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Pope Francis Says Women Can Read At Mass But Can’t Be Ordained As Priests. Baby Steps, Right?

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I often say that despite all the hardships and challenges, now is a great time to be a woman. Don’t get me wrong, I know the rise in violence against women is a looming threat but we can’t ignore the fact that women have come a long way. Today, we have the liberty to do things that women 20 years ago wouldn’t even dream about. And if that isn’t progress that should be celebrated, what is? Speaking of progress, in a landmark change for the Catholic church, Pope Francis changed the church law to allow women to serve at Mass as readers and distributors of communion. Although, he specified that this does not mean that women can be priests. But hey, baby steps, right? 

Pope Francis changed the law of the Catholic Church to allow women to do more things at Mass. He amended the law to formalise what is common practice in many parts of the world. Women can read the Gospel and serve on the altar as eucharistic ministers. Traditionally, this role was reserved strictly for men. Though sometimes exceptions were made. 

The pontiff, however, noted that these roles were fundamentally different from allowing women to be ordained as priests. The Vatican reserves priesthood for men. He said that this amendment was made to increase the role of women in the church. Also, to recognize the contribution that women make in the church. 

Also Read: Pope Francis Endorses Same-Sex Civil Unions In A Documentary About His Life. But Will This Stay This Way?

While reporting this decree, the Vatican website said that women had been performing these duties under the authority of local bishops for a number of years now. But until now, they lacked formal support from the Pope. 

The site quoted Francis as writing in a letter talking about his decision that “within the spectrum of renewal traced out by the Second Vatican Council, the urgency is being ever more felt today to rediscover the co-responsibility of all of the baptised in the church, and the mission of the laity in a particular way.” 

This change comes as Pope Francis is under pressure to allow women to be deacons ordained ministers who perform many of the same functions as priests. Such as, preside over weddings, baptisms or funerals. The pontiff created a second study commission of experts to find out whether women could be deacons. 

The people in favour of the church being more inclusive of women say allowing them to deacons would give women a greater say in the ministry and the governance of the church. It would also help solve the priest shortages in several parts of the world. However, the people against this decision say that this could be a slippery slope towards ordaining women into priesthood. 

Even though Pope Francis has only allowed women to serve at Mass, it’s still a small victory. This is one step closer to equality. It means that the traditional Catholic Church is opening its doors and becoming increasingly inclusive. This decision by the Pope changes quite a few things. Hopefully, one day women will have the roles and duties in the Church as men do.

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