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7 June 2016

Audience of Pope Francis with the International Union of Superiors General (UISG)

From May 9 to 13, the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) held its biannual Plenary Assembly in Rome. On May 12 at the Paul VI Audience Hall, the attendees had a private meeting with Pope Francis. During the discussion, Pope gave his comments on issues about the place and leadership of Women Religious in the Church.

When Pope Francis is being told women are excluded from the decision-making process in the Church, he said that if they aren’t, the rate of participation of women in decision-making in the Church remains low. However, “ordination is not necessary” in the decision-making process. What counts is the development of the decisions, not necessary their enforcement. He therefore pleaded for complementarity between men and women in the decision-making process. He also pointed out that if women can preach during a liturgy of the Word, they can’t do so during Eucharistic celebrations. Only the sacrament of Holy orders can afford it. About women preaching, the Pope warned against the temptation of feminism and clericalism, temptations which, according to him, would reduce “the importance of women”.

About the female diaconate, he spoke in favor of creating an official Committee that will study this question. Praising the feminine genius, the Pope insisted on women’s voices to be heard in the Church.

He also agrees with amending the Canon law to support youth engagement in the consecrated life or marriage.

He encouraged the General superior to continue their mission in the Church despite the challenges they may face.

Click here to download the whole address.