Following the meetings in December 2023, the Pope’s Council of Cardinals, and the Pope himself, have resumed their gatherings in 2024, starting on Monday, January 5.

Specifically, the Monday morning was dedicated to “deepening the reflection, initiated last December, on the role of women in the Church,” according to a statement distributed to the accredited press through the Press Office’s Telegram channel.

Three women participated and contributed to this deepening: two Catholics and one who is not. Among the Catholics were Sister Linda Pocher, a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians and a professor of Christology and Mariology at the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences Auxilium in Rome, and Giuliva Di Berardino, a consecrated member of the Ordo Virginum, from the Diocese of Verona, a professor, and responsible for courses on spirituality and spiritual exercises.

The surprise was the presence of an Anglican “bishop”: Jo Bailey Wells, the Vice Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion. As is known, the Catholic Church does not recognize the apostolic succession of Anglicans, much less the “priesthood” of the Church of England. It is not specified in what capacity Mrs. Wells participated, but visibly, she wore clerical attire.

The work of the Council of Cardinals continued in the afternoon on Monday, February 5, and will extend into Tuesday, but on other topics. Regarding the role of women, in the speech to the International Theological Commission in November 2023, Pope Francis said that the role of women in the Church is not solved through the ministerial path:

“One of the great sins we have had is to ‘masculinize’ the Church. And this is not resolved through the ministerial path; that is another thing. It is resolved through the mystical path, through the real path. Balthasar’s thought has given me much light: the Petrine principle and the Marian principle. This can be debated, but both principles are there. The Marian is more important than the Petrine because there is the Church as a bride, the Church as a woman, without being masculine.”

In 2016, Pope Francis created a commission to study the issue of women deacons.

During the Council of Cardinals’ meeting, Canadian Cardinal Gérald Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec, who recently prudentially stepped back from public ministry after being accused of alleged abuse, was present. He denies the allegations.