Pope to Nuns: Don't Be 'Old Maids'

Francis warns against dangers of careerism at Superiors General meeting

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted May 8, 2013 11:13 AM CDT

(Newser) – Pope Francis has told nuns from around the world that they must be spiritual mothers and not "old maids." Francis also warned the sisters against using their vocations for personal ambition, saying priests and sisters who do so "do more harm to the church." Francis has complained frequently about such "careerism" in the church—a buzzword that is frequently used to describe Holy See bureaucrats.

The pope made the comments during an audience today with about 800 sisters attending an assembly of the International Union of Superiors General, which gathers the leaders of women's religious orders from some 75 countries. The meeting came before Francis' general audience in St. Peter's Square, where in a break with tradition, he walked around a quadrant of the square greeting pilgrims.

Pope Francis is hugged by a young girl with whom he exchanged skull caps after stepping out of his pope-mobile to walk the last part of his way to the altar, to deliver his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, May, 8, 2013.
Pope Francis is hugged by a young girl with whom he exchanged skull caps after stepping out of his pope-mobile to walk the last part of his way to the altar, to deliver his weekly general audience in...   (Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis steps out of his pope-mobile to greet faithful and walk the last part of his way to the altar to deliver his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, May, 8, 2013.
Pope Francis steps out of his pope-mobile to greet faithful and walk the last part of his way to the altar to deliver his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, May, 8, 2013.   (Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis exchanges skull caps with a young girl on his way to the altar, to deliver his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, May, 8, 2013.
Pope Francis exchanges skull caps with a young girl on his way to the altar, to deliver his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, May, 8, 2013.   (Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis puts on his head a skull cap he was given by young girl, partially seen at left behind blue cap, after stepping out of his pope-mobile to walk the last part of his way to the altar, to deliver his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at...
Pope Francis puts on his head a skull cap he was given by young girl, partially seen at left behind blue cap, after stepping out of his pope-mobile to walk the last part of his way to the altar, to deliver...   (Andrew Medichini)
Chlidren hold banners with writing reading in Italian Pope kiss me, as Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican for his weekly general audience, Wednesday, May 8, 2013.
Chlidren hold banners with writing reading in Italian "Pope kiss me", as Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican for his weekly general audience, Wednesday, May 8, 2013.   (Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis kisses a baby as he arrives in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican for his weekly general audience, Wednesday, May 8, 2013.
Pope Francis kisses a baby as he arrives in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican for his weekly general audience, Wednesday, May 8, 2013.   (Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis caresses a child as he is driven through the crowd in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican during his weekly general audience, Wednesday, May 8, 2013.
Pope Francis caresses a child as he is driven through the crowd in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican during his weekly general audience, Wednesday, May 8, 2013.   (Andrew Medichini)
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