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Inside the VaticanFebruary 14, 2024
Salesian Sister Linda Pocher speaks to reporters at the Vatican Feb. 20, 2023. (CNS photo/Justin McLellan)

This week on “Inside the Vatican,” producer Ricardo da Silva—filling in for host Colleen Dulle—joins veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell to discuss “Argentine Weekend” at the Vatican. This past weekend brought the canonization of Argentina’s first woman saint, along with a surprisingly warm meeting between Argentina’s new, ultraconservative president Javier Milei and Pope Francis. Milei had previously panned Pope Francis as an “imbecile” on his presidential campaign trail.

Gerry contextualizes the historic tension in the relationship between the pope and the new president, and its surprise twist this weekend: “The surprise came on Sunday at the end of Mass, when you had this enormous emotional embrace between [the pope and] the new president, who theoretically is on the antipodes to Francis in terms of social justice. But they seemed to connect. And then they had, on Monday morning at nine o’clock… what we now know was a very calm, very fruitful, very, friendly meeting.”

We are not talking about the ordination of women as priests, but Francis is clearly talking about the possibility of recognizing women as deacons.

The hosts also debrief the story of “Mama Antula,” the new Argentine saint Pope Francis canonized this weekend. The canonization marks the first female saint for Argentina, and was the reason for President Milei’s visit.

In the second half of the show, Gerry and Ricardo analyze the pope’s meeting with his council of cardinal advisors, to which a female Anglican bishop was invited to speak about women’s ordination. The pope, Gerry explains, has up to now relied on Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar’s “Marian” and “Petrine” principles to explain his opposition to women’s ordination; now, he has twice invited a religious sister who opposes Balthasar’s interpretation to address his cabinet.

“We are not talking about the ordination of women as priests,” says Gerry, “but Francis is clearly talking about the possibility of recognizing women as deacons.”

Links from the show:

Pope Francis and Argentina’s President Milei hit it off

Pope Francis names Argentina’s first woman saint

Pope Francis and cardinals discuss women in the church with female Anglican bishop

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