Seven women seek leadership roles French Catholic Church hierarchy

Seven women are seeking leadership roles in the French Catholic Church heirarchy. These roles include positions as priests and bishops, which are officially reserved for men.

This is the latest push to give women a significant place in the Catholic hierarchy.

After submitting their candidacies for various leadership roles, including deacon, priest and bishop, the women attended a mass at the Madeleine church in central Paris to mark the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene.

French Catholic woman Anne Soupa, who in May declared herself a candidate to lead the archdiocese of Lyon, accompanied the seven women to Paris.

The post in Lyon has been vacant since Cardinal Philippe Barbarin stepped down last year as a result of a paedophilia scandal involving a priest in the diocese.

“The Church is experiencing a deep crisis, and we need to open up its doors,” says Soupa.

“Women are rendered invisible in the Catholic Church.”

“In this age of equality, when women’s abilities are recognised by all, we can’t continue like this.”

“This isn’t a move against the Church, but for it,” Soupa says.

Scores of paedophilia and sexual abuse charges have been laid before the Church throughout the world in recent years.

These charges have prompted calls for a major shakeup of the Church, which critics say has failed to adapt its traditions to the demands of the modern world.

Although Pope Francis backs many progressive causes such as allowing priests to marry, to date he has refused to allow women to be ordained or to open certain roles in the Church for them.

As an example, last year he declined to allow women become deacons, an ordained position just below that of priest. Proponents say allowing women to become deacons could help fill the gap in countries were priest numbers are dwindling.


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