Synod on women’s role in the Church

A synod on women’s role in the life and mission of the Church has been proposed.

The proposal is contained in a statement approved by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America’s plenary assembly.

The Commission, which includes 22 Latin American cardinals and bishops, said it was both possible and “urgent” to increase opportunities for women at the parish, diocesan and Vatican level. Fifteen women were included in the meeting.

The proposal asks the Church to “multiply and widen the places and the opportunities of women’s cooperation to pastoral structure” in parishes, dioceses, episcopal conferences and in Roman Curia.

To do this, the Church “must be freed from prejudices, stereotypes and discriminations” women are subjected to.

“There still exist ‘macho,’ bossy clerics who try to use women as servants within their parish, almost like submissive clients of worship and manual labour for what is needed. All of this has to end,” the Commission says.

They warned that if the church doesn’t fix the problem soon, women will simply leave.

The proposal goes on to say “pastoral conversion” is needed to ask women’s forgiveness “for all the situations” in which Christian communities “have been and are accomplices of attempt against women’s dignity.”

Local dioceses need to be courageous and need to “denounce all the forms of discrimination and oppression, of violence and exploitation” to which women have been subjected.

The Commission says “cultural and ideological colonisation” spread from “well organised lobbies” sometimes “instrumentalising feminist claims” to argue against the truth of marriage and family need to be avoided.

It is – according to the document – “a needed and urgent opening” that requires “an investment in the Christian, theological and professional formation” of women – whether they are religious sisters or members of the laity – so that they can “work at the same level with men.”

Education tackling “male chauvinist resistance, frequent paternal and familiar absence, and irresponsibility in sexual behaviour” is needed, the Commission says.

Other ways to advance the proposal’s aims include promoting research in Catholic universities, changing mentality and a process of transformation similar to that which Pope Francis “made concrete” with the two synods on the family.

These synods led to the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, and have led to this October’s synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.

Pope Francis has often spoken about the importance of the role of women in society.

In 2016 he set up a commission to study the possibility of ordaining women as deacons.









News category: World.

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