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Pope Francis Will Not Appoint Women as Cardinals

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 7th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A senior Vatican spokesman has denied rumors that Pope Francis may appoint two women as cardinals at the upcoming February conclave. Theologically and theoretically, it is possible," Fr. Lombardi said. "Being a cardinal is one of those roles in the church for which, theoretically, you do not have to be ordained but to move from there to suggesting the pope will name women cardinals for the next consistory is not remotely realistic."

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It is possible for the pope to appoint a woman as a cardinal, but it isn't going to happen, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi told the media.

"Theologically and theoretically, it is possible," Fr. Lombardi said. "Being a cardinal is one of those roles in the church for which, theoretically, you do not have to be ordained but to move from there to suggesting the pope will name women cardinals for the next consistory is not remotely realistic."

The media in the United States has suggested that Pope Francis may be considering two women for positions in the conclave. The Holy Father has also made mention that the role of women needs to be reassessed within the Church.

However, these comments should not be construed to imply that women would ever become ordained clergy. In fact, the Pope has no power to ordain women because it is simply not possible to confer holy orders upon them. (CCC 1577).

Still, the pope does have the authority to appoint women as cardinals. Cardinal is not a unique rank of Holy Orders. Rather, it denotes a role of service in the Church which is hypothetically open to the lay faithful, including women. The practice has been for sometime to select cardinals from among the Order of Bishops. There is no indication that a change is pending.

The issue is once again an example of an overly zealous media attempting to co-opt a popular pope for their cause, entirely ignorant of the reality that popes, unlike politicians and celebrities, do not belong to secular causes.

Still, a particular comment made by Francis has the media abuzz. According to UCANews, "In his ground-breaking August interview with Jesuit media, he said that 'the church cannot be herself without woman', adding that Mary 'is more important than the bishops.'" There is nothing new here. Through her Yes, her "Fiat" Mary cooperated in a unique role in God's saving plan for the whole world. 

The article also mentioned speculation from Juan Arias, a former Vatican correspondent, that the pope could do such a thing based on the controversy concerning the use of the word "deaconness" in some early Christian writings. The word in greek means servant. there is no doubt that women played a unique role in the ministry of the early Church. Some, particularly working with women, also partipated in preparation for Baptism.  However, most scholars agree that this was a different role of service than the ordination of men to the Order of Deacon. 

To be clear, the idea of women as priests or Bishops will not and cannot occur. Women being appointed as cardinals is not beyond the realm of possibility. The term Cardinal is not a rank of Holy Orders. It is a special role given to those who advise the Pope and participate in the election of the Pope. They do not need to be ordained. However, the cardinals have been chosen from among the Order of Bishops for a very long time and it will not change according to the reports out of the Vatican.

None of this is a sleight to women-the Church is not misogynistic. To the contrary, the late Pope John Paul II in a 1988 apostolic letter entitled On the Dignity of Women sets forth a profoundly beautiful exposition on the unique and irreplaceable role of women and issues a call for a new and true feminism. However, God has assigned to men and women unique and profoundly important roles, having been created each specially to compliment the other and to reveal the fullness of the Image of God.

This is why Mary is always pointed to as the greatestexample of the absolutely indispensable role of women in the plan of salvation and the ongoing work of the Church. When God chose to come among us, he chose a woman. How much more needs to be said

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

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