Catholic feminist organizations collected 8,000 names in a petition that calls on the Vatican authorities to allow women religious superiors to work and vote as equals alongside their brothers in Christ at meetings of the 15th Synod of Youth, Faith and vocational discernment. They can participate in the discussions, but they are denied the right to vote, despite the new directives of the Synod allowing two unordered religious men to vote.
The superiors general of the Dominicans, the Jesuits and the Conventual Franciscans — all priests who are voting members of the synod — spoke to reporters at a Vatican briefing Oct. 15, reports the Catholic News Service. Father Arturo Sosa, superior general of the Jesuits, said he agrees that “it is a Synod of Bishops,” but he also said he sees an effort by Pope Francis to “deepen the synodality of the church” and strengthen the vision of the church as “the people of God” by ensuring that men and women are treated equally and have an equal voice.
“I think this will help us move forward,” Father Sosa said.
"These qualified women are excluded because they have a woman's body, insists the petition. There is no valid reason for this exclusion. The petition will soon be handed to the bishops, cardinals and all the voting members present at the Synod in Rome as well as to Cardinal Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.
"If male religious superiors who are not ordained can vote, then women religious superiors who are also not ordained should vote, the petition reads. With no ontological/doctrinal barrier, the only barrier is the biological sex of the religious superior."
During his visit to the Provincial Curia (Maison Bellarmin) on the occasion of his official visit to Canada, Father General Arturo Sosa, SJ insisted on the commitment of the Society of Jesus to the full participation of women in decision-making processes in the Church. On March 8, International Women's Day, the Jesuit Curia of Rome hosted an important meeting of Catholic feminists organized by Voices of Faith.