Primate Bishop’s Message for International Women’s Day

Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.

1 Corínthians 11:11

Greetings to all women in our Church on this International Women’s Day. I would prefer to greet you in a different context, that is, in a context where we do not occupy the seventh position worldwide in terms of statistics of violence against women. Brazil is in great debt to its women. A debt in all categories: equal treatment in the job market, equal opportunities, public health policies, respectful treatment in the family, among so many other areas

But I also share here my hope in all we have as the IEAB in defense of these rights. Our Province will be taking part, in a few days’ time, in yet another United Nations Conference on the Status of Women, represented by Sandra Andrade, affirming the continuous presence of the IEAB in these Conferences, since 2006. More than participating in an event on an international scale, this presence of Brazil raises the voice of all Churches and social organizations in the fight to tackle all forms of violence against women.

Through the Anglican Service of Diakonia and Development (SADD), our Church has been offering instruments of reflection and has bravely encouraged our communities to transform their reality. The reading of the Bible from a feminine point of view has helped many of us, both men and women, to break the chauvinistic and authoritarian patterns in our communities and in society in general.

We are challenged by the Word of God to abandon passivity in the face of so much pain experienced daily by our women. We need to reread History under the light of liberation and not oppression. Only then can we break the chain that is subtly maintained by society. The gender domination is very often subtly alleviated by the media, making us believe that everything is fine.  And this phenomenon is also reinforced by religious discourse, making us believe that between Brothers and sisters there are no problems. On the contrary, the latter is equally pernicious because it hides the problems.

May we, on this day, and every day, and at all times, commit ourselves to affirming the right of all women, of all classes, ethnic groups, and sexual condition, overcoming discrimination and all forms of violence once and for all.

After all, we were made man and woman, both in the image and likeness of God, and we are placed in History to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God! Without this understanding of ontological dignity, we will continue to experience the tragic daily scenes that bring shame to our Nation!

++ Francisco de Assis da Silva

Primaz do Brasil e Diocesano em Santa Maria