05 December 2023, The Tablet

Church must act on the question of women, say bishops



Church must act on the question of women, say bishops

Bishop Brendan Leahy, pictured and Bishop Alan McGuckian said many questions were opened up at the Synod.
NurPhoto SRL / Alamy

The topic of women and the Church is an issue of universal concern and requires action, according to the two Irish bishops who attended the XVI Synodal Assembly in Rome in October.

In their report to the Irish bishops, Bishop Brendan Leahy and Bishop Alan McGuckian said many questions were opened up at the Synod and require further examination even if, as in the case of the issue of women, there are different nuances and disagreement on the question of women and Holy Orders.  

One of the issues raised in the Synod discussions was a call for the experience of the permanent deaconate to be evaluated. “This would also impact on the question of women and deaconate.”

Other questions included how jurisdiction and sacrament are linked. Further exploration would impact on the issue of women and decision making/taking in the Church, they said.  

“There was a call for greater theological and canonical research on topics between now and next October in areas such as women and decision-making/taking, the issue of deaconate, women and deaconate, the relationship of jurisdiction and sacrament, the need for revisions in canon law, attention to what were called controversial questions,” the report states.

Bishops Leahy and McGuckian explained how the format for the Synodal Assembly was completely different to previous synods in its methodology and round-table group work.

The centrality of baptism featured large in conversations as the “sacrament that unites us and in which we are all equal”.  

How collegiality and synodality relate was also an issue for many and whether there is a danger that the teaching authority of the bishops, both individually and as a college, could be undermined.  

There was also a recognition that there are already many synodal structures in the Church but they need to be implemented fully at every level. 

 
 

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