Pope: Women have 'legitimate claims' for justice and equality in Church

Pope Francis has said women have "legitimate claims" to seek more justice and equality in the Catholic Church, but stopped short of endorsing more sweeping calls to recognise the "urgency of an inevitable change" to give them leadership roles.

Francis issued a document inspired by an October meeting of the world's bishops on better ministering to today's young Catholics.

The meeting was marked by demands for greater women's rights, and the bishops' final document called the need for women to have positions of responsibility and decision-making in the church "a duty of justice".

In a lengthy document titled "Christ is alive", Francis said only that a church that listens to young people must be attentive to women's "legitimate claims" for equality and justice, and must better train men and women who have leadership potential.

"A living church can look back on history and acknowledge a fair share of male authoritarianism, domination, various forms of enslavement, abuse and sexist violence," Francis wrote.

"With this outlook, she can support the call to respect women's rights, and offer convinced support for greater reciprocity between males and females, while not agreeing with everything some feminist groups propose."

The document, known as an apostolic exhortation, covers a wide range of issues confronting young people, noting that many feel alienated from the Catholic Church because of its sexual and financial scandals, and are themselves suffering from untold forms of exploitation, conflict and despair.

A hefty chunk of the document focuses on the promises and perils of the digital world. It calls for an urgent reform of Catholic schools and youth ministry programmes, saying they are often focused on self-preservation and protecting the young from outside errors, and are divorced from the reality of the lives lived by the young.

"At times, in the attempt to develop a pure and perfect youth ministry, marked by abstract ideas, protected from the world and free of every flaw, we can turn the Gospel into a dull, meaningless and unattractive proposition," he wrote.

"Such a youth ministry ends up completely removed from the world of young people and suited only to an elite Christian youth that sees itself as different, while living in an empty and unproductive isolation."

The document acknowledges the importance of sexuality to young people as part of their development, but it uses the term "homosexuality" only once in the 299-paragraph document, and does not repeat the language of the October synod final document calling for deeper anthropological, theological and pastoral study on sexuality and sexual inclinations.

PA

More on this topic

Pope Francis takes migrant children for a spin in his popemobile

Pope ordains 19 new priests during Vatican ceremony

Pope Francis to visit refugee centre during his stay in Bulgaria

Pope pays tribute to hairdressers but urges them to cut back on the gossip

More in this Section

Family pay tribute to ‘aspirational’ British climber who died on Everest

India poll winner Narendra Modi wins backing from allies for new term as PM

59,000 sign petition backing doctor who asked Muslim patient to remove veil

Donald Trump arrives in Tokyo for state visit, golf and sumo


Lifestyle

So is this the garden of the future? Eve Kelliher visits Les Jardins d'Etretat in France

More From The Irish Examiner