Women have legitimate claims to church equality says Pope

Women have legitimate claims to seek more equality in the Catholic Church, Pope Francis says.

The Church has to acknowledge a history of male domination and sexual abuse of women and children and it must repair its reputation among young people or risk becoming “a museum”, he says.

Francis made these comments in the 50-page “Apostolic Exhortation” he released on Tuesday, written in response to last October’s synod of the world’s bishops on ministering to young Catholics.

The “youth” synod took place against the Church’s clergy sex abuse crisis. Demands for greater women’s rights within the Church were among the issues discussed.

Among the bishops’ recommendations at the end of the synod was one saying the need for women to hold positions of responsibility and decision-making in the church is “a duty of justice.”

In response, Francis’s Exhortation says a church that listens to young people must be attentive to women’s “legitimate claims” for equality and justice, as well as better train both men and women with leadership potential.

“A living church can look back on history and acknowledge a fair share of male authoritarianism, domination, various forms of enslavement, abuse and sexist violence.

“With this outlook, she [the Church] can support the call to respect women’s rights, and offer convinced support for greater reciprocity between males and females, while not agreeing with everything some feminist groups propose,” Francis’s Exhortation says.

He does not, however, respond to demands by women participants at the synod that they be allowed to vote in future synods.

Although Francis acknowledges women’s claims are legitimate and and notes young people are complaining of a “lack of leading female role models,” his Exhortation offers no new ideas as to how to rectify this.


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News category: World.

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