Pope Francis wrote a letter to Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, explaining his decision to admit women to the ministries of lector and acolyte.
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Pope Francis noted that the German Benedictine abbess, composer and philosopher challenged prevailing restrictions on women.
The Holy Father celebrated the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life and championed the needy on the World Day of the Poor.
The Pope’s decision to include these women in an all-male dicastery responds to a desire to better represent the various realities of consecrated life and to strengthen the presence of women in decision-making positions.
Women must continue to be promoted, he said, in Vatican roles.
The proposal is contained in a 15-paragraph statement approved by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America’s plenary assembly.
The Patriarchate of Alexandria may become the latest Church to restore the ancient order of deaconess.
Francis said, ‘I think that I’ll ask the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to refer me to the studies on the issue,’ noting that deaconesses in the early Church had a role similiar to nuns. He also said consecrated women carry out ‘very maternal works, where the maternity of the Church can be expressed more.’