Pope Francis: Women must not be clericalized!

In La Stampa we find a report on yet another interview Pope Francis has given, apparently to La Stampa.  I haven’t found the whole thing yet.  [UPDATE: Italian Original HERE.]

But in the summary we read:

Commenting on Curia reform, the Pope informs that in February his eight cardinal “advisors” will deliver their “first” concrete “suggestions”. Francis flatly denies allegations that he intends to nominate women cardinals, stating:  “I don’t know where any such an idea came from. Women in the Church must be valued not “clericalised”.”

In Italian, from the actual interview, with my translation:

Posso chiederle se avremo donne cardinale?
«È una battuta uscita non so da dove. Le donne nella Chiesa devono essere valorizzate, non “clericalizzate”. Chi pensa alle donne cardinale soffre un po’ di clericalismo».

May I ask you if we will have women cardinals?
“I don’t know where that crack came from. Women in the Church must be valued, not made into clerics. Whoever thinks about women cardinals suffers a bit from clericalism.

“Not clericalized.”  “Not turned into clerics.”  NB: People don’t speak with “quote marks”, unless they, perhaps, make them in the air while talking.  So, “clericalizzato”, can be “clericalized” (which isn’t really a word in Italian), or probably better, “made clerics”.  Either way, you can hear the Pontiff’s dismissive tone.

Women’s ordination?

Not. Going. To. Happen.

Not to the priesthood.  Not to the diaconate.

Had this come out a week or so ago, would Pope Francis be TIME’s POY?

It will be interesting to see how Francis reacts to Anglican hijinx regarding bishopettes.

For the catholic Left, the ordination of women is the flagship issue.  They don’t want to be “valued”.  They want ordination.  They think ordination is the path to power.

Francis has already caused a fissure among the liberal catholics by his comments about the ordination of women, which can reduced to: No… No… and, if you didn’t get it before, No.

Watch what will happen over time.  Wymyn will demand from their tame men on the catholic Left that they set aside their other reasons to support Francis.

They will be like Buridan’s Ass.

Let the dilemmas begin.

*What they really crave is the approval of men.


A few people have asked me about my translation.

I translated this myself because a) the English version out there was mistranslated and b) I knew it would be spun by some to make it seem less dismissive.

The English version in La Stampa/Vatican Insider, reads:

“I don’t know where this idea sprang from. Women in the Church must be valued not “clericalised”. Whoever thinks of women as cardinals suffers a bit from clericalism.”

Note that “la battuta” is not there? Some might say that there is an element of “la battuta… wisecrack/joke” in that “sprang”.

“Una battuta” is a more of a wisecrack more than the longer joke one tells, that is “una barzelletta” in Italian, or even “uno scherzo”, depending on the context.

Also, Fishwrap‘s translation was:

“It’s a sound bite and I don’t know where it came from.

No, it isn’t a “sound bite”.  That’s a spin meant to diminish the impact.

In his commentary Fishwrap‘s John Allen, to his credit, caught the problem and said “joking sound bite”, which is at least not off the mark.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. McCall1981 says:

    This whole summary is pretty encouraging. I hope there are no surprise controversial quotes in the rest of the interview, though I suppose they would have been included in the summary if there were.

  2. lana says:

    I hope this means an end to unnecessary EMHC’s of both sexes. [When unnecessary (most of the time), as soon as possible.]

  3. RJHighland says:

    Thank You Pope Francis!!!!! That is the clearity I’m talk’en about. One down 99 to go. If only he would approach every questionable position the progressive left brings forward, like Lana suggests EMHC’s are high on that list, with such clarity. But what is always in the back of my mind is he playing a game of Whack the Ground Hog. One day he Whack’s FFI and knocks the traditionalists for a loop, then next he whacks one of the progressive heretical causes. Not leading the Church to traditional teaching but some luke warm middle of the road theological position. But any way when the Holy Father “rem acu tetigisti” I will praise his actions. It is when he is playing pin the tail on the traditionalist with a sledge hammer I get conserned.

    I was thinking of a sign/logo for Advent last night. “One Way and one Truth to Eternal life, per omnia secula secularum, et unam sanctam Catolicam et Apostilciam ecclasiam.”

  4. Gallia Albanensis says:

    For me, the most intriguing tidbit here is the footnote. It’s a tease, though. I’d like to see a whole post on that topic, as I’ve not considered that idea before.

