in social and political life; women oppressed in the name of religion; women without a voice. While a few women from the middle class have opportunities because of their economic and social position of advantage, most women continue to struggle for their day to day existence and that of their families. It is not just economic empowerment that will improve their situation; a holistic approach is needed. Attitudes towards women and the poor have to change. The bulk of the membership of the church in Asia is these poor women.

The latest census of the Indian population highlights the bias against the girl child very clearly. Parents make the choice to abort the unwanted girl child. A bishop in India once remarked, “The girl-child will have value only when females can become bishops.”* This is a figurative statement but says it all. Women, even with high levels of education, are under pressure to abort female fetuses and produce a male child, who is valued more than a female child. The reason being, a male child has better chances to succeed economically, politically and reach higher levels of leadership in every sphere of life. In India parents have the added burden of providing a dowry to marry off their daughters and preserve their daughter’s virginity for marriage (especially in the context of high prevalence of rape and the double standards of morality). Culture and tradition are heavily biased against women in most of Asia. *See page 51 and 80

I work for the empowerment of women at various levels in the church in Asia. Without full support from the clergy and hierarchy, there is not much we can achieve since women have no power to make decisions in the church. The wave of conservatism sweeping through the church makes it even more difficult. It tends to take women back in time as well, reinforcing the oppressive culture.

From Genesis 1:27, we are convinced that both men and women, created in the image and likeness of God, need to act together in all spheres of life to make God present in those areas. It is with this firm belief that women ask to be given the opportunity to stand alongside men in leadership in the world as well as in the church.

In your letter “On the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World”, optimistically, I detect a glimmer of hope. It states that the reflections are meant to serve as an “impetus for dialogue with all men and women of good will, in a sincere search for the truth and in a common commitment to the development of ever more authentic relationships.” We hope that you will be open to consult with and listen to a wide spectrum of women to begin this dialogue.

Together with the women of Asia, I earnestly request you to open a true dialogue with women. It will help everyone become aware that women are not only the most faithful followers of Christ (like the women in the time of Jesus) but that we also love the church and want to contribute in every way to the witnessing presence of the church in Asia and the world. We want to continue the mission of Jesus, to bring wholeness and healing to the world.

With our deepest respects and prayers for carrying on the mission of Christ,

We the women of Asia, remain faithful and committed to this mission with you.

Virginia Saldanha is a woman activist working in India for the empowerment of women through Church institutions as well as networking with secular organizations in the struggle for justice and peace.



A. Nuns pledge to empower women, build support groups in war situation India May 30, 2000 EXTRACT

At the National Convention of Women Religious held May 17-20 in Colombo […] Virginia Saldanha, executive secretary of the Office of Laity of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference, told the nuns at the convention that women Religious are still bound by the patriarchal and hierarchical structure of their own congregations.

Speaking on the “Role of the Asian Religious in the Asian Church,” the Indian lay woman warned that there is “male oppression” within the Church.

Saldanha asked women Religious to be aware of Church documents, be involved in decision-making bodies and seek ways and means to empower women Religious. She also suggested drawing up a plan of action and formulating strategies.


B. Catholic Women Theologians’ First Assembly Seeks to End Monopoly* India June 19, 2001 *See page 8

Catholic women theologians in India resolved at their first-ever assembly to find ways to end male dominance in theology
and Church decision making and to bring theology to the people.

“We grapple with constant and persistent marginalization of women in the Church,” said the statement from 23 women including some nuns who met in the western Indian city of Pune June 7-8.

The assembly on “building women’s solidarity” decided to form a forum of women theologians to accelerate development of theology with a women’s perspective.

Participants reported being “hurt about the exclusion of the feminist perspective from mainstream theology,” meeting organizer Virginia Saldanha, secretary of the Indian bishops’ Commission for Women, told UCA News. 44.



They “sought ways to build women’s solidarity and to evolve a theology rooted in their lives as Indian women,” she said in a brief report.

The meeting statement “strongly” objected to “any attempt to create divisions among women” and to the “exclusion of the feminist perspective from mainstream theology.” It also objected to the absence of women in Church policy- and decision-making bodies.

To end such aberrations the women theologians proposed to increase “dialogue with theologians, men, clergy, hierarchy and, equally importantly, with other women.” Their statement said they would also write articles, publish books and study canon law to help incorporate their perspective in theology. Meanwhile, they will “build a solidarity network with all women,” take theology “to the people” and widen the human experience included in it. The meeting urged women teaching theology to “explore their theological thrust” and “examine the structure in which they work.”

Decrying the “social conditioning that co-opts women into the patriarchal system,” the statement said the “piety imposed upon woman” manifests itself in their “subservience and uncritical acceptance of male norms and perspectives.”

The women theologians affirmed their commitment to “the women struggling for liberation” and to building “solidarity” that will foster theologizing in the context of women in India.

Globalization that marginalizes the poor, promotion of a monoculture, victimization of women by fundamentalists and gender discrimination against women has made Indian women “the poorest of the poor,” they asserted.

In their statement the Catholic women also committed themselves to “search for a holistic way of being and becoming” and to network with women of other Churches and religions who have similar commitments.

Saldanha, also executive secretary of the Federation of Asian Bishops´ Conferences (FABC) Office of Laity, said the meet was inspired by the recommendations of the two FABC Bishops’ Institutes for Lay Apostolate on Women and by the specific aims of the Indian bishops’ Commission for Women.


C. Church Urged To Be More ‘Feminine’ and to Respond To Women’s Needs China August 29, 2005

Catholic women in East Asia gathered recently and discussed how to make the Church more “feminine,” to assert the identity of women and to improve their status within the Church… at the Aug. 15-19 First East Asia Meeting on Women .

The issue of gender-sensitive language came up. Virginia Saldanha, executive secretary of the FABC women’s desk, urged participants reading the Bible in English, the common language of the meeting, to use “us” or “all people” rather than “men,” especially when women are in the majority…


D. Empower Women to Foster Life, Says FABC Official India December 3, 2007

A Catholic woman leader says the Church has to take the lead and empower women to fulfill its prophetic role in the world.

Empowering women will add a “life-giving perspective” to the Church’s mission of fostering life, Virginia Saldanha told the Catholic Council of India (CCI), the representative body of the Church in the country. Saldanha is secretary of the Office for Laity and Family under the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).

Around 300 bishops, priests, nuns and laypeople representing the country’s 160 dioceses attended the CCI plenary, held Dec. 1-3 in Ranchi, capital of Jharkhand state, 1,160 kilometers east of New Delhi.

In her keynote address on Empowerment of Women in the Church and Society, Saldanha urged the Indian Church to introduce gender sensitivity in seminaries, invest in training couples and fight negative portrayals of women.

She told the gathering, which included about 50 women delegates, that the Church should adopt a multi-pronged empowerment program. For this she urged the Church to develop theology and spirituality from a woman’s perspective.

Empowered women will help check the culture of death, since they realize they are “co-creators” with God. They will view pregnancy, birth and child nurturing as signs of God’s work, rather than “a burden” of their “biological make-up.”

Saldanha also wants the Church to promote gender equality. The world can progress only if men and women complement each other in governance, decision-making, politics and other areas, she asserted, maintaining that lack of this “complementarity” has made the world suffer immensely.

Over the centuries, myths created about women have robbed them of their self-confidence, self-esteem and dignity, Saldanha observed.

In her analysis, women began to assert themselves only after two world wars killed many men and forced women to replace them at work. However, that movement did not bring social transformation, because it emerged without proper reflection on an identity and spirituality created by men, Saldanha said. As a result, “wrong responses were created to these problems.”

Asia saw a women’s movement in the late 20th century, but unlike its Western counterpart, it emerged as part of the struggles of other poor for liberation, the FABC official noted.

The Church can develop women’s spirituality and theology, which will eventually help restore dignity and value to women, she said. For this, she continued, the Church should encourage women theologians to re-read Scripture from their perspective and articulate a spirituality based on their experience. 45.



Women suffer even in the Church, the Catholic laywoman asserted, despite the liberative message that Christ brought and early Christians fostered. She blamed this on “dominant cultures” interpreting the gospel, as well as on theology rooted in feudal Europe.

To correct this, Saldanha wants the Church to recognize the work done by women in Small Christian Communities and in remote villages. She also wants the Church to encourage women to study theology, allow them to contribute as pastoral workers, researchers and theology teachers, and appoint them to positions that do not require priests.

Priests, meanwhile, should learn to respect woman and treat them as “responsible adults,” not order them around. “The aura” built around priesthood perpetuates women’s low status in the Church, she added.

The laywoman wants seminaries to appoint women professors, conduct seminars on women’s issues and allow students to have “healthy interaction” with women during formation. “Gender sensitivity has to become compulsory and a foundation course in all seminaries,” if the Church is serious about empowerment, she insisted.

Women’s empowerment will also help men handle their problems, Saldanha said, since stereotyping of gender roles overburdens men to “be strong all the time” and to mistake machismo and aggression for maleness. “Empower women and you will empower all life into wholeness,” she concluded.


E. Is the ball now in the women’s court?
By Virginia Saldanha
March 15, 2010
Mumbai, India The passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill by the Upper House of parliament in India is a small but nonetheless significant step for the realization of women’s political rights… Many Catholic women express the hope that the Church follows the example of the government in including women in decision-making bodies as well. Perhaps we have to work using the newly released Gender Policy of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India to this end.


F. Old hierarchies inhibit Asian Church By Virginia Saldanha India September 28, 2011 EXTRACT

Two recent Consultations that took place in Mumbai and Pune on the themes “Gender Relations in the Church” and “Building Integral Partnership for Prophetic Mission” in the context of the Gender Policy of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, identified the hierarchical structure of the Church as one of the major challenges to equal partnership in the Church.

It does not flow from the mandate and example of Jesus, who emphasized servant leadership. The doctrine of the Trinity itself – three equal while different persons – challenges all hierarchical structures of power. The word hierarchy is not found in the New Testament… The establishment of the hierarchy gives priests power and legitimacy to dominate and control the Church, and by virtue of the exclusion of women from the hierarchy, this power is used over them, since power is normally understood as power over another…

The new vision of Church requires priests who are trained to exercise servant leadership exemplified by Jesus in washing the feet of his disciples. The inclusion of this ritual in the Eucharistic celebration can be a powerful sign that empowers everyone to be a leader, including women who sadly are forbidden to have their feet washed on Maundy Thursday when we recall the institution of the Eucharist by Jesus.


G. First impressions of the first Sunday

Posted by Virginia Saldanha November 29, 2011

I found myself in quite a quandary when walking to Mass this Sunday. I was telling myself, I should not get angry during Mass. Angry because a usage in the English language that is not mine will be forced upon me. Angry because the Church wants me to feel good about this.

Then I psyched myself to look at the humorous side – and there are plenty of opportunities for humor in this.

Copies of the new missal have not reached our parish; the old priest had to use a laminated card that has very fine print.  He started the “I Confess” and continued rambling on with the version we’ve been used to. Some of the congregation who were reading from the card read the new one (actually it’s the older old one, but you know what I mean.) Those who did not want to read from the card followed the priest and continued with the common version. Half way through, the priest realized his mistake, put the card closer to his eyes and continued reading from it. I smiled at the cacophony that ensued.

There were other points when we relapsed to the prayers we are used to. I am determined to continue to say them anyway, because I do not believe that Christ died just for the many, but for all.

I also will not use the word “consubstantial”
as I’m sure many do not understand it, while everyone understands “one in being with God.” Nor will everyone get the word “incarnate” while the meaning of “born of” is instantly familiar, and so on.

I think the language of the New Roman Missal will only lead people to understand less of their beliefs and run to the priest for guidance. The notion that the “vertical dimension” will be strengthened is a myth; the only thing that will be strengthened is the importance of the priest, as the celebrant who has the sole right to communicate with God on our behalf.

Some people told me that a video of Cardinal Oswald Gracias is being played for congregations, to introduce the Roman Missal. I thank God I was spared that torture at least, though our church did have a big banner with “Welcome to the New Roman Missal”. 46.



Then I read this excellent article in the National Catholic Reporter*, which talks about the disagreements and fallouts that can take place in this big tent that we call the Church. And I said to myself, as long as there continues to be enough of room in the tent for all, I will continue to do what I believe to be right and true.

Have you experienced the new Mass yet? What are your impressions of it?

*Making do with a faulty translation, NCR editorial November 23, 2011



1. On November 27, 2011, the newly revised liturgy was introduced and Virginia Saldanha was pretty quick [it took her just two days] in sending off this piece to UCAN, and UCAN was equally quick in publishing it.

Virginia Saldanha is on the Board of Directors of UCAN] She rejects the new, revised liturgy of the Mass, but she just loves the aberrations of the “Future Church” “liturgy” and the innovative liturgical services of her daughter’s Belgian “church”, see pages 6, 43, and without any doubt the improvised liturgies that are conducted during the EWA conferences, see pages 13-15, 21-23, 27-28 and 34.

Oswald Cardinal Gracias’ Pastoral Letter on Roman Missal of August 25 was published in The Examiner of September 3, 2011. Virginia Saldanha disdainfully rejects the Letter which is the voice of the Magisterium.

2. The reason that Virginia Saldanha gives for her refusal to use the word “consubstantial” is that “many do not understand it“. Coming from a supposed theologian, that must be the most ridiculous logic that I have ever heard. [And for UCAN to publish it…!] There are many words in the liturgy that many Catholics have never understood, do not and never will understand.
By extension of
Virginia Saldanha‘s logic, where does that leave us all?

A few years ago, I attended the opening session — it was at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Mangalore I think — of a National Charismatic Convention, the theme of which had the word “Ecclesia” in it a couple of times. Fr. A. J. Thamburaj SJ, a former Chairman, gave the first talk which was liberally sprinkled with the term “Ecclesia”. During a recess, we were asked to discuss with those in our proximity what we had heard.

Charismatics are thought to be more enlightened than other Catholics, but knowing otherwise, I asked about a dozen of my neighbours what they thought the word “Ecclesia” means. I can report truthfully that not one of them had the faintest idea, not even my companion who has attended Bible College and was at that time pursuing studies in theology at a seminary. [During the tea break, I shared this with Sr. Serena MSA, a National Service Team member. As an aside, I also stated my opinion that the second “Ecclesia” in the convention theme was redundant.] By virtue of my experience, must I decide not to use the term “Ecclesia”?

3. Virginia Saldanha‘s defiant conclusion, “I will continue to do what I believe to be right and true” exemplifies her attitude to the teachings of the Catholic Church, and we have seen it to be true in this report.

We have her fellow Mumbaiite and lay theologian Astrid Lobo Gajiwala saying “that she belongs to the Church on her own terms“, page 24.




This Open Letter, which has been in the public domain for some years, was sent to the Pope, on the 31st of October 1994, by 14 Religious Sisters, all qualified theologians & academics, who belonged to 10 different Congregations.
As we know from reliable sources, in response to this letter pressure was put by the Vatican on the Bishops and Religious Superiors of these Sisters. Usually this took the form of reprimands and cautions communicated through the Apostolic Nuncio in New Delhi.
The Pope himself did not deign to reply.

To: Holy Father John Paul II
Palazzo Apostolico,
00120 Citta del Vaticano.

Response to the apostolic letter of Pope John Paul II

Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men alone*,
dated 22 May 1994.

Dear Father, We are women religious from India, proud of our membership in the Catholic Church and the gift of faith we received in her. We are a movement just five years old. We do not have as yet an institutional structure or an office building. 47.



The address given above is that of a member who has a permanent residence. We meet once a year to discuss some significant issues in the life of women and in our own experiences and try through theological reflection to deepen our faith and commitment. We write this letter to you with filial confidence that you, as the father of all Christian people, will listen to our response to the tone and content of your letter on reserving priestly ordination to men alone (22 May 1994).

I. From our anguished hearts

There are some statements in the letter that are extremely painful for us to read. No.1, para. 2 says “…her teaching authority which has constantly held that the exclusion of women from priesthood is in accordance with God’s plan for the Church”. The phrase ‘exclusion of women’ seems -to negate our very membership in the Church. We do have full membership in the Church through the sacraments of initiation namely Baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist. Then why should we as a class be prevented from certain functions in the Church? Dear Father, who decides what is God’s plan for the Church? Is it not the people of God? Do you as the father of this family of faithful exclude us from the people of God even in the common search for God’s will for the Church today?

II. God’s plan in the fullness of time

“When the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman… ” (Gal. 4:4). It was the divine plan to choose a woman to enter into the divine saving act in a unique way. She brought into this world the Incarnate Son of God without the help of a man. How can those who believe in the call of Mary to be the mother of Jesus exclude women from bringing in the Sacramental Presence of Christ in the Eucharist? The divine call is gratuitous and how can human decisions bind God not to give a specific call to an entire class of people, in fact half the number of human beings based merely on gender differences?

III. The signs of the time – Dialogue

1. All around us we find different sections of the world community in dialogue with one another. In the political, scientific, economic, cultural and religious fields there are constant dialogues going on for better understanding of others holding different opinions, resolving conflicts and building up mutual respect among groups to make the world better place to live in. Even in the Church, dialogue among Christian Churches is encouraged. Why does the Church not think of entering into dialogue among its own members?

2. In the Church there are pastoral magisterium, the scientific magisterium composed of scholars who are involved in research, reflection and writing in Scripture, theology, Church history etc. and the people of God in general. In all these groups the voices of women should be considered as significant especially because it is a group which was and still is continually and systematically suppressed. With the growing consciousness in the world, women are slowly discovering their dignity as children of God and raising their voices.

3. Since 1976 a great deal of research, study and writing had been done on the subject of the Church’s practice of reserving priestly ordination only to men. Articles and books by scholars showed the intrinsic weakness and inadequacy of the arguments addressed in favour of the official position to exclude women. According to these works, there is no scriptural or theological basis for such an exclusion. All these sincere efforts and hard work by so many men and women of faith and scholarship have been just pushed aside and ignored by this letter. Why is dialogue in this matter so completely denied? In the Church which is the People of God, ever led by the Spirit towards all the Truth (Jn.16:13), is not dialogue the way to discover Truth?

IV. Legitimising oppression of women

1. We express our feelings of hurt, pain and humiliation at the fact that this letter completely ignores the struggles of women especially the religious women oppressed by the male clergy. Actually it legitimises the oppression. The entire sacramental system, jurisdiction, decision making, administration, in fact every adult function in the life of the Church is in the hands of male clergy. Women are kept for ever in total dependency. 48.


In plain language, we are relegated to perennial childhood and made to depend on the male clergy for living our Christian religious life. Priests make use of this inequality to their maximum benefit by extracting cheap labour from us. They do not hesitate to put us to moral torture if we do not comply with their unjust demands.

Often we, women religious wonder if dedication of our lives to God is only to be the handmaids of celibate priests. They do not consider us as human persons who need time and necessary means for ourselves to meet our psychological, intellectual and spiritual growth and the freedom to decide our apostolate according to our Constitutions. The fact that our Constitutions are approved by the Holy See has very little meaning because we are just expected to fulfil the demands of the clergy who think we exist merely to do what they tell us. We can give you thousands of, examples from our own experience. Do you not see that such oppression is legitimised and perpetuated by this letter? Does the voice of the oppressed within the Church go unheeded?

2. The letter seems to suggest that you have no intention of having any dialogue with us. It is strange that even in this 20th century, men presume that the Divine plan is made known only through them. Are not women, members of the Church? Does not the Spirit dwell in us? How come that the Church symbolised as a woman in the scripture is all-male in its official functioning?

V. Making doctrines out of a culture of dominance and subservience

The occasional praise in the recent encyclicals of the so called womanly characteristics do not please us at all. In the name of feminine virtues only servitude and self-negation are praised. The studies in social psychology show that the so called womanly qualities are what the dominant class lay down for the subservient or oppressed class as conditions to win acceptance and appreciation from their oppressors. Since the survival of the oppressed depends on the acceptance by the dominant class, they develop these qualities and train their young ones also in these qualities, establishing them as characteristics of their class. Should .the Church see this culture of dominance and oppression as divine ordinance and make doctrine out of it calling it theological anthropology? How can the Church be the mediator of Christ’s redemption to all peoples when it keeps half its members (women) in abject subservience and the worst type of dependence?

VI. Concocting arguments to exclude women

Drawing Mary into this question seems to us that arguments are concocted just to exclude women from priesthood. How could Mary claim priesthood when there was no priesthood during her time? Did Jesus ever claim priesthood? Does not the gospel show us that the Christ-movement was an attempt to liberate people from the dominance of cultic priestly class and lead them to worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth (Jn. 4:23)?

VII. Priesthood – instituted by the Church and not by Christ

1. The letter insists again and again that priesthood was instituted by Christ and that He ordained only men so the Church has no authority to change it. Is it not a strategy in religions that whatever was instituted by the priestly class was told to people that it originated from God so that people practise it unquestioningly? We have examples in the Old Testament too e.g. the laws in the chapters 21, 22, 23 of Exodus.

2. The words ‘Do …it in memory of me’ are a reference to Yahweh’s instruction to Israel to have an annual celebration of the Passover as a memorial of His saving act in liberating Israel from the slavery in Egypt. They were used by Jesus to make His disciples understand that He was instituting a new Passover and a new covenant which would involve not only political liberation as in the Old Testament but the total liberation of the human person. It was an expression of His desire that such a liberative thrust should continue in the Christ-movement.

3. During the apostolic times, the imposition of hands (now the main ritual in priestly ordination) was used to impart the spirit to preach the gospel and not to ordain them to priesthood (Acts. 9:17, 13:3, 1 Tim. 4:13-14). 49.



In the case of deacons (Acts 6:6), it is clearly stated in the Acts that the apostles said “it is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore…” Christ did not ordain priests and there was no priestly class during the New Testament times. Later when the Church adopted the clerical and hierarchical structure, it absorbed elements of the highly patriarchal Judaic religion from which it originated and the socio-political structures of the Roman Empire where it took root. The Roman Empire had collapsed and after centuries we had moved away as an independent religion from Judaism. Should we still cling on to those elements which we imbibed from these two realities nineteen centuries ago?

VIII. Conclusion

Dear Father, we love the Church, that is why we are concerned and write to you. In the Vatican documents, frequently the people of God are exhorted to respond to the signs of the time. May we request you to see the signs of the time in the voices of women and what is happening in the other churches and society? Threatening the Churches that ordination of women is a block to dialogue and union seems to us that the Church prefers to sit in an ivory tower refusing to see the activity of the Spirit in today’s global scenario in which dialogue is the mode of interaction, communication and growing together.

When women’s issues do not even have the dignity to be an object of open dialogue, we feel that our very membership in the Church is negated.


We earnestly request you to reconsider your Letter and enter into a dialogue with us, women.

Yours sincerely,

Sr. Margaret Shanti, I.C.M. – St. Joseph’s Hospital Dindigul-624 007.

Sr. Corona Mary, O.S.M., Jegamatha Ashram, Tiruchirapalli-620 004.

Sr. Rose Paul, F.M.M., Providence Convent, Bangalore-560 029

Sr. Pushpa Jyothi, S.M.M.I., St. John’s Medical College & Hospital, Bangalore-5 60 034

Sr. Clare Muthakattil, M.M.S., Kottayam-686 002.

Sr. Kochurani Abraham A.C., Snehvardhini, Varse-402 116

Sr. Marie De Britto, St. Joseph Convent, Madurai-625 009

Dr. Sr. Gentiana, St.Xavier’s Hospital, Purathakudi-621 111.

Sr. Jacinta, St. Mary’s Convent, Mysore-570 008.

Sr. Antony Xavier, C.I.C., Loreto Novitiate, Madurai-625 008.

Sr. Irene Fernandez M.M.S., Medical Mission Sisters, Bibwewadí, Pune-411 037

Sr. Shanti Fernandes, C.P.S., Ashram, Shivajinagar, Pune-41 1 005

Sr. Mary George, Holy Cross Compound, Wadagamcheri, Pune-411 014.

Sr. Mary Lobo, Nari Jagran Manch, Bodh Gaya-824 231.

Date: 31-10-1994 50.





1. *Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men alone
Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, Apostolic Letter on Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone, May 22, 1994,

The original document is at

2. From the Open Letter to Pope John Paul II, we have a list of 14 nun-theologians, dating as far back as 1994, who wish to see the Church lift its ban on women priests and have women ordained to Holy Orders. The majority of them are from the southern States, with four from Maharashtra. Seventeen years later, only Sr. Kochurani Abraham AC [she only got involved at EWA 3 in 2007] and Sr. Pushpa Jyoti SMMI [she is the diocesan Women’s Commission secretary, Bangalore] from the original group appear to be militant in EWA.

The web coordinator of EWA is Virginia Saldanha.

3. While their Open Letter is a sort of an appeal to the Pope, it is clear that they reject the Pope’s Apostolic Letter and never will accept the Church’s stand that women cannot and will not be ordained.


B. Tracing the roots of violence against women
report posted by
Ancy D’Souza, moderator, Mangalorean Catholics at

Original article:
Tracing the roots of violence against women
By Virginia Saldanha February 19, 2009

EXTRACT: Violence to women cannot be addressed without going down to its roots in patriarchal attitudes intricately woven into social and religious structures. Work for women in the Church is hemmed in by the articulation of Church teachings and rules framed by a largely patriarchal male leadership…

I am reminded of a telling remark made by a bishop as an aside at a regional meeting of women leaders of the Indian bishops’ Commission for Women, when he said, “It is only when women can be made bishops that female feticide will stop!”

Also at:
India and the roots of violence against women
By Virginia Saldanha April 27, 2009

A bishop called for ordination of women as bishops in order to end female feticide



A bishop called for ordination of women as bishops in order to end female feticide” indeed! Will Virginia Saldanha reveal the identity of that bishop? Or is it as much a secret as that of the Bombay archdiocese bishop who fathered a child by a nun, according to Virginia Saldanha? And, for the life of me I cannot find a connection between the solution to female foeticide and the ordination of women as bishops. See pp. 44, 80.


C. The Passion of the Womb: Women Re-living the Eucharist by Astrid Lobo Gajiwala

Tragically, while it is women who set the tables of the world and spiritualise the meal, at the Eucharistic table of the institutional Church, women are banned from performing these roles. And despite the Divine seed having nestled in a female form, women are denied participation in the radical embodiment of the Divine in human flesh, evident in the exclusively male representation of Christ. Ironically, instead of silencing women, the prohibition of women’s ordination to priestly ministry has provoked women to discover their own priesthood and so uncover the paucity of patriarchal priesthood. Further, it has pushed the understanding of the sacraments to deeper levels challenging the Church to transform the ways in which it lives out the Christian belief that Christ lives among us in the flesh and blood of the Church.


Astrid Lobo Gajiwala names the Indian feminists who are crusading for women’s ordination, including Virginia Saldanha [for her detailed letter to me, see separate report on Astrid Lobo Gajiwala]. Note that none of the religious sisters or for that matter the two lay women are in the 1994 list, page 50. An extract from an email to Ms. Gajiwala is in blue colour, below, followed by a list copied from her reply:

Astrid Lobo Gajiwala
Date: Monday, 5 April, 2010, 11:16 AM
I do not have the present email addresses of others whose names I came across in some Indian news reports (Virginia Saldanha, Sr. Shalini D’Souza, Sr. Philomena D’Souza, etc.) or I could have written to them too for their inputs. Michael

Professors of Theology:

Sr. Evelyn Monteiro SC

Sr. Pauline Chakkalakal DSP

Sr. Shalini Mulackal PBVM         

Sr. Philomena D’Souza FMA

Jeanne Devos

Prominent lay women:

Virginia Saldanha    51.



Feminist priests:

Suren Abreo [sic]

Ralph Fernandes   

Allwyn D’Silva 

John Almeida


D. Indian Women Theologians’ Forum Meeting
2009 Statement

FABC Paper No. 92c

Seventh Plenary Assembly: Workshop Discussion Guide-A Renewed Church in Asia: In Solidarity with Women

I. The Church in the New Millennium: Learning to be in Solidarity and Dialogue with Women
by Virginia Saldanha

II. Paradigms for a Feminization of the Church by John D’Mello

The Equality Paradigm: Equal as Sameness

According to this paradigm, women demand equal rights, or the same rights that men have previously appropriated. This is a paradigm that arose out of the early women’s movement in Britain and the U.S., a movement which was associated with the right of franchise and the right to education. Thus, if previously men were allowed to vote, women should now be allowed to vote. If men are allowed to be Presidents, women too ought to have the right to be President. If men have a football team, women too ought to have the right to have their own football team. If men have a right to ordination, women should not be disallowed.  In other words, for this group, women should have the “same” rights as men.

