In a series of recent meetings at the Vatican, Pope Francis and his Council of Cardinals, often referred to as his “kitchen cabinet,” engaged in deep discussions on the role of women in the Church.
Notably, these discussions included contributions from an Anglican bishop, a first-ever ecumenical gesture within the Church’s dialogue on this pressing issue.
The Anglican bishop, Reverend Jo Bailey Wells, who is the Deputy Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion, shared insights from the Anglican tradition on the ordination of women at the meeting.
“I am surprised by the interest of Catholics worldwide,” Wells said, expressing her hope that such discussions would pave the way for women to further explore and fulfill their divine callings.
The meetings, which took place over the first week of February, also heard perspectives from two Catholic women deeply involved in Church teachings and spirituality: Salesian Sister Linda Pocher, a professor of Christology and Mariology, and Giuliva Di Berardino, a consecrated virgin and liturgy expert from Italy.
Pope Francis, in his address to the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, reaffirmed the unique and significant symbol women hold within the Church, beyond ministerial functions. “Women themselves have a very significant symbol in the Church as women, without reducing it to mere ministry,” the Pope said.
These discussions come ahead of the second part of the Synod on Synodality slated for October 2024, where the role of women, among other topics, will be a central theme.
The inclusion of Anglican Bishop Wells in these preliminary discussions signals the approach taken by the Vatican, inviting a diverse array of voices to contribute to the ongoing conversation about gender equality and the place of women in the Church.
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