Pope Asks Theologians to ‘Demasculinize’ the Church

Speaking to members of the International Theological Commission at the Vatican on Thursday, Pope Francis asked theologians, in an unscripted remark, to “demasculinize” the church.

“There is something I don’t like about you, if you excuse my honesty,” said Pope Francis, pointing out that only five women were among the more than 30 theologians. “We need to move forward on this. Women have a way of reflecting on theology that is different from us men,” he added.

The International Theological Commission is part of the Roman Curia and advises the Vatican’s doctrinal department on theological issues. The pope appoints its members, and women have been named as members since 2004.

The pope said he studied the Italian theologian Romano Guardini through the work of a woman, Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz, who he said influenced his understanding of women in theology. Francis also said that at his next meeting with the Council of Cardinals, a body that advises him on church matters, he and the cardinals would “reflect on the role of women in the church.”

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