Pope Francis admits women have reason for seeking justice and equality

A statement from global bishops' meeting leads Pope Francis to admit that women have “legitimate claims” to seek “greater justice and equality” in the Catholic Church.

Victoria Wystepek
Victoria Wystepek NewsMavens, Europe
Pope Francis admits women have reason for seeking justice and equality - NewsMavens
Pope Francis, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

The statement was released as part of a Vatican document, called an apostolic exhortation, in response to a global bishops’ meeting in October 2018. During this meeting, the bishops discussed the Church clergy's sex abuse crisis and women’s rights in the Church. Their main recommendation was to put women into positions of authority in the Church. Pope Francis has not openly embraced their suggestion, but he did acknowledge the Church’s unfair treatment of women in the past. 

He stated, “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.” 

Pope Francis encouraged young people in the church to be attentive to women’s “legitimate claims” for equality and justice. He also wrote that women should “support the call to respect women’s rights,” but cautioned against wholeheartedly agreeing with “everything some feminist groups propose.” 

These statements were released just one day after all of the female editors of the Vatican’s women’s magazine published their resignation. They cited one of their main reasons as being “under the direct control of men.”

Details from the story:

  • The apostolic exhortation, entitled “Christ is Alive", centered around the range of issues that young people in the Church face today. 
  • Pope Francis encouraged young people to help "priests in difficulty" who are at risk for sexually abusing children. 
  • The document incorporated millennial vocabulary, calling the Virgin Mary an “influencer” for young people.
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