Currents News Staff
On Friday the Pope met at the Vatican with the International Union of Superiors General.
More than 800 Superiors from different congregations had come to Rome for their plenary assembly.
They received the Pope with enormous enthusiasm, as well as some nervousness.
“I never imagined I would be at the right hand of the Father,” said one Superior in attendance.
Pope Francis then decided to put aside his prepared speech and give a more spontaneous one instead, speaking to them about the commission that is studying female deacons during the early times of Christianity.
This commission is one which the International Union of Superiors General had requested. The Pope told the union he would give them a preliminary report as experts continue to work on the issue, despite many holding different positions on the topic.
“I cannot make a sacramental vow without theological, historical foundation,” he told the Superiors at the assembly.
“There has been a lot of work, but there are little results. However, it is a step forward. Certainly there was a form of women deacons, especially in Syria and in that area. In time I will call the members of the commission to find out the latest updates,” he said, holding firm to the belief that the commission must continue to move forward in its studies.
Pope Francis also spoke to the Superiors General about the reality of abuses in the Church, the role of religious in those instances, and answered questions.
He said he has been aware of the abuses of power, conscience and sexuality that many religious have suffered. For this reason, he wanted to make one point clear:
“The abuse of nuns is a serious problem. I am also aware of it here in Rome. I am aware of the problems from the information that I receive. Not only of the sexual abuse of nuns, but the abuse of power and the abuse of conscience. We must fight against this,”
“Please, service yes, servitude no. You have not become religious to become the cleaners of a clergyman, no,” he told the women.
He also responded to an invitation made to him by another religious for the next plenary session of the Superiors General, to be held in three years time.
“I will seriously consider it. However, if I will be alive to participate in the next assembly I don’t know,” he said.
“If I’m alive I will go. If not, remind the successor,” he told them.
They ended this meeting by all praying the Regina Coeli together.