Belgian woman sues Church over deaconate training ban

Belgian woman sues church

A Belgian woman is suing the Catholic Church for gender discrimination after being denied entry into deaconate training.

Veer Dusauchoit, 62, claims her exclusion from the programme is solely because she is a woman.

“I want to train as a deacon because it interests me and I think that I will then have more tools to do what is expected of me here in the church. And I can’t do that because I’m a woman so, yes, I am indeed angry, but I’m also determined” Dusauchoit told Belgian broadcaster RTBF.

Dusauchoit has served her parish in Herent, near Leuven, for 30 years. There is no longer a priest there, so she works with other volunteers to lead celebrations of the word of God and funerals.

And so she decided to enrol in a four-year diaconate course.

However, the Belgian woman said her application was rejected once her gender was revealed during a phone call.

Unlawful and legally wrong

Supported by her congregation, Dusauchoit sees this as unlawful gender-based discrimination.

“My community understands my frustration” she told Radio2 in April. “This is unlawful and legally wrong.”

Without the commitment of women, “the church in Flanders would simply collapse,” Dusauchoit claimed.

The Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels has not commented on the ongoing legal proceedings. However, it reiterated the Church’s stance that only men can become deacons.

The diaconate is one of the three ordained functions within the Catholic Church, alongside the priesthood and the episcopate. Currently, only men can receive ordination.

Belgian bishops support including women in the diaconate but emphasise that this decision lies with the universal Church. The matter is expected to be discussed at the Synod on Synodality in the autumn.

The Mechelen civil court has one month to decide on Dusauchoit’s case.


English Katholisch

RTL info

CathNews New Zealand

Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , ,