Pope Francis recently told participants at meeting in Rome that “care” is one of the first messages he ever wanted to give to the Church as pontiff, and he spoke specifically about the way women demonstrate this quality.
The occasion for the pope’s remarks was a meeting to mark book on women’s leadership and care for our common home.
The pope highlighted three aspects of care that show up when women contribute to society: inclusivity, greater respect for others, and confronting new challenges in a new way.
Perhaps most striking about his address was his words about how even offices at the Vatican now work better because of women working there:
For example, from the moment that a woman became the Deputy Governor, things work better here, much better. And other places, where there are women, Secretaries, the Council for the Economy, for example, there were six cardinals and six laymen, all men. Two years ago, it was renewed, and of the laity one is a man and five are women, and it has started to function, because they have a different capacity: the possibility of acting and also of patience.
Pope Francis emphasized that the genius of women, the ability to think in three languages at the same time — “the mind, the heart, and the hands” (feelings thinking and doing) — creates a harmony that she brings to everything she does.
The pope said said that it is because of a woman’s natural and unique ability to care that, in the words of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, “at this time, when humanity is experiencing such profound changes, women … can greatly assist mankind from degenerating.”
His address concluded with Pope John Paul II’s words from Mulieris Dignitatem, thanking women everywhere:
“The Church gives thanks for each and every woman. For mothers, for sisters, for wives; for women consecrated to God in virginity; for women who work professionally, for all women, in all the beauty and richness of their femininity.”