The Sisterhood Paradigm: Equal but Separate

According to this thinking, women as a group must stick together and form their own sisterhood. Men find it hard to understand their problems, their experiences — so the only way is for women to come together and develop their own consciousness, their own models, their own strategies to defend their rights. Thus, women have spoken in terms of leaving the male-dominated Church and forming their own Church, or having a separate Bible and a separate lectionary. Their point is that women need to have an exodus from the male-dominated Church (Rosemary Radford Ruether, Women Church: Theology and Practice, San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988:57-9, and Denise Lardner Carmody, Virtuous Woman, Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1992:125-30.) (It is to be emphasized that both authors do not really advocate separatism. They are only speaking of “temporarily” or “methodologically” being apart.) In order to experience their liberation, they need to stay apart from this Church, reflect on their experiences, and theologize imaginatively to come up with their own symbols and expressions…

Bible Interpretation

The Bible offers images, symbols, stories and passages that inspire, motivate and influence. Unfortunately, there are also many images of women in the Bible which enhance models of women as submissive and subordinate, rather than as independent and assertive.
Feminist theologians, taking their cue from Liberation Theology, have developed a method of doing theology and interpreting the Bible. Elizabeth
Schüssler Fiorenza calls it a “critical liberation method” (Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, “For Women in Men’s Worlds: A Critical Feminist Theology of Liberation,” in Concilium, 1984 no. 171, 34-5). It starts with a woman’s experience of oppression, from which a critique of the traditional interpretation is made. This is followed by the retrieval and recovery of woman’s histories and woman’s insights. The last step is imaginative reconstruction (Anne Carr, “The New Vision of Feminist Theology,” in LaCugna (ed.), Freeing Theology, 9-13)…



1. Fr. John D’Mello is a theologian. He is the author of Dare to See Differently, A Feminist Point of View.

The above paper is also at and and was published in Vidyajyoti, Volume 63, no. 2, February 1999, Paradigms for a Feminization of the Church.

2. Rosemary Radford Ruether,
Denise Lardner Carmody, and
Schüssler Fiorenza are feminists.

Of them, Rosemary Radford Ruether and Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza are listed in as

3. Of them, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and Rosemary Radford Ruether promote


E. Contribution of
Hans Kueng
to renewal of the Roman Catholic church in the Spirit of Vatican Council II

Posted by Virginia Saldanha on December 13, 2009

International Movement – We are Church

Chair at present: Raquel Mallavibarrena, Penuelas 17, 28005 Madrid, SPAIN Tel.: +34-649332654 E-Mail:

Media contact: Christian Weisner Tel.: +49-8131-260250 or +49-172-5184082, E-Mail:



Media Release:

We are Church recalls: 30 years since revocation of the ecclesiastical right to teach of Hans Kueng (18 December 1979) “His persistence is encouragement, inspiration and incentive for all of us.”

This 18 December 2009 will be the 30th anniversary of the day when Pope John Paul II revoked the ecclesiastical right to teach (missio canonica) of Prof. Dr. Hans Kueng because of his proposals for reform in the Catholic church. In his book “Infallible? An inquiry” published in 1970 after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and equally prompted by the encyclical “Humanae Vitae” from 25 July 1968 Kueng raised the question if the papal ministry is indeed infallible. With this Kueng, like nobody else in our time, raised the question of truth in Christianity and kept it alive ever since.

The world-famous Swiss theologian, appointed official adviser to the Second Vatican Council by Pope John XXIII, contributed decisively to an ecumenical theology notwithstanding his later marginalization by the church. His doctoral thesis “Justification” about the Swiss reformed theologian Karl Barth, finished in 1957, was praised at the time by Joseph Ratzinger, teaching colleague of Kueng at the University of Tuebingen/Germany until 1968. Kueng made major contributions to the agreement reached in 1999 between the Catholic church and the Lutheran Church with regard to the declaration of the doctrine of justification. His “Project world ethos” ( started in 1990 grew into an important stimulator for the interreligious dialogue, today more necessary than ever in the face of our global problems. On 6 October 2009 he proclaimed his “Declaration to a global business ethos” in front of the UN.

After the revocation of the ecclesiastical right to teach Kueng did not retract his theologically well founded statements to the disputed
dogma of infallibility
of 1870. By doing so he showed that what we are being asked to do is not to obey but to resist the usurpations from Rome. In 1979 Kueng was appointed to the chair for ecumenical theology that was created for him outside the Catholic faculty and which he occupied until 1997.

In 1968 Hans Kueng drafted, together with other theologians, the declaration “For the freedom in theology”.

In the end this text carried the signatures of 1360 theologians – also that of Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. – from all over the world. In 1989 Kueng was co-signer of the so-called “Cologne Declaration”, a votum for an open-minded catholicity and against an overstretching of the papal authority.

Hans Kueng is also one of the spiritual supporters of the “KirchenVolksBegehren” (We are Church referendum) started 1995 in Austria which resulted in the International Movement We are Church. The second volume of his memoirs “Controversial truth” presents a historic as well as a systematic foundation of the We are Church movement’s concerns which emerged ever more clearly since the Second Vatican Council and for which he had fought already in the 1960s and 1970s. With his fundamental works (“The Church” 1967, “Being a Christian” 1974 and “Does God exist?” 1978), Kueng brought specific reform topics into public sphere early on, thoroughly justifying them both biblically and spiritually.

Today we find that Kueng’s enquiries into the papacy have not been answered at all as evidenced by the increasing conflicts between the church leadership and the laity in the church. Obligatory celibacy, ordination of women and the Eucharistic question are still being discussed – despite of all the interdictions from Rome.

In September 2005 Hans Kueng had a surprise meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, his former colleague at university, Professor Ratzinger. Not so surprisingly all topics regarding reforms within the Catholic church had been excluded beforehand. And as before so did Hans Kueng after the meeting commit to the reform issues important to him. Because, in the words of Hans Kueng in the second volume of his biography, “It is not the Council but the betrayal of the Council that led the church into crisis”.

“His persistence in the renewal of the Roman Catholic church and his commitment to ecumenical issues as well as to the dialogue between the world religions is encouragement, inspiration and incentive for all of us”, the catholic reform movement We are Church gratefully declared on the occasion of his 80th birthday on 19 March 2008.



1. Hans Küng [Hans Kung], Theology Incompatible with the Catholic Faith, Former theologian condemned by the Vatican.

In December 1979, the Vatican rescinded his authority to teach Catholic theology. Among other things, he questions the doctrine of papal infallibility.

See also: Kueng urges bishops to defy pope…:

2. “We are Church” is a leading dissident movement that favours the ordination of women.

ROME, September 30, 2011
by Sandro Magister

For the first time since he became pope, Benedict XVI has cited and criticized in public the movement of ecclesial opposition most widespread and active in German-speaking countries. He did so in an off-the-cuff speech to seminarians in Freiburg… The movement “We Are Church” was created in 1995 with a collection of signatures in support of an “Appeal of the People of God” that proposed the democratic election of bishops, sacred orders for women, the removal of the division between clergy and laity, the elimination of the requirement of clerical celibacy for the clergy, a new sexual morality, etc. The collection of signatures, which came to two and a half million, began in Austria and was then extended to Germany, Italy, Spain, the United States, Holland, Belgium, France, England, Portugal, Canada. The first document was followed by many more. The epicenter of “we are Church” is still in Austria and Germany, with a vast following among the clergy, with a certain capacity to exert pressure on the bishops themselves, and with an aura of approval in various seminaries.

We see that Virginia Saldanha posts articles of dissidents who advocate women’s ordination.

Virginia Saldanha posted the “We are Church” article in EWA within hours of its media release!!! 53.




F. A letter to
Virginia Saldanha
on the movement for women’s ordination and her reply:

name withheld
Date: Tuesday, 6 April, 2010, 3:28 PM

Dear Sr. Virginia Saldanha,

I have been receiving very valuable inputs from Mrs. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala of Mumbai for my research paper, the subject of which is cited above.

Yesterday she had suggested that I write to several other women theologians (religious sisters as well as lay women) and priests for more information to present a wider perspective of the issue.

A lot of information is available on the Internet, but there is little or nothing that pertains to the Indian situation.

That is why I had sought the help of Mrs. Gajiwala and she has answered me in detail and also given me a list of names. Included in her list are your name and your email address.

I reproduce here the eight questions that I asked Mrs. Gajiwala and which she has replied to.

I look forward to your answers too.

I. What are the present thinking and action trends in India for the ordination of women as priests?

II. Have you written and published anything on that topic?

III. If there is any research material on the internet, yours or anyone else’s which I might find useful, could you please give me the links?

IV. Can you give me any feedback on the thinking of Indian priests as a whole and some individuals in particular?

V. Are the bishops of India open to the idea of the ordination of women as priests either to counter a possible shortage of male priests or as a gesture to gender-equality?

VI. Is there any Indian bishop who is particularly interested in encouraging the movement for women’s ordination?   

VII. What are the strategies that we as religious and laity can adopt to increase awareness among Catholic women in particular and among the laity in general and to generate enthusiasm among them, eventually to bring this to fruition?

I will be most grateful to you for helping me complete my work early so that I can submit/publish it.

VIII. If you are a woman theologian, may I know in brief what that means by way of qualification or approach?

May I suggest that your answers be included in red colour for easy readability, immediately after each of my questions?

With kind regards, BRO. name withheld.

Reply from Virginia Saldanha:

Virginia Saldanha
Subject: On Women’s Ordination To:
name withheld

Date: Tuesday, 6 April, 2010, 4:36 PM

Dear name withheld

I would be grateful if you could kindly introduce yourself and let me know who you are, where you are studying and for what are you doing the research on Women’s ordination before I send you my answers. Thank you. 

Virginia Saldanha. FABC OLF, Women’s Desk
Tel: 91-22-26490161 Mobile 91-9819626197


G. Vatican’s New Norms on
Women’s Ordination

Posted by Ecclesia of Women WebCoordinator* on July 19, 2010 at 6:42pm

Dear Friends,

The Vatican’s declaration that the attempts to ordain women and those associated with such ordinations will now be considered a grave crime on par with that of paedophilia by clerics in the Church is one of the biggest insults to women – further degrading women’s dignity in the Church. We do not need to discuss here about why we are convinced that women can be priests. Women around the world are appalled and shocked that the Vatican could do this to us. Erin Saiz Hanna, executive director of the
Women’s Ordination Conference, founded in 1975 to promote the ordination of women as Catholic priests, deacons and bishops called the decision “appalling, offensive and a wake-up call for all Catholics around the world.”**

“The idea that a woman seeking to spread the message of God somehow ‘defiles’ the Eucharist reveals an antiquated, backwards church that still views women as ‘unclean’ and unholy,” she said in a news release.

Maureen Dowd in the New York Times points out to how the Vatican would rather protect the priests guilty of the horrible crime of paedophelia [sic] but not priests who attempt to ordain women – she says “The caustic document did not issue a zero-tolerance policy to defrock priests after they are found guilty of pedophilia; but Clerics who attempt to ordain women can now be defrocked.”***

Maureen continues “Letting women be priests — which should be seen as a way to help cleanse the church and move it beyond its infantilized and defensive state — is now on the list of awful sins right next to pedophilia, heresy, apostasy and schism.”****

There are a number of men who support the issue of women’s ordination and have spoken out against the Vatican stand.

It is time for women to raise their voices in greater numbers, especially women in Asia.

Your comments and suggestions on actions that we could take are welcome.

Please reply to this post if you feel strongly on this issue. 54.





1. * on the EWA Coordinating Team 2009-2011, the Web Coordinator is Virginia Saldanha. This pro-women’s ordination article is posted by her.

**See WOC‘s Statement on the Vatican’s New Classification of Sexual Predators and Women’s Ordination,

3. ***

****Rome Fiddles, We Burn

Maureen Dowd‘s media release of Rome Fiddles, We Burn was on July 17.

Once again we see that Virginia Saldanha posts pro-women’s ordination information on her blog within 48 hours of its release.


H. Nuns attack Vatican on
women’s ordination

Equating ordination with child abuse ‘a violation of dignity,’ say Indian nuns. July 23, 2010 By Ritu Sharma, New Delhi
Women Religious in India have slammed a recent Vatican document equating women’s ordination with sexual abuse of children*, calling it “derogatory” and “shocking.” “I am shocked at this statement. It is painful, absurd and a violation of the dignity of women,” said Sister Mary Scaria of Delhi archdiocese’s commission for justice and peace.

The Vatican on July 15 issued new rules to deal with abusive priests. It said priests who molest the mentally ill or use child pornography are in the same category as pedophile priests. The new rules codify canonical procedures to deal with the issue, lengthening the “statute of limitations” for charges to be brought against transgressors.

The document however categorized women’s ordination among the “most serious crimes,” along with pedophilia. It set out the same procedures to investigate and deal with women’s ordination.

It’s “nothing but an expression of male chauvinism” in the Church, Sister Scaria said.

“If God created men and women in his own image, then who are we to discriminate on the role in which to serve Him?”

It’s “shocking” to call a woman’s right to serve and lead in worship “a grave sin” equaling it to child pornography, she said.

Nazareth Sister Shalini D’Souza said the Vatican document is “derogatory.” “I would like to see women ordained,” she said. The role of women in the Church is very limited. It should “include women in more significant roles” and allow them “to lead the liturgy,” she said.

If women were ordained, Sister Scaria said, incidents of child abuse in the Church will decline. Gender restrictions help “cover up exploitation of children and women by priests,” she added.





i. I congratulate the sisters for speaking up against what they see as derogatory and unjust in the Church-.
Virginia Saldanha

ii. I agree with you Virginia. It is time the Vatican opened its eyes to the realities of life rather than being blinded by outdated prejudice-
Jackie Clackson,



1. Virginia Saldanha’s comment is seconded by the dissident WomenPriests which is banned by the Church!

It is apparent that Jackie Clackson of WomenPriests knows Virginia Saldanha on a personal basis.

2. informs us that Jackie Clackson is a “Former member of the Catholic Board of Women, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Member of St. Joan’s Alliance, Catholic Women’s Ordination, Catholic Women’s Network.”
As in the case of Virginia Saldanha who was a powerful entity in the Indian and Asian Bishops’ Conferences, Jackie Clackson was a high-ranking executive in the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, a fact that she, like Virginia Saldanha, flaunts in the faces of the very same bishops who appointed and encouraged them.

3. Jackie Clackson studied theology in INDIA! She did a “Certificate of Theology at the Sudeep Institute, Bangalore.” After that, she worked in Catholic schools in the state of Andhra Pradesh as assistant headmistress and later as headmistress for 15 years from 1965-1980. It is not clear to me whether she was a religious sister [nun] or not. She was a contemporary of Fr. John Wijngaards MHM who, according to
was a lecturer at St. John’s Major Seminary in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh from 1963-1976. He was “a member of the Intellectual Sub-Committee of the Commissio Technica of the Seminary Commission of the CBCI” and “contributed directly to the guidelines for priestly formation in India which are now binding on major Seminaries in India.” John Wijngaards obtained an indult, left the priesthood “on account of a serious conflict of conscience over the ordination of women” [] and got married to, yes, Jackie Clackson. He is the founder
which has grown out to be the largest professionally guided internet library on the ordination of women” He is the author of “Did Christ Rule Out Women Priests?” and other books. 55.



Albertus: To me it is also shocking to see a nun openly support women ordination. I wonder why the Archbishop of Delhi allows her to hold a position in the Archdiocese. Perhaps its time that the Archbishop play his role as leader.



1. The UCAN report may also be accessed at the Conference of Religious India [CRI] site:

Nuns criticize Vatican on women’s ordination July 28, 2010


3. Some of the CRI‘s senior most leaders including its vocal National Secretary Bro. Mani Mekkunnel, SG, see page 37, are in favour of ordaining women as priests and support the feminist theologians by providing them forums for publicizing their views. Catholics have reasons to be concerned as the CRI women’s section is starting a Bachelors degree in Theology programme:


I. Theology for Women Religious

The New Leader September 16-30, 2008 by
Virginia Saldanha

Often I am contacted for recommendations of names of women theologians to be resource persons at various forums and conferences in Asia, and have felt so lost because there is such a dearth of women theologians in India.

When the CBCI Commission for Women set out to bring together Women Theologians in India for a consultation in 2001, we could get just 30 at the level of M. Th. and over. This is a very poor statistic for a country that boasts of over 100,000 women religious.

It is primarily the religious women in the U.S. like Elizabeth Johnson, Joan Chittister,
Sandra Schneiders and others, who have contributed towards the articulation of feminist theologians in the West. We don’t have such people here in Asia…

Now that CRI’s women’s section is starting a B. Th. programme at Institute Mater Dei, Goa, can we hope that women religious will take up the challenge?



1. Sr.
Elizabeth A. Johnson CSJ, Sr. Sandra Schneiders IHM*
& Sr. Joan Chittister OSB are named as feminist theologians and

dissenters against Catholic Church teachings
who promote the ordination of women as priests: *

2. “CRI’s women’s section is starting a B. Th. programme at Institute Mater Dei, Goa.” The danger is that with the favour of the CRI top brass, pro-women’s ordination feminist theologians will have the run of the place, disseminating the erroneous propagandas and the teachings of the likes of Sr.
Elizabeth A. Johnson CSJ, Sr. Sandra Schneiders IHM and Sr. Joan Chittister OSB against the Catholic Church:


J. CRI hails efforts to counter clergy sexual abuse of women September 21, 2011

Larger source:


The Conference of Religious India (CRI) has appreciated the initiative taken up by Virginia Saldanha, former Secretary of women’s Commission of CBCI as well as the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference, to examine and prevent clergy sexual abuse of women.

Saldanha is conducting a five-week online seminar which examines clergy sexual abuse…

Bro. Mani Mekkunnel, National Secretary, CRI said “this initiative of hers should be appreciated and made known. What has happened and what is proposed for the future are significant. I appreciate the efforts of Mrs. Virginia Saldanha and recommend the program for the religious sisters across the country. It is only by empowering ourselves we can prevent abuses. Awareness and preventive measures can go a long way in taking care of our witness of life and commitment to the kingdom of God.”

The seminar includes a 90-minute online chatroom discussion once each week for five consecutive Thursdays at 1830 hours India time and 180 minutes of study/writing/exchanges at times convenient to the candidate.

All that is required is a good internet connection.

Says Saldanha, “If you join the virtual classroom, you can discuss the issue with women like you from across the country/world. If enough awareness is raised then we can be prepared to handle situations.”

In July, seven young priests took the seminar with other lay women and men. Their rector recommended the course to others too. Sisters are being offered a full scholarship for the October term to take the seminar. However, only a maximum of 20 persons will be enrolled to facilitate optimum interaction, she added.



1. The above reveals a serious and present danger to the Catholic Church in India. First, it reveals that Virginia Saldanha — and not the nuns with their Master’s and Doctorates in theology — is the recognized face of the feminist movement in India. She [and the feminist lobby] has the backing of a powerful body, the CRI, the Conference of Religious, India. In addition, through the Catherine of Siena Virtual College, which is what Bro. Mani Mekkunnel SG is marketing for her, she has gone viral in the Indian Church. See pages 3-6, and 34.



2. Another Montfort brother [Brothers of St. Gabriel], Bro. K. M. Joseph SG is CRI National President and President, Brothers’ section. The President, Vice-President and Secretary of the Sisters’ section are Sr. Prasanna Thattil CHF, Sr. Teresa Peter FS and Sr. Elsie K. Varghese SSpS.


K. A couple more of CRI reports on the activities of Virginia Saldanha:

K i. Gender Issues in Church Discussed August 18, 2010

A group of experts, including Religious women, discussed gender issues within the Church, stressing the need for further dialogue and networking to help the victims. “Gender Relations in the Church: A Call to Integrity and Justice,” was the theme of the Aug. 15 national convention that 24 men and women attended in Pune.

It was organized by Streevani*, a Church-run center that works to empower women. The center, directed by Sister Helen Saldanha, runs regular programs and researches on issues concerning women in society and the Church.

Virginia Saldanha, former FABC Executive Secretary for Laity and Women, highlighted the basis for gender relations, vision of the Church in the light of Vatican II and FABC documents. Saldanha, a lay woman discussed problems in relationship between men and women in family, religious institutions and in the Church.

Saldanha drew the group’s attention to the deepening of gender crisis due to a culture of secrecy, which only silences the victim. In most cases victims are women, she said stressing the need for starting a dialogue with the Church hierarchy.

Other panelists were
Brother Varghese, director of Montfort Social Institute in Hyderabad, Sister Teresa Peter, vice president of Sisters section of CRI, Raynah Braganza Passanha, secretary of Pune diocesan Women’s Commission and Father Jacob Parappally MSFS, president of Indian Theological Association… *See page 31, 91-94



1. About Fr. Jacob Parappally MSFS:

1a. Theologians issue call to ‘to fulfill the vision of Jesus’ and create ‘a discipleship of equals’

By Janina Gomes October 12, 2004

Editor’s Note: This report of the April 2004 meeting of the Indian Theological Association serves as an introduction to a new series of stories on Global Perspective, Journeys in Theology: Women’s Stories. […]

MUMBAI, India – The Indian Theological Association opened up their annual meeting this year to a discussion of “Women’s Concerns and an Indian Theological Response.” […]

[T]he institutionalized system of male domination has been supported by religious beliefs and prescriptions, they noted. But they added, Christianity had promised women a different path.

“Women experienced wholeness in encountering Jesus,” they wrote. “In the Semitic and Graeco-Roman context that saw women as subordinate to men, Jesus made a revolutionary option for women.”

“To fulfill the vision of Jesus calls for a new way of being church: a discipleship of equals,” the document says. […]

The Indian theologians asked for “an alternative model of authority and a new understanding of ministry that includes women.”

To reach this vision, the theologians called for structural, liturgical and practical changes in the church:

Creating structures that involve women in the decision-making processes.

Ensuring “adequate representation” of women on parish and diocesan pastoral councils, finance committees and bishops conference commissions.

Promoting the participation of women in liturgical celebrations.

Identifying anti-women texts and avoiding them in liturgy.

Introducing the assertive women of the scriptures, such as the Daughters of Zelophehad, Deborah, Judith, Queen Vasthi and Mary Magdalene.

Ensuring women’s commissions are adequately funded. […]

The association’s statement on women’s concerns issued at the end of the meeting is causing ripples throughout the church in India, says association president Fr. Alphonse Sahayam. […]

The association’s secretary Fr. Jacob Parappally agreed with Sahayam. He said the experiences of women theologians as recounted at the conference were an eye opener for many men. He said that some of the men have begun to implement changes in their theologates.

The theological association had concrete recommendations for seminaries and houses of formation, among them:

-To make conscious efforts to replace exclusive masculine symbols and vocabulary for divine-human realities with inclusive models.

-To appoint women professors to seminaries and other formation programs.

-To appoint women councilors and spiritual directors to seminaries and theologates.

-To educate persons in formation on the positive aspects of human love and sexuality and highlighting their beauty and spirituality.

All of India’s bishops have also been sent the document, and Parappally said many are sympathetic.





1b. Fr. Jacob Parappally MSFS is a sympathiser of the feminists. He is one of several Indian theologians who critiqued the February 3, 2003 Vatican Document on the ‘New Age’. See my report, from which I quote:


Unlike the others, he
does not flay the Document. Much of what he wrote makes for good theologising.

But, when he asks “Should yoga and meditation and holistic medicine be rejected because the New Agers have injected into it a new philosophy and spirituality opposed to the Christian faith?
Could we deepen our understanding and experience of Cosmic Christ or abandon such an understanding because the New Agers make a caricature of this deep Christian mystery?“, I am saddened that he does not understand the implications of such syncretism.

Parappally cites Cardinal Godfried Danneels as saying, “Nor are all the techniques they advocate bad: yoga and relaxation can have many good effects” [larger source “A Christian Response to the New Age,” by John A Saliba]. The Belgian Cardinal might not have been clear on the New Age nature of yoga in 1992* when he wrote that pastoral letter. Much Catholic and other Christian evangelical information have become available since then. And there is plenty more in John A Saliba’s article that cites Catholic clergymen on the negative aspects of New Age. For instance, the succeeding lines to the above quote of Cardinal Danneels are:

The letter’s tone suggests that the New Age gives alternative answers to humankind’s religious quest. It hints that there are several points of contact, such as mysticism, between the New Age and Christianity. It concedes that the New Age criticism of Christianity may not be completely unfounded. Its stress, however, is still on those doctrinal issues that make the New Age incompatible with Christianity. And it offers little speculation on what the New Age can contribute to Christian theology and spirituality.

A similar approach is taken by Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy of Miami. In a pastoral instruction entitled ‘The New Age Movement’, he asserts that ‘many of the elements of the New Age Movement are altogether incompatible with Christianity’.

It would have been helpful if both Saliba and Fr. Jacob Parappally had included this information too.

There is a plethora of Catholic Internet resources, including articles by priests and by ex-New Agers chronicling the spiritual dangers of yoga. *Veritas Publishing, Ireland

Again, Fr. Parappally cites John A Saliba quoting Lutheran theologian Ted Peter, “A modest dabbling in New Age Spirituality is probably harmless; it may be even helpful“.
Modest dabbling in New Age is something like being a ‘little pregnant’. You either are or are not. After describing
‘the New Age vision [as] a noble and edifying one’, Ted Peter qualifies that with “Pastors, theologians and Church leaders should take the New Age movement seriously […] The gnostic monism & the heart of the New Age teaching is dangerous because it leads to naiveté and to a denial of God’s grace.” “Ted Peter’s approach” is certainly confusing.

As for Saliba, a Jesuit priest, I wouldn’t take him very seriously; according to Wikipedia,

Saliba has advocated a conciliatory approach towards new religions. He has argued that membership in such movements can serve as a temporary haven for young adults in a formative stage of their lives, and is not necessarily detrimental. He has been critical of the brainwashing concept espoused by the anti-cult movement. Source:


K ii. Roots of Violence against Women by
Virginia Saldanha
September 24, 2009



Nothing very special here, except to note that Virginia Saldanha
contributes to the CRI
Bulletin, CRIB, and a feminist priest
Fr. Suren Abreu
is among others quoted by her in this article.


L. Will
Women Priests
Change the Church?

Posted by Virginia Saldanha on February 10, 2011

Will Women Priests Change the Church? A new documentary, “Pink Smoke over the Vatican,” starts the conversation… By Mary E. Hunt

Mary E. Hunt, Ph.D., is a feminist theologian who is co-founder and co-director of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. A Roman Catholic active in the women-church movement, she lectures and writes on theology and ethics with particular attention to liberation issues.
Catholic women priests are an oxymoron for the Vatican. It considers them automatically excommunicated before the holy oil is dry on their hands. Other Catholics accept them as sacramental ministers and are delighted with the innovation. Still, others, myself included, want far deeper structural changes in the Catholic Church such that priesthood loses its baked-on charm and ministry becomes the expected task of adult members. This is an important theological conversation that the Vatican wishes would go away. Memo to them: it is just starting.



Pink Smoke over the Vatican
is a new documentary that is making the rounds at film festivals (it will debut in New York on February 12 at the
Athena Film Festival, hosted by Barnard College). The title refers to protests held at churches around the country during the Conclave in 2005 that elected Pope Benedict XVI where women created pink smoke — instead of the traditional white smoke that heralds the choice of a pope — to draw attention to the fact that the election was a men’s club affair. (Only Cardinals under the age of eighty may vote and no women are cardinals yet.) […]

Catholic women have been working on eradicating sexism from the Church for decades; in this well-made film, director/producer Jules Hart describes some of the history of this struggle, focusing on one aspect in particular. I only wish the film told more of the story — it is a complex and rich one that deserves a fuller airing.


Apartheid at the altar

The film tells the tale of women who have chosen to be ordained as part of what is called the
Roman Catholic WomenPriests
(womenpriests is all one word) movement, whose mission is to create “a new model of ordained ministry in a renewed Roman Catholic Church.” But there are many models of women’s leadership in Catholicism; I think it is important to frame the film in the context of the larger movement for change that characterizes 21st century Catholicism lest viewers are left with an incomplete picture.

