Pope Francis on Monday formally allowed women to serve as readers at liturgies and as alter servers, in a decree that made clear that these roles are
Pope Francis on Monday formally allowed women to serve as readers at liturgies and as alter servers, in a decree that made clear that these roles are separate from the all-male priesthood.
It was a formal acknowledgement in cannon law of what has already been happening in many churches around the world where women serve in these lay roles. However, by introducing the change in the Code of Canon Law, it would be impossible for conservative clerics to block women from having those roles.
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“The choice to give women these offices too, which involve stability, public recognition and the mandate of the bishop, makes the participation of all in the work of evangelization more effective in the Church,” the decree stated.
In the decree, called “Spiritus Domini” (The Spirit of the Lord), the pope said he had taken his decision after theological reflection.
He said many bishops from around the world had said that the change was necessary to respond to the “needs of the times.”
Reuters contributed to this report.
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