The head of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) stressed the important role women should play in peace-building and evangelization amid the current conflicts the world is facing.
“If this world was to be ruled by women, there would be no walls,” said Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Myanmar, FABC president, in an address to students of the Loyola School of Theology in Manila on March 31.
He said that if women rule the world there would be “no Ukraine-Russia war” and “if women are the presidents of all nations, there will be no wars.”
The cardinal spoke from Yangon in a video message on “The Role of Women in the Mission and the Evangelization of Asia.”
He noted that Catholic women are active in peace-building in conflict areas and are “frontline evangelizers” in Asia.
The cardinal also noted that a number of women are involved in the “socio-pastoral mission” of the Church in the region and in the mission of healing.
He said many religious women are doctors and are helping women at risk in many countries.
Cardinal Bo said that the more than 700,000 nuns and religious women around ithe world are the “greatest witnesses” of God’s compassion.
“A Church without women is a poor Church,” he said, echoing the words of Pope Francis who said that women are “the backbone of the domestic Church.”
In his address, Cardinal Bo said that evangelization is not about gaining something beyond this world, but about the “here and now sense of incarnate salvation.”
“The word ‘salvation’ appears more than 100 times in the Bible,” he said, adding that it always indicates “a life lived here on earth in love.”
The Asian Church leader said that it is “astounding” how Jesus positioned women in a significant place in His mission.
He cited Mary as the “star and our model of evangelization,” noting that from living in a culture where women are powerless, “she proved the power of empty hands.”
“Mary came from a poor family and she lived in a culture that did not empower women,” said the cardinal.
“It is the Word taking flesh in her life. Mary’s Magnificat gives a road map — comprehensive humanization in society for all,” he said.
Mary Magdalene, meanwhile, was chosen as an apostle to proclaim Jesus’ resurrection to other apostles, said Cardinal Bo.
“[Women] were also faithful companions and collaborators” up to the end, he said. “Even when most of the male disciples ran away, women continued to journey with Jesus.”