"Today, it is especially necessary to create broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church. And we must emphasize the feminine lay presence because women tend to be left aside."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - In his reflections at the end of the Angelus last Sunday, October 11, Pope Francis urged faithful to pray so that "by virtue of baptism, the lay faithful, especially women, participate more in institutions of responsibility in the Church ”. The phrase echoes the prayer intention proposed by Francis for the month of October.
In the video message promoting the intention - https://youtu.be/fmz4Eul1fT4 - the Pope continues: "Today, it is especially necessary to create broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church. And we must emphasize the feminine lay presence because women tend to be left aside". And he specifies: "We must promote the integration of women in the places where important decisions are made".
The push for a more incisive participation of the laity in the life of the Church, and among them of women, was exemplified on Sunday with the affirmation: "No one has been baptized a priest or a bishop. We have all been baptized as lay people, who are protagonists of the Church ". In short, a participation that originates not in claims linked to the times, but in the sacrament of Baptism.
But it was precisely the emphasis on the origin that made Francis add several times - even last Sunday - "without falling into the clericalisms that nullify the lay charism." Lay people, in short, not quasi-priests, nor half-priests.
Significantly, speaking to the participants in the first plenary assembly of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life, on November 6, 2019, he invited them to "not clericalize the laity" and to understand well "what women are in the Church", since "the Church is woman ". "The role of women in the ecclesial organization, in the Church - he said - goes further and we must work on this 'beyond', because the woman is the image of the mother Church, because the Church is woman; it is not 'the Church', it is 'the Church'. The Church is mother; the Church is capable of carrying this reality forward and the woman has another function. It doesn't have to have functional work, but the work goes further. It is that Marian principle proper to woman; and a woman in the Church is the image of the bride Church and of the Madonna ".
And the text of the Pope's World Prayer Network accompanying the Pope's video, underlines that in 2016 Francis "raised the day of St. Mary Magdalene to the rank of a liturgical feast, defined in the new preface of the Mass as 'apostle of the apostles': he did to underline the importance of this woman, the first to see the face of the Risen One among the dead, the first to whom Jesus calls by name, the first to receive from Jesus the mission of announcing his Resurrection ". (FP)