contributions of women as faithful believers, often in leadership roles, or lay bare the dynamics which encouraged the exclusion of and discrimination against women in the first place.
This search is therefore bringing significant changes to the way theology understands itself. One could even speak of a new paradigm shift in theology: the old categories of fundamentalism or liberalism, the dualisms of matter/spirit give way to a deeply creationcentred understanding of God and world, an understanding rooted in solidarity with the poorest and most vulnerable category of humanity, namely women and children.
Standing in solidarity with the victims of injustice — for example with the women whose babies were stillborn because of nuclear-testing in the Pacific is to stand again at the foot of the cross, as the women did at Calvary. But to do so with the vision and hope of a different world.
This process of reflection is much further developed in North America than in Britain. But in the Netherlands there are highly significant developments. Every university faculty oftheology employs women with the specific task of examining theology from the standpoint of the experience of women (although permanent tenured jobs are still extremely rare).
The women developing these insights are in constant communication with the Women and Faith Movement, which is active at the grassroots level, across denominational boundaries, trying to give their experiences in the church new theological expression and to identify causes of oppression.
As a result of this reflection new agendas become set, and groups are formed to study the root causes of "the feminisation of poverty", child sexual abuse and the connection between sexism and militarism.
At a European level, the Society for Women in Theological Research provides networking and space for women from all European countries to exchange views and information as to their special difficulties: clearly these are changing rapidly, as religious freedom becomes a reality for women in Romania and Czechoslovakia, and they seek new opportunities to develop their theology.
From Britain's point of view what is interesting is that the next conference of the society will be held here, at Bristol University, in September 1991, on the theme of "Liberating Women — New Theological Directions". And 1990 is, in fact, the year when the Ecumenical European Forum for women will be held at York University in July, on the theme of "From Division to Vision".
But it would be far from the truth to infer that this new theological reflection is relevant only for Europe or North America. Women from the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT) are beginning to set up their own structures.
Finally, men and women together should develop partnership models of ministry which hold in creative dialogue developing ideas with daily living. In this way we make real the fact that we are all called to be theological sisters of Thomas Aquuinas, Doctores Angelicae, not only "in memory of her", but because we all share the responsibility of creating a Summa Theologica which expresses the longing of God for the healing and reconciliation of men, women and children in harmony with the entirety of creation.
Professor Mary Grey teaches theology at the Catholic University of Nijmegen in Holland.