(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 06.12.20223).- The session of the Council of Cardinals (the group of Cardinals that advise the Pope on the government of the Church), met in Casa Santa Marta on December 4-5. Present at the meeting, in addition to the Holy Father, were all the members of the Council and its Secretary, namely: Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State; Fr. Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, LC, President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and Vatican City’s Governorate of State; Archbishop Fridolin Ambongo Besungu of Kinshasa; Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Bombay; Archbishop Patrick O’Malley of Boston; Archbishop Juan José Omella Omella of Barcelona; Archbishop Gérald Lacroix of Quebec; Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg; Archbishop Sergio da Rocha of San Salvador of Bahia, and the Secretary, Monsignor Marco Mellino , Titular Bishop of Cresima.
1st Women’s Role in the Church
On this occasion the role of women in the Church was at the center of the reflection. The conversation was enhanced by the intervention of Sister Linda Pocher, Daughter of Mary Help of Christians, who teaches Christology and Mariology in Rome’s Auxilium Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences; by Lucia Vantini, Professor of Fundamental Theology, Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Knowledge, in Verona’s Institute of Religious Sciences; Philosophical and Theological Anthropology in the San Zeno Studio of Verona and Philosophy of Dialogue in the San Bernardino Institute of Ecumenical Studies of Venice; and Fr. Luca Castiglioni, priest of the diocese of Milan and Professor of Fundamental Theology in Milan’s Seminary. The Council agreed on the need to listen to — also and above all in each Christian Community –, the feminine aspect of the Church, so that the processes of reflection and decision taking can benefit from the irreplaceable contribution of women.
2nd Ecclesial Situation in the World
The Council examined the current social, political and ecclesial situation in the different regions of origin of the Council’s members, with special attention to the conflict underway in Ukraine and the serious situation in the Holy Land, as well as the works of the Conference of the States Parties in the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) being held in Dubai.
3rd Protection of Minors and Vulnerable People
Cardinal O’Malley illustrated several hypotheses of modalities related to the organization of the Assemblies of Episcopal Conferences, five years after the Meeting on the Prevention of Abuse of Minors and Vulnerable People in February 2019, which were debated and evaluated by the Council’s members.
4th After the First Part of the Synod on Synodality
Finally, the meeting offered the opportunity to debate on the First Session of the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops and to continue the reflexion on the application of the Spirit, the principles and criteria of the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evengelium in the Diocesan Curias. The next session will take place in February of 2024.