Pope Francis took another step towards equal rights for women in the Roman Catholic Church by allowing them to be read at liturgies, ministers of the altar, and pass the sacraments.
Reuters reported this, citing the pope’s new decree.
In an accompanying letter, the pope said he wanted to bring “stability and public recognition” to women who already fulfill their roles in the church.
It is noted that in his decree, the pope formalized what has long been practiced in Catholic churches in many countries. But with the change in the Code of Canon Law, conservative bishops will not be able to deprive women in their dioceses of these roles.
At the same time, the Vatican stressed that the decreed roles are still “significantly different from ordained ministry” and are not an automatic precursor to one day allowing women to be priests.
Nevertheless, Pope Francis earlier responded to calls to allow women to serve in services by creating a commission to study the history of women deacons in the early centuries of the Catholic Church.
As a reminder, in October, Pope Francis appointed the first African-American cardinal in history: 72-year-old Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C.