Up until 1970 the Doctors of the Church were all male. Only men were given this exceptional and solemn title for having contributed in a fundamental way to the couture and the doctrine of the Church. It was Paul VI who was the first Pontiff to give the title to two women, Catherine of Siena Teresa , giving them a leading role in our Church's tradition, culture and history; he recognizes in the Saint “infused wisdom, that is to say, lucid, profound and inebriating absorption of the divine truths and mysteries of the faith contained in the Holy Books of the Old and New Testaments”. Following the two. Therese of Lizieux were proclaimed. On 7 October, Benedict XVI will confer the same title on Hildegard of Bingen.
We have chosen to dedicate to them, to these scholars, September's insert to put emphasis on how important culturally and intellectually the contribution of these women has been to the history of the Christian tradition. And to break another misconception about women and the Church; that women religious have a strictly assisting role, a role of self-denial; that they are tied to the concrete duty of organizing daily life, tied to humble manual labour. As for the rest, at least in the realm of culture and doctrine, they give or have given very little. Of course, that is not true.
The story of many women, of many saints and many religious proves it. They knew how to love and understand, how to stimulate renewal and the development of doctrine, invent forms and expressions of the faith, to build and not only guard tradition.
In this issue's investigation, Lucetta Scaraffia explains how the Church was saved through them in difficult moments, helped in her rebuilding and her cultural renewal. The Church was saved precisely through these wise and attentive women. There are those today, in different times and in different ways, who continue their patient intellectual work and research like Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz, a philosopher and theologian, interviewed by Christiana Dobner. The Saint of the month is Edith Stein, philosopher, a Jewish philosopher who died in Auschwitz, written about by Mariapia Veladiano.