Pope's move will give women louder voice in Catholic Church

Pope Francis is making an historic move to allow women to give their input in an upcoming meeting of bishops at the Vatican. 

This unprecedented change reflects the pope's desire to give Catholic women greater decision-making power in the Roman Catholic Church.

"Pope Francis decided that women would be allowed to vote in what's called this Global Synod. It's an advisory body that helps the pope set church policy," explained Michael O'Loughlin, an author and  national correspondent for America Media who reports on faith and the Catholic Church. "This will be the first time that women will be present at all the meetings and be able to weigh in on what to recommend the pope do as the church considers its future."  

For decades, Catholic women have demanded the right to vote at these meetings. Some Catholic women’s groups have also long criticized the Vatican for treating women as second-class citizens. 

The Women’s Ordination Conference advocates for women to become priests, even as Pope Francis continues to uphold the Catholic Church's ban on ordaining women as priests.

Pope Francis celebrates Holy Mass on the occasion of the opening of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, October 10th, 2021. (Photo by Vatican Pool Galazka/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

"We know that it's an incremental step and that we are not at the final destination of women’s full equality in the church, but this is a huge crack in the stained glass ceiling of the Catholic Church," said Katie Lacz with the WOC. "His step shows that, on some level, the church is listening and wants to continue to hear the voices of women."   

Under the new changes, five nuns will join five priests as voting representatives for religious orders. In addition to that, there will be a group of lay women allowed to participate.