Below is what Pope Francis said about women to journalists on July 28 on his flight home from World Youth Day where 3 million young men and women celebrated the truth, goodness and beauty of Jesus Christ and His Church.
Pope Francis: “A Church without women is like the Apostolic College without Mary. The role of women in the Church is not only maternity, the mother of the family, but it’s stronger: it is, in fact, the icon of the Virgin, of Our Lady, the one who helps the Church grow!
But think that Our Lady is more important than the Apostles! She is more important!
The Church is feminine: she is Church, she is spouse, she is Mother.
But women in the Church, not only must… I don’t know how it’s said in Italian… a woman’s role in the Church must not end only as mother, as worker, limited. No! It’s something else!
But the Popes… Paul VI wrote a very beautiful thing on women, but I think we must go further in making the role and charism of women more explicit. A Church without women can’t be understood, but active women in the Church, with their profile, which they carry forward.
I’m thinking of an example that has nothing to do with the Church, but it’s an historical example: in Latin America, in Paraguay. For me, the Paraguayan woman is the most glorious of Latin America. Are you Paraguayan? After the war, there were eight women for every man, and these women made a rather difficult choice: the choice of having children to save the homeland, the culture, the faith and the language.
In the Church, it must be made more explicit. I think we have not yet made a profound theology of woman in the Church. She can only do this or that, now she is an altar server, then she does the Reading, she is president of Caritas. But there is more! A profound theology must be made of woman. This is what I think.”
Anna Ferreira: “Holy Father, good evening. Thank you. I would like to say “thank you” so many times: thank you for having brought so much joy to Brazil, and thank you also for answering our questions. We, journalists, are so fond of asking questions. I would like to know, why, yesterday, you spoke to the Brazilian Bishops about women’s participation in our Church. I’d like to understand better: how should this participation be for us, women in the Church? If you … what do you think of the ordination of women? What should our position in the Church be?”
Pope Francis: “I would like to explain a bit what I said on the participation of women in the Church. It can’t be limited to being altar servers or presidents of Caritas, catechists … No! It must be more, but profoundly more!
Even mystically more, with what I’ve said of the theology of woman.
And, with reference to the ordination of women, the Church has spoken and she said: “No.”
John Paul II said it, but with a definitive formulation. That is closed, that door is closed.
But I’d like to say something about this. I’ve said it, but I repeat it. Our Lady, Mary, was more important than the Apostles, than bishops, deacons and priests.
In the Church, woman is more important than bishops and priests; how, it’s what we must seek to make more explicit, because theological explicitness about this is lacking. Thank you.”