Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bertone: Woman could hold top posts in the Vatican

It's interesting how this little bit of news -- from a press conference by Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone after a meeting with the Pope -- is being played out. Here's one version.
In a dramatic break with tradition, women could soon be appointed to positions of power in the Catholic church, according to the Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Bertone told the Italian daily La Repubblica in an interview published Thursday that Pope Benedict XVI was considering women for senior posts.

"Yes I think so. Certainly", Bertone, whose position is similar to that of a prime minister, said when asked if women would be given important positions in the Vatican.

"We are creating new appointments in the Vatican," he said, singling out women's charisma, potential and sense of responsibility as qualities that could help them "render great services" to the pope and the Church.
This story does mention that currently one Pontifical Council (Social Sciences) is headed by a woman --- Mary Ann Glendon (so perhaps the "break" isn't as "dramatic" as some might be wont to think?) --- and also highlights the issue at stake: whether some posts that require juridical authority (such as the Curial Congregation) can be given to those who are not ordained:
And while congregations - the most important departments within the Roman Curia - must by rule by headed by ordained priests, there is no specific reason why women should not be allowed to take up key roles within other offices.
It was also at this press conference that the Cardinal suggested that the offensive prayer from the newly introduced 1962 Missal could be dropped, but also notes (as this article from La Repubblica does) that the Motu Proprio envisions that during the Triduum -- where this prayer would be used -- only the Missal of Paul VI can be used.

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