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Greater Church role for women a process cardinal says

ROME (CNS): “It’s a question of changing a culture, and I believe that will take time, but I think that Pope Francis—more than anybody—has tried and continues to try and continues to bring about that change each and every day,” Kevin Cardinal Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, said during a question-and-answer session after the presentation of the book, A Pope Francis Lexicon, on March 1 in Rome.
The cardinal said that a greater role for women in the Church “is going to take more than just issuing a decree.”
The book features a collection of essays edited by Cindy Wooden, the Rome bureau chief of Catholic News Service, and Joshua McElwee, Vatican correspondent for National Catholic Reporter.
Responding to a question regarding an essay written by theologian, Tina Beattie, in which she noted the exclusion of women “from many offices of Catholic teaching,” Cardinal Farrell said the pope would not totally agree that “he has not tried and is not bringing women into positions of authority in the Church.”
Oscar Cardinal Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, who also spoke at the book presentation pointed out that some dicasteries once led by cardinals are now led by bishops and priests, thus paving the way for more participation by laypeople, especially women, in Church decisions.
“Every day, more and more, the presence of the laity is taking place,” the cardinal said. “It’s a process of changing the culture, but I can assure (you) it’s taking place.”
Cardinal Maradiaga, a member of Pope Francis’ international Council of Cardinals, also contributed an essay on reform to the book.
Cardinal Farrell also was asked about reports that he prevented Why Women Matter, a conference organised by Voices of Faith on women in the Church, from meeting in the Vatican on March 8, although the conference had been held for the past four years in the Casina Pio IV, a villa located in the Vatican gardens (Sunday Examiner, February 11).
Organisers had to change locations after the cardinal rejected the participation of several speakers, including former Irish president, Mary McAleese, an advocate of gay marriage and women’s ordination.
Cardinal Farrell explained that events held within the Vatican are “presumed to be sponsored by the pope” and people assume that “the pope is in agreement with everything that is said.”
The cardinal said that after being told “what the event was about, it was not appropriate for me to continue to sponsor such an event.”
However, Cardinal Farrell said that while he could not sponsor the event, the Church is “always open to listening and we are always open to dialogue,” adding, “It would appear sometimes that we are not, but this is one case when I would say the circumstances don’t correspond to what some people would like to make out that we don’t want to listen.” the cardinal said.

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