Pope Francis considered this Monday, September 5, that “women were lacking” in the administration of the Church and stressed that their choice for various roles in the Curia “is not a feminist fashion”, but an act of justice.
“In the normal administration of the Church there was a lack of women”, acknowledged the Pope, in the second part of the interview with TVI and CNN Portugal given in August at the Vatican.
According to the pontiff, the entry of women into the Curia is not a “feminist fashion”, but an “act of justice that, culturally, had been set aside” in the Catholic Church.
The Pope added that the strengthening of the presence of women in the Church “has been going on for the last 20, 30 years and is slowly being implemented”. In January of last year, Pope Francis changed the Code of Canon Law authorizing lay women to read the word of God, help at the altar during Masses and distribute communion, leaving out the possibility of the priesthood. However, he formalized something that was already happening in practice, leaving aside the ordination of women, which caused controversy at the time.
Two years ago, in July 2019, the specialist in women’s affairs in the Church, researcher and professor in Religion, in the United States of America, Phyllis Zagano, accused, in an interview with Delas.pt, the “ignorants” of the Church for being to stop a right that women had until the twelfth century: that of being ordained deacons. As one of the 12 elements that made up the Pontifical Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women, created in May 2016 by Pope Francis, Zagano went further and stated: “I think that women deacons in the sacristies would have stopped a large part of pedophilia, they wouldn’t have bothered the children.”
However, Pope Francis even left out the possibility of women coming to exercise the priesthood. This “motu proprio” revises the document of São Paulo VI “Ministeria Quem” (1972), which only allowed men to receive the ministries of the Lectorate and the Acolyte. The reader is responsible for reading the Word of God in the ceremonies, while the acolyte assists the deacon and the priest at the altar and can also distribute communion, among other functions.
In July 2022, the Pope appointed three women as members of the Dicastery (ministry) for Bishops, a decision in line with his intention to give greater visibility and leadership to women in the structure within the Church, the Vatican reported at the time.
Francis pointed to the example of his recent appointments to the Vatican’s Council for the Economy, made up of six cardinals and six lay people and chaired by a cardinal.
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