Italian theologian Linda Pocher is one of three women invited by Pope Francis to the latest meeting of cardinals who advise the government of the Church, the so-called C9. Pocher assured that the pontiff is “very much in favor of the female diaconate,” although he specified that at this time the ordination of female priests is not on the table.
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“There is no reflection on the presbyteral ordination of women in the Catholic Church,” emphasized Pocher, who, at the request of Francis, coordinated the participation of the bishop of the Anglican Church and deputy secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Jo Bailey Wells, in responding to the role of women in the Church.
“The Pope asked me to organize this meeting to reflect on the world of women in the Church, and I found it interesting to face the experience of the Anglican Church in this regard. What I asked the bishop was to tell me what kind of process they followed to reach the decision to ordain women and how it changed the life of their church. So what he did was relate an experience, which we discussed later with the cardinals and the Pope,” he elaborated.
The nun of the order of Mary Help of Christians and professor of Christology, Giuliva Di Berardino, also participated in the meeting. Pocher asked him to intervene in “possible ministries for women in the Catholic Church, in the possibilities that the Catholic Church can do now.”
Francisco “changed the way of thinking.”
“There is also talk about the diaconate. We already know that the Pope is very much in favor of the female diaconate, but this is another thing that we are trying to understand how to practice,” he added.
Pocher, who was already present at the last meeting of the Council of Cardinals, which took place on December 4 and 5, 2023, explained that the Pontiff “changed the way of thinking and living the difference between the ordained ministry and the priesthood.” baptism, which extends to all the baptized certain rights that until now belonged to bishops, priests, or religious.
Therefore, the innovation of the Synod of Bishops, whose second session will take place in October, will include the last edition of the innovation that women have the right to vote.
After the change of the Pope’s body on March 7, the Vatican C9 is composed of Cardinals Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State; Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State and the Governatorate of the Vatican City State; Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, archbishop of Kinshasa; Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay; Seán Patrick O’Malley, archbishop of Boston; Gérald Lacroix, archbishop of Quebec; Jean-Claude Hollerich, archbishop of Luxembourg; and Sérgio da Rocha, archbishop of San Salvador de Bahía.
Likewise, the Archbishop of Barcelona, Juan José Omella, is part of the Council of Cardinals. The secretary is Marco Mellino, titular bishop of Cresima. The first meeting of the new C9 Vativano took place on April 24, 2023.
Pocher emphasized that the Council of Cardinals is “very willing to listen.” “We have a rich and open dialogue,” he elaborated. However, he explained that some cardinals are “more open” and others “less so,” depending “also on culture.”
“The cardinals in the Council are all pastors of local churches. So they also come full of sensitivity to their own people. We know that the issue of women in the church has different nuances. In some countries, they still lack the opportunity to study. So you should focus on the first. In other countries, however, we know that there is a clear need for greater involvement at the level of the church and also through ministries,” he concluded.