Part of the movement is indeed focused on women’s ordination, the lack of which is one of the most obvious signs that institutional Catholicism relegates women to second-class citizenship. In the movie, many wonderful women describe their priestly vocations from childhood, their calls to ministry, and how they have struggled to fulfill them. Patricia Fresan, now a bishop with the RCWP* group, speaks matter-of-factly about being a professor of homiletics in a seminary while being barred from preaching on account of gender. She connects apartheid in her native South Africa with this apartheid at the altar. Alta Jacko draws on Sojourner Truth as part of her inspiration to become what she was forbidden to be by a patriarchal church. Victoria Rue laughingly tells about distributing Necco Wafers to the children in her neighborhood when they played Mass. *Roman Catholic WomenPriests

There is a lot of footage of ordination ceremonies with women in colorful vestments laying hands on one another to confer the sacrament—all the familiar Catholic “smells and bells,” but with women in charge. Interspersed throughout the film are comments by Ronald P. Lengwin, priest spokesperson for the Diocese of Pittsburgh who has a weekly radio show called “Amplify.” He repeats and repeats the institution’s position that it simply cannot ordain women because Jesus did not do so, that the “deposit of faith” does not include it, that the “unity of the church” will be broken, and various other theologically discredited notions.
He does so with the patience and equanimity of someone who has been mouthing these same old ideas for some time, come what may. I can imagine that he might, at a later date, just as easily say, “As we have always and everywhere taught, in the fullness of revelation, women are called to the ordained priesthood” if so instructed by higher-ups.  

That hierarchical system is at the heart of the problem. Power is concentrated in the hands of a few (ordained) men and thinking for oneself is not a criterion for an ecclesial job in Catholicism. Maryknoll priest Roy Bourgeoise, excommunicated for preaching the homily at one of the contested women’s ordinations, shows that it can and should be done especially by those who already enjoy clerical privilege.

The film includes some relevant historical matters. Dorothy Irvin’s study of catacomb frescos that contain images of women is of interest. So, too, is the story of
Ludmila Javorova,
who was ordained a priest in 1970 by Bishop Felix Davidek of the underground church in Czechoslovakia. With many priests and nuns in prison, that community needed sacramental ministers. The Vatican obviously recognized her ordination enough to ban Ludmila Javorova from priestly functions in 1990 when male priests became more plentiful again. What escaped them is contemporary sacramental theology that holds that a community — and not the presence of an ordained person — is what is necessary to celebrate the Eucharist. But that theology would put the Roman officials out of business.

In 2002, seven women were ordained on the Danube (to avoid the jurisdiction of a German or Austrian bishop) by a bishop whose own episcopal status as “valid but illicit” was enough for the women to claim to be in apostolic succession. Two of those women were eventually ordained as bishops by still-unnamed male bishops. The women bishops have gone on to ordain dozens of women priests and bishops in similar ceremonies. This is the beginning of what is referred to in this film as the ordination of Catholic women. However, the movement is so much older and more diverse that such telescoping does not convey the full picture.


The origins of the fight for women’s equality in the Church

St. Joan’s International Alliance, a suffrage group founded in London in 1911, was the first to raise the ordination question. According to Belgian writer
Anne Marie Pelzer, “the Alliance put to the Holy Father its first official request for women to become deacons (1961), then for lay men and women to be present at the Council, as observers and experts (1962). In 1963, it presented a very cautious and respectful resolution to the Pope on the admission of women to the priesthood.”   

Pioneering feminist scholars — including Mary Daly, Catherina Halkes, Gertrude Heinzelmann, Joan Morris, and Ida Raming — were affiliated with the Alliance. Their writings laid the groundwork for the later movement. American member Mary B. Lynch
posed the question
of women’s ordination to her Christmas card list in 1974. Her friends’ enthusiastic responses led scholars and activists to plan a national gathering to discuss this then still outlandish idea. 

In November of 1975, the Women’s Ordination Conference took place in Detroit, Michigan; the eponymous organization arose from that spirited event. WOC sponsored another meeting in 1978 in Baltimore where women were very specific about the kind of renewed priestly ministry they would accept—without clericalism, without mandatory celibacy, without hierarchy, but with the inclusion of all and a focus on social justice. 59.



WOC became the go-to organization on these matters, holding subsequent meetings and consultations, publishing theological and ministerial resources, and working with women on a range of ministerial options. The Vatican issued various documents against the ordination of women, each one successively more defensive than the other. Bishops’ committees met to ponder these matters and blow off steam about how scandalous the whole idea of women priests really was.
Women simply went ahead with their ministries. Feminist theologians laid out the intellectual contours of a renewed church.
Women’s Ordination Worldwide
(Women’s Ordination Worldwide, WOW) emerged as national and regional movements sprang up in many places.

I found it odd that almost none of this history — especially the work of WOC, and very little of the theological spadework — was included in the documentary. Granted it may not make great video, but it is an integral part of the story. And there is more.


Thinking beyond ordination

Some Catholic women were so scandalized by the institutional church’s rejection that they got ordained in other traditions. I like to think of them as Catholic priests too. Still others simply left the Catholic Church disgusted. Lots of Catholic women went to seminary and completed graduate programs in theology, discovering along the way that ordination was not a magic bullet, that ministry takes many challenging forms, and that a hierarchical model contradicts Christian claims to equality and mutuality. For many women in canonical religious communities, nuns or sisters, the questions became even more complicated as the contradictions piled up—how to be a member of a group that is connected with a structure that relegates women to inferior status, how to value the Eucharist knowing women cannot decide where and when to celebrate it licitly, how to feel any allegiance to an institution that shows blatant disdain for women, their talents, insights, and decision-making.

Many women, myself included, began to think beyond ordination to new forms of church that approximated what theologian
Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza
so aptly named “a discipleship of equals.” These women-church groups, as they are known, form loose networks of small base communities (in the U.S., the
Women-Church Convergence). They function quite nicely without benefit of clergy and with broad participation by their members. There are many other house churches, unaffiliated parishes, even the occasional creative affiliated parish that are gathering places for postmodern Catholics. Many see ourselves as much in “catholic,” small ‘c’ terms, as part of widespread religiously motivated efforts to love and do justice, as we do in “Catholic” terms. Catholicism is changing.

There are many issue-specific Catholic groups. The coalition that is called the Catholic Organizations for Renewal (COR) includes Dignity (with a focus on LGBTIQ people), Catholics for Choice (reproductive justice workers), Call to Action (working for justice and equality), WOC, Women-Church Convergence, among others. No doubt the Vatican has cause to be worried by more than women priests. The whole Roman house of cards is collapsing as the extent of sexual abuses becomes clear, with fingers pointing upward to the top officials who were complicit. There is another movie to be made here in which the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) will play a starring role.


Ministry as community challenge

It is important to see women priests in the company of these many colleagues who love the Catholic community enough to challenge and change it. Otherwise, despite their admirable intentions and their determination to change a sexist system, I worry that women priests risk being reduced to the 21st century answer to a shortage of male priests (as their fore-sister was in Czechoslovakia). I fear they will be co-opted by the same officials who now denounce them. Already the churchmen use them. Instead of ignoring the women and letting the chips call where they may, Roman officials have found that by excommunicating women priests they have a convenient way to distract from the criminal activity of priest pedophiles and bishops who covered up their crimes.

Note that while every woman priest has been excommunicated, not one of those men has been.

Contemporary understandings of priesthood are changing. Outmoded biologistic understandings of apostolic succession—the hands that laid the hands that laid the hands—are giving way to fuller understandings of the whole community following in the spirit of the Jesus movement. Eucharist belongs to everyone, not just to the priests who confect the sacred mysteries. Liturgical leadership is but one component of ministry. Teaching, preaching, organizing, even lobbying and social change work are part of the job description. No one person can do it all; ministry is a community challenge.

Symbols are changing too. Individual ordinands prostrating themselves are hard to square with this new theology. Priesthood in the old model — with vestments, clerical collars, and claims to special status — is rapidly going the way of the dodo. Women do not need to resurrect or reinforce it.

The crying needs of a multi-religious world, not the narrow needs of any one religious group, now set the agenda for ministers. Many feminists work as chaplains for more than Catholics in hospitals and hospices. They minister in universities and prisons with all who need their attention. This is the new “priesthood of all believers” that has a far broader mission than ever before.   

A lot of the same people involved in the struggle for Catholic women’s equality are also part of other movements for justice and peace.
School of the Americas Watch, reproductive justice, LGBTIQ issues, anti-poverty and anti-war efforts count on their leadership. Shelters for the homeless, safe houses for abused women and children, and meal programs are just a few of the places where these people work. This is the new face of Catholicism— it is not ringed by a clerical collar.

So do enjoy the movie — but please stay tuned for the sequels. END 60.




1. Mary E. Hunt
is named in as a LEADING
She comes in the categories of
Theology Incompatible with the Catholic Faith“, pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia, pro-artificial birth control, pro-sex education, pro-homosexuality and lesbianism, and advocating feminist theology.

See also Catholic Church Targets Proponent of Women’s Ordination; Feminist Theologian by Mary E. Hunt

2. LGBTIQ: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex[ed] and
, see

3. From Hunt‘s article which Virginia Saldanha has posted in EWA, she also wants women to be ordained. Virginia Saldanha posted Hunt‘s article in EWA less than 48 hours after Hunt published it!!!

I have now recorded such extraordinarily quick postings by Virginia Saldanha of feminist criticisms of the Church’s stand on women’s ordination for the third time. To my reasoning, she simply has to be in very close contact with the worldwide lobby militating for the ordination of women priests.


M. Ministries for Women – Virginia Saldanha, MC* digest no. 2254, February 24, 2011

Source: Google Groups “A communicating Indian Church” group. To post to this group, send an email to

The most important ministry that is required at the parish level, besides the celebration of the sacraments (which is exclusively reserved to the ordained) is ‘pastoral’ ministry. When I think of pastoral ministry, I think of the need for a person to be present to people in times of need, grief, trauma, sickness, disturbance, etc. A priest is also required to build community and strengthen families. Today a lot of this is being done by the SCC animators, extraordinary Eucharist ministers**, and the community in general. Many or most of these are women. Women form the vital backbone of any parish. Their work is also highly appreciated by the community. Let us face it, women do far better than men in pastoral ministry when given the chance as they connect more easily with the experiences of people.
In liturgy, women are: in the liturgical planning team, lectors, altar servers, cantors, ushers, and commentators. Though these are specified liturgical roles, yet women are not recognized as ministers in these roles. (Canon 230)
The consequence of the exclusion of women has been acknowledged in most spheres of life and efforts are being made to correct the imbalance. The Church is lagging far behind in correcting the imbalance. Perhaps it is because the women participate anyway, without any recognition, and the Church continues to benefit from this participation. But in the process a lot of injustice is done to women as their status is never stable. They are not only poorly paid, but can be fired at the whim and fancy of the male leadership as he has the power to do so. So in a way women have to curb their voice and talents to please a priest, whose displeasure she dare not incur. And since I have been one who has never curbed my voice, I have had several experiences of being fired in ways that have ranged from subtle to rude.
Women have to be given due recognition of their current ‘ministries’ in parishes. This recognition should come after training, with stability and without unnecessary interference.
Space should be made for women to take administrative positions in all Church bodies that do not need ordained ministers. This should help women’s voice to be heard at different levels in the Church. Wherever decisions are being made, women should be included as special delegates representing women in the Church. These women should be selected in consultation with women, and not arbitrarily appointed.
The Church should have channels by which they will have constant dialogue with women through women’s organizations. Right now only one organization is recognized in the Church because that organization is totally controlled by the hierarchy. The women do not decide the agenda in the meetings of the organization, but follow only what is given to them by the male leadership. They nod their heads affirming everything that the men say. Other women’s groups that question the Church are shunned. Women theologians have to constantly look over their shoulder and do not dare speak their minds for fear of censure and being barred from teaching in Church institutions. This is totally not respecting the gifts and charisms given to women by the Spirit. to help build up the Church (CFL # 27)
Dialogue on the issue of women’s ordination should be open and honest and should not be declared anathema
– as it is necessary and a felt need.
Virginia [Saldanha]



1. *Virginia Saldanha‘s articles have been posted on Mangalorean Catholics, a liberal, dissenting forum run by Ancy D’Souza Paladka aka Salu Soz, by Allwyn Fernandes of Mumbai

2. **Catechist and theologian Virginia Saldanha does not know that there is no such function as “extraordinary Eucharist ministers” at Holy Mass. The correct term is “extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion”.

Similarly in Letters on Female Communion Ministers and the 2006 earthquake in Yogyakarta, a bunch of feminist theologians of the EWA, some of them nuns, call them “communion ministers“, not even “Holy Communion” or “Eucharist” or with a capital C for “communion”. 61.


N. Women in the Church – Thoughts from a Laywoman


Women remain in the Catholic Church despite its ‘hypocrisy’

By Ellen Teague November 7, 2011

I read an interesting story this week in the US newspaper, the National Catholic Reporter, about an Indian woman – Virginia Saldanha – who went from working with marginalised domestic workers to becoming head for ten years of the Women’s Desk of the Office of Laity for the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences. In all that time she received only an honorarium for her work, despite being a widow with children to raise. She left the post two years ago with the following observations.

When her desk looked into the issue of domestic abuse it was accused by hierarchy of supporting marriage breakups. She felt the institutional church failed to recognise that earlier women were silent victims of violence in the home, and that the time had arrived when women refused to be silent and carry “their cross” to save a marriage without men taking any responsibility. She also complained of obstructions put in the way of the Women’s Desk holding a meeting for dialogue between women theologians and bishops. “I felt my work moving downhill” she said and left. She did feel the work would continue at the margins of the church because there is a lot of awareness about women’s rights and status by women who still regard the Church as their home…

I’m not going to get into the controversial issue of women’s ordination except to say that I find it strange to be asked to pray for vocations when many vocations that are forthcoming – and who is to say they are not God-given – are completely ignored by the Church because they are not from men. And we’re not supposed to talk about them either. Just a few days ago human-rights lawyer Helena Kennedy said at a meeting at parliament to discuss women priests that she abhored [sic] the idea that discussion of women’s ministry is forbidden by Rome.

When Sr. Joan Chittister* was invited to attend a Women’s Ordination Conference in Ireland in June 2000 the Vatican’s Congregation for the Consecrated Life wrote to her superior of the Benedictine Srs. of Erie, Sr. Christine Vladimiroff, asking her to keep Sr. Joan at home. Sr. Christine declined to do so…

*She is a feminist-theologian dissenter who promotes the women’s ordination, see pages 34, 56, and 66.


Archbishop explains barring of nun
September 10, 2009

Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk of Cincinnati said he
barred Sister of Charity Louise Akers, who supports women’s ordination, from catechesis because it was his responsibility to provide “authentic and orthodox Catholic teaching” in his diocese.

“Persons who are not in accord with the teaching of the Church should not expect to be allowed to teach catechetical leaders or others in the name of the Church,” he was quoted by the National Catholic Reporter as saying in an article in The Catholic Telegraph.




Expected to be geared to spirituality and the abuse of power

1. Sr. Margaret Gonsalves

Name withheld2
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2012 10:27 AM Subject: EWA 5

Dear Julia Ong, [Singapore Sr. Ong is with EWA from EWA 2 and was the one of the consultants for EWA 5]
When and where is EWA V scheduled to be held?
What will be the theme of EWA 5?
I need this for our research paper.
Margaret Gonsalves
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2012 13:26:21 +0530

Subject: Re: EWA 5 To:
Julia Ong

Name withheld2

Hello Name withheld2, This is Maggie from India. Julia has forwarded your email to me.

EWA V is over and I am the Secretary of
EWA VI. It is schedule to be held in India in 2013 August 14-18. So far we have not decided the venue. I am in search of locating a suitable place. The theme is geared toward Spirituality and Abuse of Power, but not yet finalized. I will let you know once the details are clear in the team. Meanwhile, just want to know where are you based at and what research are you doing, theme etc? Accordingly I will communicate your interest to the Coordinating Team. Good you spotted us. Let me know

Lovingly, Maggie G

[Sr. Margaret Gonsalves] 62.





Sr. Margaret Gonsalves‘ name does not figure in EWA records that are available to me. Sr. Julia Ong of Singapore forwarded the enquiry to her and she responded. She is now Secretary of

from which I excerpt:

Write Therapy – Unheard voices, untold stories
by Nandini Murali August 2009 EXTRACT

A writer’s workshop that knitted together yoga, meditation, and interplay had a transformative impact on the participants.
A report

“I invite you all to tell your tale that you’ve been longing to tell… a longing deeper than words… to discover your personal story is part of Her story… an integral part of the Cosmic story… We’re part of the new story…” intoned Sr Margaret Gonsalves, feminist theologian, and founder of ANNNI (Alliance of Nari Nar Nisarg Ishwar) Woman Man-Nature God, a spiritual movement to foster the feminine, and transform systems that have traditionally suppressed it.

Invocation of the Divine before the start of a day


The unusual welcome was followed by an invocation to Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom*. A fitting beginning to the Women Writers’ workshop organised by ANNNI from May 4 7 [sic], 2009, at Pasayadan Holistic Spirituality Centre, Vasai, 70 km from Mumbai. I was among the workshop participants. Interestingly, the workshop was inclusive in its approach to gender and was also open to men who were in touch with the feminine in themselves. Fr Prashanth Olalekar, PhD, Director, Pasayadan Holistic Spirituality Centre and Sharukh Vazifdar**, mechanical engineer by training and presently a correspondent at Life Positive participated.

We began each day with morning yoga, and movement
meditation***led by Maggie Gonsalves and Prashant Olalekar
. The yoga, which included ‘yoga facial’, was a great way to start the day. The stimulation of the pressure points on the face and neck rejuvenated us
and set the ideas flowing (as we were to discover later!) The Movement

that consisted of the sublime ‘Touching the Earth’ meditation
and the Labyrinth Walk****, a sacred inward journey, enabled me to get inside myself, and access my inner recesses. As I walked step by step across the labyrinth****, purposefully and mindfully, the concerns I chose to focus on seemed to evaporate and dissipate during the return journey.
Spiritual essence
The writing sessions were interspersed with Interplay, a body based improvisational arts practice that weaves together movement, song, and storytelling. These activities infused the process of writing with a spiritual essence. Indeed it was no mere coincidence that all the writers were also deeply engaged as seekers in a spiritual quest. It also enabled me to experience the reality that writing is not just a mental process but rooted in bodily experience and wisdom; an integration of the human trinity of body, mind, and spirit.

Participants also explored “seed” ideas to generate potential themes for stories. These encapsulated core issues. Some of the “seeds” that germinated during the workshop centred on themes as varied as forgiveness, spirituality, nature, food, death, fear, patriarchy, feminism, illness, infertility, and voices. We then chose one ‘seed’ to sow, water, and nurture with our creativity
and imagination. […]


MY COMMENTS [reproduced basically from the above referred report on Interplay but slightly modified]

1. Interplay is New Age. Its propagation is officially encouraged by the archdiocese of Bombay through their weekly, The Examiner, etc.

2. The photograph of Fr. Prashant Olalekar and his InterPlay group in “meditation” above looks like, if anything, a Wiccan séance.

3. In the above article, the truth is [once again] revealed by the New Age magazine Life Positive: “Yoga, meditation, and interplay are knitted together” by Sr. Margaret Gonsalves and Fr. Prashant Olalekar! We have now confirmed that InterPlay does not stand alone. Other stories examined in this analysis have already demonstrated the affinity between InterPlay and New Age practices. 63.




The meditation referred to in the first paragraph is later in the article clarified to be the “movement
meditation” that we saw on page 11. “Pressure points” are New Age suppositions originating in Taoism and traditional Chinese medicine. The Labyrinth is New Age.

So is “‘Touching the Earth’ meditation.” It is what is known in New Age as eco-feminism.

The above write-up in Life Positive reveals not only that InterPlay CANNOT be separated from New Age of one sort or the other, but also that it has become the happy hunting ground of Indian feminist nuns like Sr. Margaret Gonsalves. We have already seen Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ of PRASHANT involved in propagating Interplay. The above Life Positive article is about Sr. Margaret Gonsalves and her feminist agenda which she uses the InterPlay forum to promote.

4. *Sophia: See page 15.

5. **

Sharukh Vazifdar: Life Positive magazine says,
He is greatly influenced by new-age spirituality.

6. *** page 11 of my Interplay report says: ‘Movement Meditation’ (alchemy of mindfulness and yoga).

7. ****”Labyrinths are a meditation, relaxation, and spiritual tool that invite a person to walk towards the center with a problem, prayer, or idea… ‘Out of all of the New Age stuff, the labyrinth is the most pervasive… I think people read about these fads and are duped and they get no direction from priests and pastors’.” in
Pervasiveness of NEW AGE among nuns may loom as scandalCatholic writer Michael H. Brown,

Some New Age practices are also introduced through some parish programs which might direct one to a labyrinth to pray… Today, the labyrinth is always used as a New Age tool. People who use it are not interested in salvation through Jesus Christ. Catholic writer Susan Beckworth at

8. Feminist theologian
Sr. Margaret Gonsalves figures in the New Age magazine Life Positive quite a bit.

A Feminism and New Age fusion here:

(i). In “Mandala January 2009 and in
NewsAnnni Ashram, we read:

EXTRACT After centuries of enduring and surviving a patriarchal society, women are increasingly demanding their own spiritual spaces. To answer this need comes ANNNI. ANNNI (Alliance of Nari Nar Nisarg Ishwar) ASHRAM is a movement to provide a feminine spiritual spa/respite to awaken the feminineThe ashram also provides… yoga facials, spirituality sessions, …dance and meditative music.


(ii)a. How Dare She Dream
Suma Varughese Editor in Chief, Life Positive
July 2007

I first ran into Sr Margaret a few months ago when Fr Prashant Olalekar, whose Interplay we wrote about in the April 2007 issue, organised a two-hour Interplay session to which I was invited. The participants were mostly what I would have called nuns, but who call themselves women religious now. And that’s not all that’s changing in their world. I was awestruck and humbled to observe their sincere engagement with spirituality and quest for growth, despite the limitations of belonging to an institution which told them what to believe, and in which they were subordinate to men.
I have never quite heard the term ‘patriarchy’
uttered so often, or with such vehemence, as during those two hours. As they poured themselves into the dance movement, sharing after each episode with touching vulnerability, I was moved by their womanliness, which was by no means masked by their role as nuns. These were real women, striving to be themselves, and through that process, striving to transform the church. Sr Margaret is a leading light in this magnificent mission.

She completed her Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.) from the US (2005), and is the programme coordinator for Streevani (Voice of Women), Pune. A former president of CRI (Conference of Religious, India), Vasai unit, she has conducted several workshops to empower women religious in the dioceses of Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.

(ii)b. In Positive Chronicles – How Dare She Dream
by Gregory Gonsalves

If you thought Catholicism and feminism could never be reconciled, Sr Margaret Gonsalves will prove you wrong. Here she speaks about a personal experience of this reconciliation
July 2007

EXTRACT As a woman religious, how did you get interested in feminism?

When working in the CRI, I became highly conscious of the fact that women religious are treated as second-class citizens in a male-dominated church. In a patriarchal and hierarchical setup, religious sisters are doomed to play secondary roles, despite their competence and desire to be equals…

Reading inspiring books like those of Joan Chittister, OSB, a Benedictine nun who has fearlessly challenged the religious and political powers, has opened my eyes to the prophetic dimension of religious life, which consists in promoting an alternative society based on justice, equality and peace. Joan Chittister rightly observes, “We are trained to be makers and doers, not dreamers and seers.” I began to dream of doing advanced feminist theological studies that would equip me with intellectual and spiritual resources required to empower women religious to challenge the unjust patriarchal system. Taking a big risk, I finally felt impelled by the Spirit to fly away to California to complete my Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.), and fulfill my dream…




How does feminism* apply to men?
Defining the sexes by stereotyped traits, and limiting them on physical grounds to separate roles, should be replaced by the notion of universal personhood. Feminism*
is concerned with the liberation of all people from the clutches of patriarchy, so that they can become full participants in human society.

What are some of the major aspects of feminism?
Feminism empowers the powerless by offering a spirituality of nonviolent resistance to the powers-that-be. Viewing life from the underside, it critiques systems built on power for the few, and powerlessness for the majority. This worldview promotes compassionate thinking and living. It is holistic, and fosters intimate connection with Mother Earth. It views flesh as a blessing. It celebrates the dance of life, and has a non-hierarchical, egalitarian, circular orientation. It envisages the distribution of resources, the care of the planet, and dignity of life for everyone. It focuses on coming home to the here and now. It promotes personal and global peace**.

Highlighting the feminine dimension of God, it unleashes the divine Shakti.

How did feminist studies lead you to the process of transformation?

Getting in touch with the dream of the pioneering feminists empowered me to go ahead with the fulfilment of my dream. A feminist consciousness helped to bring about a deep awareness that I do not have to condemn human beings, but enlist their support to change the system, which is damaging to both women and men. This awareness has made me grow in compassion towards men and women with a patriarchal mindset, knowing that often they have unconsciously internalised it. Yoga, pranayama and meditation were a great help to attain inner peace in the midst of conflict. My horizons have been widened to network with those groups who are working nonviolently for systemic change.



The link to Feminism in the above Life Positive article by Gregory Gonsalves provides other links, all either New Age or occult or hardcore feminist.


Consciousness – The Emerging Divine Feminine by Kavita Byrd

Tantra – Honouring the Feminine by Amodini

Feminism – Walking on the path with women by Deepti Priya Mehrotra

Recommended Feminist Websites:

Check out their link on Peace to get their New Age understanding of peace:


I give just one example to show how feminist peace and New Age go hand in hand:

Peace – Wise Women on the Rise by
Suma Varughese Editor in Chief, Life Positive
May 2008

EXTRACT Making way for the divine feminine was a path-breaking summit held recently in India under the auspices of the global peace initiative of women, which highlighted the pivotal role of women in creating a peaceful, harmonious and sustainable world.


9. The CRI referred to in the above Life Positive articles, twice on page 64, is the Conference of Religious, India, see pages 56-58. Sr. Margaret Gonsalves was a senior CRI leader.

The current and recent past national level CRI leadership is — in the guise of programmes for the “empowerment of women” — radically feminist and is militantly agitating for the ordination of women as priests. This is clearly demonstrated in my report



10. If you want to read more about feminism and feminist spirituality [the alleged “feminine side” of man] as promoted by Fr. Bede Griffiths OSB and the heretical Catholic Ashrams movement, read my report


Feminist ideology is being disseminated among nuns’ religious orders through the CRI.

Feminist ideology is being disseminated among seminarians, priests’ and nuns’ religious orders and lay leaders through the Catholic Ashrams movement which is strongly supported by the National Biblical, Catechetical and Liturgical Centre, Bangalore.

It has also infected most professors of theology who teach in Indian seminaries.

Feminist-theologian nuns like Sr. Margaret
Gonsalves conduct workshops through which a false theology is projected in the guise of the need for women religious in particular and all women in general to be “liberated” from a perceived domination by men and from the patriarchal-hierarchal structure of the Catholic Church, and “empowered”, by which they actually mean “ordained to the priesthood”. 65.



11. Sr. Margaret
Gonsalves has been influenced by the writings of “Joan Chittister, OSB, a Benedictine nun“. Who is Sr.
Joan Chittister [page 64]


In the list of those who are militating for Women Priests:

Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB A supporter of
Call to Action
who promotes women priests.

In the list of those who defy the
Hierarchical Teaching Authority of the Church:

Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB
A supporter of

Call to Action
who promotes dissent. See her many articles in the National Catholic Reporter dissenting magazine.

In the list of Theology Incompatible with the Catholic Faith:

Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB
A supporter of

Call to Action
who promotes Feminist theology


12. The latter part of a correspondence with Sr. Margaret Gonsalves who was avoiding answering certain questions that were repeatedly put to her.

Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 08:25:22 -0600 Subject: Re: LIFE POSITIVE

I have studied in USA and was blessed to be in the company of Mary Hunt, Letty Russell, Elisabeth Fiorenza, Rosemary Reuther [sic], and Shannon Clarkson.

I am presently visiting professor of Feminist Theology and Liberative Nonviolence to Wholeness to JDV-Pune* and Pallotine Seminary, Mysore.
*Papal Seminary

I too have a few articles written for various magazines-national and international. As editor, I have done a lot of editing and editorials and articles etc. I would gladly welcome your articles on patriarchy/feminism as Christmas gift.  

Now it is your turn to introduce yourself. Tell me who are you, where are you from?

