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So as not to deny Creation

· The five women appointed to the International Theological Commission ·

During an interview by Lucetta Scaraffia that appeared in the September edition of “Women Church World”, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, President of the International Theological Commission, anticipated that five women would be appointed to the Commission. This understandably piqued the interest of the press. Cardinal Müller is also the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose task is, after consulting the Bishops’ Conferences, to offer recommendations to the Pope on the appointments of theologians. His earlier indication has been confirmed for the five-year term (2014-2019) that recently opened, for which there are indeed five women theologians, more than twice the number of the two terms in the previous decade. Thus, women constitute 16% of the Commission’s total membership today. Two religious and three lay women are among these five appointees, almost all of whom teach in seminaries.

“The risen Jesus appears to Mary” by Salvatore Fiume (1985)

Sr Mary Prudence Allen from the usa (Oneida, New York, 21 June 1940), was received into the Roman Catholic Church at the age of 24 and belongs to the Religious Sisters of Mercy. She is a professor at St John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, Colorado, a member of the St Thomas Advisory Committee for Women, Culture, and Society Program at the University of St Thomas in Houston, Texas, and not to be forgotten among her numerous publications is her forthcoming The Concept of Woman: Search for Communion of Persons, Volume III: 1500-2010 (Eerdmans Publishing).

Sr Alenka Arko of the Loyola Community was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia on 26 October 1996 and is currently residing in Russia. She has studied at the University of Ljubljana, the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome (diploma in Oriental Theology), and at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where she pursued her doctorate in theology with a thesis on the Inner Man according to St Gregory of Nyssa. A Vatican Radio editor from 1992 to 1995, over the years Sr Ardo has taught at the inter-diocesan seminary of Mary Queen of the Apostles in St Petersburg, at the St John Chrysostom Institute of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome and at the inter-diocesan seminary for Central Asia in Karaganda, Kazakhstan.

As a layperson, Moira Mary McQueen (a British and Canadian citizen born in Scotland) has been President of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute since 2004. A professor of moral theology in the Faculty of Theology at St Michael’s College, University of Toronto, her publications include Bioethics Matters: A Guide for Concerned Catholics (Novalis 2008, 2011). Ms McQueen is an expert in sexual ethics, a radio commentator, member of committees dealing with cases of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Hamilton and the Archdiocese of Toronto, a professor in various seminaries. She has written on end-of-life, reproductive technologies, regenerative medicine, genetics and mental health.

Tracey Rowland (7 July 1964) is a married Australian who studied at the Universities of Queensland, Melbourne, London and Cambridge (earning a degree in philosophical theology) and at the Pontifical Lateran University (earning a degree in sacred theology). She is a professor in Melbourne, the President of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne, and has been a permanent member of the Centre of Philosophy and Theology at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom since 2001. Her publications include Ratzinger’s Faith: The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI (Oxford University Press, 2008, translated into Spanish, Polish and Portuguese).

Marianne Schlosser, born on 3 December 1959 in Donauwörth, Bavaria, was educated at the University of Munich. She is a professor of theology of spirituality at the University of Vienna, and her main research interests include theology and spirituality in the patristic and middle age, specifically in reference to the mendicant orders. A Catherine of Siena Scholar, she is a coeditor of Franciscan sources in German. Among her many publications, Erhebung des Herzens. Theologie des Gebetes, is to be released in the spring of 2015.

There have been women in the International Theological Commission — established by Paul VI on 11 April 1969 in order to assist the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the examination of the most important and current doctrinal questions — since 2004. In fact, on 9 February of that year, in nominating the new members of the Commission, John Paul II welcomed the guidance of Cardinal Ratzinger who, convinced that “omitting women from the whole of theology would mean denying creation and choice (salvation history) and therefore, suppressing revelation”, recommended two women. They were Sr Sara Butler from the United States, and Barbara Hallensleben, a German lay woman.

Giulia Galeotti

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July 16, 2019

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