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Synod on Synodality official: Women priests ‘not an open question’ for the Church

Courtney Mares By Courtney Mares for CNA

Sister Nathalie Becquart, who serves as an undersecretary for the Church’s ongoing Synod on Synodality, was recently named on the BBC’s list of 100 inspiring and influential women around the world. / Daniel Ibañez/CNA

Rome Newsroom, Dec 13, 2022 / 09:20 am (CNA).

The highest-ranking woman in the general secretariat of the Synod of Bishops has said that the ordination of women as Catholic priests is “not an open question” at this time.

Sister Nathalie Becquart, who serves as an undersecretary for the Church’s ongoing Synod on Synodality, was recently named on the BBC’s list of 100 inspiring and influential women around the world.

In an article published Dec. 13, the French religious sister said that there are many ways for women to serve the Church, but ordination is not an option.

“For the Catholic Church at this moment, from an official point of view, it’s not an open question,” Becquart told the BBC.

Becquart was quoted in a news report that featured the stories of invalid ordinations in the U.S. of Catholic women dressed in liturgical vestments in which one woman reflected: “Excommunication was just part of the journey.”

In response to the subject of the article, Becquart said: “It’s not just a matter of you feeling you are called to priesthood, it’s always a recognition that the Church will call you to be a priest. So your personal feeling or decision is not enough.”

She said: “I think we need to broaden our vision of the Church. There are many, many ways for women to serve the Church.”

The most recent working document for the Synod on Synodality published in October said that many reports submitted to synod organizers asked for discernment on “the possibility for women with adequate training to preach in parish settings and a female diaconate.”

“Much greater diversity of opinion was expressed on the subject of priestly ordination for women, which some reports call for, while others consider a closed issue,” the working document for the Continental Phase of the synod said.

Pope Francis has also addressed the subject of women’s ordination recently in an interview with America Magazine.

When the pope was asked for his response to a woman who feels called to be a priest, Pope Francis replied decisively: “And why can a woman not enter ordained ministry? It is because the Petrine principle has no place for that.”

“The ministerial dimension, we can say, is that of the Petrine church. I am using a category of theologians. The Petrine principle is that of ministry,” the pope said.

Pope Francis added that he believes that the Church should give more space to women in an “administrative” role, noting the appointments he has already made in the governance of the Vatican and the Council for the Economy.

“When a woman enters politics or manages things, generally she does better. Many economists are women, and they are renewing the economy in a constructive way,” the pope added.

Becquart is an example of female administrative leadership within the Church. The French religious sister is the first woman to hold a position at such a high level within the general secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

Before this, the 53-year-old sister with the Congregation of Xavières was a general coordinator of a pre-synod meeting for the 2018 Synod of Bishops and served as the first female director of the French bishops’ national service for the evangelization of young people and for vocations.


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18 Comments

  1. Not an open issue, although with condition, at this time. Perhaps, further, “from an official point of view”. Nonetheless, a not uncommon diplomatic response weighing possibles v realities that can’t be criticized.
    Sr Nathalie correctly lays priesthood aside. She doesn’t mention the diaconate, an ordained order of ecclesial authority in conjunction with the bishop and presbyter. Realistically, it is the diaconate that has been seriously considered since Amazonia. She had previously expressed her views on this more realistic possibility [realistic simply due to proposals for acceptance by some bishops] as shown here when asked.
    “It’s still in discernment. It’s rather clear that during the early church we had the experience of the female diaconate. What is very obvious today is that it can’t only be men who can be in ministry. But there are many different ways to be in ministry” (RNS 12.8.21).
    It may seem feasible for some as it did for me as a young layman teaching in Africa, knowledgeable of sisters including African who did the priest’s missionary work deep into remote, dangerous areas alone except with Christ. Teaching the Gospels, lecturing [preaching], carrying the Eucharist dispensed during a communion service. In places where there were no priests available.
    Since then and ordination the unique specificity of holy orders, female ordination a more pronounced difficulty. Female deacons at the start assisted Paul, the great Apostle himself highly restrictive regarding women in Church, to be silent, heads covered. The women deacons [we don’t have records I’m aware of defining their exact role] whose assistance he happily accepted seems an anomaly. Cardinals Müller, Burke, and others believe holy orders must remain a male institution, as instituted by Christ The favorable response to that position is that Christ did not ordain women.
    Nevertheless we’ve arrived at a time when women have received greater, and just recognition for their capacity to contribute to the mission of the Church.

    • The apostles called for seven MEN of good repute to be ordained deacons and to share in the ministry along with presbyters and episcopoi. I’m certain that if the apostles wanted to include women among their ranks they could have easily found one to include among the seven. But they didn’t.

      Let’s face it, we live in a culture that attempts to create its own realities: men can call themselves women; women can call themselves men; men can attempt a marriage of another man and women do likewise. All sorts of permutations of weird notions get promulgated and the populace are easily hoodwinked into normalizing them.

      Some of us just happen to subscribe to objective truths and realities.

      • Atheism is not merely a conscious rejection of an abstract disbelief in the concept of God. Since truth, not some, not a lot, not most, all truth is a reflection of the perfect mind of God, believing that truth changes is to be an atheist.