When have you done InterPlay and where?
For which publication are you writing a story on InterPlay? Would you like to get in touch with Fr. Prashant?
For which magazines have you written articles? Maggie/Vedashini

NOTE: We wrote back to Sr. Margaret Gonsalves, repeating our unanswered queries. Since we had refrained from giving her the information she had requested, she stopped writing to us.

Why should she be suspicious and elusive unless she is aware that she might be involved in doing wrong?

Sr. Margaret Gonsalves communicates with us again, apparently after coming across this ministry’s completed and published report on Interplay; her letter and our response:

From: Margaret Gonsalves
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2011 12:08:25 +0530 Subject: Hello To:

Hello …, how are you and hope you are well paid for your work! Good luck!

From: xx Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2011 21:07:16 +0530 Subject: Re: Hello To:

Dear Sr. Margaret Gonsalves,

It is good to hear from you after a silence of six months.

I work for free … to expose error and defend the Catholic faith.

You must have come across [our] report on Interplay on [our] web site, FR PRASHANT OLALEKAR – INTERPLAY AND LIFE POSITIVE

I hope that you are well too. Thanks for all the help and good wishes.


Who are these five women Mary Hunt, Letty Russell, Elisabeth Fiorenza, Rosemary Reuther [sic], and
Shannon Clarkson who Sr. Margaret Gonsalves associated closely with? Feminist theologians, lesbians…

1. Mary E. Hunt, Ph.D., is a feminist theologian who is co-founder and co-director of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. Dr. Hunt received her Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She is an advisor to the Women’s Ordination Conference [WOC]. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her partner, Diann L. Neu*. Source:

Mary Hunt and Diann Neu appear to be “partners”, lesbians. See also pages 58-61 for Mary E. Hunt.

*Diann Neu, a feminist liturgist, minister, spiritual director, and psychotherapist. They are co-founders and co-directors of the Woman’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER), a feminist educational center dedicated to creating and sustaining inclusive communities in society and religion, in Silver Spring, Maryland.


2 and 5.
Dr Letty Russell is
one of the leading activists of
Women’s Liberation movement and herself a priest.

Letty Russell, one of the world’s foremost feminist theologians was one of the first women ordained in the United Presbyterian Church. Source:

Letty Mandeville Russell, leading feminist theologian, died Thursday, July 12, 2007.
She is survived by her partner, Shannon Clarkson. Source:

Lesbian, again!

3 and 4.
Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza [see pages 10, 34, 52 and 60 for more]
is a feminist theologian. She identifies as Catholic and her work is generally in the context of Christianity, although much of her work has broader applicability. Source:

Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW) was founded in 1996. Its primary mission at this time is the admission of Roman Catholic women to all ordained ministries. Speakers at the Ottawa conference in July 2005 included Elisabeth Fiorenza and Rosemary Radford Ruether. Source: 66.



Rosemary Radford Ruether is continually referred to as a “theologian” in the United States, a “feminist theologian,” and recognized as a Catholic. She spoke at the first meeting of the Women’s Ordination Conference, and since 1985 has been a member of the board of directors of the pro-abortion feminist organization Catholics for A Free Choice (CFFC). But the Catholic pretensions of CFFC are a hoax. The National Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement on 4 November 1993 denying that CFFC was Catholic. The feminist “theology” she represents is rooted in false principles contrary to any semblance of Catholic doctrine.

Source, EWTN:

4b. Source:

In the list of those who are militating for Artificial Birth Control/Sex Education:

Rosemary Radford Ruether promotes Catholics for Contraception, population control.

In the list of those who teach Theology Incompatible with the Catholic Faith:

Rosemary Radford Ruether promotes eco-feminist theology.

In the list of those who are Public Supporters of Dissident Organizations

Rosemary Radford Ruether is the founder of Call to Action.

5 and 2. Letty Russell and Shannon Clarkson
[previous page] co-authored the “Dictionary of Feminist Theologies“, Mowbray, 1996. Source:

EXTRACT Letty Mandeville Russell and her life

partner, Shannon Clarkson co-edited the Dictionary of Feminist Theologies. Source:



All five women who Sr. Margaret
Gonsalves named in her letter to me, who are her theological and spiritual formators, mentors, friends and icons, are leading feminists.

While Mary Hunt lived with a woman partner named Diann, herself a feminist, a couple of the others, Russell and Clarkson were lesbian “partners” living together in gay “marriage”!

That’s three out of five lesbian theologians in the list given me by Sr. Margaret
Gonsalves! Since she does not condemn them, she condones their horrible sin against nature and God’s plan of creation, and she must also endorse their pro-choice movement as well as their clamour for the ordination of women as priests. And this nun, Sr. Margaret
Gonsalves, actually TEACHES at Catholic seminaries in India!!!

Mary Hunt studied at the Graduate Theological Union [GTU]*. Interplay‘s Fr. Prashant
Olalekar studied there*. Apparently Sr. Margaret
Gonsalves also studied at the same institution.

Sr. Margaret
Gonsalves is working along with Fr. Prashant
Olalekar to spread the InterPlay virus and they are supported by the Bishops of Bombay and Vasai [see report on Interplay]


*The Graduate Theological Union [GTU], Berkeley, California is Presbyterian. The Presbyterian Church ordains women and gays as priests and bishops.

The GTU, at which Fr. Prashant
Olalekar obtained his doctorate and Sr. Margaret
Gonsalves also studied, teaches “Integrated Spirituality”. Founded in 1962 by four seminaries, including the Presbyterian San Francisco Theological Seminary [SFTS], the consortium now consists of nine theological schools representing the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions, three institutes of Jewish, Buddhist, and Orthodox studies, and five research centers. SFTS is considered a pioneer in ecumenical education and encourages “interfaith studies”. The GTU conducts a graduate-level class in “Spirituality and Healing in the Pacific Asian Traditions“.

One Kyle Miura has taught yoga at this GTU class:



Name withheld2
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2012 10:28 AM Subject: EWA 5

Dear Philo,
When and where is EWA V scheduled to be held?
What will be the theme of EWA 5?
I need this for our research paper.

Philo Dsouza
Fri, 23 Mar 2012 01:05:36 +0800 (SGT)
Re: EWA 5

Name withheld2
Astrid Lobo Gajiwala,
Virginia Saldanha

Dear Name withheld2, I am not part of EWA and so i will not able to answer your questions. I am forwarding your mail to Virginia and Astrid, who I am sure will be able to answer your queries. Take care… Philu



1. Sr. Philomena D’Souza FMA is one of the feminist theologians in Astrid Lobo Gajiwala‘s list, see page 51.

Sr. Philomena D’Souza is a Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians and has been a member of the Indian Theological Association since 1994. Source:


Sr. Philomena D’Souza: A New Agey programme along with
Astrid Lobo Gajiwala in a Catholic convent:

The Examiner, the archdiocesan weekly of Bombay,
October 7, 2006:

At a programme organized by the Bombay Archdiocesan Women’s Desk, September 24, 2006, at St. Joseph’s Convent Hall, Bandra, in the context of the ‘Year of the Eucharist and Family’, “The input of Dr. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala was followed by an Awareness Meditation facilitated by Sr. Philu on Awakening the Feminine Energy. It helped in internalising the beautiful reflections of Dr. Astrid by claiming the powers of the female body as holy, awesome and beautiful. From the feedback of the participants we could see that the group of 90 vibrant women thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience.”


3. Sr. Philomena D’Souza: Another programme along with
Astrid Lobo Gajiwala and Virginia Saldanha:

Women empowerment
is not against men”: Sr. Philomena in WRCC meeting

Report by Ancy Paladka, Vasai/Mumbai MangaloreanCatholics Digest No. 851 dated December 11, 2007
“Working for women empowerment is continuing Jesus’ Mission of bringing the Good News to the oppressed” said Sr. Philomena D’Souza. She was delivering an orientation speech on ‘Empowerment of women in church and society’, a workshop held for the Western Region Catholic Council (WRCC) comprising fifteen dioceses of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa at Bishops house, Vasai here on Saturday December 8 and Sunday December 9.
Quoting a Benedictine
Sister Joan Chittister
who said “Feminism is not a heresy, it is the spirit of Jesus written anew”, Sr. Philomena said “We are not looking at the theme “Empowerment of Women in the Church and society” from a mere sociological perspective, although this too is important. Neither from a developmental perspective, although we know that no nation can progress if a half of its citizens are left behind. She concluded that as Christians, we are looking at this theme as part of our faith imperative.” “The way Jesus treated women was definitely counter-cultural” She continued. “He went against the cultures of his time – the Jewish as well as the more well-known Greek, Roman, Egyptian or Babylonian cultures all of which were highly patriarchal. Jesus always upheld the dignity of women.” […]
About 80 members of WRCC participated in the said workshop. Various topic such as all India Catholics education policy implementation lead [sic] by bishop Percival Fernandes, women in Gods plan in scripture lead [sic] by Sr Ananda, women in Church’s social teachings lead [sic] by Dr Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, reality chick [sic] with testimony from women lead [sic] by Sr Philomena D’Souza, state of women in church and society lead [sic] by Virginia Saldanha and gender mainstreaming and possibilities for empowerment lead by Sr Helen were discussed.

Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao, president, WRCC, bishop Edwin Colaco of Aurangabad, secretary, WRCC, bishop Thomas Dabre of Vasai, bishop Percival Fernandes, bishop Bosco Penha, bishop Valerian D’Souza, bishop Agnelo Rufino Gracias, bishop Ferdinand Joseph Fonseca, bishop Gregory Karotemprel, archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes, bishop Thomas Elavanal, bishop Godfrey De Rozario, bishop Vijay Anand Nedum-puram, bishop Thomas Macwan and cardinal Oswald Gracias were the bishops present on the occasion…


At least 15 bishops and a Cardinal were present and heard Sr. Philomena on Joan Chittister, a feminist-theologian dissenter who promotes the ordination of women as priests, see pages 34, 56, 62, and 66.




4. Sr. Philomena D’Souza FMA and Astrid Lobo Gajiwala help formulate the CBCI’s Gender Policy:

From Allwyn Fernandes,
Journalist & Communications Professional
March 24, 2010:
It’s out! The secret of Astrid Lobo Gajiwala‘s “Guest Editorial” in The Examiner!
Yes, we are right! The Church’s Gender Policy now on the CBCI site* does mention Dr Astrid Lobo Gajiwala as one of those who drafted the document. Why then did she hide this from the readers of The Examiner when she wrote the “guest editorial”? It was not just the bishops’ gift to the women of India, it was her own gift! For some reason, she was reluctant to acknowledge it! Allwyn Fernandes [a supporter of the feminists]

Acknowledgements: Commission For Women is deeply grateful and indebted to the CBCI Standing Committee, Secretariat, Commissions and Institutions for the preparation and promulgation of the CBCI Gender Policy.
We would like to acknowledge the Regional Chairmen of the Commission For Women, Bishop Ignatius Menezes, Bishop Paul Maipan, Bishop Lucas Sirkar SDB, Bishop Mathew Anikuzhikattil, Bishop Edwin Colaco, Bishop Leo Cornelio, SVD, Bishop Thomasappa Anthony Swamy, Bishop John Baptist Thakur, SJ, Bishop Andrew R. Marak, Bishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto
**, Bishop Yvon Ambroise, Bishop Alphonse Bilung, SVD and Bishop John Barwa, SVD for their commitment towards developing a Gender Policy for the Church in India.
We appreciate the committed efforts and hard work of the Regional Coordinators, Ms. Pansy Thomas, Sr. Bernard OSU, Sr. Mary Rita FC, Ms. Beena Sebastian, Ms. Teresa Irene Rodrigues, Ms. Sugantha Sathiyaraj, Sr. Daisy Athickal, Ms. Bernadette Pitchai, Sr. Mary Thomas RNDM, Ms. Albina Marak, Ms. Muriel Schooner and Ms. Angelina J. Brar.
“The zeal, hard work, and expertise of the Drafting Team, Dr. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala,
Dr. Rita Noronha, Ms. Lida Jacob IAS, Dr. Neena Joseph, Ms. Loy Maria George, and Sr. Lilly Francis SMMI, who made the Gender Policy possible. The CBCI Commission For Women is extremely indebted to the Team. We are especially grateful to Fr. John Desrochers CSC who graciously collaborated in this endeavor.”


We appreciate the Advisory Members, Ms. Chinnamma Jacob, Ms. Mungreiphy Shimray, Ms. Rosakutty Abraham, Ms. Rita V. Chaya, Sr. Philomena D’ Souza and Sr. Sreeja SND for their support.

Bishop John Thakur SJ, Bishop of Muzaffarpur, Chairman
Bishop Edwin Colaco, Bishop of Aurangabad, Member
Bishop Ignatius Menezes, Bishop of Ajmer-Jaipur, Member

Sr. Lilly Francis SMMI, Executive Secretary, CBCI Commission For Women

*Empowerment of Women in the Church and Society. Gender Policy of the Catholic Church In India, published December 8, 2009 by the CBCI Commission for women. See








5. Sr. Philomena D’Souza replies to our letter, which was addressed to her by name:

Name withheld2

Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2012 10:28 AM Subject: EWA 5

Dear Philo,
When and where is EWA V scheduled to be held?
What will be the theme of EWA 5?
I need this for our research paper.

under copy to Virginia Saldanha
and Astrid Lobo Gajiwala:

Philo Dsouza
Fri, 23 Mar 2012 01:05:36 +0800 (SGT)
Re: EWA 5

Name withheld2
Astrid Lobo Gajiwala,
Virginia Saldanha

Dear Name withheld2, I am not part of EWA and so i will not able to answer your questions. I am forwarding your mail to Virginia and Astrid, who I am sure will be able to answer your queries. Take care… Philu

Virginia Saldanha writes back to Sr. Philomena D’Souza and Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, marking a copy to us, apparently by mistake as its contents reveal:

Virginia Saldanha
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2012 22:41:56 +0530 Subject: Re: EWA 5

To: Philo Dsouza
Name withheld2
Astrid Lobo Gajiwala

Philu, Do you know this person Name withheld2? She sent a few questions about Catherine College
to me as well.

This was immediately after, and with the same tone of an email that came from Croydon* […] So am wondering if he* is trying to probe what Astrid and I are doing. Be happy to hear from you. Warmly, Virginia



*A Mr.
Croydon had written directly to Catherine of Siena Virtual College, see page 4. His letter was addressed to the Dean; the Dean, Deborah Rose-Milavec, replied. The following day, we wrote to the Registrar of Catherine of Siena Virtual College, but the Dean Deborah Rose-Milavec, replied, see pages 4, 5.

Since we now have Virginia Saldanha claiming — in her response to Sr. Philomena D’Souza — that we had written to her at Catherine College, Virginia Saldanha must be lying, or: the letter was addressed to the Registrar, forwarded by the Registrar to the Dean, and the Dean Deborah Rose-Milavec, replied… which could only mean that the person signing as Deborah Rose-Milavec, the Dean, is in fact Virginia Saldanha.

In her emails, Virginia Saldanha has the practice of hitting the space bar twice after a comma or full stop.

Such characteristics are very apparent to an observant person like me.

Virginia Saldanha apprehends that our letter was written and sent by Croydon. It was not. She fears that this Mr. Croydon “is trying to probe what Astrid and I are doing“. What are they doing? If theirs is a legitimate college “teaching women and gender studies” according to Catholic orthodoxy as per their letter to Croydon, see page 4, what does she have to be fearful about?

And where was Astrid Lobo Gajiwala mentioned in either Mr. Croydon’s letter or my letters that Virginia Saldanha should drag her in and mark a copy to her? The only possibility for her having done that would be that at the end of my article Bishop fathers child by nun [published March 20 by the Association of Concerned Catholics, Mumbai], I had written [see page 38]: 69.




B. Separate articles on Feminist Theologians to be released shortly at

1. Virginia Saldanha and Ecclesia of Women in Asia: Vaginas, Orgasms, and the Ordination of Women as Priests [The title was later modified by me- Michael]

2. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala: Feminist Theology, Interreligious Dialogue, Hinduisation, and the Ordination of Women as Priests


That is what is troubling Virginia Saldanha.

Having earlier received from me my voluminous report on the Catholic Ashrams movement [2005] followed by the critique on the St Pauls New Community Bible [2008], Virginia Saldanha is aware that my research and documentation are thorough and cannot be faulted. Again, the information that I use is taken from stories already available to anyone in cyberspace or in the print media. I simply reproduce them.

While there is always the possibility that I might make an error of judgement on issues of faith in my commentaries or conclusions, I take great care to make them in the light of the teachings of the Catholic Church, citing experts or documents in every case. The possibility of error there is therefore discounted.

I also consult the knowledge of orthodox and conservative Catholic experts including priest-theologians [some of who are in touch with me by email] whose opinions are available on the Internet or in my research library of books or in the many Catholic magazines that I subscribe to, there being therefore no private interpretation or individual opinion on my part. Neither is there any personal agenda involved in my writing.

I am in a Catholic ministry that is acknowledged worldwide as unique and completely faithful to Rome.

This ministry endeavours to expose New Age practices, liturgical abuse, doctrinal error and the like, not of poor simple ignorant Catholics, but of those Catholics in public life, whether lay persons, religious or clerical, who are in a position of influence and authority over others and exercise their Church-given authority to either keep silent in the face of spiritual error which they are bound under pain of sin to confront and correct, or propagate those errors themselves, thus spiritually harming the souls of those whom they have been called to foster and pastor. The beliefs and teachings and activities of Virginia Saldanha and the feminist-theologians of the EWA and beyond undoubtedly fall in the latter category. Hence this report.



One would expect that the Catholic media would protect Catholics from error and enlighten the faithful as to which Catholic laity, religious and priests are reliable and error-free and which are not. Instead the Catholic print media in India deliver the faithful to the wolves to be devoured. I subscribe to a large number of Indian Catholic periodicals, the most popular of which are the archdiocesan weekly of Bombay, The Examiner, and the other, the Chennai-based fortnightly, The New Leader,
touted as “India’s leading Catholic magazine since 1887”. I cannot say which of the two has more spiritual error. Broadly, The Examiner promotes more of institutionalised
New Age than The New Leader.

A decade ago, I released a short hardcopy report which highlighted a few of the errors and questionable information that I found in these two magazines. God-willing, a detailed one will be published in the future.

However, since this report concerns Virginia Saldanha and the feminist-theologians lobby, let us restrict our study to the issue at hand. This study will not be exhaustive because most of the information that I have collated will be used in my following report, Astrid Lobo Gajiwala: Feminist Theology, Interreligious Dialogue, Hinduisation, and the Ordination of Women as Priests [since November 2011, she is on the editorial board of The Examiner], and in a third report in this series, one on India’s feminist theologians in general. Both, The Examiner and The New Leader publish and
publicise the writings and public activities of the feminist theologians, Astrid Lobo Gajiwala being the most prominent, followed by Virginia Saldanha.

So far, in this report, I have referred thrice to The Examiner [twice on Virginia Saldanha,
pages 40 and 41 and once on Astrid Lobo Gajiwala and Sr. Philomena D’Souza, page 68]; and I have referred twice to The New Leader [both times on Virginia Saldanha,
pages 40 and 56]. Concerning Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, I have included one extract from The Examiner [page 26].

In the two shortly-to-be-released reports, there would be at least 12 references from The Examiner and over 25 from The New Leader.

Considering that these are stories from and about women who are militating for the ordination of women in the Church, an issue on which Rome forbids even the littlest discussion, one can only wonder as to the reason why the editors and publishers of these Catholic magazines provide them any publicity at all.

Take for example EWA member Sr. A. Metti SCC, pages 18 and 33 of this report. She has a full page article serialised in The New Leader since around four months under the category “Life Challenge”. Which true Catholic would want to read [or publish?] anything that she has to say if s/he knew the real spirituality of Sr. A. Metti and that she is a theologian who defies Rome on the Church’s ban on women priests?


I have letters from over twenty-five individuals who wrote me that their letters protesting the New Community Bible were not published in The Examiner. 70.



Twenty-one of them may be seen at my report THE NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 7 – THE EXAMINER’S UNPUBLISHED LETTERS AGAINST THE NCB Letters in support of the
New Community Bible were however published!

I have maintained records
of at least a score of my own unpublished letters, mostly written by me in response to some error that was published in
The Examiner.

New Agers and feminists are given a free rein to market their spiritual errors in this archdiocesan weekly.

When there is censorship of the truth while at the same time presenting opportunity and space to the propagation of error in the Catholic media, the nexus between the promoters of those errors and those who help foster them must be broken by “exposing the fruitless works of darkness”, Ephesians 5:11.

We will now examine a recent issue each of The New Leader and The Examiner in respect of Virginia Saldanha and her feminist cohorts.


The New Leader, March 1-15, 2012

Role and Challenges of Women by Virginia Saldanha, four pages, Cover Feature, EXTRACT:

…Women’s participation in Catholic Church leadership remains severely curtailed… Jesus gave equal importance to women’s role in his ministry… Religious women have foregone marriage to dedicate their lives to the evangelizing mission of the Church*. But yet they are not given leadership roles, they are put back into the role of “mothers” and domesticated to be servants of men in the Church… The right of women to express themselves theologically and spiritually is curtailed because of the fear that women raise questions that could be a threat to male superiority and privilege… One woman said to me, “I have not seen a single happily married couple to believe that marriage is meant for me.” … Religious conservatives necessarily look upon women’s demand for equality as being against the will of God… Raising awareness is imperative to make all recognize that women share equal rights, status and dignity with man and are equally capable of being in leadership. Biology cannot be the determining factor for leadership. Women have to claim their space in all spheres to make equality a reality. Women need to bond together to support and work towards change in their reality. Sensitive and supportive men have given a boost to the activism of women towards change**. Enlarging this circle of men will speed up the process of change… When the Church follows Jesus’ example, only then will change take place in its structures to include women as equal partners***.



A very toned down, mild and acceptable feminism, suitable for the ignorant Catholic palate and prelate. Just the almost unnoticeable hint that women can do everything that men do, including be cultic priests.

The blurb says, “Ms. Virginia Saldanha is currently involved in promoting ‘gender awareness’ online at the Catherine of Siena Virtual College. She gives talks and writes articles to raise awareness on women’s issues. She is a member of women’s groups like Ecclesia of Women in Asia, Indian Women Theologians’ Forum and Satyashodak.”

That’s it! Nothing about what the “Catherine of Siena Virtual College“, EWA and IWTF are really all about, and nothing about her being a leading spokeswoman in the campaign for women’s ordination!!

*This from a woman who rejects the Church’s exhortation in Ecclesia in Asia to evangelise, pages 41, 42, and falsely prophesied violent reactions against the Church from Hindu fundamentalists.

**In India this would be the top brass of the CRI, see page 56, the list of priests on page 52, many more liberal priest-theologians who are presently not ready to reveal themselves, and possibly several bishops.

***When will women be fully “equal partners”? Ask any feminist; the answer would be when they can celebrate Holy Mass, which logically means that they will not be “equal partners” till they are ordained.


The Examiner, March 3, 2012

Have you read the Gender Policy? By Virginia Saldanha, two pages, Cover Feature, EXTRACT:

…In the Introduction, Bishop JB Thakur states that the policy is based on Genesis 1:27. “God created man in His own image; in the image of God, He created him; male and female He created them.”*
[Emphases mine] The non-inclusive language demonstrates lack of understanding how a woman feels when addressed in male terms day after day in Church documents, in Scripture and homilies. It gives the subtle message that we are indeed second to man…

Gender mainstreaming … includes women’s views and priorities in making decisions… It ensures that women’s experience, knowledge and interests are brought into Church practice and structures, so as to ensure equality…

Gender sensitivity includes the use of gender-sensitive language – described as inclusive language…

*We already have up to half of our priests intoning “God, our Father and Mother…” in the liturgy. That is in itself a liturgical abuse, but the feminists go all the way, calling God “Mother“, See pages 14, 21, 26 and 34.


Sr. Philomena D’Souza FMA, feminist theologian, see pages 67-69, a Consultor to the CBCI Women’s Commission, contributed a full page article to the above issue of The Examiner.

Janina Gomes, see page 57, a regular contributor to the liberal National Catholic Reporter, including articles on Indian feminist theologians, also contributed a full page article to the above issue of The Examiner.

She also writes regularly for the syncretist The Speaking Tree column, the Times of India, where any spirituality passes, especially if it does not affirm the unicity of any religious faith.

The storm clouds are gathering… 71.


UPDATE: “Virginia Saldanha: Bishop Fathers Child by Nun” continued from pages 35-39

4. Gordon Jacobs, 25 March:
I have asked Our Dear Cardinal Oswald Gracias to disclose the name of the bishop in the article written by Virginia Saldhana. He is away, and I will await his return to Mumbai shortly. However if the article, and its contents is incorrect than the cardinal must make a public statement and publish it in The Examiner to clear any suspection on any of the Bishops. He also need to take up the issue with the author of the article for damaging the repute of our catholic Bishop and the nun. I am sure our dear Cardinal will oblige, and stand up for justice, transparency and the well being of his flock. However should he continue to remain silent like he usually does, then the laity will belive that the allegations made are true and the issue is being swept under the carpet. I have also written to The Holy Father and the Apostolic Nuncio to hasten the response from our dear cardinal.




Clarification Regarding Bishop who fathered a son

Posted on March 27, 2012

Mumbailaity has now been informed by one of its readers to whom Virgina Saldanha has written that the concerned Bishop is not from Bombay.

She also implies now that the said information was not given to her by Astrid but by some one else.

Thus this would mean that the source from where she got the alleged information is not correct.

As you are all aware the said post attached below was written by Virginia and was first carried around two years ago. Subsequently the said post was carried by 4 other blogs.

What is really surprising is that this clarification has come after two years after the post was first put up by her and too because Mumbailaity took it up.

Readers would appreciate the stand taken by Mumbailaity that when things are put in the Public domain the public have a right to know who was the person involved so that the laity can stay away from danger. If someone claims that they do not want to reveal the name then the said post should not have been put in the public in the first place.

People who claim to be leaders should be aware about the implication of their acts and that all their written articles which have been put up for public consumption are also available for public scrutiny.

Attached below are the sites besides Mumbailaity who carried the said article.




{4} MangaloreanCatholics yahoo group digest no. 2060 July 8, 2010[Owner/moderator Ancy D’Souza Paladka a.k.a. Salu Soz, a supporter and promoter of liberal issues]



There is a name for people with the morals and character of Virginia Saldanha as revealed by her two-year- late denial, or should I call it a change of testimony? But I will restrain myself from using it.

She has accused a priest of an attempt at sexual abuse based on the alleged report of a woman. Once again we have to ask if her second-hand “evidence” is reliable or is it all part of the hype that she creates and the hysteria that she whips up about predatory priests prowling all over the Church only so that she can offer her solution: let women be ordained as priests. This report shows that behind the smoke screen of concern about sexual abuse is a single-minded agenda: women priests.

Her shocking denial of the allegations made by her in an article written by her and not anyone else and published in an international news media of which she is on the Board of Directors [UCAN] makes any future testimony from her unreliable; her words now lack any credibility. To save her fellow-feminist Astrid Lobo Gajiwala from an embarrassing situation, she claims that the bishop is not from her diocese. Can we trust her word on that? What prevents her from naming the diocese or the bishop?

If she pursues cases against priests whom she accuses of sexual abuse — or attempts at sexual abuse — based as before on hearsay or third-party allegations, who is to say that she will not renege on her new allegations at a future date? In her futile crusade to see women ordained to the priesthood, she betrays a total lack of compassion for whoever she may destroy in the process.

If she pursues cases against priests whom she accuses of sexual abuse — or attempts at sexual abuse — how much more passionate must be her mission to bring the errant bishop to justice?

MumbaiLaity has made some points which raise some very pertinent questions. Will Virginia Saldanha answer them?

The intention of this report, a one-of-its-kind from this ministry, was never to malign a bishop but to expose Virginia Saldanha. I believe that it has had its impact with Virginia Saldanha‘s having had to experience the ignominy of publicly denying the veracity of her original statements.

She has yet to issue an apology which is due to all readers of the UCAN, CRI and Mumbai Laity blogs.

SINCE ALL BISHOPS ARE NOW SUSPECT, the bishops must deal firmly with Virginia Saldanha even if it is to ensure that the errant bishop’s identity is not revealed. We trust that they will be able to do this effectively after the release of my report on her activities in a couple of days. 72.



