“Equality for Virgin bearers”
Córdoba bishop insists women can join Easter processions.
5 December 2007
CORDOBA - The bishop of Córdoba on Tuesday ordered a Catholic brotherhood to let two female members carry a statue of the Virgin Mary during Easter processions in a ruling that could set a precedent for changing the male-dominated tradition.
A spokesperson for Bishop Juan José Asenjo said the prelate had overruled a decision by the Brotherhood of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows to prevent Elisa Márquez and María Jesús Castón from carrying the statue. "The bishop supports the right of these women to participate in the procession," Mario Iceta, the vicar general of Córdoba, told reporters yesterday. He said the bishop had cited the "Christian right to equality between men and women" in his decision.
Márquez and Castón had spent several years joining male bearers of the statue during Easter processions through the streets of the southern city until the brotherhood elected a new board of directors. The new leaders attempted to cast the women out of the group at the end of the year on grounds that their presence with the men could lead to "vulgarities."
In March, as Easter approached, Bishop Asenjo demanded that the brotherhood readmit the women, but the board of directors refused and put the bishop's decision to a vote. Fifty-one members of the brotherhood opposed the women, compared to 21 who supported them.
The bishop has noted, however, that the brotherhood cannot reverse his decision, and has described putting the case to a vote as an "insult."
[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL. 2007]
Subject: Spanish news