“No turning back” – women’s ordination to be discussed at Synod

Women's ordination

According to a pastoral theologian, women’s ordination will be a significant topic at the upcoming Synod on Synodality and there will be “no turning back” on the issue.

Klara-Antonia Csiszar, Professor of Pastoral Theology at the Catholic Private University of Linz, shared with Catholic media that while there will be no vote on ordaining female deacons, progress towards a more inclusive Church is underway.

Patience, Csiszar noted, is necessary for these changes to unfold.

Csiszar pointed out that the major theological challenge regarding women’s ordination revolves around the concept of “representatio Christi” – the representation of Christ in sacramental actions.

Despite unresolved questions, Csiszar believes that separating deacons and deaconesses from the traditional three-tiered (Deacon – Priest – Bishop) ordained ministry could be a viable solution.

Church of the Council

She also suggested that women could already take on leadership roles and decision-making powers, making the Church more synodal. She believes this approach can enhance Church structures and representation.

At the first Synod on Synodality assembly in October 2023, Csiszar witnessed the importance of diverse perspectives and the collaborative spirit, which she believes are crucial for developing improved Church structures.

The second and final part of the 16th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will convene in Rome in October 2024, concluding the Synod on Synodality that began in 2021.

In March, Pope Francis established ten study groups to explore various reform topics including women’s ordination and the possibility of a female diaconate.

Pope Francis instructed the study groups to submit their findings by the end of June 2025.

Csiszar criticised those who accuse the Synodal Process and Pope Francis of having a superficial reform agenda. She reflected on a lecture by council theologian Karl Rahner in 1965, noting that it may take generations to transition “from a Church that had a council to a Church of the council”.


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