AThe woman «does not belong to the Petrine principle but rather the Marian one, which is more important (…) Therefore, the fact that women do not access ministerial life is not a deprivation, because their place is much more important.” So she copes the question of female priesthood Pope Francis interviews in the new book You are not alone. Challenges, answers, hopes (Salani). Created by two Argentine journalists, Francesca Ambrogetti and Sergio Rubin, the book was released yesterday in Italy today, coinciding with the Synod. With a chapter dedicated to role of women in the Churchwhich is controversial.
Female priesthood and celibacy: Pope Francis’ “no” and “maybe”.
As reported by some previews of the book on Republicthe female priesthood “It’s a theological problem”. In theory, a woman could be a cardinal, given that “the cardinalate is not connected to the sacrament of orders, but rather to the function of advisor to the Pope” declared Bergoglio.
Even if «a cardinal can elect the pontiff. And the pope is chosen by the bishops because he is bishop of a diocese, he is bishop of Rome. The important thing therefore is that the electors are bishops, not cardinals. In fact, I could issue a decree that changes the requirements for entering the conclave and allows a bishop who is not a cardinal to participate. From a dogmatic point of view there would be no problems. But, clearly, if a woman cannot access the priesthood, much less will she be able to access the episcopate» replied Pope Francis.
«Sacred orders are reserved for men»
The Ponefice also addresses the question of the possibility of deacon women (he created two commissions to study the option). «There were different opinions on whether whether or not they had the sacrament of orders», explains Bergoglio. «It is not an irrelevant question because sacred orders are reserved for men. Let us remember that the diaconate is the first degree of sacred order in the Catholic Church, followed by the priesthood and finally the episcopate.”
Priest celibacy? It can become optional
The Pope was also questioned, and responded, on another issue that causes discussion in society, as well as the Church. And that is the compulsory celibacy for priests. On the topic of its possible abolition, Francis is more optimistic. «It is a disciplinary issue, which implies that a Pope could arrange for it to become optional». That is, it is not a theological question, like the male priesthood. So, it can change: therefore one day priests could get married. «May he dispose of it, if he deems it appropriate, my successor» said the Pope.
Between torture and vocation
«It is clear that if one lives it badly, celibacy is torture, it becomes impossible. But it is no less true that if one lives it with the fruitfulness of the ministry he has chosen, it is not only bearable, but also beautiful. It’s obvious that a vocation is needed.”
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