    • As a mere layman (sorry, I’m backward) it’s my understanding that the female
      “Deacons” rather, assisted women in preparing for Baptism or Confirmation. It’s
      so obvious that it would be an offense against modesty for men to do that. It’s so simple, so logical. And the Deacon’s job seems to have been to make sure all
      the “dependents” (widows etc, who had no husbands or sons to protect them) were treated equally. When will we put aside all of this nonsense and end this need to satisfy the feminist passion for power. Women have been serving the Church for 2000 years; indeed, while our Lord was still among us. Apparently they were inferior because they didn’t demand parity. It’s time to bring back a bit of humility, and that includes many, many of the prelates (especially in Germany) and clergy too! Our dear Lord, King of kings, did not find serving demeaning.

  2. “For the Catholic Church at this moment, from an official point of view, it’s not an open question,”
    .
    Sooo, maybe at some future point then? This just doesn’t seem like a “No, that is not possible. Women cannot be priests,” kind of answer.

  3. I am sorry I wasted my time reading such a hodgepodge of gibberish. We can all sleep well tonight knowing that the question of women priests has been answered definitively by the French nun who so inspires the BBC and the overfed prelate in the background of the photo. “For the Catholic Church at this moment, from an official point of view, it’s not an open question.” What a ringing endorsement of Church teaching! Why is the question even being raised again when the answer has been given countless times since the crackpot idea first emerged out of the 1960s? Because Francis and his co-conspirators want to keep the issue alive.

    Then the piece ends by quoting more inanities from Francis. Women do “better” in politics and management. Female economists “are renewing the economy in a constructive way.” Asking for evidence to support any of these grand assertions is presumably disrespectful. These are the people who run the Church.

  4. What Sr. Natalie (and Pope Francis) miss is that the Spirit calls Christians to sacred ordination, not the Institutional Church. The Church continues to live in its sin of exclusion, in contradiction to the Spirit’s call to women to ordination. To cite two centuries of this sinfulness as proof of its truth is convoluted. Most biblical scholars acknowledge that Paul’s diminishment of women in the Church were words added by later disciples afraid of rocking the boat of first century cultural norms.
    There is agreement that he DID write, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Does the Church believe this?

    Faithful Catholic women join the Spirit in groaning at the tragic doctrines expressed in this article.

    • Of course, you are here not thinking with the mind of the Church.

      All this talk of ordaining women to the Order of Deacon is a ruse. Deacons are configured to Christ as servant Who came to serve and not to be served. These progressive feminists in the Church have spent their lifetime exorcising the demon of servitude. Rather, they lust for power in the Church and won’t be satisfied until they can get ordained as priests. And then, that lofty position in the hierarchy will not be enough to satisfy their lust for power and they will insist on being ordained bishop. But they won’t stop until one of them can get elected Pope. Of course, it wouldn’t be long before even that didn’t satisfy. No, the only path to salvation is: sacrifice, servitude, death to self, humility, piety, fear of the Lord, etc. These would not appeal to the feminist types.

      • One should remember. We don’t pick this profession. Speaking for myself I do believe I speak for the disciples as well….we don’t choose persecution and ministry. The calling comes from He that sent for us. I have no choice when it comes to following Jesus. He created me. Shaped me. I am obedient because I am. I am here. Awake. A servant to the calling. You don’t mess with the creator. Walking to the beat of His/Her/Their drum. I could speak about pronouns here and now. As teachers we might want to consider the value of “going there” so one can appreciate the pull we have at demonstrating the Importance of questioning our identity. If we are all God’s children, we should consider it was Jesus himself that told us to listen understand and obey the HS. If we are told to leave, go West, use OUR talents. If the HS leads us into the desert….we go!. I don’t say “no I’m a lady”. Jesus loved his ladies. Jesus calls ladies into healing the sick. The ladies might be called into service to Minister to another lady.

        For that matter….we might also be lead into not revealing our sex so as to walk in obedience. God wants relationship with all of us. All the time. Yes, we might make mistakes. We are human. No crime. Pick up the cross ✝️ and experience all we were meant to experience. The disciples were told to bring their swords.

        Keep your eyes up. Not back. Stand. Witness. And praise God we are here!

        • Maybe it was BECAUSE “Jesus loved his ladies” that HE (the fully Divine nature! and fully human nature, both) did NOT call them to be his apostles? And, most of all, he loved His mother (as if mothers still matter): because she was most like Himself—in her “fiat.”

          But, there is a good side point about the use of “talents”….We are reminded, for example, of the legendary and female amazon archers who cut off their right breasts, such that their arrows could more sharply find their targets. But now females are signaled cut off both breasts, in order to transition more completely! Do we see a pattern here?…

          Yes, the answer to actively homosexual priests (not the cover-story “pedophiles”) buggering young men has been a huge disaster, but now to lesbianize the Church (reducing it from sacramental incorporation into Christ, now simplistically to a lady “called in service to Minister to another lady”?) doesn’t cut it, either.

          The “pattern”? Must everything be unisexualized under cover of the disordering pronoun thingy? “Keep your eyes up. Not back. Stand. Witness. And praise God we are here!”

          “Here?” The new gospel: Entropy is God!

  5. If the current trajectory of societal convolution continues undisturbed per Newton’s laws of motion, we men, who’s roles have all been replaced and/or made completely redundant, have lost our place altogether.
    It is interesting that the word “satan” (the accuser), in Latin, is satana, with a feminine suffix.

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