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Archbishop of West Indies calls for Jamaican church to address problem of violence against women

The Archbishop of the West Indies, Howard Gregory, has called on the Christian church in Jamaica to accept that some of its practices are used to justify violence against women. 

Archbishop Howard, who is also Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, made his comments in an Easter sermon at Saint Andrew's Parish Church in Kingston.

He said: "we must acknowledge, as a church, the way in which some of our attitudes and teachings within the Christian community have been used to undergird the negative and violent attitudes and behaviour with which our women must now contend."



His sermon was based on the account of Jesus' resurrection in John's gospel. He noted that Mary Magdalene was the first person to whom Jesus appeared. He said that the encounter was "countercultural" because it involved an event considered the most central to Christian belief - the resurrection of Jesus - being revealed to a woman first in a male-dominated society.

He said that equality for women in Christianity is still a problem. "Even to this day, there are Christian traditions that assert that the woman's place is to be silent in church and not occupy positions of leadership over men, or even over other women, who constitute the core of the church," he said.

More than one in every four women in Jamaica have experienced violence from their partner in their lifetime.

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