POPE Francis urged a gathering of hundreds of nuns in the Vatican yesterday not to be “spinisters” or “old maids” but to act like “mothers” to the faithful.
The Argentinian Pope said despite their vows of chastity,nuns in the Roman Catholic Church still had maternal role to play.
“The odained woman is the mother.She must be a mother and not an old maid.You are mothers like the figures of Mary and the mother church,”he told 800 nuns ,who represented women’s religious orders from more than 70 countries.
He spoke in ltalian, using the word “zitella”,which means old maid or spinister.
“Forgive me if l talk like this but this maternity of consecrated life ,this fruitfulness is important.
“Be mothers,like the images of Mother Mary and the mother church.You are icons of Mary and the church.”
The Pope,76 who was elected in March,also told the lnternational Union of Superior General that nuns should show “obedience”.
Last month he endorsed a report,drawn up under his hard-line predecessor,Pope Benedict XVI,which censured an organisation representing nuns in the US for being overly liberalon issues such as abortion.
The Pope’s endorsement of the report,which criticised the Leadership Conference of Women Religious,ws the first signthat despite his modest,open style,he is likely t prove as much doctrinal conservative as Benedict.
The Vatican wants to overhaul the organisation,the largest umbrella group of American nuns,accusing it of veering from church doctrine on issues such as abortion and gay marriage and of promoting “certain radical femist themes”.
-The Daily Telegraph-