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Women need training in bioethics, says female Vatican official

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Undersecretary of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life reflects on how her new job is shaping up.

The new undersecretary of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, Gabriella Gambino, granted one of her first interviews to Vatican News on April 19. The mother of five children and international specialist in bioethics believes that we need to train women in this crucial area. 

Gambino noted that the Church faces new challenges in bioethics, sexuality, and the family. This is reflected in legislation around the world that “reduces the space for working out the meaning of life,” as well as technological challenges. In the face of these challenges, Gabriella Gambino emphasizes the importance of the theme of “fragility,” which is for her the heart of bioethical reflection.

She stated that it is “urgent to form consciences, and in particular those of the formators themselves. Above all, it is necessary to teach women, because they then teach their children and their husbands.”

Spiritual maternity

She explained that the maternity of women is also exercised “morally and spiritually.” For example, she emphasized, we must recall that the concern for professional efficiency must also be accompanied by leaving space for a “filial spirit.” The presence of a woman, as a mother, helps remind “every one of us that … at the origin of our existence there is a Father who has desired, loved and created us.” 

At age 50, given her experience of married life, Gambino said she believes that the “virtue of patience” will be useful within the dicastery, the organization of which is gradually taking shape.

Now in charge of the Life section of this dicastery, which was created in 2016 and is headed by Cardinal Kevin Farell, she was until now a researcher and associate professor of bioethics at the philosophy department at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata.” She is also a member of the Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences.

Appointed last November, Gambino said she believes that her post at the service of the Holy See requires “a spirit of dedication and obedience to the Church.” She also feels it entails the need to let herself be led by God in this mission, which was “absolutely unexpected” for her.

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