Q: “You did not become a religious in order to become the maid of a priest,” Pope Francis said to superior generals in Rome. Does it represent a re-thinking of the role of nuns in the Church?
A: Nuns are not maids or servants. Of course, all of us are in a sense servants. But we need to show more consideration and respect to women religious. They are not second grade people. They need to be respected as co-workers and collaborators in the vineyard of the Lord, performing domestic tasks for those in need. In my diocese, nuns working in schools are not just employees or workers, they are co-workers. We need to rethink our attitude towards religious nuns. I think the Church is very much respectful to the dignity of women religious. In Vita Consecrata of Pope John Paul II, the church show-ed its respect to consecrated women and their extraordinary capacity for dedication. The church expresses gratitude and admiration for nuns and appreciation for the great work they do in today’s world. Without them, the Church will be very poor. They are doing the major part in the work of the church. If we still think of them as second grade, we are doing injustice to them.
Abp Leo Cornelio