Pope Francis gets it right on Curia reform and women

Religion News Service | 7/18/2019 | Staff
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(RNS) — In appointing seven women to the Vatican congregation that oversees religious orders earlier this month (July 9), Pope Francis achieved a double win. In one stroke, he has advanced both the role of women in the church and the reform of the Vatican Curia. This is significant because his efforts so far in these areas have been mediocre.

The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL), colloquially known as the Congregation for Religious, is responsible for setting policy for Catholic nuns, brothers and consecrated lay people. Acting like a board of directors, members are appointed by the pope for terms of five years to review major policy recommendations before they are approved by the pope.

Women - Superiors - Orders - Respect - Communities

Six of the women were elected superiors by their religious orders, indicating the respect they have in their communities. They are experienced and knowledgeable on the issues facing religious. The seventh is the president of a group of consecrated lay people.

Of all the Vatican offices, CICLSAL is the one that most directly impacts religious women. This is the office that instigated an infamous investigation of American nuns in 2008. It is crucial that the congregation have diversity in its membership. For example, with women religious at the table, it will be impossible to ignore the issue of sexual abuse of sisters by priests.

Past - Congregation - Cardinals - Bishops - Priests

In the past, the congregation was composed solely of cardinals, bishops and a few priests who were heads of religious orders. It has had women on its staff and as advisers, but these seven women will have a vote when decisions are made. However, they will be a minority of its membership with women only seven of the 23 new members appointed by Francis.

The appointment of women to the congregation is important because so far, progressive women have...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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