Pope Francis: Church urgently needs to offer space to women

Pope Francis: Church urgently needs to offer space to women

Evidently, Pope Francis does not share Cardinal Raymond Burke’s concern about an overly “feminized” church.

Addressing a Vatican conference on women today, the pope said there was an urgent need to offer space to women in the life of the church, taking into consideration the “changed cultural and social sensibilities.”

“It is desirable, therefore, for a feminine presence that is more capillary and incisive in the community, so that we can see many women involved in pastoral responsibilities, in accompaniment of individuals, families and groups, as well as in theological reflection,” he said.

Not surprisingly, the pope made no mention of women priests. He has previously said the door is closed to that possibility.

Cardinal Burke made headlines a month ago when he said that Catholic parish and liturgical activities had become so influenced by women and so feminine that “men do not want to get involved.”

Pope Francis said it was important for women to be full participants in church and social life, and not just feel like guests.

He offered a special thanks to the many women who work with families, in religious education and other pastoral programs, and in social and economic services.

“You women know how to embody the tender face of God, his mercy, which is translated more by a willingness to give one’s time than to occupy spaces, to welcome rather than to exclude,” he said.

The pope said society, at least in the West, had wisely moved away from seeing women as subordinate to men. At the same time, he said, it was a mistake to try to impose a model of “absolute equivalence” between men and women. He said the proper relationship is an equality that recognizes and appreciates the differences between the sexes.

The pope also condemned violence against women, saying the female body was often attacked and disfigured, even by those who ought to be “guardians and life companions.” Domestic violence was a topic of discussion at the meeting, which was sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture.

“The many forms of slavery, commercialization and mutilation of the woman’s body challenge us to work to defeat this form of degradation that reduces it to a pure object to be sold off on various markets,” the pope said.

He offered a special thought for the many women living in poverty and on the margins of society, in conditions of risk and exploitation.


7 comments (Add your own)

1. JAN SCHOMP wrote:
WOMEN HAVE HARDLY FELT LIKE GUEST. THEY HAVE FELT EITHER LIKE THE SLAVES OR AT LEAST THE WORKER BEES.
NO - WOMEN BECOMING PRIEST CANNOT WAIT UNTIL MEN FINALLY GET IT. TIME PASSES, GIFTED, CALLED BY GOD, WOMEN LIVE AND DIE AT THE WHIM OF ROBED BOSS MEN. GOD HELP THESE MEN WHOSE ROLE IN HISTORY WILL BE SO REDICULED AND SHAMED UPON!

Sat, February 7, 2015 @ 6:21 PM

2. Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh wrote:
Women are already active in the Church. The pope still does not want equality.

The pope is adding to the poverty of women by his ban on contraception.

Sun, February 8, 2015 @ 7:00 PM

3. Bridget Mary Meehan wrote:
Each week we have visitors who come to our inclusive Catholic Liturgy from communities that have women priests. We at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community celebrate a liturgy every Saturday at 4 pm in Sarasota, Fl. Women priests are here living our dream. Pope Francis needs to place women in decision-making positions and to open the door to a renew priestly ministry in a community of equals. www.arcwp.org, www.marymotherofjesus.org

Sun, February 8, 2015 @ 9:46 PM

4. eddie too wrote:
I wonder how it will work, the idea that men are not needed in the Church. I know people will object to this characterization of this push for more female involvement in the workings of the hierarchy. but, listen to the words of the people who are pushing to make the role of the female the same as the role of the male. the idea that males have nothing different to offer the world than do females is a false concept and acting upon it will produce no good fruits.

Tue, February 10, 2015 @ 12:17 PM

5. Mwest wrote:
The Catholic Church (of which I am an enthusiastic part) and the Holy Father (of whom I am an enthusiastic fan for the most part) need to get it through their heads that women have no special "genius" besides baptism. They are really just people. Just like men are just people. All have varied gifts, varied "geniuses" perhaps - not more than or different than or greater or lesser than - women are just plain people. As one brilliant line of scripture has it, in Christ, "There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus." Culture and fashions - hairdo's, hats, veils, and customs in marriage vary from time to time and place to place, but this one statement stands as the foundational principle. We are all just people, baptized Christians, filled with the same Holy Spirit.

Tue, February 10, 2015 @ 1:38 PM

6. Mike Brennan wrote:
In response to Eddie - as a man myself - I don't see how the idea of equality for women in the church will drive out men or how it promotes the idea that men are not needed. First of all, look at virtually any Catholic Liturgy or Vatican procession and notice that it is all male. Do you really think that will disappear overnight - do you really think it will ever disappear? Of course not. Men are to be equally valued as women. But clearly, at the present time, women are not equally valued as men. In some ways the role of the male will never be the same as the role of the female - men can't give birth, as you may know. But I am hard-pressed to discern what you refer to when you say, "the idea that males have nothing different to offer the world than do females is a false concept." Could you give some examples? I mean, concrete examples of what men have to offer the world that women cannot offer the world - whether for biological or psychological or spiritual reasons? And how would you square such an idea with biblical texts such as "There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). Or do you consider the Bible irrelevant to the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church? Are you one of those cherry picking supermarket Catholics?

Wed, February 11, 2015 @ 5:50 AM

7. Nancy Brousseau, OP wrote:
Space we have, as second class - equality we desire in Christ in who's image we are created. Clericalism & patriarchy are not of the Holy Spirit.

Wed, February 11, 2015 @ 10:35 AM

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