The founder of the Vatican’s women’s magazine resigned in protest, citing a 'climate of distrust'

Lucetta Scaraffia
(Image credit: AP Photo / Domenico Stinellis)

Pope Francis has talked a fairly big game when it comes to women playing a more decisive role in the future of the Catholic Church. At the Vatican's summit on clerical abuse in February, many of the conference's prominent speakers were women. But it appears that it the Holy See is still a long ways off from actually ushering this vision into reality.

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the founder and all-female editorial board of the Vatican's women's magazine, Women World Church, resigned in protest. Lucetta Scaraffia, the founder of the magazine, told The Washington Post that the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano put an increasing amount of pressure on her magazine to change its editorial line, even threatening to replace her with the paper's male editor. In particular, the Post reports that the Vatican was intent on cutting down on women's voices on issues like clerical abuse of nuns.

Scaraffia is known as a "comparatively liberal" voice within the Vatican, per the Post, and AP described as "perhaps the most prominent woman at the Holy See." Despite her standing, she saw little point in continuing.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

"We are throwing in the towel because we feel surrounded by a climate of distrust and progressive de-legitimization," Scaraffia wrote in an open letter to Pope Francis. She added that she saw a return to to the "antiquated" custom of Vatican authority granting power only to women they considered trustworthy and who would remain "under direct control of men."

AP described the resignations as a "blow to Francis' efforts to give greater decision-making roles to women at the Vatican." Andrea Monda, the editor of L'Osservatore Romano, denied that the paper tried to weaken Scaraffia's editorial freedom.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.