Pope Francis says women can read at Mass, but still can’t be priests

Pope Francis

Today, Pope Francis altered church law to explicitly permit women to participate more during Mass.

Women have now been granted access to the most sacred place on the altar, while continuing to affirm that they cannot be priests.

Francis amended the law to formalize and institutionalize what is common practice in many parts of the world: that women can be installed as lectors, to read the Gospel, and serve on the altar as eucharistic ministers. Previously, such roles were officially reserved to men even though exceptions were made.

The Pope said his decision was based on “recognizing the precious contribution women make in the church, while emphasizing that all baptized Catholics have a role to play in the church’s mission.”

Pope Francis is under pressure to allow women to be deacons — ministers who perform many of the same functions as priests, such as presiding at weddings, baptisms and funerals.

Presently, the ministry is reserved for men even though historians say the ministry was performed by women in the early church.

Francis has created a second commission of experts to study whether women could be deacons, after a first one failed to reach a consensus.

Advocates for expanding the diaconate to include women would address priest shortages in several parts of the world. However, opposers say approving this would become a slippery slope toward ordaining women to the priesthood.

Lucetta Scaraffia, the former editor of the Vatican’s women magazine said “This closes the door on the diaconate for women,” referring to this announcement as “a step backward” for women.

Scaraffia pointed out that the Pope merely formalized what is in current practice, including at papal Masses, while also making clear that the diaconate is an “ordained” ministry reserved for men.

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Colette Linden is a graduate of the three-year Broadcast Journalism and Communications Media program from Mohawk College before heading to McMaster University to obtain her degree in Public Relations. In addition, Colette has a certificate in Writing for Publication and a certificate of Competency in the French Language, . A recent resident of Sault Ste Marie, this Hamilton native gained experience working at TSN, the Ontario Medical Association and spent 14-years with the Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) as the Communications Manager. A Mother of two amazing boys, Connor & Dante, Colette is a die-hard sports fan with a passion for government affairs and hopes to one day represent this City on Council. Focusing on Politics, Indigenous Affairs and Local News, Colette also reports the latest in Sports both locally and professionally. Colette joined the Superior Media Team in September of 2019 and is thankful to finish out her career with such a family-oriented and community-oriented team.