Catholic nuns say Vatican still a patriarchy but improving


An umbrella group of Catholic nuns says that, while men dominate the Catholic Church, it is making progress.

Women are being given a stronger voice says the International Union of Superiors General (UISG).

The Vatican patriarchy is giving way somewhat.

Pope Francis has appointed a few women in senior Vatican managerial positions. He also gave women voting powers in this month’s synod.

This is the first time women have been allowed to vote in a bishops’ summit discussing church reforms.

Women priests

Although he has increased the opportunity for women’s voices to be heard, Francis has ruled out opening up the priesthood to women.

Speaking to the Foreign Press Association (FPA) in Rome on Wednesday, one of the UISG nuns expressed her exasperation.

The Church is “by and large fully led by a male hierarchy” and “if you ask if I have felt frustrated, yes I have felt frustrated” said UISG associate executive secretary Sister Mary John Kudiyiruppil (pictured).

“But I really think we are making progress.”

Another of the nuns, a UISG member and missionary from Ghana, Sister Maamalifar Poreku, told the FPA she doesn’t need to be ordained.

She and other women are already able to make an impact helping the poor and the needy, she explained.

Ordination isn’t necessary for this, she noted.

“I don’t think I am interested in being a priest and I am very happy with the vocation that I have … I don’t need to be at the altar to do anything,” she told the Foreign Press Association.

The 61-year-old said women priests “will happen” eventually, but “the way things move, I might not see it in my lifetime.

“We live in a patriarchal world … it is men who dominate, whether we like it or not. This is reality so, in the church, it is men who dominate and change in society, a patriarchal society is not easy.”

Enlarge your tent

One area the closed-door synod looked at was how the Church can be more welcoming – in particular to women, migrants, clerical sex abuse survivors, divorcees and victims of climate change and social injustice.

Conservatives are critical of this exercise.

Where to from here?

While Bishops completed their discussions on Saturday, they are set to begin again in October 2024.

A papal document outlining any changes in Church teaching will follow, most likely in 2025.

This means that, if there were changes in Church teaching, they would be a long way off US News reports.



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