The war in Ukraine, climate change, and the role of women in the Church were among the pressing topics of discussion at this week’s meeting of the Council of Cardinals, which took place in the Vatican with the participation of Pope Francis.
It was the first meeting of the Council since the publication, in March, of the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate evangelium, which reforms the Curia in light of its service to the Church in the modern world.
The 41st meeting of the Council was opened by the coordinator, Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, who offered a reflection on the situation in Ukraine and the resulting socio-political, ecclesial, and ecumenical situation.
Pope Francis, for his part, informed the Council of the initiatives, variously undertaken by himself, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the Secretariat of State, to promote peace. The Members of the Council offered their support and encouragement for the Holy Father in his “tireless” efforts to resolve the conflict.
The Cardinals also discussed the issue of climate change and the upcoming COP27 meeting, set to take place in Egypt in November. Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, the Archbishop of Kinshasa, addressed the question, “Can we, as Church, together with other Confessions and Religions, give voice to these concerns?” He then analyzed the world situation and the needs and expectations for COP26 Glasgow, looking especially at the concerns of poorer nations in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Oceania.
Continuing a discussion begun in its February session, the Council took up the theme of women in the Church. Franciscan Sister Laura Vicuña, an indigenous woman from Amazonia, presented a report on the topic from a pastoral perspective, which was followed by a discussion with the Cardinals.
The Council also discussed the Holy’s Sees diplomatic service and the role and activities of Apostolic Nuncios; as well as the implementation of Praedicate evangelium, including an evaluation of steps already taken and of challenges to be faced.
Each of the Cardinals also reported on the socio-political and ecclesial situation in their respective continents, addressing issues of peace, health, poverty, as well as political concerns and pastoral challenges.
The Council of Cardinals concluded its 41st session on Wednesday, with its next session scheduled for June 2022.