Virginia Saldanha
Sent: Sunday, March 25, 2012 5:10 PM

Subject: Fwd: Responses to Bombay Bishop fathers child by nun- Visit WWW.wordpress/mumbailaity

[…] I am surprised that as late as this morning you are still posting messages and pursuing a
piece of gossip that has been cooked up

on your blog, even after I sent you an email regarding this already some weeks back.

I do not understand why you are propagating rumors through your blog which professes to be the voice of Laity in Mumbai. It seems that it is being turned into a gossip blog!

[…] No where in my article did I even suggest that the bishop is from Bombay Archdiocese.  How did this title begin to be circulated and linked by you to an article that I have written two years ago?

For your information, the bishop is not from Bombay diocese. You nor anyone who is not an authority to hear the name, can demand that we tell you the name!!

We do not wish to publicise what action we took after hearing this woman’s story, now more than ten years ago.

[…] I am asking you once again to please put a stop to these rumours
that are unnecessarily being circulating not only tarnishing the names of myself and Astrid, but of all the Bishops from the diocese.  

If you want to be a leader you need to act responsibly.  If you continue both Astrid and myself will be forced to take action against you for harassment and sullying our names.


Catherine of Siena Virtual College
Imparting and Stimulating Awareness education to make our world more just and inclusive.



Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 5:56 PM Subject:

Dear George, How are you?

I trust that you recall our brief intermittent correspondence till October 2008…

Let me come to the purpose of this communication:

I don’t know if you are aware of and have read a blog in the March 9, 2012 issue of Mumbai Laity of Mumbai concerning an allegation made by Ms. Virginia Saldanha in June 2010 about a bishop fathering a son by a nun and then abandoning her. The allegation made by her was published in June 2010 by UCAN in which she is on the Board of Directors. Over the succeeding 21 months, the exact same piece was published in the Conference of India, Religious bulletin [CRIB] where she wields great influence, in her own blog, the Ecclesia of Women in Asia [EWA], and in the Mangalorean Catholics [MC] yahoo blog, before Mumbai Laity picked it up and published it in March this year. At that time, someone from Mumbai forwarded it to me.

Since the allegation was repeated five times in the public domain, and I was already researching Virginia Saldanha towards an expose of the true nature and goals of the feminist lobby, the EWA, and the feminist theologians in the Indian Church, I responded to the Mumbai Laity blog with a “short” [by my standards] article which was published therein on March 20, 2012*.  

In the UCAN story as well as the later four, she categorically mentioned Astrid Lobo Gajiwala as her source. It is impossible for anyone, especially someone of the intellectual calibre and calculativeness of Ms. Virginia Saldanha, to err in naming one’s source.

It was presumed that the allegation was about a bishop of the Bombay archdiocese; hence Mumbai Laity published it and I gave my article a caption to that effect.

Now that the article and responses to it have been widely circulated across Mumbai and also reached the attention of the bishops [if it had not all these previous 21 months] and Ms. Virginia Saldanha, she has made a clarification, a retraction, and a fresh allegation, which I am not sure you are yet aware of. They go like this.

The bishop is not from the archdiocese of Bombay; Astrid Lobo Gajiwala was not her source; the source was George Menezes.

Ms. Virginia Saldanha also now claims that they “took … action” against the errant bishop but will not reveal details.

I have some questions to ask and comments to make.

1. Considering that Ms. Virginia Saldanha has held executive public office in the Church since at least two decades, and in very senior and sensitive positions for at least half that time, and considering that during that time she has worked in close proximity with the bishops [and in Bishops’ Conferences] who she could contact easily unlike us ordinary mortals, what was the need for her to scandalise the Church by publishing the allegation in UCAN, in CRIB and then in her EWA blog — all within a span of ten days? Did she have some reason for doing that? She writes nothing without very good reason.

2. If indeed, as she now claims, they [she and Astrid] “took … action” against the errant bishop, why did she bring up the issue in her article ten to twelve years
after the fact, giving the impression that it was still unaddressed, and why did she not mention in that article that they [she and Astrid] “took … action” against the errant bishop?  

3. If indeed, as she now claims, the original source of the story of the bishop’s promiscuity is not Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, why did Astrid Lobo Gajiwala not raise an objection and have her name removed?

After all, Ms. Virginia Saldanha could easily insist that her source remains anonymous. And certainly at least one published comment/reader’s response – unfavourable to the women’s ordination movement has later been expunged from a UCAN article [Albertus’ comment
in Nuns attack Vatican on women’s ordination July 23, 2010,]. 73.



Astrid Lobo Gajiwala reads UCA News and CRIB for sure, because they write a lot about her.

Being an office-holder in the Women Theologians’ Forum EWA, she must have again read it there in June 2010. 

We did not see Astrid Lobo Gajiwala raise a hue and cry and charge Virginia Saldanha or the news agencies and blogs with defamation, libel and slander.

These women theologians are united in their quest for the ordination of women as priests [a seventy-plus page article on Virginia Saldanha is ready for release and another on Astrid Lobo Gajiwala is under preparation], and they will sacrifice anyone at that altar to further their aims and achieve their goal, anyone who might constitute a threat, anyone except someone in their sisterhood.

Astrid Lobo Gajiwala and Virginia Saldanha were apparently quite happy with the state of things up until Mumbai Laity came in. Since the publication of the story in the Mumbai Laity blog and my response [which was published therein around ten days later], Virginia Saldanha has occupied herself in contacting whoever might ease her unfortunate predicament. 

She has of course charged the Mumbai Laity with publishing rumours, and gossip that has been cooked up, and warned them that if they continue to do so, she and Astrid Lobo Gajiwala might decide to “take action” against them.

“Take action” seems to be their refrain. Imagine such women as ordained priests in the Catholic Church! [This will remain only in the realm of imagination] If while in a vulnerable position, this lady [it was very difficult for me to use that word, and I’m sure that she, as a feminist, will hate being called one] and her “womyn” friends can issue such threats, one can imagine [imagine quite safely, again] what they will be capable of if vested with the power that they accuse the male clergy of now possessing.

Rumours? By what stretch of imagination does Virginia Saldanha describe as rumours and gossip that has been cooked up, the story in the Mumbai Laity which is nothing but a faithful reproduction of an article written by her in which she says that a bishop fathered a child by a nun who now works as a cook?

5. Will a public retraction and correction of her mistake be forthcoming from Virginia Saldanha?

It is right and just that she apologizes [for having used the name of Astrid Lobo Gajiwala instead of yours]. But she has not thought it fit to issue an apology to the thousands of readers of UCAN, CRIB, EWA, etc., for feeding them an untruth [ok, a lie].

Some months ago, I published a report in which I named a Mumbai Catholic couple who are involved in a New Age activity, and I said that they were in a particular Catholic ministry. Another couple from that ministry wrote to me and pointed out that it was not true and that I was wrong. That was a rare error on my part; I had not done my homework thoroughly. I immediately wrote to all concerned apologizing for my error and also made a correction in my report.

6. From superficially reading all that Virginia Saldanha
writes, one gets the impression that she is passionately concerned about the welfare of women. I say “superficially reading” because when one analyses her work closely with wisdom, intelligence, knowledge and discernment, as I have done, her true ideologies, agendas and concerns are revealed.

But what actually seems to be happening is that she writes, and writes, and goes after a bishop and maybe a priest or two who may or may not be guilty of the crimes against women that they are accused of. Has she not seen similar situations in secular politics, even in the bureaucracy? Whistle blowers and those who do not toe the line on corruption, sycophancy, have cases foisted on them by the establishment while criminals become ministers. Is it not possible that our Church, being an institution with a human face, experiences the same?

Nothing, nothing has been said about what the feminists did for the former-nun turned cook.

I should think that Virginia Saldanha
would have been eager to share with her readers as to how the feminists helped rehabilitate one of their own sex, especially one who has been victimised, not in the “Bishop Fathers Child by Nun” case, but in general.

I did not find any such information, not a line, in the thousands of pages of information that I researched while preparing my five reports related to this issue of the threat from radical feminism in the Indian Church…

I thought that you should know about the situation and hence the letter. Your response is welcome.

God bless. Kind regards,

Michael Prabhu Catholic apologist, CHENNAI



George Menezes
Virginia Saldanha ; Astrid Lobo Gajiwala
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2012 10:50 AM


Dear Michael

Thanks for your Email. I am copying your mail (which was not marked Confidential) to Astrid a personal friend and Virginia a lay official in the Church […]

I do not know anything about this matter nor am I interested in the sex life of the Church hierarchy.  […]

The only reason I am replying to Michael Prabhu is that somewhere in his long mail he mentions that Virginia wrote.  

“The bishop is not from the archdiocese of Bombay; Astrid Lobo Gajiwala was not her source; the source was George Menezes.”

This is a blatant lie.

Please keep me out of this and God bless you all, George 74.








I had closed my entries in this report on the Catherine of Siena Virtual College of which Virginia Saldanha is the Mumbai, India, contact not realising the full extent of the danger it poses to the Indian Church.

However, a couple of friends did some investigation and alerted me, so here we are again.

The agenda of the Catherine of Siena Virtual College is the ordination of women of priests.

See the link which solicits donations saying,

Please, support our campaign for women priests“.



[Above I have copied the masthead for WomenPriests.] On the same page, you will find this ad:



In their forthcoming “Spring Term” programme commencing April 9, 2012, one of the topics is the Indian Catholic Church’s Gender Policy. What other reason is it included if not for these dissenting feminists to strategise how they could exploit it to further their cause, the ordination of women in the Indian church? See page 79, point ‘M’.


Still, The New Leader, a Catholic fortnightly, in its March 1-15, 2012 issue, publishes an article, “Role and Challenges of Women by Virginia Saldanha“, four pages, Cover Feature, with the blurb saying, “Virginia Saldanha is currently involved in promoting ‘gender awareness’ online at the Catherine of Siena Virtual College.”


It cannot be long before The Examiner follows suit.


We broke off from the
Catherine of Siena Virtual College
at point ‘H.’ on pages 6, 7. We resume with ‘I.’


I. Catherine of Siena Virtual College

Empowering Women in Faith and Ministry

Larger source


We are at present building up courses for a full-fledged internet University College. It will offer students the ability to follow courses on topics related to women and women’s ministries that are not available in their local university.


Some Sample Courses that will be offered 75.



Patricia Pinsent,
Female Ministry, Priesthood
and Children’s Literature

Inevitably, since women have not been admitted to the ordained ministry in any Christian church until relatively recently, and are still denied ordination in some bodies, especially the Roman Catholic Church, it is not possible to find literature, for children or for adults, which portrays women in this kind of role.

Nevertheless, if the role of the priest is seen as making Christ present in the world, mediating God to others and ‘standing for’ Christ, by actions such as nurturing, teaching scripture, tradition and the Christian life, then female characters in literature have undoubtedly had a priestly and ministerial role. In this course, a wide range of literature, either written for children or often presented to them in school, will be examined, both to examine the portrayal of the role of the ordained male priests and to establish the ways in which female ministry in effect fulfils priestly functions. A number of questions are inevitably raised during this analysis, in particular in relation to the way in which children’s literature helps determine the perceptions of young readers.

Rosemary Radford Ruether,
Christology in Feminist and International Perspectives

The course moves through five modules:

Christology in contemporary critical perspectives: Europe and North America

U.S. North American Feminist Perspectives

Latin American Liberation and Feminist Perspectives

African Feminist Perspectives

Feminist Christologies from Asia

John Wijngaards,
The ministry of women according to Sacred Scripture

The course aims at providing an introduction to the main topics of discussion concerning Sacred Scripture and the ministry of women. The traditional arguments drawn from Scripture to exclude women from the ordained ministries are assessed regarding their biblical validity. Positive scriptural indications that favour the inclusion of women in the ministries are explored. Underpinning the course is a professional grasp of the correct rules of scriptural interpretation.

Other courses are in preparation.

How will we function?

We have been in touch with on-line universities, both academic ones attached to lecture-hall universities and online-only universities. Learning from them, our present plans are as follows:

1. We first need to build up a credible syllabus with courses designed by professional virtual ‘staff’.

2. Students will pay to enrol. However, we envisage a two-tier system:
(a) self-improvement students who pay only a little. We are thinking of housewives, parish activists, retired people etc. who want the knowledge, but are not interested in the academic credits.
(b) Academic students who pay more, who receive opportunities of ‘tuition’ (by correspondence), whose work will be assessed and who will receive credits on completing the course(s).

3. ‘Staff’ do not get paid for designing the courses and providing lesson material that is available online. However, staff would get paid, per student and per course, for tuition and online assessment.

4. During the first two to three years we will build up a credible syllabus. We will open courses to students as soon as a number are functional.

5. Once we have gained some experience, we will approach colleges and universities here in the UK to explore accreditation, and its conditions. In theory, we could also affiliate ourselves to universities in other countries.

We welcome your cooperation, suggestions and advice,

Meet the team working at this site,



Catherine of Siena Virtual College is at!

1. Rosemary Radford Ruether: dissenter, pro-women’s ordination, see pages 34, 52 and 67.

2. John Wijngaards: See page 55. Ex-priest Wijngaards is the founding force and brains behind both WomenPriests and Catherine of Siena Virtual College.

The liberal women’s ordination-supporting National Catholic Reporter enthusiastically published this article within hours of the formation of


Resigned priest creates – John Wijngaards – Brief Article

By John L. Allen, Jr. National Catholic Reporter May 28, 1999

A well-known Dutch theologian who resigned his priesthood in protest of Ad Tuendam Fidem, last year’s papal document tightening church rules on dissent, launched a Web site May 28 intended to be the leading international collection of resources in support of women’s ordination.

John Wijngaards’ site may be found at

In 1977 Wijngaards (pronounced Wine guards) wrote the book Did Christ Rule Out Women Priests? in response to Inter Insigniores, a papal document that reasserted the ban on women priests. After Ad Tuendam Fidem, and especially a commentary by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger that asserted the teaching on women priests is infallible, Wijngaards said he felt compelled to resign. 76.



“I saw Rome tightening its grip on theologians, I saw colleagues being forced to swear oath to things they don’t believe in and I decided enough is enough,” he said. “I couldn’t represent an institution that was telling people they couldn’t be part of the church if they believed in ordaining women.”

Wijngaards said, however, that he remains a committed Roman Catholic despite his resignation from the active priesthood.

Wijngaards, 63, was born in Indonesia to Dutch parents. His family spent time in a Japanese prison camp during World War II and was later repatriated to the Netherlands. Wijngaards became a priest with the Mill Hill Fathers in 1959 and obtained a doctorate in scripture.

From 1964 to 1976, he was in India teaching and publishing. In 1976 he was elected as the Mill Hill vicar general in London. Today he runs Housetop*, a London center that produces catechetical material and conducts programs on adult faith formation for parishes and dioceses in England. *See pages 111 ff.

Wijngaards told NCR that in creating his Web site he is working with academics, feminist groups and Catholic activists from around the world.

“I aim at making this the fairest, most complete, most detailed, academically tested and interactive site on the ordination of women,” Wijngaards said. “The chief scriptural argument for the ordination of women is the fact that in baptism both men and women are incorporated into Christ’s priesthood and both have the potency to be called to Holy Orders,” he said.

“From tradition, there is the historical fact that women have served as deacons in sacramentally valid ways. On the Web site are ordination rituals from the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries which make this abundantly clear,” he said.

“The church has already given women a share in Holy Orders, so the argument that it has no power to do so fails.”

Wijngaards said he is optimistic about the prospects for change. “From what I know of conversations among bishops, theologians and others — even though they won’t talk openly — I think there is a groundswell of knowledge that the church is wrong in this area,” he said. “I’m not sure that the present management in Rome even represents the views of everyone in the curia.”

He said that while he understands the frustration of those who leave the church in despair of change, he believes in fighting from the inside. “The long-term good of getting the Catholic church to accept the ordination of women is far more important than trying to safeguard one’s own individual vocation,” he said.

Wijngaards sees the Internet as a tool for pushing change. “It does justice to the sensus fidelium as a source for understanding the church’s tradition and its scripture,” he said. “It’s a way for the faithful to articulate and share their understanding, and there’s no doubt it will accelerate the pressure for reform.”

Also see
Wijngaards‘: Welcome to my Page
The Story of My Life


The Feminist Threat to the Church – part VIII by Patricia Phillips

In the last article on radical feminism, we saw that the dissenting group Catholic Women’s Network
has changed its name to Women Word Spirit.

In the September 2006 issue of Network, this group that allegedly “acknowledges and accepts the authentic teaching of the Church”:-

On page 7:- identifies its links to, and membership of, various dissenting groups, when it states: “Women Word Spirit, the voice of catholic women’s network Annual Report”. In section 4: “Links in the UK and Europe”. Among dissenting links listed are: “European Network – Church on the Move. CWN is a member together with other UK groups such as Catholics for a Changing Church, Catholic Women’s Ordination, We Are Church, St. Joan’s Alliance.” The section also states:- “Other groups on whose activities we report include the RC Caucus of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, Living Spirituality Network, Catholics for a Free Choice, Catholic Women’s Ordination and Women’s Ordination Worldwide, We Are Church, Catholics for a Changing Church, CAFOD and other social groups”. It goes without saying that all reports given by CWN/WWS on the activities of these groups are entirely favourable.

On page 13:- heard at its “Core” meeting on July 10th 2006, how John Wijngaards’ Catherine of Siena Virtual College had difficulties with officialdom which considered the notion of ’empowerment’ for women not to be a charitable cause (this ‘virtual college’ is pro-womenpriests propaganda. See


J. Re: Attention! Petition to Pope and other News 20/09/2007

Leonie also shared an update about Catherine of Siena Internet Virtual College. She writes:
The Virtual College

An exciting development Catherine of Sienna Internet College is up and running. The first ten women have enrolled to test its courses. The courses’ specifically feminine perspective will deepen students’ knowledge of the Gospel and of Christian ministry and help them prepare for leadership in the Christian Church. Students will have access to the best international scholarship and be able to gain academic credits.
However, the interactive courses will take account of the way women learn so that the knowledge acquired will be deep and personal. The courses will have special value for women who are unable to attend an academic institution, enabling them not to learn alone but with the active help and companionship of other women.
Have a look at the college site



K. Catherine of Siena Virtual College

We are looking for a new Chief Executive Officer

Housetop* Care Limited, a Registered Charity, supports two major projects at present:

1. Catherine of Siena Virtual College
2. The campaign for the Ordination of Women in the Roman Catholic Church

We conduct our projects mainly through the Internet:
(= Catherine of Siena Virtual College) & (20 languages, half a million visitors a year) with its auxiliary websites.

I will say a brief word about each. *See pages 111 ff.

Our campaign for women in church leadership aims at genuine reform from within the Catholic Church. We run our campaign mainly through the internet. presents thousands of high-quality documents in 20 languages. It welcomes half a million visitors a year. Additional services are provided through sites such as:,, and

Catherine of Siena Virtual College is in its opening stages. Eventually it will offer a selection of gender studies that will enable women to assume key leadership responsibilities in their own countries, and will encourage men to respect the equality, rights and charisms of women. See and

Our work is carried forward by a committed and competent network of women and men who consist of academic advisers, translators and other volunteers in many countries. Our central office in Rickmansworth boasts one full-time office administrator and a core team of local helpers. So far I have been guiding the overall operation as general director but – frankly – I am getting old and I do not want to put the whole operation at risk if anything were to happen to me. So we are looking for a successor. […]

Desirable qualities that will enhance your being accepted

You are a Roman Catholic. Since one of our main projects concerns the Roman Catholic Church, familiarity with that Church makes it easier to lay the contacts and make the connections that will be required. However, we realise that you may be disenchanted from the official Church for various reasons without that stopping you from being a Catholic.

You are theologically qualified. Academic qualification is a must. Having also studied theology will enable you to enter more fully into some of the debate relating to women serving as priests. But the required knowledge can also be acquired in other ways. […]

How you can submit your application

Write a letter or email to me with your CV and bio-data at the following address:

John Wijngaards, Housetop, 111A High Street, Rickmansworth, HERTS WD3 1AN, UK

My email address at is:


L. Other Staff –
Catherine of Siena Virtual College

Joint Vice Presidents Deborah Rose-Milavec MTh (Dayton) and Aaron Rose-Milavec STB (Fribourg) ThD (Berkeley)

Academic Coordinator Patricia Pinsent BSc MA PhD […]

Registrar Virginia Saldanha, BA, Certificate in Theology (Goregaon)



Virginia Saldanha has a lifetime of experience in working for the cause of women. She has worked for the rights of women in civil society and in the Church for most of her life. She was appointed as Secretary of the Archdiocesan Women’s Desk from August 1993 – April 2000 and was a member of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council for the term beginning 1996 -2000.

She was appointed the Associate Secretary of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), Office of Laity Women’s Desk from January 1996. In this capacity she organized International Meetings on Women for Bishops to develop a sensitivity to women’s issues in the Church in Asia. She was appointed as Consultor in the CBCI Commission for Laity in 1994-1998 and elected as Consultor to the CBCI Women’s Commission in 1995 – 1998. She was elected to the Executive Council of Pax Christi International from 1997-2004 where she attended many international meetings on Social, Political and Economic issues, including a session of the UNHRC at Geneva and meetings of UNESCO in Paris. She was appointed as Executive Secretary of the CBCI Commission for Women from 1998-2004. And in January 2000, she was appointed as Executive Secretary of the FABC Office of Laity and Family.



Virginia Saldanha is on the staff of Catherine of Siena Virtual College which is 78.


In their forthcoming “Spring Term” programme commencing April 9, 2012, one of the topics at Catherine of Siena Virtual College is the Indian Catholic Church’s Gender Policy. What other reason is it included if not for these dissenting feminists to strategise how they could exploit it to further their cause, the ordination of women in the Indian church?


M. Re: News central, etc., items of interest… 15/02/2008

CBCI’s 28th GBM to Mull Over: Empowerment of Women in the Church and Society.
NEW DELHI, FEB. 08, 2008, 16.00 Hrs (CBCI News) 
The 28th General Body Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), which is scheduled to be held at the Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI), Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, from February 13-20, will reflect on: ‘Empowerment of Women in the Church and Society.’
The following is the full text of the press statement presented by the Secretary General Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes at a press conference held at the CBCI Centre, this afternoon at 2.30 PM…

28th General Body Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) […]


By Guest:
I read this news with great interest and had to laugh out loud when I got to the end. Not a single item or topic or ‘useful insight’ was mentioned which would throw a light on what the church actually would do to help the empowerment of women, but a long long list of names and titles of male ecclesiastical leaders. In short, déjà vu. I am sorry if I appear unconvinced, but this is precisely the top heavy way of ‘dealing’ with women which has got us nowhere.

An insincere attempt to give an “appearance” of caring about women when instead it is a hollow grab for publicity by the male ecclesials — The male clerics get their names in the paper. Under a headline “empowerment of women”.  Oh reeeeally. Isn’t that special? A publicity grab and smoke screen made by these Cardinals to show “they are doing something” for the “women”. Not fooled by this. How conveeeenient of these Cardinals to get together for their party of real female exclusion from the holy orders.

What is the church in India going to do to help the women widows who are mistreated or abused women of domestic violence or women who work in horrible conditions for very low pay? What about letting women exercise their spiritual empowerment and let women be co-workers in the church itself as priests and deacons like men are allowed to do? Are these Cardinals going to discuss and work at Ordaining Women as Catholic Deacons and Priests in their own Church? That is empowerment of women.



The feminists really want, as I keep repeating, only ONE single thing in the name of “empowerment of women“: WomenPriests!

Here they mock the meeting of the CBCI. What does Virginia Saldanha, who has been all along an INTEGRAL PART OF IT, have to say? Openly, nothing. She works from the dark confines of the Trojan horses of the Ecclesia of Women in Asia, the Asian Women Theologians’ Forum, etc., and now under cover of the newly-introduced Catherine of Siena Virtual College. Womenpriests is VERY, VERY interested in India!

Virginia Saldanha stands EXPOSED!


N. Promoting the value of the girl child


UCAN: Asia’s Most Trusted Independent Catholic News Source

Promoting the value of the girl child by Virginia Saldanha

April 11, 2011





Change is vital if India is to reduce gender divide and allow women a role in society and the Church

A pregnant Catholic woman came to tell me her Catholic husband warned that if she produced a girl child he would shove it back into her uterus! Does his attitude surprise us in the Christian community which is known to have a better girl/boy child sex ratio (CSR) in India? The deeply embedded bias against the girl child is a reality across our country and seeps into the Christian mindset as well. 79.


With the recent release of the provisional data of the 2011 census we think back to 2001 when the CSR registered a decline and raised alarm in government and civil society. Government vowed to work to change this reality and religious leaders pledged their support as well.

But 2011 shows that perhaps nothing – or not enough – has been done because the CSR is down to an alarming 914/1000 girl/boys with metro cities registering figures much lower than the rural areas. What is interesting is that the general literacy rates have risen. The gender literacy ratio shows a perceptible increase in female literacy. But we just do not seem to let go of our bias against the girl child. Why?

Tradition-bound families are so conscious of their name and fame, that they are unwilling to go against the tide to take a stand in favour of the girl child. So they continue to believe that the son is required to take care of them in old age, the son has to perform their last rites (Hindus), the son can achieve high status and position at work and in society and bring accolades to the family. A girl will be someone’s daughter-in-law probably with a lot of problems that bring more pain than gain to the family. There is no getting away from this reality. So even if literacy and wealth have increased in the Indian population, the girl child remains a casualty.

You can still witness mourning at the birth of a girl and rejoicing at the birth of a boy. Many think that bringing up a girl is like “watering a plant in your neighbour’s garden”. A girl is a burden, she has to be nurtured with care so that she will fetch a suitable husband preferably above her station in life; her virginity has to be preserved – and in these promiscuous times it is difficult. How do parents juggle a good education and keep boy friends at bay? Then when she marries she carries away a substantial part of family wealth as a dowry.

The Catholic Church spends a lot of resources and energy in hammering the anti-abortion message. The government claims it is getting stricter in the implementation of the law against sex determination tests during pregnancy. While our orphanages continue to swell with girls the CSR continues to decline.

What we have all failed to realize is that as long as people do not change their attitude towards the girl child and women in general, nothing will change. People have decided that the girl is a burden and they will do everything and anything- use their education and wealth – to eliminate this burden. This is quite easy in our country, ridden as it is with corruption.

A change of attitude can only come with multi-pronged efforts using advertising, education and positive image-building measures. Aggressive advertising using different media can reach people far and wide.

The introduction of gender studies in education curricula, awareness programs conducted at health centres, and for parents through the Parent Teacher Associations and other bodies, are necessary.

Increasing opportunities for women to occupy leadership positions, positive images of woman coming through films, theatre and literature are important to penetrate mindsets to help people realize that the girl child can be an asset and not a liability.

The Catholic Church in India has the best opportunity to introduce awareness programmes through the wide network of parishes and educational institutions. But we have to lead by example.

The general attitude towards women in the Church gives women the strong message that they are indeed second class. Women have no voice or decision making in the Church. A bishop summed it up best when, during a tea break of an awareness session on the girl child, he said to me privately: “The situation of the girl child will change only when she can become a bishop!”

Awake, my brothers and sisters in the Church, here is an opportunity to give India the true image of the girl child whom we believe is made in the image and likeness of God. She must be allowed to live life in abundance.

Let us lead by example – by using every avenue available to change attitudes and demonstrate that we value women enough to give them responsibility and leadership in the Church because we believe this to be the true message of Jesus.

Virginia Saldanha is the former executive secretary of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences Office of Laity with responsibility for the Women’s Desk. A freelance writer, she has a diploma in Theology for Laity from the Bombay Diocesan Seminary and is a woman activist working in India.



1. UCAN upgrades Virginia Saldanha‘s certificate in theology, see pages 3 and 78, to a Diploma! Well, she is on its Board of Directors and that should count for something!!

2. The UCAN article, with a photograph, is reproduced in [with a second photograph!] Why? The story is written by their member and Catherine of Siena Virtual College staff, Virginia Saldanha.

3. describes UCAN as “Asia’s Most Trusted Independent Catholic News Source“. Not anymore. I read UCAN on a daily basis, and I for one don’t trust them, especially if WomenPriests do. Not since the liberal Fr. Michael Kelly SJ took charge September 18, 2008
anyway. The proof of that is in many of the UCAN stories that I have reproduced in my various reports and articles with my comments.

4. “A bishop summed it up best when, during a tea break of an awareness session on the girl child, he said to me privately: “The situation of the girl child will change only when she can become a bishop!”

