Pope Francis Received Members of the International Theological Commission in Audience Photo: Vatican Media

Pope Francis To The International Theological Commission: “We’ll Never Understand the Church if It’s Not Understood That She Is Woman”

Address to the International Theological Commission

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(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 30.11.2023).- On Thursday morning, November 30, Pope Francis received in audience — in the Room adjacent to Paul VI Hall –, the members of the International Theological Commission, accompanied by the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Given his state of health and difficulty to speak, the Pope handed out the address he prepared, in which he reflected on the three reasons that make it opportune to rediscover the Council of Nicea. However, he said to the members spontaneously: “Thank you for this visit. And thank you for your work. There is a good address here with theological matters, but because of my health it is better not to read it. I will hand it out to you.”



He also said: “Thank you for what you do. Theology, theological reflection, is very important. But there is something about you that I do not like; pardon my sincerity. One, two, three, four women: poor women! They are alone! Ah, excuse me, five. We must advance in this. Women have a capacity for theological reflection that is different to that of us men. It will be because I have studied the theology of a woman a great deal. I was helped by a good German woman, Hanna-Barbara Gerl, on Guardini. She had studied that history and the theology of that woman was not so deep, but it is beautiful, it is creative. And now, in the upcoming meeting of the nine Cardinals, we will reflect on the feminine dimension of the Church.”

Then he added: “The Church is woman. And if we do not know what a woman is, what the theology of a woman is, we will never understand what the Church is. One of the great sins we have had is to “masculinize” the Church. And this is not solved by the ministerial path; that is something else. It is resolved in the mystical way, the real way. Balthasar’s thought has brought me so much light: Petrine principle and Marian principle. This can be debated, but the two principles are there. The Marian is more important than the Petrine, because there is the bride Church, the woman Church, without being masculine.”

Then he said: “And you will ask me: where does this discussion lead? Not only to tell you that you should have more women here — that is one thing — but to help reflect. The Church as woman, the Church as a bride. And this is a task that I ask of you, please. To make the Church less masculine.

Finally, the Holy Father concluded saying: “And thank you for what you do. I am sorry, I have spoken too much and it hurt, but now sitting as we are, we can pray the Lord’s Prayer together, each in his own language, and then I will give the blessing.”


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