New Swedish cardinal wants women advisors

The new Swedish cardinal, Anders Arborelius, has suggested Pope Francis consider creating a special advisory body of women.

Their role would be similar to that of the College of Cardinals and would offer more opportunity for women’s leadership in the church.

Francis made Arborelius Sweden’s first cardinal in a consistory on Wednesday.

He said he thinks “it’s very important to find a broader way of involving women at various levels in the church.”

“The role of women is very, very important in society, in economics, but in the church sometimes we are a bit behind,” Arborelius says.

In this respect he has wide support, including from the female advisory board for the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Their wish is to send an “electric shock” that will open discussion on women’s roles in the Church.

“The Church is a male-dominated world, but the [wider] world in which it exists is both male and female,” Consuelo Corradi, vice rector for research and international relations at the LUMSA University of Rome, told Crux.

“The global church needs to enter a continued dialogue with women,” she says.

Arborelius noted the church has in the past sought women’s advice, and mentioned that Pope John Paul II had often sought counsel from Mother Teresa and Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare movement.

“Maybe it could be made more official,” he suggested.

“We have a College of Cardinals, but we could have a college of women who could give advice to the pope.”

The College of Cardinals is the body of all the cardinals of the Catholic Church.

Cardinals are usually senior Catholic prelates who serve as bishops in dioceses or in the Vatican’s central bureaucracy and have a special tie to the pope as the symbolic heads of Rome’s parish churches.

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