Vatican paper launches feisty women’s magazine

The Vatican’s semi-official newspaper has started a women’s magazine, which is not averse to taking a critical stance over women’s role in the Church.

The new monthly magazine “Women-Church-World” was launched this week by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See’s secretary of state.

His department oversees L’Osservatore Romano, in which the new magazine has previously featured as a separate section.

During the launch, Cardinal Parolin said: “A woman could become secretary of state [at the Vatican], in the sense that the role of the secretary of state is evidently not bound to the sacraments or the priesthood.”

Speaking to journalists after the event, the cardinal said he did not believe women wanted a quota system in the Church.

Rather, “they want to move forward through their merit and their capabilities, without having institutionally reserved spaces”.

The co-ordinator of “Women-Church-World”, Dr Lucetta Scaraffia, wrote in the new magazine’s first editorial that a “hidden revolution” had taken place in the last century.

This has seen women make an increasingly important contribution to the intellectual life of Catholicism.

This intensified in the years following the Second Vatican Council, when more and more women started to study theology.

But this contribution by women has been “almost ignored” by the Church, Dr Scaraffia wrote.

The theme of the first edition was the Visitation.

Dr Scaraffia stated this event shows the prophetic role of women and should not just be reduced to a moment of solidarity.

“Both [Mary and Elizabeth] are able to see the true and profound meaning of the events that they are living through and are able to perceive the divine even when it is hidden,” Dr Scaraffia wrote, “and they do it earlier than men and before the priests and sages”.

Dr Scaraffia, a feminist journalist and professor, has been a regular writer in the Vatican’s newspaper despite being an outspoken critic on the male-dominated leadership of the Church.

In March, the Women-Church-World section in L’Osservatore Romano called for women to be able to preach at Mass, currently exclusively reserved for priests and deacons.

On the same day the magazine was launched, Pope Francis released his prayer intentions for the month of May, which he dedicated to women.


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