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​A woman’s point of view

· ​With the International Union of Superiors General ·

Including women in the life of the Church and considering the obstacles they still face, the role played by consecrated women and by the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) in the life of the Church: these were some of the points addressed by Pope Francis in his long dialogue — in the Paul VI Hall on 12 May — with over 800 Superiors of women’s institutes of apostolic life. They are gathered in Rome for their 20th Plenary, 9-13 May. Coming from 80 countries, they represent nearly half a million women consecrated throughout the world, many of whom work in non-governmental organizations or participate in social or community projects. Others labour with religious and lay people around the world against human trafficking, every form of slavery and for the respect of human life.

Among other things the Pope spoke about the role of consecrated and lay women, which is still weak both within the decision-making processes in the Church and in preaching. The Pontiff then briefly described the temptations of feminism and the even greater temptation of clericalism. The presence of women in the Church led to a question on women’s possible participation in the permanent diaconate. In this regard, Pope Francis stated that it would be useful to establish a commission to study the matter. The Pontiff also spoke about the changes that could be introduce in the Canon Law and the importance of the UISG in the life of the Church. Pope Francis then wondered what would would happen to the Church if there were no longer women religious. He compared it to what Pentecost would be without Mary. After all, there is no Church without Mary, and therefore every consecrated woman is an icon of the Church, Pope Francis concluded. Also that morning, the Pope’s tweet was also dedicated to men and women religious: “Wake up the world! Be witnesses to a different way of thinking, acting and living!”.

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St. Peter’s Square

Sept. 23, 2018

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