09:01 GMT +326 April 2018
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    Pope Francis delivers the Urbi et Orbi (Latin for ' to the city and to the world') Christmas' day blessing from the main balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Monday, Dec. 25, 2017

    Pope Francis Could Appoint a Woman Cardinal, Leading Church Figure Says

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    Comments by a leading American Catholic cleric hint that a woman could soon enter the College of Cardinals putting the leadership of the Church within reach for the first time in its history.

    The former Catholic Archbishop of Newark and now member of the College of Cardinals Joseph Tobin’s ground-breaking comments in an interview with the New York Times, reported January 11 on Life Site, on the need to include women in the governance of the Church come as Pope Francis has continued his policies of liberalizing the Church’s teachings.

    Now a member of the College of Cardinals, appointed by Pope Francis, Cardinal Tobin said in the  interview that he "doesn’t believe there is a compelling theological reason why the Pope couldn’t name a woman cardinal."

    "My favorite definition of heresy is 'an unwillingness to deal with complexity'. It’s a desire to simplify into one bite-sized morsel. My hope is that the complexity of the mystery of the church is always revered." — Cardinal Joseph Tobin

    Questions regarding whether women should be appointed to the Catholic priesthood has been under consideration by a commission initiated by the Pope in late 2016.

    Pope Francis has earned a reputation for offering a more theologically flexible approach to many fraught issues for the Catholic Church, including gay marriage, the ordination of married men as priests and action to combat climate change.

    He recently courted attention by saying he wished to see the translation of The Lord’s Prayer changed, arguing the current popular version implies that God can lead people into committing a sin.

    The Pontiff’s positions have made him highly popular among many Catholic churchgoers and even many non-Catholics despite facing significant internal opposition from more conservative figures within the Vatican. 

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