Women’s voices and votes loom large as pope is set to open a Vatican meeting on church’s future / Associated Press

‘I don’t want to use the word revolution,’ (Sheila) Pires (who worksfor the South African bishops’ conference and is a member of the synod’s communications team) said in an interview in Johannesburg. But women ‘want their voices to be heard, not just towards decision-making, but also during decision-making. Women want to be part of that.’By Nicole Winfield and Trisha Thomas, Associated Press

 “A few years ago, Pope Francis told the head of the main Vatican-backed Catholic women’s organization to be ‘brave’ in pushing for change for women in the Catholic Church.

“Maria Lia Zervino took his advice and in 2021 wrote Francis a letter, then made it public, saying flat out that the Catholic Church owed a big debt to half of humanity and that women deserved to be at the table where church decisions are made, not as mere ‘ornaments’ but as protagonists.

“Francis appears to have taken note, and this week opens a global gathering of Catholic bishops and laypeople discussing the future of the church, where women — their voices and their votes — are taking center stage for the first time.

“For Zervino, who worked alongside the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio when both held positions in the Argentine bishops’ conference, the gathering is a watershed moment for the church and quite possibly the most consequential thing Francis will have undertaken as pope.”

By Nicole Winfield and Trisha Jones, Associated Press — Read more …