Forty-nine sections in, we get a specific message about and to women religious. Remember, you can check the full document online here.
49. In the vast pastoral field of the Church, a new and very important place has been accorded to women. Once zealous helpers of the Apostles (cf. Acts 18:26; Rom 16:1 ff.), women should contribute their apostolic activity today in the ecclesial community realizing faithfully the mystery of their created and revealed identity (cf. Gen 2; Eph 5; 1 Tim 3 etc.) and taking notice of their growing influence in civil society.
This is an important Scriptural witness. Despite mewlings about “emangelization,” women were part of the early Church, and it didn’t seem to impede the spread of the Gospel. That women have an influence in modern society impacts the Church–like it or not.
Innovation is encouraged as a logical consequence of this:
Religious women therefore, faithful to their vocation and in harmony with their distinctive character as women, should seek out and propose new apostolic forms of service in response to the concrete needs of the Church and of the world.
The Blessed Mother is held up as a role model:
After the example of Mary who in the Church holds the highest place of charity among believers, and animated by that incomparably human trait of sensitivity and concern which is so characteristic of them (cf. Paul VI,Discourse to the National Congress of the Centro Italiano femminile, Oss. Rom., December 6-7, 1976), in the light of a long history offering outstanding witness to their undertakings in the development of apostolic activity, women religious will be able more and more to be and to be seen as a radiant sign of the Church, faithful, zealous and fruitful in her preaching of the kingdom (cf. Declaration Inter Insigniores, S. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, October 15, 1976).
Thoughts or comments?