Yesterday, Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano released their monthly magazine Donne Chiesa Mondo, meaning Women Church World. In the new edition was an interview with Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops Cardinal Marc Ouellet.
In his interview, Ouellet said the Church needs more women directly involved in priestly formation.
“I believe that for the priest, learning to relate to women in the context of formation is a humanizing factor which promotes the balance of man’s personality and affectivity.”
Ouellet said to not do so would be a detriment to the future priest, adding “if we do not start during formation, the priest risks to live his relationship with women in a clerical way.”
“The experience of collaborating with women on an equal level helps the candidate for priesthood to envisage his future ministry and how he will respect and collaborate with them.”
He proposed an increase presence of women on seminary formation teams of theology, philosophy, spirituality, and “in particular in vocational discernment.”
“In this field we need the opinion of women, their intuition, their ability to grasp the human side of candidates, their degree of emotional or psychological maturity. It is not just a matter of promoting women, but of considering them as an integral part of all training.”
Ouellet said the “true danger” is a priest who does not have a “balanced relationship” with women, and that “there is certainly a part of truth” that having more women in formation could reduce some abuse in the Church.
“For a priest, for a seminarian, the woman represents danger! While in reality, the true danger is men who do not have a balanced relationship with women. This is what we must radically change. For this reason, during training it is important that there is contact, comparison, exchanges. This helps the candidate to interact with women, in a natural way, and also to face the challenge that the presence of women represents, attraction towards women.”
Ouellet said a balanced relationship with women “must be taught and learned from the beginning, not isolating future priests who then find themselves brutally in reality; and then they can lose control … which can lead to abuse of conscience and sexual abuse.”