Pope Benedict's Right-Hand Woman


#1

I thought this was very interesting.

beliefnet.com/story/165/story_16598_1.html?rnd=822


#2

Fascinating article! Thank you. :slight_smile:


#3

Interesting. I think the author may be reading too much into the situation, though. Of course I don’t know, but it’s entirely possible Pope Benedict is just continuing to rely on a trusted advisor, and not intending to make any sweeping statements about the role of the laity in the upper levels of the church. However, it’s nice to see that he respects and values a woman’s opinion.


#4

I agree with dwc and I would go further and say that she doesn’t seem really to be an advisor but just – as the article acknowledges wire reports to describe her as – a housekeeper and also a secretary. There’s nothing new or unusual about woman housekeepers and woman secretaries.

I think the article is trying to make news where there isn’t any.


#5

Well, according the article, she is a former university professor who holds an advanced degree, speaks 3 languages and translates and “ghostwrites” for him. That’s hardly the stuff of a housekeeper. I’m thinking he has her in the housekeeper/ live in personal assistant role because in our church hierarchy there isn’t any other accepted place for a woman. I think advisor is the appropriate term for her, I just don’t think that this signals any widespread change in the roles of women or laity in the church.


#6

A German “housekeeper” does a lot more than clean the carpet and cook dinner. She runs an establishment, usually a manse.

HOWEVER, I think the liberal press is missing hte point, as per usual.


#7

[quote=dwc]Well, according the article, she is a former university professor who holds an advanced degree, speaks 3 languages and translates and “ghostwrites” for him. That’s hardly the stuff of a housekeeper. I’m thinking he has her in the housekeeper/ live in personal assistant role because in our church hierarchy there isn’t any other accepted place for a woman. I think advisor is the appropriate term for her, I just don’t think that this signals any widespread change in the roles of women or laity in the church.
[/quote]

I said a housekeeper and a secretary. It is common for secretaries to ghost write letters for their bosses. It happens all the time in work places. Speaking 3 languages is not uncommon in Europe. Most people in Europe know more than one language. In Germany, virtually everyone knows more than one language (I haven’t looked this up but I am pretty sure this is the case).


#8

Yes, but someone who was a university professor and holds an advanced degree? Even if she’s a combination secretary/manse overseer, that’s seriously overqualified. And, according to the article, Stampa is Benedict’s secretary as Dwiswiz (sp?) was John Paul’s secretary. Also, she supposedly has been given the same authority as his other aides to speak to the press in his name.

It seems there’s an unwillingness to accept that she’s an intelligent, well educated woman who provides more than secretarial or housekeeping duties. Why is that? Is the objection to women in that role in general, or just women in that role in the church? If it’s specific to the church, is it against some doctrine? What would be wrong with the Pope having a learned woman as an advisor?

I agree that the article makes too much of this, and I can see where the article’s hopeful tone and reference to VOF might make some wary – but, if you look at just the facts about Stampa, would there be anything wrong about the Pope using her as one of his inner circle, advisors, whatever you want to call them?


#9

[quote=dwc]Yes, but someone who was a university professor and holds an advanced degree? Even if she’s a combination secretary/manse overseer, that’s seriously overqualified. It seems there’s an unwillingness to accept that she’s an intelligent, well educated woman who provides more than secretarial or housekeeping duties. What would be wrong with the Pope having a learned woman as an advisor?
[/quote]

I’m pretty sure Benedict XVI is WAY more learned than she is ;). And with due respect to lovers of music, her degree was in music. I don’t think she was a university professor. It says she was a professor (i.e. teacher … note that in some languages teacher is expressed as “professor” like in Spanish for example) at a music conservatory.

You seem to be saying that housekeepers and secretaries are not intelligent and not well-educated :wink:

I don’t think anyone who works for the pope, whether as an advisor or as a housekeeper/secretary would consider themselves to be overqualified … they’d feel privileged to be able to work for him.


#10

;)You seem to be saying that housekeepers and secretaries are not intelligent and not well-educated

Hm, you’re trying to put words in my mouth. Why’s that? I make no assumptions about the intelligence levels of individuals within a group, but I will say that housekeepers and secretaries most often are not as well educated as university professors or people with advanced degrees. I’m sure you’ll admit that.:wink:

Why the comparison between Stampa’s learnedness and the Pope’s? Where did that come from, as it wasn’t in any of my posts or the article? I’m sure Pope Benedict is more learned than many of his male advisors, as well. Does the fact that they don’t equal him in learning negate their education and knowledge as well as hers? Or does that only work for women?

Again, why the resistance to the idea that the Pope might value a woman for more than housekeeping or secretarial duties?


#11

[quote=dwc]Why the comparison between Stampa’s learnedness and the Pope’s? Where did that come from, as it wasn’t in any of my posts or the article? I’m sure Pope Benedict is more learned than many of his male advisors, as well. Does the fact that they don’t equal him in learning negate their education and knowledge as well as hers? Or does that only work for women?
[/quote]

I just don’t think she is an advisor. Her degree is in music. So I suppose she could advise him about musical matters and may even exchange some friendly banter should the Pope decide to write an encyclical or other letter dealing with music (which well he might)

Again, why the resistance to the idea that the Pope might value a woman for more than housekeeping or secretarial duties?

