SAYING he knows the history of the subjugation of women continues to have a negative impact on how women are treated, Pope Francis called for greater roles for women in the Church and for greater assistance and workplace flexibility to ensure they can make the best choices for themselves and their families.
Pope Francis told the Pontifical Council for Culture on February 7 that its study of women’s cultures was a topic “close to my heart”, and that he fully recognised the need “to study new criteria and methods to ensure women feel they are not guests, but full participants in the various spheres of the life of society and the Church”.
“This challenge can no longer be postponed,” he said.
The preparatory document for the meeting said that in the West, more and more women between the ages of 20 and 50 were leaving the Church. Many had “reached places of prestige within society and the workplace, but have no corresponding decisional role nor responsibility” within the Church community.
Pope Francis told the council – whose members are all cardinals, bishops, priests and lay men – “I am convinced of the urgency of offering space to women in the life of the Church and to welcoming them, taking into account specific and changing cultural and social sensitivities.”