C9 deepens the reflection on the role of women in the Church

The Press Office of the Holy See provides the details of the meeting of the Council of Cardinals,
held from June 17 to 18 in the Vatican, in the presence of Pope Francis

Vatican Media

The Council of Cardinals, also known as C9, continued to delve deeper, during its session from Monday, June 17 to Tuesday, June 18 at Casa Santa Marta, into the reflection on the role of women in the Church based on the words of three women according to the Holy See Press Office, the cardinals that make up the organization and the Secretary of the Council, Monsignor Marco Mellino, were present along with Pope Francis.

The first day opened with an introduction by Sister Linda Pocher, which was followed by interventions by Valentina Rotondi, professor at the Professional University School of Italian Switzerland (SUPSI) in Lugano and researcher in the Department of Sociology and at the Nuffield College of the University of Oxford and at the NeuroMI center of the Bicocca University of Milan, and of Donata Horak, professor of Canon Law at the Alberoni Theological Study of Piacenza, affiliated with the Pontifical Angelicum University.

In her presentation, Professor Rotondi highlighted a vision of the economy as care and good management in the context of a deep intergenerational relationship, while Donata Horak pointed out various antinomies, such as justice and mercy, consultative power and deliberative power, hierarchical principle and ecclesiology of communion, democratization, and monarchical model, in the context of a broader reflection on Canon Law.

On the second day, the exchange continued with reports from Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, on the perspectives opened by the work of the Commission for the Protection of Minors in Matters of Safeguarding, and from Cardinal Oswald Gracias, who delved into the activity and the way of working of the Episcopal Conferences. Finally, a space was dedicated to the situations of the different areas of the world from which the Cardinals of the Council come, with special attention to current conflicts.

The next Council meeting will take place in December 2024.

Ambongo: motherhood must be valued in the Church

The interventions related to the role of women in the Church also raised considerations by the cardinals and two of them, at the end of C9, wanted to highlight some aspects that had arisen on the subject during the Council. The Cardinal Archbishop of Kinshasa, Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, recalled how yesterday was the fourth time that a debate on this matter had been held. “Here in the churches, more than half of the people who participate in the celebrations are women,” but when we look at the responsibilities they have, “they are few,” he noted. After all these meetings, he says, it has become clear to us that these responsibilities must grow, but, he points out, not in a “militant” sense but only because, as the Pope says, “the Church is a woman” and there is a “motherhood.” that must be valued in the ecclesial community.

Thank you: female leadership has many opportunities for development

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, metropolitan archbishop of Bombay, agrees on the importance of a role that must be increased. “I come from India and in some areas women have little importance, they are ‘second class’, and that is why the Church is working” to give them “the proper position in the family, in society, in politics.” In the Church, in Canon Law itself ‘there are many possibilities’ for a female leadership profile in the Church, and my experience has shown me ‘many times’ that women have been able to address issues with a ‘point of view that men had not considered’. And I have ‘high hopes’ that this will develop.