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Pope Francis with members of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments yesterday (CNS/Vatican Media)

The importance of women in the Church cannot be “reduced” to the question of ministry, Pope Francis told members of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments yesterday. Source: CNS.

Pope Francis made his remarks in the context of explaining how every attempt at Church reform, like the Second Vatican Council’s reform of the liturgy, must be motivated by “spousal fidelity: the Church-bride will always be more beautiful the more she loves Christ the bridegroom, to the point of belonging to him totally, to the point of conforming to him fully”.

Mentioning the Church as the bride of Christ, the Pope added to his prepared text: “I want to say one thing about women’s ministry. The Church is woman, the Church is mother, the Church has its figure in Mary, and the Church-woman, whose figure is Mary, is greater than Peter; that is, it is something else.

“One cannot reduce everything to ministry. The woman in herself has a very great significance in the Church-as-woman, without reducing it to ministry. This is why I said that every instance of reform in the Church is always a question of spousal fidelity, because it (the Church) is woman.”

At their plenary meeting in Rome this week, members of the dicastery were focused on ways to improve the liturgical formation of priests and laity.

Drawing members’ attention to the introduction of Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the Pope said, “Without a renewed encounter with Christ, there is no reform of the Church. That is why the bishops gathered at the Second Vatican Council, in 1962-65, “knew they had to place the liturgy at the centre because it is the place par excellence for encountering the living Christ.”

The more Catholics are educated about the liturgy and by the liturgy, he said, the more the liturgy will be that place of encounter. Liturgical formation is not something for “a few experts” but should be a goal for all Catholics.


Don’t reduce women’s role in church to question of ministry, Pope says (By Cindy Wooden, CNS via USCCB)