The face of Christ reflected in women of the Roman Curia.
Until now, the offices of prefect and secretary of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia could only be held by those in Holy Orders. Obviously, women were excluded.
Since the recent apostolic constitution Praedicate Evangelium, women, lay or consecrated, as well as bishops, priests, religious or lay persons, can serve the Church in the position of a prefect or secretary of a dicastery.
The Preamble of the document says: “The Pope, bishops and other ordained ministers are not the only evangelisers in the Church... Every Christian, by virtue of Baptism, is a missionary disciple to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus”. From this derives the participation of lay men and women in the positions of governance and responsibility.
The ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council and its orientations are deepened in the new constitution issued by Pope Francis and, as a consequence, women will be able to act with authority in these positions by virtue of the power entrusted to them by the Pope.
The collaborative work between men and women, which is proving so fruitful in all areas of society, will also be present within this structure at the service of the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, acting in his name and under his guidance. Let us celebrate the fact that at the head of these bodies of the universal Church, too, the face of Christ can be reflected by a woman.
As women of WUCWO we thank the Holy Father for this crucial and qualitatively significant step that opens wide the doors for women, so that we can offer our participation in decision-making spaces, assuming missions that allow us to contribute with the suitability, formation and experience of each one of us, moved by our deep love for the Church.
Although Pope Francis has already appointed excellent women to high positions in the Curia, with this regulation we reach the apex of the recognition of why feminine traits enrich the face of Christ in evangelisation. And from these instances of collaboration in the governance of the Church, so many other alternatives in new ministries of service will no longer be able to exclude women.
Let me share with you the joy of seeing something that I expressed last year in my open letter to the Pope come closer to becoming a reality: “I dream of a Church that has suitable women as judges in all the courts in which matrimonial cases are processed, in the formation teams of each seminary and for exercising ministries such as listening, spiritual direction, pastoral health care, care for the planet, defence of human rights, etc., for which, by our nature, women are equally or sometimes better prepared than men. Not only consecrated women, but how many lay women in all regions of the globe are ready to serve!”.
In the coming years WUCWO must foster formation to increase the preparation of its members and experience in the specific fields in which the Church may call us to serve. These will be topics of conversation at our next meeting in Athens (7-10 October 2022) to which all women members of WUCWO organisations are invited to participate.
And please do not forget that the Pope has especially asked us to pray the rosary for peace during the whole month of May. With the desire to meet all of you under Mary’s mantle every day in prayer and face to face in Greece, I send you my warm regards,
María Lía Zervino, Servidora
WUCWO President General