Women can be parish in-charge: Cardinal Gracias

Cardinal Oswald


By Christopher White

Rome, October 24, 2019: Catholic bishops are not fully utilizing Church law to maximize the role of women in decision making capacities, Cardinal Oswald Gracias said on October 23.

While acknowledging that women are unable to hear confession, say Mass, or administer confirmation, “she can do practically everything else,” said Gracias. “Women can even be in charge of a parish according to Church law.”

The cardinal’s remarks came during a press briefing as the Synod of Bishops on the Amazon nears its final conclusion this week, where the role of women in the Church has been a repeated theme as the Church considers how to better respond to the pastoral needs of the Amazon region.

“We must use all of this,” Cardinal Gracias added, noting that Pope Francis “very [much] wants decentralization,” and for bishops to enact changes where they can already do so without the permission of the Holy See.

In addition to being the archbishop of Mumbai, Cardinal Gracias serves on Pope Francis’s Council of Cardinal Advisers.

The role of women in the Church dominated much of the press conference with several of the other representatives from the Amazon speaking for the need for concrete and tangible action, while steering clear of addressing the question of women’s ordination to the diaconate, which is anticipated to be addressed in some form in the Synod’s final document.

Bishop Ricardo Ernesto Centellas Guzmán of Potosí, Bolivia, who heads the country’s bishops’ conference, also called for a change in “mindset” when it comes to women in the Church.

“We all have to change our mentality to make sure participation of women becomes authentic and that is equitable and fair,” he said.

At present, he said the role of women who are involved in decision-making power is “very low,” adding that in some places it is “almost invisible.”

“Things must change by starting with the smaller things,” he said, noting that work in the parish level and local communities is the place to start. He specifically called out pastoral councils that only give women consultation status, without any real decision making abilities.

A walking Church, he said, included “walking together and deciding together,” adding “otherwise we will be limping together, not walking.”

Sister Roselei Bertoldo, a nun from Brazil who works in human trafficking, echoed his words, telling reporters that the structure of the Church is often focused on men when it comes to questions of authority.

“We want to become the protagonist in this process,” she said. “We will not keep silent. We want space, and we will start building a space.”

Also a part of the discussion on October 23 was the theme of inculturation and how to best adapt the practices of the faith to the Amazon region in a specific way that is mindful of local customs and traditions.

Inculturation, said Cardinal Gracias, “flows from the Incarnation. Our Lord became incarnated.”

Historically, he said when discussion of inculturation has been raised, the focus has been on questions of liturgy, which he deemed to be a “mistake” in its singular scope.

He argued for the need for greater consideration of question of inculturation when it comes to priestly formation, seminaries, and their staffs.

The Synod of Bishops on the Amazon is set to conclude with a Mass on October 27.

On October 26, the bishops will vote on the final document, which on October 23, Jesuit Father Giacomo Costa, said would not be the end result of the Synod, but rather a “tool” that “everyone can use to take steps forward.”

Source: cruxnow.com

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7 thoughts on “Women can be parish in-charge: Cardinal Gracias

  1. M London Satyan …fully agree with you. …..but you miss a fact homosexuality amongst clergy….cardinal Oswald Gracias should with deep sinceriety pull up every such priest and defrock them, any pedophile in the clergy must be brought to public notice and surrendered to the law of the land for the harshest of torture applicable without mercy

  2. Empowerment and decentralisation are already provided for in Vatican II documents and Canon Law, but swept under the carpet.

  3. Continued…

    First of all, the widespread clerical sex abuse MUST be checked and stopped. Prepare the priests THOROUGHLY to have healthy relationships with women (including sisters). Only then, the women can be involved. Otherwise….. sex abuse will flourish. Most of the priests will literally follow the blessing of God: “Be fruitful and multiply…”

  4. Continued…
    4) Look at the number of clerical sex abuse incidents (involving Bishops and Priests) widespread in all the dioceses. The more you dig, the more skeletons come out. The Catholic Church in India is heading towards disaster due to such shocking incidents that are being highlighted almost everyday. What is the action initiated by the CBCI?

    5) Cardinal Gracias can make all beautiful statements (regarding sharing power with women) sitting in Rome!!. According to me, he is living in a “fool’s paradise”. He should not forget the hard reality in India. By making women as parish in-charge he is intending to bring women closer to priests. It is like bringing the cotton close to the fire.

  5. It is high time for Cardinal Gracias to pay a serious attention to the following:

    1) Make meaningful changes in the present Formation System, including Vocation Promotion. Avoid paying attention to the Quantity, rather pay a careful attention to the Quality of each candidate.

    2) Sex Education and promotion of healthy relationship between male candidates and female candidates must become one of the priorities during the Formation period.

    3) Girl / Boy child and women sex abuse at every level must be prevented. Anyone involving in any form of sex abuse, must be sacked and defrocked. – no mercy whatsoever.

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