I’m sure he does value her for more than that since she is his friend – so he values her as a friend.

But to answer your question … I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it and get back to you.


#12

No hurry. It was rhetorical, anyway.:slight_smile:


#13

[quote=dwc]And, according to the article, Stampa is Benedict’s secretary as Dwiswiz (sp?) was John Paul’s secretary.
[/quote]

Maybe I misread the article but I thought it said or implied that there was a separate priest secretary.

Also, she supposedly has been given the same authority as his other aides to speak to the press in his name

It may just be that he didn’t want her to feel left out :slight_smile: I wouldn’t make too much of it.


#14

You’re right. I’m sure he would give his cook, dishwasher, laundress, toilet scrubber, and typist the same authority to speak for him as his aides who are priests.:rolleyes: That’s all she is, and he’s just being a nice guy. Never mind if she misspeaks using his authority … :rolleyes:


#15

[quote=dwc]You’re right. I’m sure he would give his cook, dishwasher, laundress, toilet scrubber, and typist the same authority to speak for him as his aides who are priests.:rolleyes: That’s all she is, and he’s just being a nice guy. Never mind if she misspeaks using his authority … :rolleyes:
[/quote]

You don’t seem to have a very high view of cooks, housekeepers, and secretaries (being a secretary is more than just being a typist … sometimes secretaries are called office managers or things like that)

Since she is his friend, I’m sure she won’t misspeak any more than the other people.

Most professional chefs/cooks btw are men, not women. :slight_smile:


#16

[quote=dwc]You’re right. I’m sure he would give his cook, dishwasher, laundress, toilet scrubber, and typist the same authority to speak for him as his aides who are priests.:rolleyes: That’s all she is, and he’s just being a nice guy. Never mind if she misspeaks using his authority … :rolleyes:
[/quote]

Wow. It appears that you are blowing this lady’s position way out of proportion and belittling and berating workers who do much of the housekeeping and secretarial work for priests and yes, even the pope.

Secretaries are usually college-educated. I certainly had a college degree when I was in the work force as a secretary. And it involves far more than a mere “typist.”

A secretary is responsible for setting up appointments and itineraries, for instance. Can you imagine how daunting that is for the pope?

The duties of secretary are varied, and not to be confused with that of typist or receptionist. A secretary acts as a personal assistant, and it is a demanding job which requires loyalty, skill, organization, confidentiality, and professionalism.

To try to make this lady some sort of theological consultant would be incorrect.

To accuse others of diminishing her role to that of toilet scrubber is also extreme. No one but you has said such.

All they are saying is that “Secretary” doesn’t mean “Theological Advisor.” And they are quite correct.

No need to embellish her role, nor diminish it. She’s a qualified Secretary and a trusted friend. Glad to hear the Cardinal has such a person in his employ, regardless of gender. :rolleyes:


#17

Benedict has tapped Stampa, a 55-year-old German laywoman and academic who has served as his live-in personal assistant since 1991, to bring her counsel, support, and “brain trust” role to Catholicism’s most hallowed corridor of power. Stampa, who has never married, is a lay affiliate of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, a group founded in 20th century Germany which, according to its publications, is dedicated to forming “a community of lay leaders in the Church and secular spheres.

I don’t think I’m overstating her role, based on the article. I’m also not demeaning secretaries and housekeepers. What I’m doing is asking if her only acceptable role to you, tuopalo, and now you, panis, would be as housekeeper and secretary.

I’ve asked several variations of this question and no one has answered it. So, let’s try it this way: assume for the moment that her role is not limited to her housekeeping and secretarial duties, but that she also acts as counsel and brain trust to the Pope. Do you have a problem with that?


#18

And my point was that a good secretary is personal assistant, counsel and brain trust, not a mere typist, as you may think. So obviously, no, I don’t have a problem with this person assisting His Holiness.

What I do have a problem with is folks trying to blow it out of proportion (either by explosion or implosion) and make this individual’s role appear to be something that it isn’t.

I’m glad to hear that His Holiness has a wonderful, trusted, intelligent personal assistant.

No more, no less.


#19

[quote=dwc] I make no assumptions about the intelligence levels of individuals within a group, but I will say that housekeepers and secretaries most often are not as well educated as university professors or people with advanced degrees. I’m sure you’ll admit that.:wink:
[/quote]

Lumping housekeepers and secretaries into a group of lower academia and elevating this professor of a music conservatory to the status of university professor is an example of your diminishing the intellectual expertise of a secretary and potentially expanding that of this particular personal assistant.

Again, why the resistance to the idea that the Pope might value a woman for more than housekeeping or secretarial duties?

If there was an indication that the Pope might have appointed her to some higher office, no resistance would be forthcoming. But by all indications, the woman is a secretary. Is that not good enough for you?

Perhaps you’ve never had a secretary/personal assistant. If you had, I think you would value their skills, intellect, and service far more than you’ve expressed in this thread.

Peace.


#20

And my point was that a good secretary is personal assistant, counsel and brain trust, not a mere typist, as you may think. So obviously, no, I don’t have a problem with this person assisting His Holiness.

Thank you, I appreciate the answer.


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