Crux has a good article on the once again "off-the-cuff" chiacchierare of Pope Francis who spoke to a group of Women Religious yesterday. I really wonder if Pope Francis knows or gives a darn about what His Holiness' off-the-cuff chiacchierare does to a minority of right and left wingnuts out there.
At any rate here are some excerpts that the secular press and many who comment here completely ignore:
The pope spent more than an hour May 12 responding to questions posed by members of the International Union of Superiors General, repeatedly asking if they wanted further clarification and making funny asides or rephrasing his responses when it was clear they were not hitting the mark.
Asked about deaconesses in the New Testament and the possibility of the modern church admitting women to the permanent diaconate, Pope Francis had said his understanding was that the women described as deaconesses in the Bible were not ordained like permanent deacons are.
Mainly, he said, it appeared that they assisted with the baptism by immersion of other women and with the anointing of women.
However, he said, “I will ask the (Congregation for the) Doctrine of the Faith to tell me if there are studies on this.”
In fact, the International Theological Commission, an advisory body to the doctrinal congregation, carried out such a study in 2002. Although its document did not rule out women deacons, it appeared to lean against it, arguing that “deaconesses” in the New Testament played a different role than deacons today, and that by now the diaconate is firmly part of the sacrament of Holy Orders.
(Did anyone read this in any secular news reports of this meeting yesterday????NO!!!) Pope Francis also promised to have the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments send the UISG a full explanation of why women cannot give a homily at Mass.
(My comments:) The rest of what Pope Francis said is true and anyone who is a member of any Catholic parish in the USA or Canada, pre-Vatican II or Post-Vatican II knows that women have always played an important ecclesiastical role in our parishes. Think of those who work administratively, think of those women who direct choirs and the music ministry, think of those women who coordinate Religious Education, run our schools, hospitals and other institutions. Think of those who minister in soup kitchens, work with the poor and are mothers. I am not sure what goes on in Italy or Europe of other parts of the Church in the 3rd world and beyond, but women are in positions of great authority in the Catholic parishes of the USA and are in the majority, not the men.
I do like what Pope Francis continues to repeat about clericalism too!
Here is the rest of the Crux article:
The main part of the question was about the lack of influence women religious are given in church decision-making processes. Pope Francis said the obligation to listen to women in the parish, diocese and at the Vatican “is not a matter of feminism, but of right.”
All the baptized — women and men, lay or consecrated — have been given gifts by the Holy Spirit for the good of the entire church, he insisted. The entire church suffers when some voices are excluded from the conversation, he said.
“Our desire is that the church talk with us — like is happening now — and not about us,” one of the sisters told him.
However, Pope Francis warned the sisters about the danger of clericalism, which he described as “a sinful attitude,” but one which is “like the tango, it takes two.” There are priests who see themselves as lords of the church, he said, but there also are women and laymen “who ask to be clericalized.”
On the other hand, the pope expressed concern about the number of consecrated women working as housekeepers for priests. Their work is that of “a servant, not of service,” he said, and that “undervalues their dignity.”
The sisters applauded when the pope suggested such priests pay local women in need of a job and let the sisters teach, care for the poor, heal the sick. “And when you superiors are asked (to assign a sister) for something that is more servanthood than service, be courageous and say ‘no.’”
While warning that “the devil enters through one’s pocket,” Pope Francis also urged the superiors to choose their treasurers well, be suspicious of “friends” who promise to invest and increase their money and to ensure that their evangelical poverty is a life of simplicity, not misery.
But many of the women burst out laughing when the pope told them that if their congregations are in serious financial need, they should turn to their local bishop. When they laughed, he jokingly suggested that they were saying their only hope is prayer, “give us this day our daily bread.”
Turning serious, Pope Francis insisted the vow of poverty is a matter of detachment from material goods and commitment to God and to the poor, “but it’s not suicide.”