THE idea is circulating in Catholic circles after a Spanish newspaper quoted Juan Arias, a former priest from Brazil, saying that the idea of Francis appointing women cardinals “is not a joke. It’s something that Pope Francis has thought about before: naming a woman cardinal.”
Pope Francis has said repeatedly that he wants to see greater roles for women in the Catholic Church, and some now argue that he could take a giant step in that direction by appointing women to the College of Cardinals – the group that elects popes.
The concept has been given coverage in Italian media and a senior US Jesuit has even started a Facebook page soliciting nominees for the first female cardinal – including the name of Maryanne Loughry, associate director of the Jesuit Refugee Service in Australia .
Last year, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was asked during an interview on Catholic television whether a woman could be named a cardinal. Dolan agreed that it was “theoretically” possible.
some senior Catholics have suggested that it would be possible for the church to name women as cardinals without changing the church’s teaching regarding the ordination of only men to the priesthood.
The ball is rolling. Watch this space.