Pope Francis was very clear on the importance of women in the Church during the return flight from WYD in Rio: Women, he then said, are key.
POPE FRANCIS July 28th, 2013
"Our Lady, Mary, was more important than the Apostles, than bishops and deacons and priests. Women, in the Church, are more important than bishops and priests; how, this is something we have to try to explain better”.
He also expressed his concern in promoting the role of women in the Church during the 25 anniversary of the Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem. He recognized it was painful to see how sometimes the women's call to service is turned into "servitude.”
For the Pope, the presence of the "feminine genius” is important in society as well as in the public sphere. In an audience with the women of the Centro Italiano Femminile he asserted the "indispensable” role of women.
January 25th, 2014
"Over the span of these decades, alongside other cultural and social transformations, the identity and role of the woman in the family, in society and in the Church, has seen notable changes, and over all, the participation and responsibility of women has continued to grow.”
Francis wants the Church to have a "more incisive feminine presence,” as he declared on his interview to Civiltà Cattólica magazine. The Pope argued that reducing the debate to female priests means clericalizing women.