We Are Church Sees Hope for the World and the Catholic Church in Final Report of Amazon Synod;
But the perpetuation of women’s lower-class status in our Church remains a grave injustice
October 27, 2019. We Are Church International sees reason for hope in the final document issued at the conclusion of the Amazon Synod. We Are Church International (WAC-International) stands in solidarity with all the people of the Amazon whose representatives have so bravely and passionately articulated the urgent crisis facing all of humanity due to the ecological destruction that has been underway in the region for decades. We stand with the indigenous leaders who spoke so passionately about the threats to their peoples and cultures and who stood firm against the economic imperialism that has led to the deaths of so many in the area.
WAC-International applauds the Synod in its recognition of the existential threat that the destruction of the Amazon poses, to the people of the region and to all life on earth and celebrates the Synod’s calls for action to end the prioritization of profits over people. We commit to change our own lives and behavior to support these changes.
WAC-International also sees reason for hope in the Synod’s recognition that our Church’s current requirements for ministerial priesthood means that many are denied access to the Sacraments. We believe that movement towards opening opportunities for official ministry is essential. Opening ministerial priesthood to married men is a step that could have significant ramifications for our global church. However, this is only a baby step when a great leap forward is needed. The failure of the all-male voting members of the Synod to recognize the ministry already being done by women, in the Amazon and across the world, by opening ordained ministries to them, is a perpetuation of the sexism and discrimination that are deep flaws in our church. We agree with Pope Francis that “the document falls short of what the woman is; in the transmission of faith, in the preservation of culture." Re-opening the Commission on Women in the Diaconate is a half-measure at best. We also reject the transparent attempt to bar gay men from ministerial priesthood by insisting that those ordained must have “a legitimately constituted and stable family."
WAC-International further appreciates the fact that the voices of those most intimately involved were heard and taken so seriously at the Amazon Synod. However, we question why the women present were given voice but not vote, while men had both. This perpetuation of women’s lower-class status in our Church’s decision-making is unjust and deprives the Church and the world of the full range of human expertise and talent.
We Are Church International (WAC-I) founded in Rome in 1996, is a global coalition of national church reform groups. It is committed to the renewal of the Roman Catholic Church based on the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the theological spirit developed from it.
Colm Holmes Marianne Duddy-Burke, USA,
Chair, We Are Church International Media, We Are Church International
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