Possibly only Virginia Saldanha and her feminist colleagues understand how female foeticide will cease or “the situation of the girl child” will improve when women are made bishops. See also pages 44, 51.

Well, Virginia, I have news for you. Another BISHOP has called your bluff:

On International Women’s Day (March 8) and prior to that, we have been hearing about the campaign carried out, even by well-meaning people, various women’s organisations, Catholic schools and NGOs, to save the girl child. This campaign in India is a farce. 80.




In India, abortion is made legal. Against this background, the campaign for saving the girl child implies that you can kill the male child but not the girl child. It is sheer nonsense and illogical to hope that when we allow the male child to be killed, the people who are used to spilling the blood of the male child will stop spilling the blood of the female child, no matter for what reasons.

I propose that we give a second thought and have a public debate to find out whether we have done the right thing by legalizing abortion in India.

+Bishop Edwin Colaco, Aurangabad.

Source: The Examiner, March 17, 2012

The bishop rightly says that a major way to improve the lot of the girl child is to campaign against abortion instead of militating for the ordination of women as priests and bishops, which is an exercise in futility!!


O. Message from Deborah Rose-Milavec

(Deborah and Aaron Rose-Milavec have set up a ‘daughter’ office for our campaign in the USA)

I would like to share a little of my story. As a child, I possessed a simple unquestioning love for my Church. I often attended daily mass and loved to be with our priest Fr. Joseph.

As a teenager, I had my first crisis of faith. I became aware that the people who prayed in church on Sundays went out and cheated their neighbours on Monday.

At twenty-eight, having put my four daughters to bed, I experienced God’s presence so deeply I thought my heart would explode with joy and I knew God was real.

I discovered, with great joy, the social justice teachings of the Church. I also learned that the Church had begun a dialogue about the role of women in the Church and how that discussion had been shut down by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. I became angry, but I learned to use that energy constructively to speak out.

One Sunday our parish priest preached to the men in the congregation about vocations to the priesthood. I spoke to the priest after Mass and asked how I could teach my children to expect full equality and dignity in the world and not to expect it from my Church?

We must continue to listen to the call of the Holy Spirit to work for change.

Deborah Rose-Milavec



Deborah Rose-Milavec writing here in WomenPriests is Vice-President of
Catherine of Siena Virtual College.


An interview with Dr. Aaron Rose-Milavec

Q: Isn’t online learning a lonely enterprise?

A: Well, to begin with, students who arrive in our virtual classrooms immediately discover that they are never alone. Using simple rituals, each student introduces herself/himself and then gets to interact with the others who have already introduced themselves. Right from the very beginning, therefore, the participants begin bonding with each other and preparing themselves to take part in a learning circle.

Q: Ah, I see, even though your participants never meet each other face to face, they do, nonetheless, strongly engage each other in collaborative learning.

A: Exactly. Online, however, the possibilities of collaborative learning exceed those found within the live classroom. When you arrive for your online class, you are accepted on the basis of your own story and your own skills. You may be exceedingly attractive or very plain. You may be rich or very poor. You may be graceful or painfully awkward. Online, however, these things simply don’t get in the way of internet exchanges in the way that they do in real life exchanges. And another thing. The anonymity of the internet enables women who might normally be too afraid to speak out in a classroom discussion to present themselves quite forcefully and quite sophisticatedly within an internet forum.

Going further, Catherine College firmly believes that any classroom that has only one teacher is impoverished. In the best of classrooms, everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn, including the professor. The most critical role that the professor plays is often to make a safe place in her classroom wherein women can find their true voices and to express themselves freely. The bonding that takes place in the virtual classroom must accordingly be joined with a shared sense of respect and mystery in the face of co-learners struggling to become their authentic selves even when they have for so long been beaten down and forced to adapt roles that conceal their true voices. 

Q: Do you imply that learning at Catherine College can allow students to recover lost parts of themselves?

A: In my own practice as a teacher, I have always noted that deep learning is always accompanied with a transformation of self that is liberating, healing, and empowering. This is where the traditional classrooms so miserably fail. So much attention is given to mastering a subject in a prescribed manner that there is no time or place to acknowledge the personal joys and frustrations, insights and healing that necessarily accompanies deep learning. And this is true whether one is studying physics or philosophy, literature or women’s studies. But already, I am gratified to say, the students in our pilot classes have again and again said to us that we are doing something very important, very healing, and very academic—all at the same time. 81.




Q: Does all this apply to your Virtual College?

A: Well, let’s look at our course, Women Writing, Lives Changing. Here is a sample of what three participants were saying:

Our class was so great–we have come so far, trusting one another with our words and trusting the process. I loved it! It was very meaningful; in fact, I will remember this month of sessions for decades to come.

I am reflecting and feeling empowered that there is a place for me and for my contributions in this world. . . . And to the other women in this class — you are valuable and you matter, too. I treasure the sharing that you have done and look forward to upcoming sessions.

I loved this session. I loved being accountable and not being able to run away and hide — knowing that I needed to put my best foot forward and write and post and share.

In addition to combining soul-searching with skill building, our students find that our international and intercultural atmosphere is also a real plus. When someone from Indiana shares insights with someone from India or someone from Spain shares the difficulties found within her own culture, this is a stretch and an inspiration for all concerned. At times it is positively exhilarating to have a learning partner who lives half-way around the world!

Q: Do things sometimes go wrong for your participants?

A: Indeed they do.  Our typical course has eight Lessons.  Each Lesson requires each participant to spend three hours each week reading, posting, and offering feedback at times of her/his choosing.  Successful students tell me that they schedule in advance two 90-minute or three 60-minute periods for working on each new Lesson.  A few participants, however, never get a grip on their use of time and, as a result, they show up in the chatroom having only completed a fraction of each Lesson.  Thus, they always feel that they are falling behind and have little to contribute to the chatroom discussions that rounds out each Lesson.  Near the end of the course, they get discouraged by how far they have fallen behind, and they drop out of the course entirely.
In sum, online learning is more engaging and interactive than face to face learning, that’s for sure.  But online learning also requires more self-discipline. 

Please join us and discover these things for yourself!



Catherine of Siena Virtual College – where even the students are teachers!

Aaron Rose-Milavec’s wife Deborah Rose-Milavec is Vice-President
of Catherine of Siena Virtual College.


P. Re: the view from the Greek Orthodox Church – 30/08/2008 by Sophie/RE: Announcements – 30/08/2008

Saint Catherine of Siena Virtual College is looking for a few brave women!

“Yes, we are looking for a few brave women!”
Are you a go-getter, prepared to face new challenges?

Do you relish learning in the company of trusted women?

Are you able to reflect on your own experience and to advise others based on your personal experiences?

Two brand new online courses are opening: 
Women’s Ministries according to the Christian Scriptures
by Dr. John Wijngaards

The Prophetic Spirituality of Justice
by Prof. Mary Grey

We are looking for “a few brave women” who will test-drive one of our two brand-new courses (listed on the left) and to offer us feedback along the way.  You will be learning in a
revolutionary modality
that fosters collaborative learning within a multi-cultural environment. You will also get a look behind the scenes as technicians and educators work side-by-side to produce a flawless and stimulating learning environment. You will save over $200 in tuition (our gift to you for your feedback and guidance).
If you are persuaded that you are ready for this mission, then please tell us so in an email. Also tell us about yourself:
1. Which course have you selected? What brings you to be interested in this course at this time in your life?

2. How much time would you be able to devote to this course each week beginning on 07 September 2008?

3. What sort of internet access will you be using? If you are unsure as to how adequate your system will be, take out five minutes and perform Test #1 and Test #2.

4. Please list the courses (academic or otherwise) that you have taken in feminist studies and in religious studies. List them in order of their contribution to your personal growth and development.

5. Would you be able to contribute €35 (US$50 or equivalent) in exchange for taking this course? If not, what could you contribute? Reduced to $20 for USA. All fees waived for “brave women” living outside the USA.

Looking forward to being of help to you,
Deborah & Aaron Rose-Milavec
Joint Vice Presidents
Saint Catherine of Siena Virtual College

You can take a peek at our Catherine College.



Catherine of Siena Virtual College and womenpriests are one and the same. 82.





Name withheld3
Sent: 01 April 2012 12:11 PM To:
Subject: Clarification required 

Dear Sir, […] While I was going through your I traced out a college “Catherine of Siena Virtual College Can you please provide me the details of such courses?

John Wijngaards <> To:
Name withheld3
Aaron Milavec <>; Deborah Rose-Milavec <> Sent: Sunday, April 1, 2012 11:27 PM

Subject: RE: Clarification required

Thanks for your message. 

The best thing you can do is look at the College website which you find here:

Catherine of Siena College is a wonderful college, unique in its kind. We are proud of it! […] John



Catherine of Siena Virtual College and WomenPriests are one and the same.


Q. Appeal by our Trustees

It is obvious to any one who cares to study the facts that the Catholic Church, as it is governed today, needs urgent reforms. I invite you on behalf of our team to join us as our partners to realise that dream.

The admission of women to holy orders is a pressing issue. Contrary to what traditional theology, defended by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, would have us believe, there are no valid arguments to exclude women. Our website explains to you the reasons why this is so.


In fact, there are many reasons why women can and should perform the priestly ministries. Women receive the same baptism as men and so are anointed to Christ’s general priesthood as men are – which opens the way to holy orders.

Christ empowered women as much as men to preside at the Eucharist when he said: “Do this in commemoration of me!”

Many Catholic women all over the world feel called to the priesthood. It is a sign of the Spirit moving the Church.

Gallup polls show that most Catholics know intuitively that it is not God who first calls women to ministry and then bars them from receiving the sacramental grace they would need to bring that call to full fruition. This knowledge springs from their sensus catholicus.

Until the ninth century women served in holy orders, as sacramentally ordained deacons. Their ordination was identical to that of male deacons in all essentials.

Respectful protest

In the future Catholic Church women will serve as priests, bishops and even as popes. I am absolutely sure of it. But such a momentous change will not come about without us, as responsible and committed Catholics, playing our part.

We need to exercise our duty of raising a respectful but firm voice of protest. Vatican II made provisions for it.

“All the faithful, both clerical and lay, should be accorded a lawful freedom of inquiry and of thought, and the freedom to express their minds humbly and courageously about those matters in which they enjoy competence.” (Gaudium et Spes no. 62)

The Second Vatican Council also recognised the crucial role played by public opinion in today’s society.

“Public opinion exercises enormous influence in our day over the lives, private or public, of all citizens, no matter what their walk in life. It is therefore necessary that all members of society meet the demands of justice and charity in this domain. They should help, through the means of social communication, in the formation and diffusion of sound public opinion.”

Inter Mirifica, no. 8

Our web site

Our team has begun a successful campaign of awareness through the internet. We provide copious essays and articles through this web site. We give the arguments for and against. We provide that information in fifteen languages, to reach as many sections of our large Catholic community as possible. Please, do not just stand on the sidelines. Join us. Be our partner. Support us financially. We cannot succeed without your help.

Jackie Clackson


Join our campaign! Please, help us make women priests a reality in the Catholic Church!

Our website presenting more than 4000 documents is being built up through the help of volunteers. But we have to maintain an office with up-to-date facilities to do our work effectively.

For our campaign to succeed, we have to move mountains of prejudice. The authorities in Rome are so opposed to the idea that they are trying to close any discussion on the ordination of women. Bishops are told they may not support anyone who favours women priests. Theologians are required to swear allegiance to all papal teaching, which now includes the ban on women priests. Unless we shout from the rooftops, nothing is going to change! Our website needs to be professional, visible, outspoken, and easily accessible to all. All that costs money.

Become a Friend


By becoming a Friend you swell our ranks. We can keep you informed. We also ask our Friends to give us a donation of at least £ 5 ($ 8 or € 8) a month or £ 60 as the total for a year (= $ 96, € 96). You may not personally, for lack of time or circumstance, be able to research, translate, scan, proofread, put htm-links and work in our office. Your donation makes it possible for others to do the work. PLEASE, join! If you are a U.S resident you can give donations that are tax deductible.

Give us a donation

Whatever you can afford is welcome! Every amount helps, large and small! You can pay in dollars, pounds or euros. You can pay online, make a bank transfer or send us a cheque.

If you are a U.S resident you can give donations that are tax deductible.

Support us as a Sponsor!

Sponsors are individuals or institutions that support us with a larger annual grant every year. Sponsors are essential partners in our work. They give us stability. If a sponsorship lies within your means, PLEASE, contact us!

Leave us a Legacy!

Your vision for the Church, your ideals and struggle will continue after your death if you leave us a bequest in your Will! Ask for our info pack!

Donate a memorial page!

We can help you honour a loved person by publishing a memorial page about him or her.


Campaign for the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church

This website is run by Housetop* Care Limited, a Charity registered in England and Wales under the working name Campaign for the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church. Registration number 1053251.

To see all the activities of Housetop Care Limited see our main charity website Housetop Care
*See pages 111 ff.

The registered office is Housetop, 111A High Street, Rickmansworth, HERTS WD3 1AN, UK. Tel. 0044-1923-779446.

Housetop Care Limited, and its Friends of Fund‘, are also registered with Charities Aid Foundation America (CAFAmerica).

Our Trustees are Anne Miller, Jacqueline Clackson, Ben Clackson, Brian Gallagher, Colm Holmes, Barbara Paskins and John Wijngaards. We have prominent Patrons from the UK, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands and the USA.

Housetop is a Catholic Centre for faith formation, founded in 1983. Its origin and history are explained here. The name ‘Housetop’ derives from Jesus’ injunction:

“What I tell you in the dark, repeat in broad daylight. What you have heard (from me) in private, proclaim from the housetops!” Matthew 10, 27

Appeal by our Trustees

In the future Catholic Church women will serve as priests, bishops and even as popes. We are absolutely sure of it. But such a momentous change will not come about without us, as responsible and committed Catholics, playing our part.

We need to exercise our duty of raising a respectful but firm voice of protest. Vatican II made provisions for it. “All the faithful, both clerical and lay, should be accorded a lawful freedom of inquiry and of thought, and the freedom to express their minds humbly and courageously about those matters in which they enjoy competence.” (Gaudium et Spes no. 62)

Please, do not just stand on the sidelines. Join us. Be our partner. Support us financially. We cannot do without your help.

Jackie Clackson


Welcome to the largest and most comprehensive international website on women and sacred ministry!

Larger Source

We are faithful Catholics who show why the exclusion of women from priesthood is wrong.

We raise awareness and facilitate informed discussion about women’s ordination. We promote the ordination of women as part of the life-giving mission Christ intended for his Church. We work for reform from the centre of the Church and within the parameters of canon law.

We do not promote illegal ordinations. Our reasons are explained here.

Our Housetop Communication Centre promotes evangelisation through our online books (click here) and our website, Mystery and Beyond. (Click here) We welcome our visitors from all over the world!


Housetop Center for Women’s Ministries USA

Housetop Center for Women’s Ministries is a non-profit educational corporation (#1748475) in the State of Ohio, USA.

“Our mission is to maintain a website that offers information, discussion, and services that keep alive the ongoing discernment relative to the talents, spiritual gifts, and ministries that currently exist and/or that urgently need to be made available to and on behalf of women, more especially, women within the Roman Catholic Church. The website currently offers free access to an extensive library of books, articles, and official documents in English and other foreign languages that are relevant to the issue of women’s ordination at all level of official ecclesiastic ministry. This site also offers online discussions, blogs, testimonials, pictures, art, reflections, reports of events, and support groups. These activities will be modified and expanded as our volunteers, our resources, and the expressed needs of our women participants evolve. The initial website is located at” 84.



“We also support the work of St Catherine of Siena Virtual College.”

The Trustees are:

Deborah Rose-Milavec MA Theology

Janet Kalven

Sharon Caldwell


About the history of our Institute

Origins of the
St Catherine of Siena Institute

We started as Housetop, an international centre for faith formation that was founded in 1983 in the archdiocese of Westminster. The name ‘Housetop’ derives from Christ’s injunction that his good news should be proclaimed “from the housetops”.

Housetop is a Charity, registered in England and Wales as Housetop Care Limited (no. 1053251). It became known for its video courses. The Seven Circles of Prayer, which is still widely used in schools and parishes throughout the UK, won awards ‘for creative excellence’ (USA) and as ‘best catechetical video’ (OCIC).

Our Walking on Water series of video courses has been adapted by catechetical centres in all continents in 14 languages.

In 1995 we launched How to Make Sense of God. The course book received a prize from the Catholic Press Association (USA). The accompanying film Journey to the Centre of Love
was honoured with the Grand Prix award of the International Catholic Film Festival (1995).

We believe in adult faith formation, that is: we treat believers as adults. We respect people’s doubts, their search and individual pace. We realise the importance of every person’s own experiences. We encourage people to think for themselves so that their commitment of faith will be deep and lasting. Christ wants free, happy, knowing disciples.

We continue our ‘proclaiming from the housetops’ through our website: Mystery and Beyond..

New focus on the ordination of women

Our Housetop team has been conscious of the theological reasons for ordaining women from the start. In 1977 our Director, John Wijngaards, wrote Did Christ Rule Out Women Priests?
(McCrimmons), which was published in many countries. The matter came to a head in 1998 when the Vatican declared that the exclusion of women from the ordained ministries was definitive and should no longer be discussed.

This clashed with all we know from scripture, tradition and theology. It provoked a response in conscience.

“All the faithful, both clerical and lay, should be accorded a lawful freedom of inquiry, freedom of thought and freedom of expression” Gaudium et Spes, no 62.

We launched our
campaign for the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church.

Its success and the need of securing its future led to the founding of our St. Catherine of Siena Institute.

Please, contact me and other members of the core team here.

Jackie Clackson


Academic Council

Our Council of Academic Advisors includes ten scholars specialised in Sacred Scripture, dogmatic theology, church history, patristics and other branches of theology. They hail from universities and colleges in seven countries. They give their advice free of cost.

Overall aims and objectives

1. Our website ( will present documentation relevant to the ordination of women in the Catholic Church.

2. The site will maintain the highest academic standards in all its material, while displaying acute pastoral sensitivity at the same time.

3. This site aims at building up a complete academic archive of study and research pertaining to the ordination of women, accessible to all via the Internet.

4. Both the introductory texts and the supporting documents will conform to international standards of scientific honesty and professional publication.

5. Advice shall be sought from experts competent in specialist fields such as: scripture, tradition, patristics, church history, the magisterium, the psychology of gender, and various branches of theology.

6. A fair representation will be given of academic views that oppose the ordination of women.

7. Regarding articles and books published on this website, the authors themselves are responsible for the opinions expressed in such publications.

8. Though English will be used as our basic language of communication, material will gradually be presented on our website in the major international languages available on the Internet.

9. Our website supports fearless criticism of opinions defended by Church authorities whenever such criticism rests on competent theological knowledge and is inspired by loyalty to truth and to the ultimate good of the Church.

10. Where academic conclusions differ from the position currently held by the Catholic Church’s central teaching authority, the need of reform and review shall be urged without undermining the important role of that authority itself. 85.



11. The academic conclusions arrived at will be presented to the wider audience of non-professionals in a form of presentation understandable to all.

12. Our web site will, to the extent this is possible, try to meet the pastoral needs of specific groups, such as confused clergy and laity, alienated women, harassed theologians and teachers, Catholic women who are called to the priesthood.

13. With regard to such specific pastoral needs the advice of competent persons will be sought.

will reflect love and respect for our Catholic faith, for the Church, Tradition, Church unity, other Christian Churches and the spiritual welfare of all believers.

To see all the activities of Housetop Care Limited see our main charity website Housetop Care


Who or what is HOUSETOP :

is a Catholic Centre for Faith Formation, based in London.

With our many international partners, we produced video courses and television programmes that can be used throughout the world.

Our specialization has been responsible co-production.

Our Housetop team consists of women and men who have worked in Africa, Asia and Europe as professional communicators. Our Director is John Wijngaards, a journalist, scriptwriter and theologian whose publications are well known.

Our video courses deal with crucial issues: Scripture in life, images of God, present-day spirituality.

In all our courses we aim at providing reliable information and at helping people grow in faith as adults.

We have pioneered a successful new format of video courses. The method we use combines solid instruction in course books with powerful stories on video and step-by-step session outlines in guides.

Our productions attain the highest professional standard. We have won six awards at international film and video festivals.

Our name “Housetop” derives from Christ’s words in Matthew 10, 27: “Proclaim from your housetop what I tell you face to face”. Housetop’s vision combines Christian commitment to a wholehearted acceptance of our new technological world.

Recently, Housetop has come under the umbrella of
the St Catherine of Siena Institute.


Members of St. Catherine of Siena Network

Becoming a member of
St. Catherine of Siena Network
could not be easier! Just complete this mail form and click the submit-button. We will reply to you as soon as possible.


St Catherine of Siena network

St Catherine of Siena is a network of thousands of people spread around the world. We are a network of volunteers.

Please, join us!

We focus especially on ensuring that women receive their rightful position in society and Church.

We pursue this within our general aims of deepening belief in God and discerning the true meaning of the Gospel, and promoting lasting reforms in the Roman Catholic Church according to the vision of the Second Vatican Council.

If you have time, energy, knowledge or a skill, please, help us as a volunteer in one of our projects.

We also need friends to share our financial burden. Especially now when we are setting up our central office north of London in the UK.

Join us now!


The St Catherine of Siena Institute

Our St Catherine of Siena Institute is a network of thousands of people spread around the world. It is a network of volunteers.

Our present central office is located in Rickmansworth (North London, UK). We may move our headquarters to nearby Chesham if we get the opportunity.

Like any other organization we have our structures, with legal, practical and academic subdivisions.

But we prefer to look at our structures in terms of people, all of whom contribute to our projects as members of a world-wide team.

Our ‘structures’ are themselves only a small percentage of our true wider network, our international family, which includes all the thousands upon thousands of people who avail themselves of our services.

To see a fuller diagram, click here!

Location of our central administration

At present we rent a small office at 111A High Street, Rickmansworth, which is part of greater London.

The office occupies two floors over an Espresso Bar.

Our total floor space is 45.5 sq. meters (= 491 sq. ft). It contains the following rooms: one small, parlour/meeting room with a kitchenette in the corner; two medium-sized office rooms with space for 6 desks in all; a smaller two-desk office room; a toilet. 86.



Our facilities are basic, but they allow up to eight of us to work there on computers at the same time.

It is the nerve centre of our administration and international network.

Our annual running costs [Example taken from Jan – Dec 2004]

Since we depend on public support for our work,
we publish here a typical account of our day-to-day expenses. It will give you an idea of why we need financial support.

Staff costs
Administrator’s salary, National Insurance, etc.

£ 18,585

Office expenses
Rent, rates, insurance, gas, water, electricity, cleaning, etc.

£ 9,066

Research expenses
Costs of feasibility study (Compton), Charity Bank commitment fee, survey, valuation, etc. etc.

£ 8,447

Website expenses
advertising, software licences (Dream weaver, Sage), subscriptions, domain name registrations, on-line payment facility, virus protection, etc.

£ 7,170

Web promotion
advertising in newspapers, etc.

£ 2,315

Annual audit of accounts

£ 2,500

Postage, telephone & stationery

£ 3,224  

Travel refunds for voluntary staff

£ 1,583  

Depreciation of equipment

£ 1,479  

Books, magazines & subscriptions

£ 233  

Coventry office refund

£ 60  



Total Running Costs in 2004

£ 54,662


Our building blocks are people

Yes, all of us are volunteers. Only one person receives a (small) salary: our full-time office administrator. Our collaborators contribute, each in their own way, by giving us their time, skill and expertise without expecting payment in return – because they believe in our cause. Among them we find professors, researchers, translators, leaders in commerce and industry, religious, clergy, teachers, and so on. It is not possible to make an accurate financial estimate of their contribution. It would be a considerable amount.

But all these contributions would not serve their purpose without the services of our central office. That is where all strands meet. That is where our research projects are coordinated, where documents are processed for insertion into the various language sections on our website. Communication in all our languages and personal responses are directed from that centre. Our core team is the hub around which everything turns.

By helping us put our central office on a secure footing you support the voluntary work of our whole international network.

As you have seen, our annual running expenses are not very large. They amount to + £ 50,000 [= $ 80,000] a year. But we need this income to survive. Therefore we urge you to support our international effort
by becoming a ‘friend’,
by giving us a donation
by leaving us a legacy.



WomenPriests is soliciting donations here for the Catherine of Siena Virtual College. They are the same.

Both aim to “make women priests a reality in the Catholic Church,” see page 83.

Jackie Clackson is the wife of ex-priest John Wijngaards.


Larger source

“Our goal is to empower the women of today to exercise their agency and to assume positions of leadership in society and religion.”

President Ursula King 87.



St Catherine of Siena Network

Through our work we have, in the course of the past few years, built up a large network of people whom we have dealings with through the internet.

Hundreds help us through their contributions in various ways. Many thousands interact with us through the use of our material.

At present about 600,000 persons visit our five websites every year, with numbers steadily increasing. They read millions of our documents. The contents of these documents find their way into TV and radio reports, newspaper articles and special-interest bulletins.

Websites in 11 languages



Catherine of Siena Virtual College and WomenPriests are one and the same.


The Catherine of Siena Institute

Aims and Objectives

The Catherine of Siena Institute promotes the rightful position of women in Society and Church.

We do this by

-spreading correct information

-unmasking rationalisations and religious legitimations that justify prejudice

-sympathetic communication with people within the thought patterns they understand

-supporting individuals and groups who wrestle with the effects of discrimination

-promoting academic research regarding women and church

Dismantling the cycle of prejudice

For more than 1500 years, Church leaders legitimised slavery as an institution actually willed by God. As late as in 1866 the Holy Office, precursor of the present Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated in a decree signed by Pope Pius IX that “slaves can be sold, bought, exchanged or given by divine law”. Reasons were given from scripture, tradition and the magisterium! Bishops, theologians and Catholic abolitionists who protested were branded as dissenters and even heretics. Now the Church admits, in the words of the Second Vatican Council, that “every form of slavery is contrary to God’s intent”.

The exclusion of women from the ordained ministries is a similar age-old prejudice, legitimised by Church authority and rationalised in medieval theology. We have to break the vicious cycle by exposing the roots of the prejudice and the mistaken judgments of Church leaders.


The St. Catherine of Siena Network focuses especially on promoting the rightful position for women within the context of religion, religious institutions and Churches.

1. We aim to implement the vision of the Second Vatican Council (1963-1965), which set out a new path for the Roman Catholic Church. The Council recognised that the women of our time demand full equality ‘in law and in fact’, and it approved of this demand. (Gaudium et Spes § 9 & 26).

2. Prejudice and discrimination against women has also left its scars on other Christian Churches. We aim at supporting all efforts to eradicate such discrimination and to ensure that women can take their rightful place in all responsibilities, offices and ministries according to the full extent of their Christian dignity and calling.

3. We aim to achieve our objectives by an efficient use of the modern means of communication, by writing, publishing, producing and preparing, or supervising the writing, publication, production or preparation of literary works, audio visuals and media presentations that will promote the recognition of women’s rights.
In particular, we will support projects that reach out to a wide spectrum of people by means of the Internet.

4. Through the information we provide we hope to exert a positive influence on all decision makers in the Christian Churches, and specifically in the Roman Catholic Church, such as: bishops, priests, members of religious orders and institutes, lay leaders in parishes and institutions.

5. The information provided by us in favour of women’s rights will be targeted in a special way at all individuals and institutions that play a key role in the formation of public opinion: journalists, editors, radio and TV presenters, research personal in production companies, writers and producers.

6. We will aim at making important texts available, at no cost to them, to both staff and students of the major educational institutions. These will include colleges, high schools, adult formation institutes, seminaries, novitiates and on-line universities.

Our Vision

We believe in God for whom love is truly the highest priority, who expects the Church to be a community of care and mutual concern, brothers and sisters among whom leaders are servants and to whom power means comfort and healing.

We believe in God who cherishes every part of our personality, our intelligence and spiritual gifts, but also our bodies, our sexuality, our longing for relationships, warmth and touch. 88.



We believe in God who has created all human beings to be sons and daughters, who calls both men and women equally to leadership and ministry in the Kingdom of Love.

We believe in God who does not exact cruel sacrifices from us, but heroic deeds of love as Jesus showed us, deeds of generosity, a God who wants us to respect and love ourselves while giving and sharing of our best for the sake of others.

