Women vote at Vatican alongside bishops for first time in Catholic history

At a Catholic Church Synod of Bishops hosted at the Vatican by Pope Francis on Saturday, women voted alongside the bishops for the first time since its establishment in 1965. 

According to the National Catholic Reporter, 50 women were granted voting rights by the Pope at the summit held to discuss and vote on issues for the future of the Catholic Church. 

Issues addressing the possibility of letting women become deacons received the most "no" votes from the congregation, though they still passed the two-thirds threshold for approval. One passed with a vote of 277-69, the other with a vote of 279-67. A paragraph discussing clerical celibacy also received a larger amount of no-votes, but ultimately passed 291-55. 

The final text said it was "urgent to guarantee that women can participate in decision-making processes and assume roles of responsibility in pastoral and ministry," according to the Associated Press

In a statement, the Women's Ordination Conference reacted, "On some level, the document seems to reflect a recognition of the wounds women have experienced at the hands of the church, but it falls short of engaging substantially with the healing of those wounds, opting instead to leave those issues to ever more studies and commissions.”

The month-long Synod was called for by the Pope over two years ago in an attempt to make the church a more welcoming place for all people. Among the other issues taken up by the Bishops was whether to be more welcoming to "LGBTQ+ Catholics." The final text said, "There was a deep sense of love, mercy, and compassion felt in the assembly for those who are or feel hurt or neglected by the church, who want a place to call 'home' where they can feel safe, be heard and respected, without fear of feeling judged." 

The offerings in the text will now be presented to Pope Francis for his consideration and will be looked at during a second session next year. 

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