· Vatican City ·


To the rescue
of “sentimental” men

06 March 2021

 “Clear headed” women will help “sentimental men” clean up the Vatican's finances. These words may have gone almost unnoticed, yet they are from a reflection made in mid-January by a cardinal, and not just any cardinal. In fact, these words are from the man Pope Francis called to Rome to clean up the Vatican's finances, the Australian, Cardinal George Pell.  Cardinal Pell was the former prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy from 2014 to 2019, and often presented by the press as a conservative, hardliner.

In an online seminar, Cardinal Pell praised Pope Francis' August 2020 appointment of six laywomen to the Council for the Economy. This was a first, and a woman had never been a member before.  The news, and rightly so, had a huge impact throughout the world.

Cardinal Pell declared, so “[…] I’m hopeful they will be very clear headed on the basic issues and insist that we sentimental males get our act together and do the right thing.” A few days earlier, he had commented in an interview that “it would be very difficult for malefactors to confront these women.”

Is it any wonder that a high-ranking prelate would say such things? After all, Pope Francis himself has often insisted on women’s “special abilities”, their sensitivity, and their insights. In fact, he once said, “We men are too often theoretical, and want things right away.”.

The wedding at Cana comes to mind.  In the Gospel, Mary is the one who sees what is wrong, long before her son does. She shows incredible faith when she tells the servants to do whatever he tells them. At the moment of the Annunciation, Mary does not doubt, but asks “how”, how will this obvious difficulty be overcome. Mary, in the Gospel, demonstrates freedom and lucidity.

This lucidity refers to that ability to see reality clearly, in the light of truth, not to reason by emotions, under the yoke of erroneous perceptions. Can it be inferred that women have this virtue from birth? More than men? It is difficult to say, but on one thing we can be certain: more and more voices are being raised in the Church to emphasize that the ecclesial community today can no longer be a reserved for men alone.

by Romilda Ferrauto