by Kate Anderson
The Vatican announced Wednesday during a press conference that women would be allowed to vote during the upcoming Synod of Bishops in October, according to The Associated Press.
Cardinal Mario Grech, the secretary general of the synod, and Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, the relator general of the synod, announced that Pope Francis had approved the proposed changes by the council overseeing the synod, according to American Magazine. Under the new rules, both women and laymen will be allowed to vote for the first time in the history of the practice, and five religious sisters will be appointed as representatives for different orders, according to the AP.
The Pope also decided to appoint 70 members to the synod who are not bishops and ordered that half of them must be women, according to AP. Hollerich said that the women would determine their official titles after the appointments were made after journalists asked if they would be called “synodal mothers,” as the male members of the synod are called “synodal fathers,” according to the AP.
“This is a significant crack in the stained glass ceiling, and the result of sustained advocacy [and] activism,” Kate McElwee, executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference, told the AP.
In 2018, a petition with 9,000 signatures was delivered to the Synod after mass protests calling for the church to grant women the right to vote during the meeting, according to The New York Times. Traditionally, the church has only allowed men to vote during Synodal councils, but the decision comes after Francis has said on several occasions that women should be elevated in the church.
Although Francis has said that he does not support women becoming priests, he has increased female presence at the Vatican by over 23% since his appointment in 2013, according to the U.S. Conference of Bishops. There are currently 1,165 women working at the Vatican compared to 846 who worked there in 2013.
The Vatican did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
– – –
Kate Anderson is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.