We believe in God who expects us to be creative and free, who wants us to express our opinions honestly, to fight with all our heart and mind for truth and justice rather than blindly obey commands, to trustingly challenge those in authority when they make mistakes.

We are convinced that God revealed Good News, a breathtaking inspiration that gives meaning to our lives, an ideal against which we measure ourselves and our community of faith, a source of hope that makes us happy and proud to be followers of Christ.



Catherine of Siena Virtual College and WomenPriests are one and the same.


S. Write to members of our core team

John Wijngaards:;;

Jackie Clackson:;;;;;;;;;

[Catherine of Siena:
Aaron Milavec; Deborah Rose-Milavec;]


A Word in Your Ear Holy Father

The Tablet September 18, 2010 

If you had the opportunity of a one-to-one with Benedict XVI, what would you discuss with him? Theologians Mary Grey, Lisa Isherwood and Ursula King*
would use the opportunity to address the Pope directly to press the case for women’s ordination. 

It does not need spelling out how painful these days are for women in the Catholic Church. On the one hand, revelations about sex-abuse scandals and the fall out from the announcement that ordaining women was to be counted among majora delicta (major sins/crimes) still reverberates; on the other hand we watch the Anglican synod voting to ordain women as bishops. Not only that: those of us who supported the campaign for women priests in the Church of England in the 1980s, and rejoiced at the Synod’s vote on 11 November 1992, have watched numbers of ordained Church of England women priests mature into positions of authority and make enormous contributions to church life in many directions.  
We take heart that, despite official humiliating opposition, our movements have not stood still since 1992. As well as the official campaigning through various groups, women are active as theologians, spiritual counsellors and retreat leaders, as well as in certain clearly specified – but limited – pastoral roles.   

It is also true that many people in the Church, men as well as women, clergy as well as laity, are in solidarity about the discrimination against women and especially over the ban of silence regarding discussion or meaningful dialogue on the issue. It is the latter that brings such a sense of despair and removes any glimmer of hope. It seems that secular society has far more respect for the human rights of women – of course this is not universal – than does the Catholic Church. Nor can anyone imagine what the psychic wounding over the centuries has meant for the spiritual journeys of women. The mystery is, given the level of wounding, not why to leave the church, but why to stay?   
But there are enough beacon lights in this darkness to convince us to hang on. For one thing, the people who continue to inspire us – for example, the liberation theologians – still walk in faith despite continuing Vatican criticism and restrictions. There are Christian communities in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq, who try to keep the light of faith alive in the midst of persecution, and who need our solidarity simply to survive. There are the saints – like Catherine of Siena and Francis of Assisi – who challenged the structures of the Church successfully [see page 109]. There are theologians – now dead – the precursors of Vatican II, who were discredited in their lifetime, but now turn out to be prophets of their age – like Yves Congar, Henri de Lubac, and more recently, Edward Schillebeeckx**
But in fact no one believed that it would be that easy to topple patriarchy, a system reigning triumphant for nearly 3,000 years. It was obvious that the very enormity of the task would be a catalyst for retrenchment on a massive scale, which we note has come to pass. And it is not only women who suffer and feel a deep shame at a clericalised, top-down system that has lost touch with the grass roots: the heart and soul of the Church is wounded. It has frequently been women in the past, like Julian of Norwich, who tried to fight corruption with her mysticism of love. And she, who tells us to keep faith in the ongoing redeeming love of Christ, for, in the end, all will be well. 
Professor Mary Grey*** teaches at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, London. Professor Lisa Isherwood is based at the University of Winchester and Ursula King is Emeritus Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Bristol.  




1. *Ursula King is President of
Catherine of Siena Virtual College [see page 5 and also see for her complete C.V.] of which Virginia Saldanha is the Indian contact person. She is also an avid student of leading New Ager Pierre Teilhard de Chardin‘s works.

Among her numerous publications, we find:

Spirit of Fire: The Life and Vision of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,

Christ in All Things: Exploring Spirituality with Teilhard de Chardin,

The Spirit of One Earth: Reflections on Teilhard de Chardin and Global Spirituality,

Towards a New Mysticism. Teilhard de Chardin and Eastern Religions, etc.

Ursula King gave the public address ‘The Fire of Consciousness: The Rise of Self-Reflection’
during the celebration of ‘The Epic of the Universe’ commemorating the 50th anniversary of Teilhard de Chardin’s death in New York at the Cathedral of St John the Divine, New York, 2005

Ursula King was the keynote speaker at the International Conference on
‘Teilhard de Chardin’s Significance for a Planetary Ethics and Creation Spiritualities’, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines, 2006.

Ursula King delivered the Sir George Trevelyan Lecture in London, 2002.

Sir George Trevelyan, died 1996, was one of the “founding fathers of the New Age“.

Ursula King is also a leader in the WomenPriests network.

2. **Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx, a theologian condemned by the Vatican, proposes a “transignification” whereby the “sign” of the bread and wine are changed into the “sign” of Jesus Christ. This heresy is specifically condemned in the Pope Paul VI Eucharistic Encyclical Mysterium Fidei. Source:

3. ***Catherine of Siena Educational Trust

Catherine of Siena Educational Trust has the following objectives:

The promotion of equality between women and men by raising awareness and educating the public in issues relating to discrimination against women.

The advancement of the education of women by supporting the Catherine of Siena Virtual College and other means as determined by the trustees, particularly but not exclusively via the internet.

The Trustees are:

Prof. Dr. Mary Grey

Mrs. Joanna Dixon MA

Dr. Patricia Pinsent

Dr. John Wijngaards


Perhaps Virginia Saldanha
needs to get down on her knees and repeat the prayer made by
Norma Jean Coon

Women priests demonstrate profound faithfulness to God by Jamie L Manson, February 15, 2011

COMMENT Submitted by Sirach on February 25, 2011:

Perhaps you missed the story of Norma Jean Coon who recently publically renounced her association with this group of loons. Her public confession is as follows:

“I wish to renounce the alleged ordination and publicly state that I did not act as a deacon as a part of this group except on two occasions, when I read the gospel once at mass and distributed communion once at this same mass. I withdrew from the program within two weeks of the ceremony because I realized that I had made a mistake in studying for the priesthood. I confess to the truth of Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. I confess the authority of the Holy Father on these issues of ordination and recognize that Christ founded the ordination only for men. “Formally, I relinquish all connection to the program of Roman Catholic Women Priests and I disclaim the alleged ordination publicly with apologies to those whose lives I have offended or scandalized by my actions. I ask God’s blessings upon each of these folks and their families.” (Norma Jean Coon, RN, MFCC, PhD., San Diego, California)

Her interesting prayer follows:

“Holy God, I ask your blessings on my Bishop and my pastor and priests in Rome who have assisted me in the process of being re-instated into the Roman Catholic Church and I forsake all connection with the Roman Catholic Women Priests program via Internet or otherwise.

“I thank you for the efforts of my family in my behalf and ask for Jesus’ Light and Love to pour over my husband of 47 years and my five children.

“Forgive me my Beloved Jesus and Mother Mary for pursuing my own will in this matter of ordination and as I consecrate myself to your Divine Will through the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I ask you to pour out Light and Love upon any who have placed themselves outside of your Love and Light Bless us, O Lord, for these thy gifts and place us in the Heart of the Father, as we pray for more priests to serve in our church and for vocations to enrich our Church in the United States. Forgive us for failing in obedience and enrich us in your Holy Love, I pray through Jesus and Mary. Fiat+”

This mature and educated woman seems to have figured it out all on her own …maybe they are just a fraud after all … must be really embarrassing to find out you’ve been had. 90.




COMMENT Submitted by Anonymous on February 27, 2011.

And just recently Norma Jean Coon renounces here “Womyn Priest” role and returns to the Church. She denounces her behavior and decision. She returns to the Tridentine Mass and prays and asks for forgiveness for her decision to try to become ordained through mock ordination against the Magisterium and Catholic Church. Perhaps her renunciation and story are being downplayed for a particular reason. But the fact remains. She has stated it was wrong. Whatever did and did not happen in ancient biblical times will be hard to prove, and it really doesn’t matter. The Church has evolved and traditions and rituals established. I wonder if those stating that there is evidence of women Priests in some artwork somewhere also will be taking up Aramaic which was spoken at the time as well? It is ancient and worthy of preservation, no? John Paul II has stated that women can never be ordained Priests quite unequivocally. There are many places in the Church for women. We have a nun shortage and neat crisis. The Lord is calling out through this crisis. Why do women ignore this role and option? Because they don’t like it? But it is there, open, and in need. People advocating women Priests are trying to turn the Church upside down. For every person that they feel they are helping there are probably thousands that feel they are being confused and NOT helped at all by their brazen attempts to upset centuries of Tradition and disrespect for the Magisterium. They are selfish in the most ignorant way. I do not agree with all the Church teaches but I will spend my life trying to. And as the decades pass I see more and more the wisdom and that I am wrong. So I try to amend however I can.



1. Look at this:

Catherine of Siena Virtual College
share the same URL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


2. The problem and the accompanying danger to the Catholic Church in India is far more serious and immediate than I thought it was.

The following is from a Jesuit monthly, Jivan, known for its liberalism and overt promotion of New Age. Expect a separate report from me on Jivan.


The way men treat women in the Church:

Gender Relations: Reflections and recommendations

JIVAN, News and Views of Jesuits in India, January 2012, Pages 16 and 17:

Excerpts from the Statement issued after a National Consultation on “Gender Relations in the Church: A Call to

Wholeness and Equal Discipleship” on 13-15 August 2011 in Mumbai. Forty-three women and men active in Church ministry attended the Consultation organised jointly by Streevani [see pages 31, 57, 99], Satyashodhak, Indian Women’s Theological Forum and Montfort Social Institute:

There is an urgent need for the Church to be self-critical and to reclaim the servant leadership model mandated by Jesus through the washing of the feet in the Eucharistic ritual. Such servant leadership is centrifugal in nature and recognizes only brothers and sisters or friends. It empowers everyone to be a leader, including women, who sadly are forbidden to have their feet washed on Maundy Thursday. It is not based on the worldly principles of higher or lower, autocracy or democracy, patriarchy or kyriarchy, exclusion or inclusion but on the divine principle of charism given to a person to offer kenotic or self-emptying service for the sake of the kingdom. All are called equally to such leadership (Acts 2:16-18), and to whom it should be given cannot be pre-determined by any social system without infringing on the right to deny leadership in the Church to one who has the charism to be a leader simply because she is born a woman.

By depriving women of leadership positions the hierarchical structure of the Church creates in women’s psyche the characteristics of subordination, passivity, servitude, dependency, unquestioning obedience and vulnerability. This is compounded by the arrogation of power down the centuries which has created in the male psyche the belief in its innate superiority, wisdom and decision-making capability while engendering in the female psyche a belief in its inferiority, ‘foolishness’ and indecisiveness.

The starting point of a gender sensitive approach is a questioning of the accepted beliefs and practices related to gender stereotyping, with a view to laying bare the ideology of male domination ingrained therein. Since equal partnership in a male-dominated, hierarchical structure is not possible, women have to negotiate partnership in the Church.

As long as the Church remains fundamentally unequal, changes can be initiated by de-linking ordination and governance and vesting the people of God, called together by Christ, with administrative and juridical powers by virtue of their baptism (1Cor 3-13).

Additionally, the early tradition of women deacons in the Church can be restored. Since “Sacred Orders” includes diaconal ordination, women could then be included in decision-making.


To work towards a Church that reflects more truthfully the mind of Christ, where women and men work together, without gender or ministry dictated hierarchies, towards the building of the Reign of God, we propose: 91.



1. A progressive deconstruction of existing hierarchical structures to form more inclusive and participative ones in keeping with the prophetic spirit of Jesus. This can be achieved by demythologising and demystifying concepts like the priesthood and hierarchy, encouraging the belief that ‘we are the church’, and formation at different levels for equal discipleship.

Strategies for implementation could include:

§ Modules on gender relations for seminarians and trainees at all levels in the Church.

§ Broad-based theological formation of the faithful that covers human rights issues and social responsibility, by faculty that includes the non-ordained.

§ Transforming/reforming existing theological formation by appointing and affirming faculty that is critical, liberative and prophetic.

§ Promoting online formation programmes such as the
Catherine of Siena Virtual College Courses […]


Women in the Church are doubly vulnerable, when faced with an all-male hierarchy of power. There is potential for emotional and sexual exploitation with no efficient forum for redressal. Approaching civil courts is often resisted because of a sense of betrayal of the Church and difficulty in proving allegations.

There is an urgent need to demythologise male privilege and power, especially in the priesthood, which leave women powerless. The absence of a language to name violence and abuse has silenced women. They are left with a sense of guilt to suffer the burden of the “sin”.

To ensure a swifter mechanism of redress for victims of sexual abuse as well as to create awareness of the severity of the problem we advocate:

1. A Code of Conduct for Church personnel to be drawn up, circulated and implemented.

2. The institution of independent, woman-headed and women-centric investigating and grievance redressal commissions/committees similar to those mandated by the government (e.g. Vishakha guidelines), in all parishes/dioceses to enable victims to seek justice. A CBCI Commission to oversee these. […]

Sent by Astrid L. Gajiwala



1. This record of the proceedings of the “National Consultation on “Gender Relations in the Church: A Call to

Wholeness and Equal Discipleship” on 13-15 August 2011 in Mumbai” was submitted to JIVAN by Astrid Lobo Gajiwala [a separate detailed report on her activities follows shortly], a sister-disciple of Virginia Saldanha, both of whom are members of the three organizations “Streevani, Satyashodhak, Indian Women’s Theological Forum” that jointly organized the Consultation.

The Ecclesia of Women in Asia [EWA]
wing of the Indian Women’s Theological Forum is further represented at the Consultation by both Astrid Lobo Gajiwala and Virginia Saldanha, and by a few other EWA religious sisters [nuns]. So it is clear as to who was setting the agenda at the Consultation: radical feminists.

2. A fourth group at the Consultation was the “Montfort Social Institute“. I intend to include them in yet another separate detailed report on the pro-women’s ordination feminist lobby in the Indian Church, but a few words here are now necessary. Several Montfort religious brothers, the Brothers of St. Gabriel [SG], including those in the senior-most hierarchy of the Conference of Religious, India [CRI], are close associates and strong supporters of the feminist-theologians. See the following page for yet another confirmation.

Hence, their unholy alliance to exploit the CBCI Gender Policy is not entirely surprising and unexpected.

3. A casual reading of the above extract from the Consultation will not set off any alarm bells in the mind of a casual reader. But, seen in the context of this and my other related reports, the picture is crystal clear.

Concentrate your reading on the lines that I have highlighted in red color in Astrid Lobo Gajiwala‘s submission, “The way men treat women in the Church“.

The goals of achieving foot-washing of women at the Eucharistic service on Maundy Thursday and the Ordination of women as Deacons, if achieved, are only rungs on the ladder that ends at Women Priests.

This suggestion is sly and cunning: “Additionally, the early tradition of women deacons in the Church can be restored. Since “Sacred Orders” includes diaconal ordination, women could then be included in decision-making.

Since “Sacred Orders” are reserved for males, Astrid Lobo Gajiwala and her cohorts are thankfully excluded. As theologians, they should know that, or are they intentionally challenging the writ of Holy Church?

4. These people realize that they have to disseminate their heretical ideologies more widely in the Church in order to have a louder chorus of demands for women’s ordination, which is what has already happened in the West. Hence many of their “recommendations” especially that of poisoning the minds of seminarians.

Remember, when you read “gender relations”, “redressal of sexual abuse by priests”, etc. in their writings, think beyond them to their goal: “women’s ordination”. I have shown this, from their own blogs and articles, to be a fact. Their movement is an assault on the male priesthood instituted by Jesus Christ.

5. Last but not least, one strategy to be implemented is: “Promoting online formation programmes such as the
Catherine of Siena Virtual College Courses“. Catherine of Siena Virtual College as
we have seen is the same as the banned organization WomenPriests.




6. Bishop Agnelo Gracias of the Archdiocese of Bombay was present at the above Consultation. SEE ALSO PAGE 127.

Examine these two Streevani reports:

6a. Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church []

Streevani Conference Report

National Consultation on “Gender Relations in the Church: A call to wholeness & Equal Discipleship”.

Mumbai – August, 13–15, 2011

The Consultation was a follow up of the consultation organized by Streevani exactly a year ago, prompted by two important contemporary events in the Church:

1) The publication of The Gender Policy of the Catholic Church in India, by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (2010).  

2) The unprecedented crisis in the universal Church triggered by revelations in the public domain of cases of pedophilia and sex abuse.  

This Consultation jointly organized by Streevani (Voice of Women), Satyashodak, Montfort Social Institute and Indian Women Theologians’ Forum was held at Anugraha, Holy Spirit Hospital Compound, Mahakali Caves Road, Mumbai, from 13–15August 2011.  The Theme was “Gender Relations in the Church: A call to wholeness & Equal Discipleship”.

The participants were of a fair representation of the different sectors of the church.  There were 42 in all, of whom 29 were women and 13 men.  Among these participants there were persons who are in leadership positions in the church such as Bishop Agnelo Gracias,
Auxiliary Bishop of the Bombay Archdiocese
Bro. K.M. Joseph SG., the President of the National CRISr. Helen Saldhana [sic], Secretary, Women’s Commission, Provincial Superiors, Theologians, Formators, Grass Roots Activists, Feminist thinkers, People involved in education, Health care, Media, Psychologists, Lawyers and a host of other professionals.

Bro. Varghese Theckanath S.G, in the context of situating the Consultation and its Dynamics explained the four-fold purpose:

1. To understand sexual abuse from a legal perspective

2. To study sexual abuse in the church from a morality and psycho-sexual paradigm

3. To analyze the structural implications for the church in creating a more just gender relations

4. To formulate recommendations for the different sectors of the Church in negotiating wholeness and equal discipleship.

Inaugural messages were given by Rt. Rev. Agnelo Gracias and Bro. Joseph. K.M, the President of National CRI, and Sr. Pauline Pereira, the Assistant Superior General of the Missionary Sisters of the Servants of the Holy Spirit, Rome.

Dr. Joseph M.T. SVD, while situating the theme of the consultation “Gender Relations in the Church: A call to wholeness & Equal Discipleship”,  explained that as committed members of the Catholic Church in India, as women and men disciples of Jesus, the onus is on us today to engage in the following:

a) Familiarize with the new frontiers of Gender equality and justice carved out in the civic sphere.

b) To look at the deeply entrenched ideas and practices in the church today.

c) To have the courage to face with an outstanding sense of honesty and integrity the cases of abuses of power by men.

d) Explore the ways in which the maximum of equal discipleship can become a reality, etc.

Eminent resource persons helped the participants to deepen their knowledge on the following topics:

1. Dr. Tony Da Silva, SJ, dwelt on the topic “Understanding Sexuality, intimacy and Human relationship in Consecrated life”.

2. Advocate Flavia Agnes explained the Indian law.

3. Dr. Shaji George Kochuthara CMI presented the paper on Official Response to the sexual abuse scandal in the Church: A critical appreciation and analysis.

4. Ms Virginia Saldhana spoke on Sexual abuses as a crime: Global perspectives. 

5. Dr. Shalini Mulackal, PBVM presented her paper on understanding the Morality of Sexual Abuse

6. Dr. Jacob Parappally MSFS explained The Theological basis of Hierarchical structures in the Church – Implications for Gender Relations.

7. Dr. Rosamma John ICM spoke on the Psychology of Hierarchical structures in the Church – Implications for Gender Relations.

8. Dr. Julian Saldanha SJ moderated the panel on Negotiating Partnership in the Church.  The members of the Panel were the following:

1.     Dr Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, Scientist & Feminist Writer.

2.     Sr Jyoti Pinto BS, (Former Mother General of Bethany Sisters)

3.     Dr Paul Raj SG, Provincial Superior.

4.     Mr Joseanthony Joseph, Married Theologian.

Is Bishop Agnelo Gracias not aware of the WomenPriests agenda of the Catherine of Siena Virtual College and its Indian promoters Virginia Saldanha and Astrid Lobo Gajiwala?



6b. Read the Statement



1. Introduction

1.1. As a follow-up of the commitment made at the 1st Consultation on Gender Relations in the Church[1] “to wipe away every tear (Rev 21:4) and bring healing and wholeness,” forty-three women and men active in Church ministry gathered at the 2nd Consultation organised jointly by StreevaniSatyashodhak, Indian Women’s Theological Forum and Montfort Social Institute, to reflect on “Gender Relations in the Church: A Call to Wholeness and Equal Discipleship.

1.2. This Consultation sought to deepen the discussions begun at the 1st Consultation which focused on the Gender Policy of the Catholic Church of India and the need for a policy to address sexual abuse in the Church in India. Thus it examined the structural implications for the Church in promoting gender just relations, the moral and legal consequences of sexual abuse, and the psycho-sexual paradigm that supports clergy sexual misconduct.

2. Reflections on Structures in the Church for Equal Partnership

2.1. We began by acknowledging that leadership in the Church is divinely instituted and vested with authority that is exercised as servant leadership in the community of brothers and sisters. However, we also realized that in keeping with the self-understanding of the Church that it is a continuation of the Old Testament community of faith, namely, Israel, the structure of the early Church was modelled after the prevalent patriarchal and hierarchical structure that privileged men over women, children, strangers, and slaves.

2.2. This was counter to Jesus’ own practice that was a continuation of the prophetic tradition which stood against substituting cult or power structures, whether religious or secular, for ordering right relationship with God and among human beings. “But it shall not be so among you” (Mk 10:43) is not an advice but a command equally valid as “love one another” and “go out to the whole world proclaiming the good news” (Mt 28:18). Not surprisingly, the word hierarchy is not found in the New Testament.

2.3. We further acknowledged that a proper theological understanding of the leadership structure in the Church dictates that it should be a re-affirmation of the equality of all humans because they are created in the image and likeness of God, the Absolute communion of equals in whom there is no higher or lower.

2.4. Given this context, the hierarchical structure of the Church can be justified only if it is understood in terms of self-emptying, servant-leadership of the people of God (Mt 20:25-28). Wrongly understood it becomes a social order of increasing access to, and exercise of power, giving priests legitimacy to dominate and control, especially women, who are excluded from its ranks. Discrimination and subjugation are constitutive of such a hierarchy, making it one of the major challenges to equal discipleship in the Church.

2.5. There is an urgent need for the Church to be self-critical and to reclaim the servant leadership model mandated by Jesus through the washing of the feet in the Eucharistic ritual. Such servant leadership is centrifugal in nature and recognizes only brothers and sisters or friends. It empowers everyone to be a leader, including women, who sadly are forbidden to have their feet washed on Maundy Thursday. It is not based on the worldly principles of higher or lower, autocracy or democracy, patriarchy or kyriarchy, exclusion or inclusion but on the divine principle of charism given to a person to offer kenotic or self-emptying service for the sake of the kingdom. All are called equally to such leadership (Acts 2:16-18), and to whom it should be given cannot be pre-determined by any social system without infringing on the right of God to be God. No one has the right to deny leadership in the Church to one who has the charism to be a leader simply because she is born a woman.

2.6. By depriving women of leadership positions the hierarchical structure of the Church creates in women’s psyche the characteristics of subordination, passivity, servitude, dependency, unquestioning obedience and vulnerability. This is compounded by the arrogation of power down the centuries which has created in the male psyche the belief in its innate superiority, wisdom and decision-making capability while engendering in the female psyche a belief in its inferiority, ‘foolishness’ and indecisiveness.

2.7. The starting point of a gender-sensitive approach is a questioning of the accepted beliefs and practices related to gender stereotyping, with a view to laying bare the ideology of male domination ingrained therein.

2.8. Also imperative is a sincere introspection on the concepts of power and hierarchy in the Church and secular society. Awareness of internal conditioning is a prerequisite to change. Education – both religious and secular – of women and men to overcome generations of power imbalance is crucial. The need to recognise that both women and men are victims of this imbalance and both need to change is crucial for true partnership to evolve.

2.9. Since equal partnership in a male-dominated, hierarchical structure is not possible, women have to negotiate partnership in the Church. Negotiation however, can only be from a position of strength which comes from theological knowledge, high self-esteem and independence from the Church. Thus there is an urgent need for the non-ordained, especially women religious, to empower themselves with theology so that they can critique, question and redefine their place in the Church. The need to break the myth that ordination makes one superior and advantaged is a vital aspect of this process.

2.10. As long as the Church remains fundamentally unequal, changes can be initiated by de-linking ordination and governance and vesting the people of God, called together by Christ, with administrative and juridical powers by virtue of their baptism (1Cor 3-13). 94.


Additionally, the early tradition of women deacons in the Church can be restored. Since “Sacred Orders” includes diaconal ordination, women could then be included in decision-making.

3. Recommendations

To work towards a Church that reflects more truthfully the mind of Christ, where women and men work together, without gender or ministry dictated hierarchies, towards the building of the Reign of God, we propose:

1. A progressive deconstruction of existing hierarchical structures to form more inclusive and participative ones in keeping with the prophetic spirit of Jesus. This can be achieved by demythologising and demystifying concepts like the priesthood and hierarchy, encouraging the belief that ‘we are the church’, and formation at different levels for equal discipleship.

Strategies for implementation could include:

· Modules on gender relations for seminarians and trainees at all levels in the Church.

· Broad-based theological formation of the faithful that covers human rights issues and social responsibility, by faculty that includes the non-ordained.

· Transforming/reforming existing theological formation by appointing and affirming faculty that is critical, liberative and prophetic.

· Promoting online formation programmes such as the
Catherine of Siena Virtual College Courses

· Continual and ongoing formation.

· Formation for priests and religious that is integrated with society to make it socially relevant and responsible.

· Fostering leadership in the Church and society at the grassroots levels through appropriate formation.

2. Formation of Advocacy or Task groups

Think-tanks of different types (amorphous, parish based, religious, interest groups, etc.) to share ideas, spread awareness and network.

· Counter-movements through a federation of like-minded groups.

3. Using media and technology to create awareness and advocate for changes in existing structures.

4. Broadening the understanding of Church and mission by engaging in civic and social issues as part of our Christian calling to bring about the Reign of God.

4. Reflections on Sexual Abuse

4.1. The starting point for our reflections on sexual abuse in the Church was the understanding of human sexuality, intimacy and relationships within the context of consecrated and priestly life. A positive, developmental perspective of the human person formed the basis of our discussion, and the potential for danger to and difficulty in remaining true to our calling to fidelity, that is inherent in our sexual nature, was highlighted. Consequently it was stressed that within consecrated and priestly life proper boundary markers must be laid out in relationships to provide a helpful road map in navigating the inevitable emotional ups and downs.

4.2. The strong link between intimacy and identity was emphasised. Since intimacy is relational, we can only relate well to the other if we first know who we are. Within consecrated and priestly life this would entail recognising and owning multiple identities such as one’s genital (male/female) identity, gender identity (masculinity/femininity) and religious sex role identity (Brother/Sister/Priest).

4.3. Culture and religion play important roles in shaping identity. Seminary/religious formation tends to give those being formed readymade identities which may not always be appropriate for the different stages of religious life or to the particular individual, resulting in internal conflict and distorted religious sex role identities. This coupled with the way authority is exercised in the Church leads to an imbalance of power that allows the possibility of sexual abuse.

4.4. Women in the Church are doubly vulnerable, when faced with an all-male hierarchy of power. There is potential for emotional and sexual exploitation with no efficient forum for redressal. Approaching civil courts is often resisted because of a sense of betrayal of the Church and difficulty in proving allegations.

4.5. Despite the Church’s mandate to be prophetic, it is civil law that has led the way in recognising and creating mechanisms to redress the abuse of women. In doing so it has challenged the Church to fulfil its own call to “act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly before God” (Micah 6:8).

4.6. The media glare, on the horror of clerical paedophilia while it brought many issues to the fore, left the sexual abuse of women out of public consciousness. Often, such abuse is overlooked because it purportedly entails consensual sex between adults. This approach fails to consider the unequal power equation that renders the woman’s consent invalid. This sinister blend of sexuality and power traps women in a web woven by the imposed belief that the same religious structures that exploit them can resolve issues of violence against them. Predator priests have cleverly spiritualised abuse of their victims leaving them feeling confused, condemned, betrayed and in a crisis of faith.

