The role of women in the Roman Catholic Church should be one of "service" -- and not "servitude" -- the pope said at a Vatican conference yesterday, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) website reports today (October 13, 2013).
Pope Francis, 76, said he "suffered" when he saw "in the Church, or in certain Church organizations... that the woman's service role slips into one of servitude."
He also singled out two dangers facing Catholic women, beginning with "motherhood being reduced to a social role." On the other hand, he said that the "sort of emancipation" that allows women to enter traditionally male domains may rob them of "the very femininity that characterizes them."
"The Church is a woman, a mother, that is what is beautiful," the pope told some 150 people attending the conference marking the 25th anniversary of the publication of papal text on the woman's vocation. Whatever cultural and social changes have occurred or may occur, "the fact remains that it is the woman who conceives, carries, and brings into the world the children of men," the pontiff concluded.