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2019.02.22 Incontro Protezione minori nella Chiesa Presentation by Dr Linda Ghisoni  (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis: Woman is the image of the Church that is Mother

During the afternoon session of the "Protection of Minors in the Church" Meeting in the Vatican, Pope Francis gives an impromptu reflection on woman as the image of the Church.

By Vatican News

For the first time since his opening address, Pope Francis on Friday afternoon took the floor to speak to the participants at the Meeting for the Protection of Minors in the Church.

The Pope’s off-the-cuff remarks followed the speech by Dr Linda Ghisoni, the first woman to deliver a presentation during the General Assemblies. “Listening to Dr Ghisoni,” the Pope said, “I heard the Church speaking about herself.” He explained, “Inviting a woman to speak about the wounds of the Church is to invite the Church to speak about herself, about the wounds she has.”

Pope Francis said that this is “not just a question of style, the feminine genius reflected in the Church, which is woman.” Nor is it simply a matter of giving women a greater role in the Church, although this is important. Rather, he said, “it's a question of integrating the woman as the figure of the Church into our thinking. And also of thinking of the Church with the categories of a woman.”

Below, please find an unofficial translation of Pope Francis’ remarks:

Listening to Dr. Ghisoni, I heard the Church speaking about herself. That is, we have all spoken about the Church. In all the interventions. But this time it was the Church herself that spoke. It's not just a question of style: the feminine genius, reflected in the Church, which is woman.

Inviting a woman to speak is not to enter into the mode of an ecclesiastical feminism, because in the end every feminism ends up being a machismo with a skirt. No. Inviting a woman to speak about the wounds of the Church is to invite the Church to speak about herself, about the wounds she has. And this I believe is the step that we must take with great determination: woman is the image of the Church that is woman, bride, mother. A style. Without this style we would speak of the People of God, but as an organization, perhaps a trade union, but not as a family born of Mother Church.

The logic of Dr Ghisoni's thought was precisely that of a mother, and it ended with the story of what happens when a woman gives birth to a child. It is the feminine mystery of the Church that is bride and mother. It's not a question of giving more functions to women in the Church — yes, this is good, but that's not how the problem is solved — it's a question of integrating the woman as the image of the Church into our thinking… and also of thinking of the Church with the categories of a woman. Thank you for your testimony.

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22 February 2019, 19:49