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Conscience Magazine

New Cardinal Suggests “College of Women”

August 10, 2017

Cardinal Anders Arborelius of Stockholm has called for the creation of an advisory body of women that would, in addition to providing important counsel, offer more leader­ship roles for women within the church. Recently elevated by Pope Francis to the position of Sweden’s first-ever cardinal, the remarks build on earlier calls by the pope to increase the meaningful participa­tion of women at all levels of the church—at least in nonclerical ways. Describing the church as “a bit behind” in allowing for the leader­ship of women seen else­where in society, the new cardinal suggested that a college of women could be a significant step forward for Catholic women. Neverthe­less, the suggestion is consistent with the church’s ban on the ordination of women, meaning that such a college would likely be insufficient as a means of truly conferring authority on par with the highest ranking male members of the Magisterium.