Vatican given wake-up call by Hindus

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The top Catholic Church hierarchy received a nudge from an unexpected source over the weekend as a US based Hindu body leader urged the Holy See to conduct a referendum with its congregations worldwide regarding the opinions of Roman Catholics on the subject of ordination of women.

Hindu leader Rajan Zed cited a recent research study, “Contemporary Catholic Perspectives,” commissioned by the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland to “gain an understanding of Catholics’ views on contemporary Catholicism,” which found that over 7 in 10 (72 percent) of Catholics favor women being ordained by the Catholic Church as priests. Zed pointed out that, “Women could disseminate God’s message as skillfully as men and deserved equal and full participation and access in religion.”

Nevada based Zed, who is President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, quoted Hindu scriptures, saying, “Where women are honored, there the gods are pleased.”

Zed noted that there have been some positive signs regarding the status of women in the Roman Catholic Church as the Vatican invited women to participate in the Synod of Bishops in 2008 and 2010. Additionally, girls outnumbered boys for the first time at the gathering of altar servers at the Vatican in 2010, where about 60 percent of young pilgrims were reportedly female. 

However, the Church continues to maintain, as it has though out its history, that women can not be ordained as priests and that any bishop who ordains a woman will be immediately excommunicated.

“The Holy See being the largest religious organization in the world should show exemplary leadership in women equality to the rest of the planet,” Zed stated. 

The Roman Catholic Church, the largest of the Christian denominations with about 1.2 billion adherents, is headed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and headquartered in the Vatican. Hinduism, the oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. (IATNS)

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