Women Should Be ‘Full Participants’

Women wait to read intentions as Pope Francis celebrates Mass of Thanksgiving for canonization of two Canadian saints.

The challenge to find new ways for women to be “full participants in the various areas of social and ecclesial life…can no longer be postponed,” said Pope Francis, speaking on Feb. 7 with members of the Pontifical Council for Culture. The pope said a “more widespread and incisive female presence” in the church “is desirable, so that we can see many women involved in pastoral responsibilities, in the accompaniment of persons, families and groups, as well as in theological reflection.” He added that the “irreplaceable role of women in the family” cannot be forgotten. Women must not be left alone to carry the burden of deciding between the family and an effective presence in public life, Pope Francis said. “Rather,” he said, “all institutions, including the ecclesial community, are called to ensure freedom of choice for women, so that they have the possibility to take on social and ecclesial responsibilities in a way that is in harmony with family life.”

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