Josemaría Escrivá Obras

Throughout this interview you have commented on important aspects of human life, in particular those which refer to women, and on the value that is given to them in the spirit of Opus Dei. In conclusion, could you give us your opinion as to how the role of women in the life of the Church can best be promoted?

I must admit this question tempts me to go against my usual practice and to give instead a polemical answer, because the term 'Church' is frequently used in a clerical sense as meaning 'proper to the clergy or the Church hierarchy'. And therefore many people understand participation in the life of the Church simply, or at least principally, as helping in the parish, cooperating in associations which have a mandate from the hierarchy, taking an active part in the liturgy and so on.

Such people forget in practice, though they may claim it in theory, that the Church comprises all the People of God. All Christians go to make up the Church. Therefore the Church is present wherever there is a Christian who strives to live in the name of Christ.

In saying this, I am not seeking to minimise the importance of the role of women in the life of the Church. On the contrary, I consider it indispensable. I have spent my life defending the fullness of the Christian vocation of the laity, of ordinary men and women who live in the world, and I have tried to obtain full theological and legal recognition of their mission in the Church and in the world. I only want to point out that some people advocate an unjustifiable limitation of this collaboration. I must insist that ordinary Christians can carry out their specific mission — including their mission in the Church — only if they resist clericalisation and carry on being secular and ordinary, that is, people who live in the world and take part in the affairs and interests of the world.

It is the task of the millions of Christian men and women who fill the earth to bring Christ into all human activities and to announce through their lives the fact that God loves and wants to save everyone. The best and most important way in which they can participate in the life of the Church, and indeed the way which all other ways presuppose, is by being truly Christian precisely where they are, in the place to which their human vocation has called them.

It is very moving to think of so many Christian men and women who, perhaps without any specific resolve, are living simple, ordinary lives and trying to make them a living embodiment of the Will of God. There is an urgent need in the Church to make these people conscious of the sublime value of their lives, to reveal to them that what they are doing, unimportant though it appears, has an eternal value, to urge them, to teach them to listen more attentively to the voice of God who speaks to them through everyday events and situations. God is urging the Church to fulfil this task, the task of making the entire world Christian from within, showing that Christ has redeemed all mankind.

Women will participate in this task in the ways that are proper to them, both in the home and in other occupations which they carry out, developing their special characteristics to the full.

The main thing is that like Mary, who was a woman, a virgin and a mother, they live with their eyes on God, repeating her words fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum — 'be it done unto me according to Thy word' (Luke 1:38). On these words depends the faithfulness to one's personal vocation — which is always unique and non-transferable in each case — which will make us all cooperators in the work of salvation which God carries out in us and in the entire world.

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