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Cardinal Arborelius - 'There are alternative paths for women'

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"...It is crucial to recognize that there are alternative paths for women to contribute to the Church's mission beyond ordained ministry." - Cardinal Arborelius

Photo credit: MART PRODUCTION

Photo credit: MART PRODUCTION

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
9/14/2023 (8 months ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Cardinal Arborelius, women, diaconate, priesthood, ordination, synod

In a recent interview, Cardinal Arborelius, the ordinary of the Archdiocese of Stockholm and the first cardinal ever from Scandinavia since 2017, shared his perspective on the forthcoming synod. 

The synod, scheduled to take place from October 4 to 29, is set to include over 360 voting participants and will be followed by a second assembly in October 2024. Its primary focus is centered on how the Church can better engage its members in its life and mission.

While the synod organizers have emphasized that the event is not aimed at altering doctrine, the Instrumentum Laboris (working document) explicitly raises the question of "women's inclusion in the diaconate." Some participants, including San Diego Cardinal Robert McElroy, have actively advocated for women's ordination to be a central topic of discussion. External initiatives, such as the Synodal Way in the Catholic Church in Germany, have also echoed this sentiment.

The Church's incapacity to sacramentally ordain women, often mistakenly depicted as a "ban" in certain media reports, was definitively affirmed in 1994 by Pope John Paul II. In his Apostolic Letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, he stated that "the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful." Pope Francis has consistently upheld this position, describing John Paul's teaching as the "final word" on the matter in November 2016. Furthermore, in a 2022 interview with America magazine, Pope Francis asserted that the inability of women to enter ordained ministry "is not a deprivation" and urged the Church to develop a "theology of women" while expanding women's involvement in ecclesial life.

Cardinal Arborelius echoed similar sentiments in his interview with the National Catholic Reporter, conducted during his August visit to the United States to participate in an ecumenical dialogue on St. Therese of Lisieux.

"It is of the utmost importance to find more opportunities for women to participate in the work of evangelization on various levels," Arborelius stated. "At the same time, it is crucial to recognize that there are alternative paths for women to contribute to the Church's mission beyond ordained ministry."

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