VATICAN CITY (RNS) — A global summit of Catholic bishops on Saturday (Oct. 27) issued a powerful call for the inclusion of women in decision-making roles in the church “at all levels” and sought to welcome gay people and commit the church to a historic shift on fighting clergy sexual abuse.
The role of women took center stage at the synod, which was focused on reaching out to young people but has been overshadowed by the scandal over sex abuse in the Church and acrimony between social conservatives and reformers.
In a sign of the divisions, the synod used what appeared to be compromise language on the topic of homosexuality, saying people could not be identified solely by sexual orientation.
Women, the document said, play “an irreplaceable role in Christian communities” but are often shut out of “decision-making processes.” The church must become aware of the “urgency of an unavoidable change.”
It added that the church’s view of the inherent difference between men and women can give rise to “forms of domination, exclusion and discrimination from which society and the church alike must free themselves.”