Annie Oakley told Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun, “anything you can do, I can do better.” According to Pia de Solenni, however, what women can “do” isn’t the point. It’s about who she is as a woman.
On Nov. 2, Solenni will be the guest speaker at the Archbishop´s Lecture Series, speaking on the topic “What does the Church teach us about what it means to live as disciples?”
Solenni holds a doctorate from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, and teaches at the Augustine Institute in Denver.
She spoke to Denver Catholic about the vocation of women in a modern society.
Denver Catholic: Pope Francis has said that women need to have a more active role in the Church. How can women achieve this?
Pia de Solenni: First, I don’t think that our formal role in the Church needs to be the sole focus. As the Church has taught, women have a role in every aspect of society. In so far as they are present in all these various aspects, they should be bringing the Church to the world and that is a very important role.
Regardless, whether we’re talking about the role of women or men in the Church, we need to be thinking always and primarily in terms of service. If we’re thinking in terms of power, we’ve lost the point.
DC: How do you think women can be more involved in society, while continuing to be present in the home?
PdS: Well, I like to point out that there’s no reason why women have to do all of this at the same time. We go through different stages in life, depending on our various states in life. And, thanks be to advances in medicine, most of us can anticipate living well past our forties.
Most people have multiple careers throughout their lives, even going back to school for further education. It seems to me that we should be approaching the vocation of women in the same way.
DC: How can women contribute more to society with her “feminine genius”?
PdS: By this point in human history, we know that women and men can do most of the same things, sometimes women even perform better; so the question of doing has been addressed.
Now we are fortunate to focus on what it means to “be” a woman (or a man) and how does that contribute to what we do. Simply by being women and being confident in their gifts as women, women can contribute more to society in whatever they do.
DC: Pope Francis has spoken many times about the “forms of ideological colonization which are out to destroy the family.” What does he mean?
PdS: There are various references; the most frequent has probably been the gender colonization which seeks to eliminate the constructive differences between women and men. In so doing, roles and vocations such as husband and wife, father and mother, are treated as if they have no real and true significance. In which cases, institutions like marriage and the family will be redefined, or cease to exist altogether.
Archbishop’s Lecture Series
Nov. 2, 2016
7 p.m. – St. John Vianney Seminary
RSVP at archden.org/lecture