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An analysis of traditional Mariology and gender equality in the Catholic Church.

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Women are increasingly involved in the Catholic Church, but their participation remains restricted. They are tasked to spread God's Word along with its patriarchal interpretations without being empowered to see God's Sophia in their own wisdom. They are tasked to implement programs but are not entrusted with envisioning directions. However, the Catholic Church in the Vatican II (GS 29) teaches that every type of discrimination based on sex must be overcome and eradicated, being contrary to God's intent. This study seeks to investigate how an analysis of traditional Mariology could contribute to gender equality in the Catholic Church by analysing theological statements that find expression in Marian dogmas as well as the official documents of the Catholic Church. This study further uses Christian feminist theology as a theoretical framework in its interrogation of traditional Mariology. This is a careful, critical feminist analysis of Traditional Mariology done by a Catholic male priest in the field of systematic theology. The study focuses on Mary in relation to women's experiences, who in the Catholic Church is highly esteemed. The analysis of the study highlights how traditional Mariology fails to relate to the experiences of women and their images of God. Hence, new ways of approaching Mariology are required that will bring dignity and equality among women. Of significance to mention is that this study does not present the full teaching of the Catholic Church about Mary, which is adequately available elsewhere, but rather aims at exploring new avenues of approaching Mariology that bring about gender equality. Using Christian feminist theology, the study reveals that it is indispensable to locate Mary in the community of discipleship so that ordinary women can identify with her.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.