Friday, October 4, 2019

Sign Petition- To Pope Francis, Synod Officials, Cardinals, Bishops Catholic Women Religious Superiors Should Vote at the Pan-Amazonian Synod

October 4, 2019

Yesterday, at the opening press conference for the Amazon Synod, the head of the Synod office, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri confirmed that women religious will not be voting this year. Of the 265 participants, 33 are women (10 are women religious from the International Union of Superiors General) and none will be voting.

This is the case even though Pope Francis has made an exception again, this year, for a non-ordained male religious to vote. This is the third time since his pontificate began. In 2015, there was one non-ordained male superior. In 2018, there were two. And in 2019, there is one non-ordained male religious (who is not a superior). 

According to Episcopalis Communio, Pope Francis' update of Pope Paul VI's Apostolic Constitution regulating the way synods are organized, he can make an exception when he deems it necessary. 

§2. According to the theme and the circumstances, certain others who are not Bishops may be summoned to the Synod Assembly; their role is determined in each case by the Roman Pontiff.

Because non ordained male religious and female religious have the same ecclesial status in the Church, to continue to reserve the right to vote to males only, even males who are not ordained, is a troubling display of sexism in need of transformation by the Gospel message. 

Further, women religious themselves have been hard at work lobbying for more representation and voting rights. Last year the International Union of Superiors General (UISG represents 600,000 religious women) and the Union of Superiors General (USG represents 185,000 priests and brothers) worked on a proposal to create greater equality for women at the synods and to open the vote to them. By all accounts, the proposal went directly to Pope Francis. Still women are not voting.

In the face of this continued discrimination and because synods are meant to be places where the whole People of God gather to share wisdom, we will not stop our work until women have the vote.

Also, the Women's Ordination Conference has launched a letter writing campaign asking Catholics to contact the synod office and the secretary general of the Synod, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri to open the vote to women.

Please, do your part!

The Church needs the wisdom, experience, and voices of women, especially at synods and especially as we seek to heal our earth and our church! 

Let's make it a reality together!

Deborah Rose-Milavec & Russ Petrus

Deb will continue with her daily reporting from Rome! Her reporting is really making a difference both at the Synod and in the daily lives of Catholics around the world. Here's just some of what people are saying: 

"In 1971, they Synod of Bishops wrote, “While the Church is bound to give witness to justice, she recognizes that anyone who ventures to speak to people about justice must first be just in their eyes. Hence we must undertake an examination of the modes of acting and of the possessions and life style found within the Church herself.”

As we come to the 2019 Special Pan-Amazonian Synod which will begin in a few days, we ask to what degree this prophetic 1971 statement of the bishops is being fulfilled.  

Because the synod is dealing with the serious issues of reclaiming the health of our planet and our church,  we know that the voice of women will be critical. 

Yet, we know that women religious who are invited as auditors at this upcoming synod will not have a deliberative voice because they will not be able to vote.  

So today, we want to explore this question of justice within the church through the lens of the work of women religious. "

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