Pope Francis: Catholic leader to allow women to vote in bishops’ meeting for the first time ever

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Women will be allowed to vote in the Synod of Bishops for the first time ever, which is scheduled for October this year

Pope Francis will allow women to vote in the Synod of Bishops for the first time in history, announcing that 40 women will participate in the voting process later this year.

The next synod, which is scheduled for October 4 to 29, will hear the views of 70 non-bishops, with women required to make up half the group. The 86-year-old Pontiff has also introduced new rules which will see five religious sisters join five priests as voting representatives for religious orders.

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Since the 1960s, the world’s bishops have been summoned to Rome For a few weeks at a time, during which they debate various topics. At the end of these meetings, the bishops vote on specific proposals.

These are then put to the Pope, who produces a document, taking their views into account. And, up until now, the only people allowed to vote have been men.

Kate McElwee of the Women’s Ordination Conference, which advocates for women’s ordination, said: “This is a significant crack in the stained-glass ceiling, and the result of sustained advocacy, activism and the witness.”

The reforms were published by the Vatican on Wednesday (April 26). They highlight the Pope’s vision for the lay faithful to have a greater role in church affairs, which have long been left to clerics, bishops and cardinals.

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, a senior synod organiser, said: “It’s an important change, it’s not a revolution.”

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