He pointed to the appointment of a woman as vice governor of the Vatican City State and the inclusion of women on the Council for the Economy, which he called “a revolution, because women know how to find the right way, they know how to move forward.”
Pope Francis also mentioned, by name, Italian-American economist Mariana Mazzuccato, whom he recently appointed as a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
The appointment drew criticism because Mazzuccato has been an outspoken advocate of abortion rights on Twitter.
“And now, I put on the family council Mazzuccato, who is a great economist from the United States, to give a little more humanity to this,” he said.
Pope Francis spoke about women, abuse in the Church, the crisis in Lebanon, Muslim-Christian relations, and the war in Ukraine during the flight returning from a four-day visit to the Kingdom of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf.
Pope Francis was the first pope to ever visit Bahrain, an overwhelmingly Muslim nation.
His Nov. 3-6 trip included encounters with government officials, Muslim leaders, and the small Catholic community, including a Mass with around 30,000 people in Bahrain’s national soccer stadium.
The small Christian minority in Bahrain is mostly made up of immigrants, especially from India and the Philippines.
More than 70% of the total population — 1.5 million — is Muslim, while there are only about 161,000 Catholics living in the country, according to 2020 Vatican statistics.
There are two Catholic churches and 20 Catholic priests.
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Pope Francis was asked a question about an apparent lack of transparency regarding canonical sanctions taken by the Vatican against priests or bishops in cases of abuse.
He said the Catholic Church’s approach to the abuse crisis has been a work in progress, especially following the 2002 revelations in the Archdiocese of Boston.
“We are working,” he said. “Know that there are people in the Church who still do not see [the problem] clearly, they do not share. It’s a process that we are carrying out with courage, and not all of us have courage, sometimes the temptation to compromise comes to you. We are all slaves to our sins as well.”
“But the desire of the Church is to make everything clear,” he added, noting that he recently received two complaints of abuse “that had been covered up and not criticized well by the Church.”
“Immediately I said: a new study is being done and a new judgment is being made.”
“We are sinners you know, and the first thing we have to feel is shame, deep shame of that,” he said. “I think shame is a grace.”