News & Media

FutureChurch Welcomes the Appointment of Three Women to the Dicastery for Bishops; Celebrates Women’s Persistent Call for Equality

Release date: July 14, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:
Russ Petrus, Co-Director of FutureChurch, 216.228.0869 x2, russ@futurechurch.org
Deborah Rose-Milavec, Co-Director of FutureChurch, 513.673.1401 (mobile), debrose@futurechurch.org

CLEVELAND – On July 13, Pope Francis fulfilled a recent pledge by appointing three women – Sr. Raffaella Petrini, F.S.E., Sr. Yvonne Reungoat, F.M.A., and Dr. Maria Lia Zervino – to the Vatican’s influential Dicastery for Bishops, which advises the pope on episcopal appointments throughout the world.

FutureChurch – alongside many other groups and individuals – has long long advocated for the decoupling of ordination and leadership as one path toward gender equality in the Church and welcomes the appointments.

“These appointments are surely one important step in women’s steady march toward equality in the Church,” said Deborah Rose, Co-Director for FutureChurch. “And even as we express gratitude to Pope Francis for making them, we should also acknowledge and celebrate the generations of Catholic women and their allies – prophets – whose tireless pursuit for equality paved the way for them.”

In fact, one of the appointees, Dr. Zervino, herself penned an open letter to Pope Francis in March 2021, writing “I think that not enough has been done in taking advantage of the wealth of women who make up a large part of God’s people.” Moreover, she called on him to expand leadership roles for women in the Church: “May the desire expressed by you, that women enter decision-making groups together with men, cease to be considered a utopia and become something common in the Church.”

FutureChurch also maintains that while progress is being made, full equality will require the ordination of women and the prevalent presence of women in leadership at every level of the Church.

“Bringing more women into these leadership positions is a step in the right direction. Still, we recognize that women receive a call from God to ordained ministry in the Church,” Russ Petrus, Co-Director for FutureChurch. “And in the spirit of synodality, Pope Francis and all Church leaders should listen to their vocation stories and discern where the Spirit may be calling the Church through them.”

Women have always been pastoral and spiritual leaders in their communities, parishes, and families and have increasingly taken up decision-making roles in the Vatican over the last several years. And Pope Francis’ recent reform of the Curia opens up even more possibilities. Progress is being made, but FutureChurch will continue to educate, witness, and advocate until the Church is truly the Body of Christ in the world, fully alive with the gifts, wisdom, and vocations of all its members.

END

About FutureChurch: Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, FutureChurch seeks changes that will provide all Roman Catholics the opportunity to participate fully in Church life and leadership. It is a national coalition of parish centered Catholics striving to educate fellow Catholics about the seriousness of the priest shortage, the centrality of the Eucharist (the Mass), and the systemic inequality of women in the Catholic Church. FutureChurch is a nonprofit organization that makes presentations throughout the country, distributes education, advocacy and prayer resources and recruits activists who work on behalf of its mission.

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