Catholic women are already fighting back in the face of their Amazon exhortation disappointment, after the Pope, in his response to the Amazon Synod published February 12, denied them the possibility of being ordained and restricted them to “other forms of service and charisms”.

Driving the news

As FutureChurch reports, Donna Per La Chiesa along with Women’s Ordination Conference, Voices of Faith, Catholic Women Speak and FutureChurch have organised a new push to ensure women religious superiors general have the same rights as their male equals and are able to vote in Bishops’ Synods.

That push came in a letter delivered to Vatican Synod secretary general and pro-secretary general Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri and Bishop Mario Grech, respectively.

Baldisseri had suggested that, after the disenchantment of women not being allowed to vote at last October’s Amazon Synod, the women’s rights group begin organising a new initiative for women’s votes now, in time for the next Synod.

The Catholic women’s groups responded quickly to Baldisseri’s invitation, drafted their petition, and gave it to Voices of Faith general manager Zuzanna Flisowska to hand in at the Synod office in Rome on January 30.

Full text of the Catholic women’s groups letter to the Vatican Synod of Bishops:

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri
Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops

Monsignor Mario Grech
Pro-Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops

January 28, 2020

Dear Brothers in Christ,

We represent associations and groups of Catholic lay women from different parts of the world. We join with Catholic women religious in this quest.

As you know, in the last three synods, male religious superiors who were not ordained were given voting privileges. Women religious superiors have the same ecclesial status as those men. But, they were excluded from fully participating in the synod because while their non-ordained brother(s) could vote, they could not.  

Members of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), the Union of Superiors General (USG), along with thousands of Catholics have requested that all the participation rights, including voting, be granted to women religious superiors.

‍In accord with Pope Francis’s call for synodality, this act would signal true synodality in our Church, the beginning of renewal for the whole Church and its ecclesial structures.

Women religious have dedicated their lives to serve Christ and the global Church. The wisdom, charism and experience of working on the margins that religious have, as well as the lay faithful, is a gift to the Church and to our synodal process.

We request that the synod rules be modified so that women religious superiors will be invited in at least equal numbers to male religious superiors and given the same rights and responsibilities for shaping and voting on important synod documents.

‍We are at the beginning of this new path, with the responsibility that comes from all the sisters and brothers who have delegated us and with the strength and peaceful belief that it is for the good of the whole Church, to formally ask that the regulations of the future Synod will include the right of voting for the women participating (at least the Superior Generals that will be present).

We are available and willing to collaborate, with the conviction that we all share the urgency to make our Church a truly place of full dignity and equality for all baptized.

Your sisters in Christ,       

Paola Lazzarini
Deborah Rose-Milavec
Kate McElwee
Zuzanna Flisowska  
Tina Beattie

Next on Novena:

Catholic women plead for end to Church oppression: “Every woman wants to be respected in her dignity”

Catholic women launch global pilgrimage for equal rights, healing of “broken” Church

Feminist theologian blames Church misogyny for Amazon Synod’s lack of impact on climate change

German-speaking Catholic women band together for urgent reform of “violent” Church structures

Catholic women say timid Amazon Synod opening to female deacons “unacceptable”, more needed

Nuns, laywomen stand up to be counted as Church “prophets and pioneers”

Women demand “equality and inclusion” in Church, votes at synods

‘Voices of Faith’ pushes for votes for women in bishops’ Synods


Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.