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Breaking the Stained Glass Ceiling:  FutureChurch Applauds Inclusion of Lay Women and Men in Synod Voting

For Immediate Release

Russ Petrus, Co-Director of FutureChurch,
Deborah Rose, Co-Director of FutureChurch, 1.513.673.1401,

FutureChurch welcomes Pope Francis’ decision on April 26, 2023 to open the vote to Catholic women and to significantly expand participation and voting at the upcoming October Synod in Rome to include lay women and men.  While previous Synods have involved a small group of Catholic women and men as auditors, those who had input but no voting privileges, this change opens the doors to lay women and men to participate and vote alongside episcopal members.

“This momentous change will redefine how authority works in the Church, moving beyond the solitary reliance on the episcopacy to include the deliberative voices of Catholic women and all the baptized,” said Deborah Rose, Co-Director of FutureChurch.  “The inclusion of lay women and lay men as deliberators and voters in this critically important decision-making body holds the promise for urgent and necessary changes in the way the Church engages those members who have been excluded and the world.”

“At FutureChurch, we recognize that this critical structural change could not have occurred without the devotion and commitment of thousands of reform minded Catholics who have spent their entire lives working for justice and inclusion within the institution,” said Russ Petrus, Co-Director of FutureChurch.  “Catholics across the country and around the world have tirelessly led the work of reform, justice, and inclusion by signing petitions, writing letters, meeting with bishops and priests, engaging in actions, and offering faithful witness to the Gospel for our times.”

Over the past several years, FutureChurch has joined Women’s Ordination Conference and other reform organizations in a campaign to open the vote at the Synod to Catholic women called the “Votes for Catholic Women.”

“While reform is often slow going and painful, today we can celebrate a visible sign of progress and structural reform in the Church which will, in turn, help us make progress on opening ordination to all who are called and other important issues of inclusion and justice within the Catholic Church,”  said Todd Ray, Chair of the Board for FutureChurch.