A collective wants to abolish patriarchy in the Catholic Church


A "deep wound that taints" the Church: a collective of Catholic associations which wants to put an end to discrimination affecting women, met the episcopate on Monday, to present proposals intended to introduce new practices in the parishes.

Called the "Commission for the Study of the Place of Women in the Church (CEPFE)", this group, born last summer, brings together two feminist associations - the Skirt Committee, All Apostles! - joined by several other organizations interested in this issue.

He met on Monday Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of the Conference of Bishops of France (CEF), with the aim of reaching, together, "concrete proposals, in the short term that change life in the parishes and in the medium term that change lives throughout the Catholic Church,” Sylvaine Landrivon, theologian, member of All Apostles! told AFP.

The group's objective is to "break the clerical self-segregation which undermines the institution and which skews the transmission of the message of the Gospel by an overly patriarchal reading".

And according to him, "at the heart of the problems from which the Church suffers (...), the discrimination of women becomes unbearable".

"Women are relegated to menial tasks, in a minority position who are asked to do but not to speak, while it is women who run the parishes", analysis with AFP Geneviève Decrop, sociologist .

The latter analyzed, for the CEPFE, a study based on summaries produced this year by the faithful in the dioceses, within the framework of the modernization of the institution that Pope Francis has called for. A study presented this Monday to Eric de Moulins-Beaufort.

A deep unease

“From all the summaries emerges a deep unease about the place given to women in the Church, in its organizational structure as well as in the theological, canonical and sacramental dimensions. It is not just an imbalance, a malfunction to be corrected, but a deep wound which taints the past of the Church and affects its future”, writes Ms. Decrop.

In these reports, several proposals are put forward, in particular by the most “reforming” faithful: the abolition of celibacy for priests, the possibility for women to be ordained priests or deacons, or even an in-depth modification of the liturgy.

They indeed wish to “change the formats of the mass, so that it becomes a place of sharing of the word and the texts, and not only someone who comments”, affirms Geneviève Decrop.

These faithful aspire to "a Church animated and coordinated by men and women, trained and giving their time for the duration of a mandate, who would not be removed from social, professional, family life", according to the study.

In a second study, also presented this Monday at the CEF, Sylvaine Landrivon examined the place of women in the Bible, showing in particular that "there is no argument to found the confiscation of the priesthood by male individuals" .

So she proposes to the episcopate to work on “a non-patriarchal re-reading of the Scriptures”. Or to think about how to “prevent the institution from having a stranglehold on the private life” of women, in terms of contraception and abortion in particular.

In April, a "feminist" mass organized in Paris by a parish group in favor of better inclusion of women in the Catholic Church had sparked controversy, the diocese of the capital disapproving of this initiative.

The association All Apostles! made himself known in the summer of 2020, demanding that Catholic women be able to access positions reserved, in the Roman Catholic tradition, for male clergy.

The same year, Anne Soupa, president of the Committee of the Skirt, had applied to the archdiocese of Lyon to succeed Mgr Philippe Barbarin, in order to raise the question of the place of women in the governance of the Church.

The Editorial Board (with AFP)

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