  5. The Drifter says:

    Women in the church hold power precisely because they can’t receive holy orders

  6. markomalley says:

    Here’s the link to the interview in Italian: http://www.lastampa.it/2013/12/15/esteri/vatican-insider/it/mai-avere-paura-della-tenerezza-1vmuRIcbjQlD5BzTsnVuvK/pagina.html

    The entire quote about wymyn “cardinals”:

    Posso chiederle se avremo donne cardinale?

    «È una battuta uscita non so da dove. Le donne nella Chiesa devono essere valorizzate, non “clericalizzate”. Chi pensa alle donne cardinale soffre un po’ di clericalismo».

    (It’s a joke…)

    I like it!

  7. lana says:

    As Cardinal, Pope Francis also spoke out against ‘the clericalization of the laity’.

    There is simply too much work to be done by the laity for them to be wasting time and energy on priest’s duties.

    I recommend “The Distinctive Role of the Laity” by Cardinal Arinze. And I also recommend to read along with it “The Soul of the Apostolate”, because works without a lot of prayer will not do much good, or could even do harm.

  8. Dan says:

    The original link now goes to a full English translation. Of note, but probably for a different post, is again the translation of “di per sé” in Italian as “inevitably” in English, with regard to “trickle-down economics.”

  9. Robbie says:

    I’m very happy to read this.

  10. Mike says:

    +1 to Gallia Albanensis on the footnote discussion, though I’d make bold to suggest a nuance. What I think the hard core are in search of is any reaction at all from men. Men who agree with them (as, for example, they have been wont to mischaracterize Pope Francis) can be coopted and neutralized; men who disagree, or who authoritatively dismiss the discussion as out of scope (as, for example, Pope Francis in actuality), can be vilified. To those who adopt a perpetually injured mien, the latter produces far more satisfaction than the former; see Lewis’ Great Divorce for more on the subject.

  11. lana says:

    Oops, make that ‘The Layperson’s Distinctive Role’, by Cardinal Arinze. And ‘The Soul of the Apostolate’ is by Dom Chautard.

  12. Bosco says:

    Q. May I ask you if we will have women cardinals?
    A. Yes, you may. The answer is “no”.

    Next question?

  13. robtbrown says:

    For the catholic Left, the ordination of women is the flagship issue. They don’t want to be “valued”. They want ordination. They think ordination is the path to power.

    And the political analog of that is abortion.

  14. Johnno says:

    HA HA, amazing reply! This is the Pope Francis I’m looking more forward to!

    The constant howls of Feminists that women should be more like men and occupy their roles to be equal is offensive to the dignity of all women.

    And the constant howls of liberals that the laity should occupy the roles of a priest is offensive to the dignity, duty and position of all laypeople.

    They are both also highly inefficient to serve any purpose. The best way to get anything done is division of labor, otherwise you’ll just have too many cooks in the kitchen and no waiters to take the bread out to the hungry.

  15. Uxixu says:

    I’d say a closer political analogy is homosexual “marriage.” They can mimic and approximate while complet wely missing the underlying purpose and meaning while keeping superficial appearances

  16. Uxixu says:

    Wow android autocorrect whiffed completely in two.

    Also meant to add like same sex marriage they’ll never give up, though may revert to incremental steps for the appearance of moderation while never wavering on the ultimate goal. I’d suspect some of their cohorts on the nominally Catholic left will rediscover the ancient deaconesses soon and share it in the MSM.

  17. pannw says:

    This may or may not be off topic but I saw something on a news blog that I was reminded of when I read this. That pitiful young woman, Miley Cyrus, has apparently latched on to a new ’cause’, the ‘equality of breasts’, to say it more politely than she. She wants to be able to run around naked, and so she is using ‘equality with men’ as her MO to get the ‘right’. As with all womyn ‘equality’ issues, she misses the elephant in the room. In case she is blind to the fact, women’s breasts are as a rule no where near ‘equal’ to men’s. Poor pitiful self-loathing womyn.

  18. JoseTomas says:

    That’s good.


    If he ever changes his mind, my vote for Cardinaless still goes to Mamajen :-)

    Remember, most cries for and against Women Cardinals come from the fact that both “sides” are thinking of the same “kind” of woman (the LCWR type).

  19. donato2 says:

    There is also a little cold water for those who interpreted the exhortation as laying the groundwork for allowing the remarried to receive communion. Francis makes clear that in commenting that the Eucharist is not a “prize” for the strong and that a bold new approach is needed he was not alluding to the issue of the remarried in particular. He also says the prohibition on the remarried receiving communion is not a “sanzione.” The suggests to me that that the prohibition is not something he intends to remove.

