“Women hold up half the sky” was one of many Chinese proverbs I learned during 1970 years in Hong Kong. Elsie Elliott-Tu (1913 – 2009) went to China as a British missionary and spent her entire adult life in Hong Kong as an elected official in the colonial urban council. Weekly I assisted in her ward office when over 100 needy people would seek legal, medical, personal and housing assistance in the most densely populated place on Earth. May Elsie rest in peace and continue from her place in the reign of God urging others to keep up the endless struggle for peace, justice and care of our planet in peril.
March 4th, 1916, Jeanette Rankin (1880-1973) became the first woman to sit in the US House of Representatives. She voted against WWI, WWII and participated in marches against the Vietnam War while in her eighties. Einstein, a German Jew, was a pacifist who opposed WWI and regretted approval of building the atomic bomb. “Maybe I will be forgiven” was his response upon hearing of the 1945 atomic devastation in Japan. Pacifist examples of Einstein, Rankin and other prophets are dismissed by militarists in government and other institutions. St. Francis de Sales taught us: “There is nothing so strong as gentleness; nothing so gentle as strength.” Nuclear weapons were abolished by the unanimous UN vote of July 7, 2017. Our survival depends upon carrying out the abolition desire of 122 nations last year. Countries rejecting that vote are simply “rogue states.”
Mothers’ day was intended by Juliet Ward-Howe to be a global manifestation of maternal opposition to war. That day has been sadly transformed into a commercial celebration of motherhood and family banquets. Mothers do not bring children into this world for fighting endless wars of our military economy described by five star General Eisenhower as the “military industrial complex” (MIC) when he retired. The MIC in 2018 will consume two billion dollars daily of the USA budget, compared to $1 billion defense budget for the entire year 1945 as WWII ended. April 3, 1948, USA leaders approved the Marshall plan to rebuild a devastated Europe with a mere $14 billion. Our nation is now $21 trillion in debt. One trillion was designated by President Obama to “modernize” nuclear weapons, making suicidal warfare more likely. Unless we all oppose them.
This month we might ask which institutions, civil or religious still ban female participation as leaders? Would Catholic parishes close in days or weeks without women holding up the sky? 1000 parishes have closed since ‘95 for lack of priests.
Compassion is the essence of priesthood. Are women more highly evolved than men in the divine gift of compassion? Women stayed till the end as Jesus “gave forth His spirit.”