4.7. Often the Church remains silent on issues concerning women and leaves women with no recourse but to bear the crime stoically or seek legal relief. While there has been recognition of the problem by the hierarchy, the response has been largely defensive, safeguarding the reputation and interests of the institution. There is little consciousness of the responsibility of abetting a crime and sin. The lack of accountability with regard to action for justice, the tendency to place the clergy outside the ethical and legal frameworks that govern professionals in society, the hiding of a crime with the cloak of sin that demands only forgiveness instead of lawful retribution, and the evasion of responsibility towards the victim has left the faithful disillusioned and angry with Church authorities.

4.8. Although the responsibility of those who are personally involved cannot be ignored, what has become increasingly clear is the failure of the system and structure of the Church to ensure ethical behaviour and response. Clericalism, the hierarchical structure and the assumption of ‘divine’ power are at the root of the problem and must be deconstructed. 95.


4.9. The criminal nature of sexual abuse needs to be acknowledged and addressed in addition to its sinfulness. Women victims must be advised and helped to pursue criminal and civil remedies. Women and men must be formed into believing that they are not betraying the Church by doing so. They must be taught to believe that they actually have a Christian duty to do so and that failure to do so is a serious sin and will eventually harm the credibility of the church.

4.10. Informal interviews have shown that entrants to clerical and religious life can also be sexual abuse survivors, and studies in psychology have shown that these run the risk of becoming abusers themselves.

4.11. Victims of sexual abuse harbour anger, depression, shame and guilt that frequently last a lifetime and prevent normal human relationships. This lasting impact points to the grave sin and crime of sexual abuse. If the perpetrator is a priest it amounts to a double betrayal, as a trusted religious leader becomes the predator, destroying the victim’s God-given dignity and freedom as well as belief in God.

4.12. There is an urgent need to demythologise male privilege and power, especially in the priesthood, which leave women powerless. The absence of a language to name violence and abuse has silenced women. They are left with a sense of guilt to suffer the burden of the “sin”.

5. Recommendations

To ensure a swifter mechanism of redress for victims of sexual abuse as well as to create awareness of the severity of the problem we advocate:

1. A Code of Conduct for Church personnel to be drawn up, circulated and implemented.

2. The institution of independent, woman-headed and women-centric investigating and grievance redressal commissions/committees similar to those mandated by the government (e.g. Vishakha guidelines), in all parishes/dioceses to enable victims to seek justice. A CBCI Commission to oversee these.

3. Youth to be made aware of the code of conduct for Church personnel and the measures to be taken to protect oneself from possible sexual abuse in the Church. Easy access to professional help to be provided to youth struggling with clergy sexual abuse.

4. Formation programmes for women and men in parishes, through the CBCI Commission for Women, Justice and Peace Commission, and Family Commission, to create awareness of the Code of Conduct and the need to guard against abuse.

5. Relevant formation and training programmes in formation houses of men and women that provide opportunities for healing and holistic development of the human person.

6. Networking of various Church-based and secular groups involved with women’s issues to provide fora for counselling, support to claim redress in the Church, advocacy and legal aid.

7. The setting up of fora comprising committed Christian activists who will follow-up cases of sexual abuse and, if all remedies fail, initiate civil suits and public protests.

6. Our Commitment

In the light of our deliberations and recommendations, we felt an urgent need to:

1. Strengthen the prophetic spirit in ourselves.

2. Explore how the New Way of Being Church (FABC PA V, Bandung 1990),[2] which the CBCI and most dioceses have adopted as their pastoral priority, can help facilitate partnership and
change the hierarchical structures in the Church.

3. Use media and new technology to network and explore ways in which equal discipleship can become a reality.

4. Promote the education of the non-ordained including women religious, in theology and philosophy.

5. Create spaces and opportunities for critique of the ways in which power is exercised and misused in the Church, and priesthood and hierarchy in the Church are mythologised.

6. Build advocacy groups for renewal of victims, and redressal of grievances related to gender justice, violence against women and sexual abuse.

7. Make formation of seminarians and religious more holistic and grounded in “the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the (women and) men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted” (Gaudium et Spes, 1).

8. Ongoing formation in gender sensitivity for those already ordained and professed, to address issues of gender justice and clergy sexual abuse.

7. Conclusion

This Consultation was meant to be productive not just polemic. It brought together those who love the Church and wish to see it grow and prosper in the image of Jesus Christ in whom all are equal in dignity, respect and responsibility (Gal 3:28). It focused on the structures that need to be deconstructed for equal discipleship to become a reality in the church. At the same time it examined a serious problem in the Church today, one that has assumed critical dimensions: clergy sexual abuse. It looked at these issues with a critical mind but also with a warm heart, tracing their roots and suggesting alternatives for change.

We believe that the Spirit of God, that Spirit of wisdom and love, can animate all of us to rekindle in the Church the mission of Jesus who came that women and men, the ordained and non-ordained, the mighty and the lowly, all may have life, life in all its fullness (John 10:10).

[1]“Gender Relations in the Church: A call to Integrity and Justice”, August 15, 2010, Pune initiated by Streevani.

[2]A co-responsible & participatory church which functions as a communion of communities (small Christian communities).


See MY COMMENTS on page 92; ditto here, plus additional comments on 6a. on the following page. 96.



ADDITIONAL COMMENTS ON 6a., the known participants of the Consultation

1. As pointed out by me on different occasions in this report, the Conference of Religious, India or CRI, is presently dominated by the Montfort brothers, the Brothers of St. Gabriel who use the suffix SG. Prominent among them are Bro. Mani Mekkunnel, present national secretary of the
Conference of Religious India, Bro. K.M. Joseph,
the current president of the CRI, and Bro. Varghese Theckanath, former president of the CRI.


They are all sympathizers and ardent supporters of the feminist lobby. Their statements will be analysed in an upcoming article in this series. But, read a small example here;

commenting on Bro. Theckanath‘s call to the church to “End ‘Double Speak’ On Gender Justice” adding that “The Catholic Church remains “one of the most patriarchal of institutions”,” I had warned, and that was back in June 2011, long before I contemplated writing this report:




2. Flavia Agnes
is a women’s rights lawyer who became a student of law after enduring 13 years of an abusive marriage and surviving a messy divorce. She is not even Catholic, but belongs to the India Evangelical Lutheran Church. She has crossed swords with the Catholic Church on several occasions, and she is an anti-life pro-abortionist feminist. For just one instance, check out

3. Dr. Shaji George Kochuthara CMI, is from the Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram [DVK],

We will see in the following pages that the
Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram
has a tie-up with the
Catherine of Siena Virtual College. It is not surprising that he was DVK representative at the Consultation.

5. Feminist theologian Dr. Shalini Mulackal, PBVM is with EWA since their very first conference [pages 7, 33].

6. Dr. Jacob Parappally MSFS is a sympathizer of the feminist lobby. See pages 57, 58.

7. Dr. Rosamma John ICM already figures in several of my articles and reports. An example follows.

She is a Ph. D., a Clinical Psychologist who is into a host of New-Agey psycho-spiritual techniques and is in great demand to give such courses.
Extracts from

The Phenomenon of Healing
by Sr. Rosamma John ICM Issues-Health column, The New Leader February 1-15, 2002

From time immemorial… many shamans were doing the great act of healing the sick. Even today, in some parts of the world, people have great faith in the healing power of these persons who use mantras, prayers, and other impressive rituals to capture the… unconscious mind of the patient… It takes a good and creative shaman to invent tools which can communicate to the unconscious mind, bypassing the conscious/ rational mind

In recent years we have witnessed the Potta phenomenon attracting large crowds. Other such phenomena are hypnosis*, faith healing, Pranic Healing, Reiki, the use of pendulum, crystals*, and so onI believe in the power of these tools to heal many of the illnesses… I have done experimental research using Pranic Healing

We are familiar with various concepts used in these types of healing such as energy fields, chakras*, prana, bioplasmic body, etc. Dr. Rammurti Mishra, a Swami, spiritual teacher… says that chakras in yogic* tradition are not to be confused with any actual physical body… Through the chakras, mind stuff is able to operate upon the anatomical parts and physiological activities… Through meditation*, chakras are brought into awareness. Later on, the Theosophical tradition* has detailed chakras vividly giving forms and colours

The healer can suggest good or bad outcomes (e.g. black magic) and make it a reality in the mind of the patientSuggestion given in Altered States of Consciousness* [ASC] is more effective

*all starred items are listed in the February 3, 2003 Vatican Document on the New Age, from which I quote:

The shaman is often seen as the specialist of altered states of consciousness, one who is able to mediate between the transpersonal realms of spirits and gods and the world of humans. #2.2.3 Health: Golden living.

8. Dr. Julian Saldanha SJ a professor of theology at St. Pius X seminary in Mumbai is well-known for his 1985 book, Inculturation. He is an ardent proponent of the squatting Indian rite Mass which opened the door to much innovation and Hinduisation.

– Sr Jyoti Pinto BS, Former Mother General of Bethany Sisters is notorious for her “India prayer based on the Scriptures of the different religions“.

– Dr Paul Raj SG
is the
Provincial Superior of the Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel.












From: Aaron Rose-Milavec <> To: John Wijngaards <>; Name withheld3;

Cc: Deborah Rose-Milavec <> Sent: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 1:57 AM Subject: Re: courses

Dear Patricia,

Start here to explore our April 2012 courses! 

Look over our courses and choose the one that is right for you! Then 1) enroll and 2)  pay tuition with credit card  or with Paypal OR
apply for a scholarship! It’s easy!

Check here to see the reviews of former students who have completed one or more of our courses. […]



Seminar #2 The Gender Policy of the Catholic Church in India

In September 2009 the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India officially approved The Gender Policy of the Catholic Church of India which officially rejected discrimination against women of all types as “contrary to God’s intent and purpose (p. xi).”  According to the document:

The Christian understanding of gender equality is based on the biblical account of creation….Equality between women and men is seen both as a human rights issue and as a pre-condition for, and indicator of, sustainable people-centred development. In spite of man and woman being created equal by God, unfortunately, both in history and in today’s world there is gross discrimination against women. Still worse, justifications are given for discriminating between man and woman, boy and girl. Sometimes this is also done on the grounds of religious tradition.

In this seminar we will explore the background for the construction of the document, its content and implications for the Catholic Church in India, the extent to which it has been implemented and next steps for the future. 

Click here for full details.

Moderator: Deborah Rose-Milavec, M. Div.

This course includes a 90-minute online chatroom discussion on Thursdays for four consecutive weeks at 09:00 New York time [=18:30 India time] + 180-200 90 minutes of study/writing/exchanges each week at times convenient to yourself. Cost=$40 (special price for new course) or scholarship. […]



WomenPriests sure are concentrating on India. They are doing this through the medium of the Catherine of Siena Virtual College of which Virginia Saldanha is the Registrar. Their springboard is “The Gender Policy of the Catholic Church in India“. Catholics may experience a sense of legitimacy — and complacency — believing that they are going to be studying a CBCI document, only to end up being recruited as the new Indian frontline of This will translate into more feminist and pro-women’s ordination letters and articles in the Catholic media and more pressure on the bishops.

But we have been very naïve in imagining that the Catherine of Siena Virtual College is only spreading its tentacles in the Indian Church since very recently.

Recognizing the strategic importance of Kerala state which has a high concentration of Catholics, translations of WomenPriests texts into Malayalam is already being undertaken, see

Out of approximately 1,200,000 visitors from 229 countries to the WomenPriests site, around 470,000 are from the USA, 87,000 from the UK and about 22,000 from India which ranks 11. That number is bound to increase dramatically.

The Catherine of Siena Virtual College founded 2005, started its operations sometime mid- 2007 with three courses, increasing them to six in 2008. Now we find that it established its presence in India in 2009!







The Department of Sociology, Christ University, Bangalore

The Department of Sociology was one of the first Departments to be established at Christ College, now Christ University, Bangalore… offers two Certificate Programs, one on Corporate Social Responsibility and one on Womens Issues in collaboration with Catherine of Siena College (CSVC), USA

2009:    First international collaboration. Certificate program on Womens Issues in collaboration with CSVC, USA


Certificate Course in Women’s Issues,, and

Certificate Course in Women’s Issues

* The Department of Sociology offers this Certificate Course in collaboration with Catherine of Siena Virtual College, USA
* A unique course offered on a cloud campus
* Computer assisted course
* Conducted using Moodle, a Learning Management System
* Evaluation takes place by the facilitators in USA and the Coordinator from the Department


Centre for Social Action [CSA], Christ University

Partners who Support Our Movement

Catherine of Siena Virtual College, USA


How to obtain a Certificate

In order to obtain a certificate from Catherine College and/or academic credit from DVK or Christ University that testifies that you have graduated from one of our Honors Courses, you will need… […]

Dear Mary Ellen,

At the moment, our courses receive academic credit at DVK and Christ University (in Bangalore, India) and at Payap University and McGilvary College of Divinity (in Chiang Mai, Thailand) due to our sharing programs. We are currently exploring accreditation through various universities in the UK.

As of now, we do not offer any independently accredited degrees. You will want to check with the university under consideration regarding their ability to accredit our course (and course hours) since each university has its own standards in this regard.

Finally, all our academic courses require a final project if one wishes to receive a Certificate or academic credit.
Peace and joy in the adventure of learning,
Dr. Aaron Milavec, 2739 Queenswood Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45211
Vice-President – Catherine of Siena Virtual College


Sharing Program

In our Shared Research & Internet Learning on Gender Program (SHARING), Catherine of Siena Virtual College supplements the syllabus of a local college by offering a selection of courses on gender studies.

Catherine of Siena Virtual College

Presents a list of specialized internet courses on gender that widens every year

Provides faculty and tutors that enable enrolled students to engage in interactive study and evaluation

Any partnering college or university

Selects which courses on the list to offer to its students as part of its own syllabus as essential or elective courses. 99.


Provides a local academic adviser &, where necessary, local tutor(s) who can give, when necessary, face-to-face additional guidance to students

Gives credits to local students who fulfil the course requirements

Assists Catherine of Siena Virtual College by . . .

-offering new course material or improving existing courses

-offering online tutors

-offering general advice on the Program

Participating Colleges that have joined our SHARING Program to date are:

Christ University, Bangalore, India

Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Bangalore, India

Fr. Agnel College of Arts and Commerce, Goa, India

Payap University, McGilvary College of Divinity, Chiang Mai, Thailand



1. Christ University formerly Christ College which has a tie-up with the
Catherine of Siena Virtual College is run by the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate [CMI], the first indigenous religious congregation of India.

2a. Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram [DVK]
is also run by the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate [CMI].

It is a Pontifical Athenaeum of Philosophy, Theology and Canon Law,

Dr. Shaji George Kochuthara CMI,,
see pages 93 and 97, is from the DVK which also has a tie-up with the
Catherine of Siena Virtual College.

This is the icon that one finds on the DVK site masthead and all over their campus, Jesus – the yogi:



2b. Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (DVK) is a Pontifical Athenaeum for higher learning and formation, established by the Congregation for Catholic Education, Vatican, as an independent institute, empowered to grant degrees, including Licentiate and Doctorate in Philosophy and Theology, Licentiate in Oriental Canon Law and Master’s in Formative Spirituality and Counselling… Already in 1965 the College was affiliated to the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and 11 years later in 1976, the Congregation for Catholic Education by its Decree, “Nobilissimae Indiarum Gentes,” erected in it a Faculty of Theology as an independent Institute with rights to confer the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Theology and the Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy… the same Congregation by its decree “Antiquissima Indorum Philosophica,” on December 8, 1983 constituted also a Faculty of Philosophy, empowering it to award postgraduate and doctoral degrees in Philosophy…

Vission [sic]

Holistic formation in the radical discipleship of Jesus Christ, the Satguru, for Christian leadership. Promotion of rigorous academic research in philosophical, theological and allied disciplines. Harmonious synthesis of the Western, the Eastern and the Indian genius.

Catholics with even an iota of orthodoxy or conservatism will not need to have my comments on the above. DVK is a center of syncretism and ‘ecumenism’.

2c. Affiliated Institutions [to the DVK]

Vidya Deep College, CRI
Brothers Institute, Bangalore*

Carmelaram Theology College, Carmelaram, Bangalore**

De Paul Institute of Religion and Philosophy, Kumbalgod, Bangalore***

Pushpashrama Institute of Philosophy, Pushpashrama, Naidu Nagar, Mysore****

* The theology college managed by Conference of Religious India’s Brothers’ section … offers a Bachelors Degree in Theology with a 3  years integrated course of theology and philosophy. The only one of its kind in the world, it is the initiative of the Conference of Religious India…

**Carmelaram Theology College
is the scholasticate of the Malabar
Province of the

Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCD)

*** De Paul Institute of Religion and Philosophy is an institute of religious and priestly formation, run by the Vincentian Congregation. It aims at the human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation of seminarians.

****Pushpashrama Institute of Philosophy, Mysore, belongs to the OCD Carmelites of Goa-Karnataka Region. 100.


3. Fr. Agnel College of Arts and Commerce, Goa, belongs to the Society of the Missionaries of the St. Francis Xavier, which is commonly known as the Society of Pilar.

These are formation houses, philosophates and theologates for seminarians, our future priests! Imagine the plight of the Indian Church of the future, as awful as it is right now!!


4. Comment in THE LAITYTUDE

Francis S. Lobo
Catherine of Siena Virtual college- Is it Catholic ? – CROYDON DSOUZA (*, April 4, 2012. *See below, point 1.

Women priest organization already invaded the Indian Church through Catherine of Siena Virtual College. Attack is already begun. Bishops as well as Laity wake up. They are associated with Indian Seminaries\Colleges and Universities. How Catherine of Siena Virtual College (CoSVC) got entry to India? Who is the Indian point of Contact?

They are associated with
1) Christ University, Bangalore, India 2) Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Bangalore, India 3) Fr. Agnel College of Arts and Commerce, Goa, India
4) Payap University, McGilvary College of Divinity, Chiang Mai, Thailand. They are also currently exploring accreditation through various universities in the UK.
Christ University
was formerly Christ College (Autonomous) affiliated to Bangalore University. Established in 1969, with a view to blend sacred and secular education, by the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), the first indigenous religious congregation of India, in 2004, UGC has conferred Autonomy to Christ College. Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (DVK) is a Pontifical Athenaeum for higher learning and formation, established by the Congregation for Catholic Education, Vatican, as an independent institute, empowered to grant degrees, including Licentiate and Doctorate in Philosophy and Theology, Licentiate in Oriental Canon Law and Master’s in Formative Spirituality and Counselling. Fr. Agnel College of Arts and Commerce was established in June 1991 by Xaverian [sic] Educational Society, Pilar, belonging to the Society of the Missionaries of the St. Francis Xavier, which is commonly known as the Society of Pilar…



Catherine of Siena Virtual college- Is it Catholic ? – CROYDON DSOUZA (
April 2, 2012

There have been emails doing the rounds which introduce the ‘Catherine of Siena Virtual College’, where one can attend online courses on gender studies.

What’s in a name

What attracted me in the beginning was the name of Catherine of Siena, who as a saint, along with St Teresa of Avila, is one of my favorite mystics and models in the contemplative way of life.

However, what put me off is that it was named Catherine of Siena, without giving her the prefix she rightly deserves. Moreover, St Catherine being declared as the ‘Doctor of the Church’ deserves a lot more respect.

My school was ‘St Josephs High School’ and not ‘Joseph’s High School’ and so is the famous college named ‘St Andrews High School’ and not ‘Andrews’s High school’.  I am sure the Indian counterparts of this virtual college will with all due respect add the prefix of ‘Mahatma’ when referring to Gandhi and not mention him as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

Before digressing, I was attracted by the name of Catherine of Siena. She was a saint, a great woman, who endured plenty of hardships for the love of Christ. She is assumed to have died at the same age as our Lord Himself. And there are many great things that can be attributed to this model woman. But one of her accomplishment that I would like to highlight is that she has been declared a ‘Doctor of the Church’.

So who is a ‘Doctor of the church’? ‘In the Catholic Church, this title is given to a saint from whose writings the whole Church is said to have derived great advantage and to whom “eminent learning” and “great sanctity” have been attributed by a proclamation of a Pope or an ecumenical council. This honor is given rarely, and only after canonization.’ (  One of the prerequisites of canonization is that the person must have followed and preached sound theology. (

So bearing this in mind, I progressed to checking the website for this college (


Let’s ask them

What I found was that it propagated gender equity and studies in women empowerment. I found that unnecessary for me, but I thought for a while, and considering their supposed patron saint, it would be good to find out if they had any basis in catholic theology. And so I sent out a mail which reads as follows:-

From: Croydon D’souza Date: Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 2:51 PM Subject: Course detail To:

Dear Sir/ Mam,
I am a resident of Mumbai, India and was interested in doing your courses. However, before I do so and encourage others to, I would be grateful if you could please answer the following:-

(1) Is the institution Roman Catholic?

(2) Has it been approved by either Vatican or any related institutions?

(3) Are the courses in strict compliance with the teachings of the magisterium?

Awaiting eagerly your reply to the same and will enroll for your courses as soon as I receive them. Thanking you, Croydon



And in turn I received a reply as follows:

From: dean Date: Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 10:23 PM Subject: RE: Course detail

To: Croydon D’souza

Dear Mr. D’souza,

Thank you for your inquiry.

We are an academic college teaching women and gender studies.  We are not a theological institute.  All the best,

Deborah Rose-Milavec

Anyone will agree with me that an institute of repute and clean hands will not brush aside some of the pertinent questions put to them.

The above response was sufficient enough for me to not pursue any courses with them as I was interested in only that which had the approval of the official church.


Bad friends spoil good morals

This did not end here, my suspicions of the college were further confirmed when I carried another investigation and it led me to this site: . As a theologian friend of mine affirmed it; it is a site of the HERETICS.

Now for the benefit of those who don’t know; women’s ordination to the priesthood is a complete and definite NO- NO as per the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has issued a definitive statement on this subject which rules out further debate on this subject in any form. I urge the readers to click on the following link so that they may learn for themselves and understand on their own: –

So when I did visit this site and followed the tabs as follows: – Navigate LinksGender Studies and what do you have here, Catherine of Siena virtual college. So this college is affiliated to a site that is undoubtedly propagating the heresy of women priests. Also to add further, I found that the Indian promoter of this college has contributed to this site too: .

Now, going back to my first description of the Saint, Catherine of Siena, as being somebody who upheld the sound doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church and hence her canonization. And here we have a college apparently named after her, and seems to be doing just the opposite.

If that was the case then I can’t understand why they did not name this institute after some secular personality or feminist or after Karl Marx the first of those who sowed the vicious seed of gender equity.

May I draw your attention to the recent catholic Document ‘Theology Today: Perspective ,Principles and Criteria’


While the document seeks to explain that theology should be based in scripture, In point 14, there is an important assertion that reads as follows:

14. ‘False prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive opinions’ (2Pet 2:1).[21] The New Testament shows abundantly that, from the very beginnings of the Church, certain people have proposed a ‘heretical’ interpretation of the faith held in common, an interpretation opposed to the Apostolic Tradition) ……Heresy thus not only distorts the Gospel, it also damages ecclesial communion. ‘Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same’.[22] Those guilty of such obstinacy against the teaching of the Church substitute their own judgment for obedience to the word of God (the formal motive of faith), the fides qua. Heresy serves as a reminder that the communion of the Church can only be secured on the basis of the Catholic faith in its integrity, and prompts the Church to an ever-deeper search for truth in communion.



What a HUMBUG!!!!!!

My further research led me to this link: – which had the same title as above. And though it may seem an ‘Empowering’ statement, I was not sure of its intentions.

To break it up, ‘Empowering women in faith’, which faith???? When I visited the link of COSV college ( ), under their tab; ‘About our College’ ‘History’, I found they had this to say about a book written by the first president of their college (quote): “It weaves into an interconnected whole ideas from many different religious and ethnic traditions – Hindu, Sufi, Islamic, Korean, Jewish, Yoruba – and many different theological traditions – liberation and feminist theology and eco-theology. Her work in Liberation Theology is underpinned by a long involvement in the desert state of Rajasthan, as co-founder of the charity, Wells for India” (unquote)

After reading the above, do I need to give any more clarification to the so called ‘FAITH’ which they claim to promote?

So my question remains: Which faith does this college intends to empower women in?

The second point ‘Empowering women in ministry’, is
which and what ministry?

On the homepage of  the website for COSV college, they introduce some of the courses offered such as ,’ Violence against women’ Global realities and responses’ , ‘Women writing’ , Changing lives: Ecology, women and the future of the earth’; ‘ The sexual abuse of women in the catholic church’.

On further probe on these issues covered by the courses, I found that there is no reference to Vatican, or scripture, or Catholic Tradition in their theologizing to indicate in any way that these are Catholic issues. They may seem to be ministries that interest secular organizations or NGOs, but definitely not the Catholic Church. So eventually, which ministry will the takers of this course be empowered for? Definitely not a catholic ministry!! 102.



And if it is not catholic, then it is better practiced outside the bounds of the church.

Moreover, my pursuit of this noxious issue has made me understand that those who are active contributors and promoting this institution and their courses, are by default, people who are militating for the ‘Ordination of Women’. These in turn are bent on the destruction of the sacred institution of the Catholic Church which is founded on infallible scripture, doctrine and tradition (Dei Verbum).


Let’s go home

This is the very church that our Lord has instituted under the authority of St Peter and the very church which has fostered and acknowledged the men and women, both martyrs and confessors, who have given their lives in order to learn and uphold the teachings of this faith

It is a travesty of justice and betrayal of the Lord and his Church, when one outwardly claims to be a catholic and feeds at the table of the Lord as Judas did, and then goes about proclaiming the equity of gender based ideologies rooted in Marxist, Liberationist, Relativistic and Universalist ideologies rather than the sound doctrine of Christ.

May the Lord have mercy on the many women and religious men and women who may have fallen prey by the devious cunningness of such heretics.


2. Posted by Susan, April 2, 2012

Catherine of Sienna Virtual College is not a College but a social network (Catherine of Sienna Network) to execute hidden planning and attack Roman Catholic Church on Ordination of Priest.


3. Posted by Francis Lobo, April 3, 2012

Catherine of Sienna Virtual College (CoSVC) is nothing but right wing of women priests movement for campaigning women priests in the Catholic Church through the internet world.
From the above link it is clear that CoSVC is linked with Housetop which is founded by John Wijngaards, a former Catholic priest, Liberal theologian and a founder of women priests movement.
They need a CEO for campaigning for the Ordination of Women in the Roman Catholic Church and for CoSVC and the CEO should be women. They conduct their projects mainly through the Internet that is through Catherine of Siena Virtual College and women priests movement websites. CoSVC also promotes other women priest ordination movements
John Wijngaards is a Manager, Director of Catherine of Siena network, who is also founder of women priest movement, and Housetop. This is nothing but “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. Vatican should take action on this before it is too late.


4. Posted by Sunil, April 3, 2012

If you dig, I am sure you can find big fishes supporting Catherine of Siena Virtual College movements.


5. Posted by Francis Lobo, April 4, 2012
See page 101

Francis Lobo’s blog was forwarded by Gordon Jacobs of the Association of Concerned Catholics:

gordon jacobs <> Date: Thu, Apr 5, 2012 at 10:42 AM
Subject: Catherine of Siena Virtual college- Is it Catholic? To:
How did Catherine of Siena virtual college get entry into India?

Who is responsible for their entry?

How come we Catholics were never informed about this?

Please stand up and ask your parish priest, zonal bishop and your Cardinal for an explanation. Thanks

—– Forwarded Message —–

From: gordon jacobs <> Sent: Thursday, April 5, 2012 8:06 AM

To: Archbishop Bangalore PRO <>; Archbishops House Kerala <>; DY Sect Archbishops House Kerala <>; Archbishop Filip Neri <> Cc: Archbishop Bombay <>; Archbishop of Bombay <>; Apostolic Nuncio New Delhi <>; The Holy Father <>; Michael Gonsalves <>; Ashley Dmello <>

Subject: Catherine of Siena Virtual college- Is it Catholic?

How come the Archbishops at Goa, Bangalore have not brought this to the notice of the laity?

Can the archbishop of Goa and Bangalore please respond.

Can the Apostolic Nuncio at New Delhi please comment on this issue?

Can The Holy Father please be kept informed?

Can the press also get involved, especially our catholic reporters?










UPDATE, APRIL 10, 2012

We have already seen that Bishop Bosco Penha of Bombay is closely associated with one of the ringleaders of the womenpriests movement, Astrid Lobo Gajiwala.

On page 26, from the archdiocesan weekly, in which she is on the editorial board, I have recorded that Astrid Lobo Gajiwala was felicitated
for having