"A duty of justice"
For Immediate Release:  27 October 2018

The XV Ordinary Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment approved a final document calling the inclusion of women in decision-making structures a "duty of justice" and recommending "making everyone more aware of the urgency of an inescapable change."

The Women's Ordination Conference applauds the Synod's bold language on women and urges immediate action to break down all barriers to women's equality in Church structures.

With sadness we note the exclusion of any mention of voting rights for women religious superiors at the Synod, and regard this as a missed opportunity to model greater inclusion of women. Painfully and urgently, this work continues. 

We are also sad to note the choice of the Synod to dismiss the LGBT community in its fullness and revert to outdated notions of gender and sexuality.  

While the final document fails to mention women's ordination to priesthood or the diaconate, it suggests that women have been excluded from roles even where there is no "ministerial responsibility." Separating ordination from decision-making roles would greatly help the Church heal from the sins of clericalism and misogyny.

However, a "duty of justice" must also confront the denial of the institutional Church to recognize many women's call to priesthood. This discrimination deprives our Church of women's gifts and preserves a patriarchal culture that subordinates and oppresses those outside of the clerical caste.

We take seriously the document's call for "courageous cultural conversion," which requires the Church to have the courage to acknowledge and remedy the grave harm it has caused through its refusal to ordain women.

The document acknowledges the "impoverished discussion and path of the Church" because of the absence of women's voices, and we agree. And yet, any credible path forward must begin with equality for women: May our voices be heard, may our votes be counted, and may our vocations be celebrated.


Kate McElwee, Executive Director
+1 607-725-1364 (USA)  
+39 393 692 2100 (Italy)

Read More:  On October 3, Women's Ordination Conference organized a demonstration outside the Synod Hall, calling the bishops by name and using the refrain: "Knock, Knock! Who's There? More than half the Church!" In the following days, ten organizations published a petition, garnering more than 9,500 signatures calling for voting rights for women religious superiors at Synods.