The role of women in the Catholic Church “must be addressed”


A prominent priestly representative in Ireland warned that the role of women in the Catholic Church must be addressed through the synod process that was launched today, or women risk withdrawing from the Church.

arish priest, Father Roy Donovan, a leader of the Catholic Priests Association which represents more than 1,000 Irish priests, told the Irish Independent that Pope Francis wants Church members to “speak with daring and fearless ”on issues such as the problem of a patriarchal church.

On Sunday, the synodal journey of the Church began on Sunday in dioceses around the world, including the 26 Catholic dioceses of Ireland.

In Limerick, Bishop Brendan Leahy declared that the objective of this phase of the synod was a consultation of the laity, but he stressed that it should not become a “discussion shop”.

He said that the Synod was taking place “at a critical time for the Church” and that the worldwide listening process reflected “the gravity of the moment in which we find ourselves”, a reference to the challenges facing the Church, in particular the decline in vocations and attendance at masses and clergy abuse scandals.

Pope Francis has asked every diocese in the world to consult the laity widely through a structured listening process by next Easter. People’s opinions on the reform and renewal of the Catholic Church will be sent to their bishops who will synthesize them for consideration by the Synod of Rome in 2023.

Pope Francis’ openness to listening to the views of all Church members through this synod has been hailed as the Church’s greatest event since Vatican Council II in the 1960s.

However, Dr Leahy in Limerick warned that the consultation was “not an opinion poll” or “a political convention”, but rather “conversations of faith”.

In Dublin, Archbishop Dermot Farrell told a cross section of church members, former prisoners, members of parish councils, priests and teachers, who gathered in St Mary’s Pro Cathedral, that the Church could not be invigorated by surveys or questionnaires or by producing a new document.

According to Father Roy Donovan, “The Church is not used to listening to the laity express themselves and this is undoubtedly a great challenge for those at the top of the pyramidal Church.

He said he hoped the structured listening process would provide the building blocks for a very different church, but called for the process to be open to discussion of all issues.

“Everything, including ‘red button’ issues such as women’s ordination, the priesthood celibacy requirement, and LGBT + teaching, must be on the table. “

“Hopefully everyone will follow the example of Pope Francis who gives full permission to speak our minds without fear, judgment and ridicule,” said Father Donovan.

The parish priest of Caherconlish, County Limerick, said the Church had warned: “Patriarchate is a stumbling block for mission.

“Christianity was founded by women, and then men took the ball away from them and haven’t returned it yet. There have been many encounters with women over the past decades; all ended the same – the women left. I fear that this is the story of the next Synod.

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