My Response: Of course women should vote at this Synod. It is fair and just. Seriously, this is a Synod on discerning vocations, what young woman is going to discern a religious vocation when her voice and vote is not even represented at the Synod? Talking about a credibility gap.
This is a chasm and it is insulting to the people of God!
This Dutch bishop suggests a "Constitutive Council" for women since they are not equal members of the Church run by bishops. Then, most insulting of all, he blames the centuries old misogyny on Jesus who chose 12 apostles. In Romans 16:7 Paul praises Andronicas and Junia as prominent apostles who were his mentors. So there were more than 12 apostles and Junia was a woman apostle. The early Church Fathers called Mary of Magdala, the "apostle to the apostles."
The full equality of women in the Church and world is the voice of God in our time. It is a grave injustice to refuse to allow religious women to vote in this Synod, when male religious are permitted to vote. Half of the Church is excluded and it is certainly not Jesus' fault! If this sexist view continues to be espoused by the hierarchy, the next generation will continue to abandon Catholicism because of its sinful misogyny and exploitation of women as second class citizens in their own house. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, https://arcwp.org
VATICAN CITY — Although women's voices are welcome and included at the ongoing Catholic Synod of Bishops in Rome, women should not be allowed to vote during its deliberations, a Dutch bishop said.
"This is a bishops' synod," said Dutch Auxiliary Bishop Everard de Jong. "We have to listen to women, but there are no women bishops. We don't have women cardinals. We have to live with that."
De Jong, an auxiliary for the diocese of Roermond, Netherlands, spoke at a midday press conference Oct. 12, just hours after 10 organizations launched a petition calling for religious women superiors "to work and vote as equals alongside their brothers in Christ at meetings of the Synod of Bishops."
"As Pope Francis calls for 'a more incisive female presence' in the Church while calling the Synod 'a suitable instrument to give voice to the entire People of God …' (Episcopalis communio 25), we urge you to bring women into meaningful decision-making in every body of the Church, including the Synod," the petition said.
On its first day, the petition had garnered more than 2,000 signers. Organizers plan to hand deliver the petition to bishops, cardinals and all voting members at the synod, as well as to Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the synod's secretary general, beginning Oct. 18.
The petition noted that the 2015 synod on the family and this year's synod include non-ordained voting members who are religious brothers.
"If male religious superiors who are not ordained can vote, then women religious superiors who are also not ordained should vote. With no ontological/doctrinal barrier, the only barrier is the biological sex of the religious superior," the petition said.
But De Jong insisted that while "the presence of women is so clear and their voices so much heard" at the synod, they should not be allowed to vote at the Oct. 3-28 gathering, during which 267 prelates and 72 auditors are considering the needs of young people today.
Voting "is about who's going to be in charge," De Jong said, adding later that bishops "are responsible in the church. I can't help it; that's Jesus' choice," because he chose male apostles.
The bishop also said that women and men are different, joking: "They say man is the head of the family, but the woman is the neck and they turn the head, where we go."
But the bishops take women's concerns seriously, he said, and women's voices have been included in the pre-synod and as auditors at the month-long event. He also said he received input from women he knows, including his three sisters.
"We listen to women, I think," he said.
"Women's voices should be heard and they should be taken into account in the final document," De Jong added. He suggested that perhaps women could organize themselves into a "constitutive council" to communicate what they are thinking to the pope.