Excerpts from Vatican Radio: Pope Francis: Women called to service, not servitude, my comments below.
“Many things can change and have changed in our cultural and social evolution, but the fact remains that it is the woman who conceives, carries in her womb and gives birth to the children of men,” the Pope continued. “And this is not simply a biological matter, but carries a wealth of implications for the woman herself, for her way of being, for her relationships, for the way in which we lend respect to human life and to life in general. Calling a woman to maternity, God entrusted the human being to her in an altogether special manner.”
The Pope warned that there are two dangers always present when speaking about this topic, calling them “two extreme opposites that destroy woman and her vocation.”
“The first is to reduce maternity to a social role, to a task, albeit noble, but which in fact sets the woman aside with her potential and does not value her fully in the building of community. This is both in the civil sphere and in the ecclesial sphere,” explained the Holy Father. “And, in reaction to this, there is the other danger in the opposite direction, that of promoting a type of emancipation which, in order to occupy spaces taken away from the masculine, abandons the feminine with the precious traits that characterize it.”
“I would like to underline how the woman has a particular sensitivity for the ‘things of God’, above all in helping us to understand the mercy, tenderness and love that God has for us,” he said. “ And it pleases me to think that the Church is not ‘il Chiesa’ [‘the Church’, masculine]: it is ‘la Chiesa’ [feminine]. The Church is a woman! The Church is a mother! And that’s beautiful, eh? We have to think deeply about this.”
“I suffer – speaking truthfully! – when I see in the Church or in some ecclesial organizations that the role of service that we all have, and that we must have – but that the role of service of the woman slips into a role of “servidumbre” [Spanish: servitude]. . . But when I see women that do things out of “servitude” and not out of service,” said Pope Francis. “And that it is not understood well what a woman ought to do. Can she be valued more? It is a reality that is close to my heart and for this I wanted to meet … and bless you and your commitment. Thank you, let us move this forward together! May most holy Mary – a great woman, eh? – the Mother of Jesus and of all God’s children, accompany us. Thank you!”
With regards to the Church, “it” denotes an institution of human origins, whereas “she” refers to Christ’s Mystical Body. The Church should not be referred to as an “it.” The Church is not a human organization with secular aims; the Church is of divine origin with the aim of offering worship to God and sanctifying God’s people on earth.
You might have noticed that the new English translation of the Mass refers to the Church with feminine pronouns. For example, the collect of the second formulary of the Mass of Various Needs and Occasions, For Holy Church:
O God, in the covenant of your Christ you never cease to gather to yourself from all nations a people growing together in unity through the Spirit; grant, we pray, that your Church, faithful to the mission entrusted to her, may continually go forward with the human family and always be the leaven and the soul of human society, to renew it in Christ and transform it into the family of God. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
I think that anyone who does not hold the dignity of women in the highest regard cannot appreciate the Church’s role in the economy of salvation.
If a person has a negative posture to those around him, how can he expect to have to have a positive relationship with God?
May each of us tenderly love Holy Mother Church!