WelCom August 2020
The President of the French Bishops’ Conference says it is not hard to imagine a time when women would be included in the College of Cardinals.
Speaking in an interview in French magazine, Noosphère, Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort said ‘nothing prevents them from holding many more important functions in the workings of the institution, with everything being a matter of competence.’
Archbishop Moulins-Beaufort also said he was not opposed to the re-establishment of the women’s diaconate, so long as it leads to ‘more decentralised and more fraternal’ organisation of the Church.
The Church ‘cannot act as if human beings were children who must be held by the hand,’ he said.
Although this is the way the Church functioned in the past, that’s no longer possible ‘in a society where the majority of the people have received higher education, where religious faith has largely been chosen or freely embraced.’
This is especially true since, according to the theology of the Church, all the baptised ‘find themselves on an equal footing before Revelation, since bishops and priests are in principle neither more learned nor closer to God than the laity.
‘The voice of all the baptised laity, from the moment they try to embrace Christianity, should be able to count as much as that of the clergy.
‘A challenge for Church reform is to live synodality at all levels, and it must be rooted in fraternity.’
This fraternity should include men and women, priests and laity. Until this progresses, ‘the issue of ordained ministries will only make the structure more cumbersome and impede progress,’ de Moulins-Beaufort said.
He can also envision ‘that the Holy See will one day be led by the Pope surrounded by a college of cardinals where women’s inclusion was possible.’
Firstly, though, we must sort out a way for men and women to work together in Church structures constituted in fraternities, ‘or it will be useless’, he said.
‘In a complete synodal form, the voice of women should especially be heard more, given that the apostolic succession is reserved to men.’
Archbishop De Moulins-Beaufort admitted to finding it incomprehensible that women were invited to participate in recent synodal assemblies in Rome but were not allowed to vote.
‘To say that only bishops vote would seem logical. But…priests and non-ordained religious brothers are allowed to vote, I don’t understand why women religious are not allowed…,” he said. ‘It leaves me completely flabbergasted.’
Source: Vatican News