May 24, 2015


World

Role of women in spotlight

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican's spokesman went to his news briefing Friday bearing flowers for female journalists to mark International Women's Day. "On behalf of all of us men, congratulations and happy Women's Day!" said a beaming Rev. Federico Lombardi.

The heartfelt gesture came a day after an awkward acknowledgement: The upcoming election of the pope will be an all-male affair -- except for the women who cook for, clean up after and serve the 115 cardinals who will pick the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, half of them women.

Lombardi's admission came when a reporter noted one of the video clips the Vatican had provided of preparations in the Sistine Chapel featured a woman at a sewing machine, making the skirting for the tables at which cardinals will sit. Aside from the seamstress, the reporter inquired, how many women are involved in the conclave process?

Lombardi said the total number wouldn't be known until all Vatican personnel involved in the conclave take their oath of secrecy. But he noted several women work at the Vatican's Santa Marta hotel, where the cardinals will eat and sleep during the conclave.

For many observers, Lombardi's comment was a tacit acknowledgment of what many consider women's second-class status in the church, despite the fact they take a leading role in staffing Catholic schools and hospitals.

"It is fine to sew and be a seamstress, but women have much to contribute to the political... health and well-being of the people on the planet," said Janice Sevre-Duszynska, a member of the Roman Catholic Women Priests movement.

Members of the movement, as well as other dissident groups calling for greater participation of women in leadership positions in the church, have descended on Rome during the papal election.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 9, 2013 A19

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 24 10:49 pm

Digging up the past on Monday's front page: pic.twitter.com/qptM4rgMxI

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 24 9:59 pm

Poll question: Should you get a ticket for driving down certain streets on Sundays/holidays?winnipegfreepress.com/polls/ pic.twitter.com/8niIRQhgzo

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 24 8:48 pm

One of Manitoba's last drive-in theatres will go dark this summer wfp.to/RTi

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 24 8:16 pm

Boxers fight for human rights outside of the ring wfp.to/RTW

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 24 7:50 pm

Will turning their back on traditional debates harm or benefit the Conservatives? wfp.to/RTA

Scroll down to load more

Top