  20. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    “May I ask you if we will have women cardinals?
    “I don’t know where that crack came from. Women in the Church must be valued, not made into clerics. Whoever thinks about women cardinals suffers a bit from clericalism.’

    The “crack” came from a Jesuit at Boston College. It would be wonderful if Pope Francis turned his attention to the reformation of his own religious order, from which so many members have strayed! We in Boston are particularly aware of this.

  21. McCall1981 says:

    I was thinking the same thing. Definitely sounds like he’s tempering down expectations for those who want change.

  22. chantgirl says:

    The perpetual adolescents in the Church will simply say, “Well, he said we couldn’t have female cardinals, but he didn’t say anything about deacons, priests, and bishops.”.

    One of my young sons has a tenacious approach to argument when he knows I will say no. “Mom, can I have a cookie?” “No.” “How about if I just have one?” “No.” “What if it’s a small cookie?” “No.” He finds twenty different ways to ask the same question, even though I’ve already given a definitive answer. I have a feeling that the women priest/cleric issue will never completely go away until its’ proponents are in the ground. Even then, we’ll still have the heretical books that some of them have written circulating around. I’m not usually a fan of book-burning, but in this case I think I could make an exception.

  23. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Of course, there might not be so many lay people trying to clericalize themselves, if there had never been so many clergy wreaking havoc on legitimate areas of lay prudent decision.

    I was reading a posting on Catholic Answers, and some priest in some parish had nothing better to do than to try to stamp out people crossing themselves after receiving Communion. Every time this sort of thing goes to the Vatican, the Vatican supports the right of lay people to continue these sorts of ancient gestures and devotions; but Fr. Busybody apparently doesn’t know where to stop. Amusingly, his grounds was that this “drew attention” to the communicants (when nobody but Father and the EMHCs can probably even see communicants crossing themselves) and that it went against the GIRM (not that I’ve ever noticed).

    Some people, male and female, see the clerical state chiefly as a means to mess with people, and the lay state chiefly as people to mess with.

  24. RJ Sciurus says:

    Of course the other part of this is the suggestion (for which there is quite a bit of evidence in the world today) that “clerics” are not “valued.” Thus ladies, if you wish to be valued, becoming a cleric is the last thing you would desire.

  25. q7swallows says:

    Your footnote nails it. The former feminist in me twists and smarts with (self)-righteous indignation to hear it but the ontological part of me acknowledges it to be true. And is able to smile about it.

  26. Amy Giglio says:

    As interesting as the footnote to this post wold be to explore, the power issue among advocates for women’s ordination is not insignificant. They see priests as powerful people, keeping women down, denying women what should be theirs as well. There is no connection to holiness for those folks. One who strives for holiness doesn’t seek power. One who strives for holiness knows that the desire for power is antithetical to holiness. Humility is the key to holiness. Good priests know that they have no power. They know that whatever good is done through them is done by Jesus Christ. Priests are at their best when they are least themselves, allowing Christ burn through them like the sun burns through the fog.

  27. Pat says:

    Speaking of Cardinals, Card. Rouco of Madrid not only ceased to be part of the Congregation for Bishops (he is world-class canonist like Card. Burke), but he will be soon replaced by the Prefect of Worship, see http://www.periodistadigital.com/religion/espana/2013/12/05/francisco-se-despide-de-rouco-religion-iglesia-vaticano-canizares-roma-madrid.shtml

    Thus, let’s start praying for the new Prefect……

  28. mrshopey says:

    I appreciate Fr Z not including “joke” in his translation and will try to leave it at that.
    The first report from the Vatican to clarify this said:
    “Theologically and theoretically, it is possible,” the Vatican spokesman said, explaining that it is conceivable someone not ordained to the priesthood could become a cardinal. But suggesting that a woman could be appointed in February “is not remotely realistic,” Father Lombardi said. – See more at: http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=19572#sthash.RkAvnUXa.dpuf

    There are good women, qualified, who could hold that position, cardinal. I agree it isn’t in the best interest of anyone to do that. Especially during our time when clericalism abounds in places – grabbing for power.

  29. Imrahil says:

    Women cannot be cardinals.

    Undersecretary in the Curia, which we have, and elector of the pope, which for good reasons we have not (it is now for a millenium vested into the College of Cardinals), these things women could possibly do.

    Being cardinals (in the sense we understand the word) never.

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