Women’s ordination advocates rally at Vatican

Women's ordination

Advocates for women’s ordination in the Catholic Church gathered in prayer and solidarity at the Basilica of St Praxedes in Rome during the historic Synod on Synodality.

The Vatican has drawn the faithful from across the globe, including bishops and cardinals, for the month-long synod.

The synod, arising from a comprehensive global consultation of Catholics, addresses pressing issues within the Church including women’s ordination and the inclusion of LGBTQ individuals.

The working document guiding discussions at the synod, Instrumentum Laboris, acknowledges the appeals for the female diaconate.

This proposal would permit women to oversee Mass but not administer sacraments such as the Mass and Confession.

“When we received the Instrumentum Laboris we were very hopeful,” said Kate McElwee, the executive director of Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW).

However, women’s ordination advocates worry that limiting the discussion to the diaconate, without any mention of the words “ordination” or “ministry,” was a way of “constraining the Holy Spirit.”

Despite this concern, McElwee believes the event could be “a synod of surprises.”

In the lead-up to the synod, the US Bishops’ Conference invited McElwee to speak about female ordination to US delegates.

“Invitations from the institutional church are new to our movement and signal a novelty,” McElwee said. She added that the synod “not only looks different, but feels different.”

During the vigil titled “Let Her Voice Carry,” several women shared their deep emotional struggles within the Church. Patrizia Morgante, a member of the Italian group Donne per la Chiesa (“Women for the Church”) questioned how Church limitations affected her and other women.

Morgante highlighted a sense of incomplete acceptance and a perception that being a woman was seen as an obstacle to full participation in the Church’s life.

“I still believe in the Church,” Morgante said in her testimony. “I hope and dream of [a] Church that is a safe space for women and men to express their full vocation as [witnesses] of Jesus.”


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