Cardinals in St. Peter's Basilica

Let women be cardinals if they are ordained to the diaconate, says Cardinal Hollerich

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich has advocated from the Amazon Synod in Rome for the appointment of women as cardinals of the Church.

Driving the news

Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg and President of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), told Argentinian paper La Nación before the vote on the Synod final document that he insisted in Synod meetings that “it would be good if there were some women cardinals if there are women deacons”.

“Because I think that when one chooses the pope, women should also be involved”, the cardinal explained.

The Amazon Synod wrapped up Sunday with a call in its final document for more official church roles for women, though it stopped short of calling for women to be ordained immediately as deacons.

Speaking off-the-cuff after the vote on the final document, the Pope admitted the Synod text “falls short” on the role of women in the Church.

“I would just like to underline this: that we have not yet realized what women mean in the Church”, Francis added.

He explained that in response to the Synod push for more responsibility for women in the Church, he would “reconvene” or “perhaps open… with new members” the Commission he set up in 2016 to study the role and ministry of women deacons in the early Church.

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Go deeper

The Synod final document also asked that “the voice of women be heard, that they be consulted and participate decision making” in the Church.

That’s something Cardinal Hollerich agreed with wholeheartedly in its comments to La Nación before the Synod document vote, particularly in terms of overturning the veto on women voting at Synods.

“I don’t understand why women can’t vote [in Synods], especially if they are religious, since religious brothers have the right to vote”, Hollerich admitted.

“The presence of women is very important. There were many more women than in the previous synod on young people and these women speak very frankly, speak a lot and speak very well. The men listen to them”, he explained.

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“I realised that when we had the summit on sexual abuse, last February, what women said was also extremely important.

“We have to listen to women. For me it’s normal, but for some it’s something new.

“And if women do not feel they are welcome in the Church, in the broad sense of welcome, then they will leave the Church”, the cardinal warned.

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For the record

In his conversation with La Nación, Hollerich also reflected on other aspects of the Amazon Synod, such as the “absolute freedom” that was on display throughout the “synodal process” that seemed to him to be “wonderful”.

But the cardinal said he could “clearly” see “a difference in mentality and vision” between the Amazon participants and Roman curial officials.

He added that the “fear of having to change” as well as “a lot of money” from certain Church circles has been at the root of opposition to the Synod, but that the Pope, “in prayer”, will continue to do “what he thinks is just”.

“It is a blessing that everyone could express themselves [in the Synod] without fear and not see the Pope as an authority figure, intimidating, but as a friend, a brother”, Hollerich said.

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He added that the Synod “helped me to better understand how the Pope sees the Church, with this vision of a polyhedron, from the periphery”.

“Surely the Church in Europe needs an input from outside, which I saw in the Synod. I learned a lot”, the cardinal declared.

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