Vatican Roundup

No ban on female prime ministers for the Vatican

There is no reason why a woman could not become the Vatican’s “Prime Minister”, the current holder of that position has said at a press conference.

“A woman could become Secretary of State, in the sense that the role of the Secretary of State is evidently not bound to the sacraments or the priesthood,” Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin said, continuing, “in any case, let’s look at the path that has been travelled, and the Lord will tell us how far we can go.”

The cardinal was speaking during the presentation of an overhaul of a special section dedicated to women in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

Lucetta Scaraffia, who edits the special section ‘Women, Church, World’, which will now be published as a 40-page full-colour publication rather than a four-page black and white one, said “often we are still at the back bench,” continuing, “from there, we observe the life of the Church without our contribution being truly appreciated. Yet something is changing”.


Problem is ego, not eco

“At the centre of the eco-crisis is, in fact, an ego-crisis, expressed by human greed, anxiety, arrogance and ignorance,” Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, has said.

In a message to mark the Buddhist celebration of Vesakh, the cardinal said the teachings of both Christianity and Buddhism recognised this, and said the current ecological crisis is a call for a “profound interior conversion” adding to the urgency of interreligious cooperation.

Recalling Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, the cardinal wrote that as “the crisis of climate change is contributed to by human activity, we, Christians and Buddhists, must work together to confront it with an ecological spirituality”.


Communion rule unchanged

Pope Francis has not changed the Church’s teaching on the reception of Holy Communion by those who have remarried outside the Church, the Vatican’s ‘doctrinal watchdog’ has said.

In a talk to seminarians in Oviedo, Spain, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said Amoris Laetitia does not say the divorced-and-remarried can take Communion.

“If Amoris Laetitia wanted to overturn such a deep-rooted and important discipline, it would have expressed this precisely and given reasons for it,” he said, noting that the document’s controversial 351st footnote does not refer to Holy Communion for divorced Catholics who have entered into a subsequent civil marriage.


Lehmann wants openness

“Unauthorised people” in the Vatican have been vetoing potential bishops, Mainz’s Cardinal Karl Lehmann, the former head of Germany’s bishops’ conference has said.

Claiming that “in recent years” when the names of candidates for the episcopacy were submitted “the official list of names has been crossed out and a new list sent from Rome”. 

He described this practice, which he says has continued under Pope Francis’ pontificate, as exhibiting “a burdensome, intolerable disrespect for the Church in a given country”.

Maintaining that “these unlawful outside influences must be set aside and a proper voice given to those who’ll be living with the chosen candidate”, he said “if there really is something against a candidate, then the nuncio or Rome must talk about it with the cathedral chapter. Rome cannot just reject names without any comment”.