Three young women who participated in the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia have shared their reflections on the gathering that drew significant interest over motions on the role of women in the Church. Source: The Australian.
Madeline Forde, 26, said she felt “crushed” after two motions aimed at elevating the role of women within the Church failed at the assembly in Sydney this month.
She said the role of women in the Church had repeatedly been raised with her and she feared the failed motions could be a “tipping point” for young people considering leaving the Church.
Ms Forde cautioned against viewing the council as a failure and said although it left her feeling weary, positive steps were taken on climate change and Indigenous reconciliation.
The Church’s fifth Plenary Council plunged into chaos after the two motions on the role of women failed, prompting organisers to suspend proceedings. A reworked version of both motions later passed after heated debate.
Perth delegate Gemma Thomson, 33, said the failure of the two votes to pass was more complex than depicted in media reports and some chose to vote the motions down because of particular clauses in the initial motions.
She commended the council for hosting the raw and honest dialogue and said she remained “hope-filled in this messiness”, saying the discussion around the reworked motions was positive.
Monica Doumit, 40, said it was important to acknowledge that there was diversity of views among women in the room on the issue.
“There are so many roles available to women in the Church; we make up 77 per cent of all Church employees and lead nationally in educational, social services, safeguarding,” Ms Doumit said.
“The only ‘advancement’ not available to women is ordination so we should be honest that’s what we are talking about.”
Catholic Church at ‘tipping point’ over role of women (By Carla Mascarenhas, The Australian)
Australian Catholic Church ‘very open’ to elevating role of women (Sydney Morning Herald)