Pope Francis speaks with female journalist about women in the Church

Father Z has translated a section of the most recent interview Pope Francis has given, this time with a female journalist at the Italian daily newspaper  Il Messaggero.


M: If you will permit a criticism…

Francis: Of course…

M: You speak, perhaps, little about women, and when you speak about them you take on on issue only from the point of view of motherhood, woman as spouse, woman as mother, etc.  But women by now are heads of state, multinationals, armies.  What posts can women hold in the Church, according to you?

Francis: Women are the most beautiful things that God created.  The Church is woman.  Church is a feminine word [in Italian].  One cannot do theology without this femininity.  You are right that we don’t talk about this enough.  I agree that there must be more work on the theology of women.  I have said that we are working in this sense.

M: Isn’t there a certain misogyny at the base of this?

Francis: The fact is that woman was taken from a rib … (he laughs strongly).  I’m kidding, that’s a joke.  I agree that the question of women must be explored more deeply, otherwise one cannot understand the Church herself.

M: Can we expect some historic decisions from you, along the lines of a woman head of a dicastery [Vatican department], if not of Clergy

Francis: (laughs), Beh, many times priests wind up under the thumb of their housekeepers… [le perpetue… are “housekeepers because in Manzioni’s I promessi sposi, don Abondio’s housekeeper was named “Perpetua”]


It’s always interesting to read these interviews.  I would prefer, however, that after Pope Francis has given me an exclusive interview, he would refrain from giving any for a while.

And I thought this was a bit of a missed opportunity.  What do you wish the Pope had answered?


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2 Responses to Pope Francis speaks with female journalist about women in the Church

  1. SUZANNE says:

    I want to ask about priests, bishops, and politicians who vote for abortion. Are the clergy supposed to deny them communion? Are they supposed to excommunicate them?

    I want to hear it from the horse’s mouth.

  2. Stephen K says:

    Deborah, I think asking what we think he should have said is the wrong question: surely Pope Francis should not be beholden to our expectations, diverse as they may be. He is who is he and must, for integrity’s sake, say things as he sees them – even, dare I say, articulate tradition as he has reflected on it. To expect other is to desire that he be dishonest or masquerade. Perhaps the right question is to ask what each of us would say, at this time, were any of us Pope being interviewed.

    Even there, we might have pause for caution. If we truly believe that the Holy Spirit guides the choice of Pope, then by what temerity would any of us think we would do a better job? I for one am very hesitant about “wishing” Pope Francis would say anything I might say were I in his position and in this circumstance. There’s too much unpredictability about tampering with the fabric of events, and some intriguing films have been made trying to illustrate how worse things can be.

    In other posts in other places I have suggested that having a Pope seems a typically
    “Catholic” thing to do (as well as being a very “Roman” thing) but that, equally, both traditionalist and liberal-progressive Catholics are equally selective about their papalism. This is probably inevitable because as humans we have likes and dislikes, differing religious or philosophical premisses so that we must end up at different vantage points. As a salutary spiritual-religious approach, we probably would do well to be a little Zen-like, and accept that no Pope, including ourselves were we to be in that position, is ever perfect, always right or always wrong, and that we have no absolute criterion for discerning where the difference lies.

    To conclude, it appears to me that the interviewer was prodding Pope Francis in the direction of expressing a view on women priests, which Pope Francis appears to have avoided or declined. For those who are adamant that there should be or cannot be women priests, this should be enough. For those who believe women should be or can be priests, I say don’t engage in coercion and don’t be surprised (and therefore disappointed).

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