By Melissa Butz
Inside the meeting hall for the Synod on the Amazon, there are 35 women participants in various roles. At the conclusion of the first week of the Synod, women are speaking out.
Members of the religious female communities attending have stated that if non-ordained religious male communities are given a vote at the Synod, then religious female communities should be given one too.
One religious sister said October 11 that they are seeking more leadership within the Church.
At the conclusion of the first week of the Amazon Synod, women are speaking out. Sister Birgit Weiler, one of the female religious participants who works in Peru, also said that women are seeking equality both inside the Church and the synod hall.
“There is no real reason why not. When the brethren can vote, well, women religious are equal. Both have votes and are not ordained, so really it would be good,” she said.
Sr. Birgit said the idea is especially important for the Synod on the Amazon, an area where Catholicism is majority women-run due to a priest shortage.
To her, voting signifies a desire to participate in the Church’s formative decisions.
“Pope Francis already, in the last Synod made it possible, saying, it’s not necessary that only the ordination to priesthood to be able to vote when you have participated fully in the whole process of sharing faith, of discerning together,” she explained.
Yet, in the first week of the Synod, Sr. Birgit said she has found an open attitude inside the synod hall.
“We experience that we are really accepted as part of the group. There is not a clerical attitude,” she said. “There is a lot of freedom of speech and it is a beautiful experience really to discern together.”
Sr. Birgit assured that women are not interested in a power struggle, but rather in equality. This doesn’t necessarily mean ordination, but rather leadership positions in different ministries.
Despite her desire for more, she really expressed her gratitude for where women are in the Church and wanted to honor the steps taken in that direction, most especially by Pope Francis.