As word spread that the final document of the Amazon synod will include recommendations about the ordination of women to the diaconate, bishops involved in the synod have taken a stand asking for more female participation and leadership in the Catholic Church.
“The participation of women in society and in the church is a question of mindset,” said Bishop Ricardo Ernesto Centellas Guzmán, head of the Bolivian episcopal conference. “We need to change that mindset so that not only does female participation increase, but it also becomes more significant.”
Guzmán spoke at the Wednesday (Oct. 23) news conference for the summit of bishops on the Pan-Amazonian region that began on Oct. 6 and concludes Sunday. Drawing from his experience of working closely with women in his own diocese, he said that while women represent a majority in the church, that is not reflected in leadership.
This week has witnessed a surge in discussions surrounding the possibility that, as a result of the synod, women may be ordained as deacons, which means that they would be able to preach, distribute the Eucharist and officiate at weddings, baptisms and funerals. Deacons may not hear confessions or consecrate the Eucharist.
On Sunday, about 40 bishops attending the synod met in St. Domitilla in Rome to renew the “Catacomb Pacts” of 1965, which stand for a preferential option for the poor, a sustainable and respectful relationship with the planet and the promotion of women.
The bishops vowed to “recognize the services and real diakonia of a great number of women who today direct communities in the Amazon and seek to consolidate them with an adequate ministry of women leaders in the community.”
Women made their own stand on Monday, as members of Women’s Ordination Worldwide marched near the Vatican chanting “Empowered women will save the Earth; Empowered women will save the church.”
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Source: Religion News Service