In his wide-ranging new book Let Us Dream, written in conversation with Austen Ivereigh, Pope Francis writes about female roles in the Church, saying that “allowing women’s perspectives to challenge existing assumptions” is something he has tried to focus on as Pope, appointing women to positions where they can “shape the culture” and “influence the vision and mindset” of the Church’s central bureaucracy.
He makes it clear that female leadership in the Church cannot simply be equated with what happens in the Vatican or on “specific roles”. While the Pope has opened up discussions about the possibility of women deacons, he stresses that leadership should not be equated with inclusion into the ranks of the clergy.
“Perhaps because of clericalism, which is a corruption of the priesthood, many people wrongly believe that Church leadership is exclusively male,” he writes. “But if you go to any diocese in the world you’ll see women running departments, schools, hospitals, and many other organisations and programs; in some areas, you’ll find many more women than men as leaders.”
He adds: “To say they aren’t truly leaders because they aren’t priests is clericalist and disrespectful.”
(from The Tablet)