Cardinals want greater role for women in the Church

Senior cardinals from Argentina and Germany have called for a greater leadership role for women in the Church.

Argentinean Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, who heads the Vatican department for Eastern Catholic Churches, said the next pontificate should see women having more leadership positions in the Vatican and beyond.

“The role of women in the world has increased and this is something the Church has to ask itself about,” he said.

“They must have a much more important role in the life of the Church … so that they can contribute to Church life in so many areas which are now, in part, open only to men …. This will be a challenge for us in the future.”

Cardinal Sandri said women “must also be co-participants in the dialogue and the analysis of the life of the Church and in [other] areas, even in the formation of priests, where they can play a very, very important role”.

In Germany, the Catholic bishops’ conference devoted one day of a three-day plenary meeting to considering the role of women in the Church.

Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz called for a “convincing job profile for women that also requires a sacramental blessing and a liturgical ceremony for a binding commitment”.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, former president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, suggested creating a new diaconal office for women.

He envisaged women being officially appointed for pastoral, charitable, catechetical and certain liturgical services at a special “Benediction”, as abbesses used to be. Then they could participate in synods, pastoral councils and commissions.

This “deaconess” role would be different from the classic deacon’s role, he said. The deaconess would not be nominated through the sacrament of orders, but through a blessing.

Cardinal Kasper argued that many women already perform the functions of a deacon, so in principle the matter could not be ignored.

He said such changes “would do the Roman curia good”.



The Tablet


Image: Kipa-Apic

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