HomeNewsFaith & ReligionDocument: Vatican to discuss voting rights for women, LGTBQ+ inclusion

Document: Vatican to discuss voting rights for women, LGTBQ+ inclusion

VATICAN CITY — An unprecedented global canvassing of Catholics has called for the church to take concrete steps to promote women to decision-making roles, for a “radical inclusion” of the LGBTQ+ community and for new accountability measures to check how bishops exercise authority.

The Vatican on Tuesday released the synthesis of a two-year consultation process, publishing a working document that will form the basis of discussion for a big meeting of bishops and laypeople in October. The synod, as it is known, is a key priority of Pope Francis, reflecting his vision of a church that is more about the faithful rank-and-file than its priests.

Already Francis has made his mark on the synod, letting lay people and in particular women have a vote alongside bishops. That reform is a concrete step toward what he calls “synodality,” a new way of being a church that envisions more co-responsibility in the key mission of spreading the Catholic faith.

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The document highlights key concerns that emerged during the consultation process, which began at the local parish level and concluded with seven continent-wide assemblies. It flagged in particular the devastating impact that clergy sexual abuse crisis has had on the faithful, costing the hierarchy its credibility and sparking calls for structural changes to remove their near-absolute power.

The synthesis found a “unanimous” and “crucial” call for women to be allowed to access positions of responsibility and governance. Without raising the prospect of women’s ordination to the priesthood, it asked whether new ministries could be created, including the diaconate – a reflection of a years-long call by some women to be ordained deacons in the church.

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