CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters

Church needs to promote women’s gifts

By  Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
  • October 28, 2015

VATICAN CITY - If the Catholic Church did more to recognize and promote women it could help their status across society, said the Synod of Bishops on the Family.

The Church should show “greater recognition of their responsibility in the Church: their participation in decision-making processes, their participation in the governance of some institutions, their involvement in the formation of ordained ministers,” said the final report of the Synod.

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, told reporters that “while nothing specifically was proposed in terms of where that would be in terms of Church structure, there is the call to continue to move forward on this.”

The position of women in the Synod itself came up Oct. 24 at a press briefing before the Synod’s voting members — all men — began approving the document. Br. Herve Janson, superior of the Little Brothers of Jesus, was asked how, as a person who is not ordained, he was invited to vote at the Synod while the superior of a women’s order was not.

“It’s a question I raised as well and I wondered whether or not I should accept,” said Janson. Pope Francis appointed 30 women as observers or experts, but none had the right to vote.

In the section of the report dedicated to women, approved by a 251-9 vote, delegates wrote of the “determinant role of women in the lives of individuals, the family and society.”

The condition of women in the world “is subject to great differences that derive mostly from socio-cultural factors,” it said. “The dignity of women must be defended and promoted.”

The report denounced the “phenomena of growing violence to which women are subjected in the family,” as well as the exploitation of women and attempts to force women to have abortions or undergo sterilization.

In a separate section on men, the document urged husbands and fathers to recognize how important they are in families, especially in educating their children. The report also told them that, as their wives spend more time working outside the home, they must accept more responsibility for domestic chores.

The report also addressed the pastoral needs of the elderly and people with disabilities, discussed the plight of migrants and refugees and condemned the tragedy of abortion while expressing sympathy for young mothers, abandoned children and those suffering the consequences of abortion. It also denounced euthanasia.

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