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Pope and his close cardinals reflect on the role of women

Pope Francis presides over the end of year Vespers and Te Deum prayer

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 04/18/24

On April 15 and 16, Pope Francis met with his advisory council now made up nine cardinals. They reflected on the role of women, ongoing conflicts and more.

Pope Francis met with his Council of Cardinals on April 15 and 16, 2024, and once again they invited women to come and speak so as to continue their reflection on the role of women in the Church, the Holy See Press Office said in a statement at the end of the meetings.

Created shortly after Pope Francis’ election, the Council of Cardinals (also known as C9), is composed of nine cardinals who advise the Pontiff on the governance of the Catholic Church. Like in the last meetings, this time the C9 reflected on the role of women in the Church by calling on two guest speakers.

“Sister Regina da Costa Pedro, from the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Immaculate, […] brought the real stories and thoughts of some Brazilian women, and Professor Stella Morra, who teaches at the Faculty of Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, […] examined the role cultures play in recognizing the role of women in different places on the planet,” the statement said. 

An important topic in the Church

During the last C9 meeting in February, three women met with the prelates, including the Anglican bishop Jo Bailey Wells, Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

The role of women in the Catholic Church today is one of the major themes of the Synod on the Future of the Church, which has been taking place since 2021. Pope Francis regularly calls the Church to a deeper understanding of the role of women, and the Church’s Marian dimension.

Last October, the Pontiff allowed women to vote for the first time during a synodal assembly. At that session, the results of the participants’ votes showed how different opinions arose over the question of the possibility of a female diaconate. 

Other topics discussed

In addition to the role of women, the C9 cardinals also discussed and prayed for the ongoing “wars and conflict scenarios being experienced in so many places around the world,” giving special attention to “the Middle East and Ukraine.” 

“The cardinals – and with them the Pope – expressed concern about what is happening and the hope that efforts to identify paths of negotiation and peace will be increased,” the statement said. 

The council also discussed the ongoing Synod, in particular with Cardinal Mario Grech, General Secretary of the Synod. They also spoke about the implementation of the Roman Curia’s new constitution, Praedicate evangelium, which came into force in June 2022. 

The next meeting of the C9 will take place next June.

Today’s members are Cardinals Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State (Italy); Sérgio da Rocha, Archbishop of Salvador de Bahia (Brazil); Jean-Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg (Luxembourg); Juan José Omella, Archbishop of Barcelona (Spain); Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec (Canada); the Spaniard Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, President of the Governorate of Vatican City State; Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay (India), Seán Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston (USA); and Fridolin Ambongo, Archbishop of Kinshasa (DRC). 

CardinalsPope FrancisVaticanWomen
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