A group of American and European theologians have published an appeal to Pope Francis for female Cardinals. Their request will also be printed in two magazines, the German “Publik-Forum” and the Swiss “Aufbruch” (which basically means “Let us go into a new future”).
They argue that since Cardinald do not need to be ordained a Cardinal, the Pope can remove the Canon Law requirement of Episcopal ordination before becoming one. Since it was the case up until the 19th century that laymen were made Cardinals, this could be possible today. Neither Tradition nor Scripture are against this, they say.
Among the signatories are Swiss theologian Helen Schüngel-Straumann, Professor Margit Eckholt, Swiss Capucin priest Anton Rotzetter, Austrian theologian and philosopher Walter Kirchschläger, America-based feminist theologian Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza as well as the board of the Swiss Catholic Women’s Association.
I agree that from those points it would indeed be possible, but it just doesn’t feel right. I think it would cause confusion. It’s interesting that they appeal to something from the “baaaad misogynist past” in order to make their point. I believe, though, that lay Cardinals were an absolute minority and the exception. Never were there female Cardinals, which could be an indication that even though there could be lay Cardinals, they couldn’t be women. I may be wrong, but I do believe the laymen were ordained before they were “cardinalised”.
What do you think?