Pope Francis Allows More Roles for Women in Church | 22 Words

Pope Francis has changed the law within the Catholic church in a bid for greater gender equality for women.

However, his historical move has been met with backlash for a very specific reason...

Now, we all know that the pope is the worldwide leader of Catholicism...

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But he is also known as the supreme pontiff, and is the official Bishop of Rome.

The Pope is a very important figure.

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The earliest record of a Pope figure dates back to the 11th Century.

There has been a total of 266 popes...

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So being elected as the Pope is a pretty big deal.

Pope Francis is the current standing Pope...

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And he is the first-ever Jesuit Pope - a member of the Society of Jesus.

Francis has been in power for many years now...

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He began working as a Catholic Priest in 1969, when he became the archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and was made a cardinal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II, but it wasn't until 2013 that he was elected as the Pope.

He is also a very well respected man...

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Throughout his public life, Pope Francis has been celebrated for his humility, emphasis on God's mercy, international visibility as pope, concern for the poor, and commitment to interfaith dialogue.

This means that members of the Catholic Church are often left starstruck when they meet Pope Francis.

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He regularly interacts with the public and members of the church and many of his followers are able to talk to him and receive words of wisdom and advice.

And it seems his latest move has solicited a big reaction...

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But not everyone is too impressed.

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So, what exactly is all the backlash about?

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Well, in a step towards gender equality for women in the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis changed its law to allow them to serve as readers at liturgies, altar servers, and distributors of communion.

In a decree, the pope formalized what already has been occurring in many countries for years now.

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But now, with the change in the Code of Canon Law, conservative bishops will not be able to block women in their diocese from those roles.

The Vatican stressed that the roles were “essentially distinct from the ordained ministry"...

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And are not a catalyst for women one day being allowed to be ordained priests.

In the decree, named “Spiritus Domini" (The Spirit of the Lord), the Pope said he had acted after theological reflection.

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In an accompanying letter, Francis said he wanted to bring “stability, public recognition" to women already serving in the roles. “This shift brings the institutional Church in alignment with the pastoral realities around the world," said Kate McElwee, executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference.

What do you think about the move?

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It seems people's main issue is that women are still blocked from other roles within the church, while this new law formalizes what is already going on in a lot of countries. For more on the pope scroll on for what he recently said about same-sex civil unions...