LGBT+, polygamy, women: the Church provides food for thought on its future

LGBT+, polygamy, women: the Church provides food for thought on its future

Welcoming LGBT + people and divorcees, polygamy, marriage of priests, place of women, sexual violence: the Vatican published on Tuesday a preparatory document addressing a series of societal issues, as part of a global consultation on the future of the Church.

This 50-page document is intended to provide food for thought for the "Synod on Synodality", a gathering of bishops and lay people from all over the world whose first session will take place in October in Rome, before a second stage in October 2024. .

This gathering is part of a broad consultation of the 1,3 billion Catholics on all continents, invited for two years to express themselves on their vision of the Church and social issues.

The initiative was launched by Pope Francis, who wants to make the functioning of the Catholic Church less pyramidal.

“What concrete measures are needed to reach people who feel excluded from the Church because of their affectivity and sexuality (for example, remarried divorcees, people living in polygamous marriages, LGBTQ+ people, etc.)

He also underlines a "unanimous" concern of Catholics for the role of women, a subject dear to the Argentine pope who, moreover, in April opened the right to vote to women and non-consecrated lay people for this Synod, a first.

It has also multiplied the appointments of women to positions of responsibility within the Curia, the "government" of the Holy See.

The document thus questions the way in which women can be "better represented

in governance and decision-making processes, better protected against abuse and better compensated for their work".

Particular attention is given to the sensitive issue of the female diaconate, the access of women to the role of deacon, a very controversial debate within the Church.

The diaconate is currently reserved for men in the Catholic Church. Deacons can celebrate baptisms, weddings and funerals but not masses.

Another subject discussed was the possibility for married men to become priests in certain regions of the world.

In 2019, the bishops of nine countries gathered in Rome for the Synod on the Amazon had already proposed to the pope to open the priesthood to certain married indigenous men and asked for a relaunch of the debate on women deacons, explosive questions dividing traditionalists and progressive. The pope did not accept these suggestions.

The document also highlights the "open wounds" of the "abuse crisis": "sexual abuse, abuse of power and conscience, economic and institutional abuse", and calls for the pursuit of "concrete measures" to deal with it.

A Synod is generally followed by the publication, by the pope, of an "apostolic exhortation", an official document in which he makes recommendations to the faithful.

Editorial staff with AFP 

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