Leader of the Catholic Church worldwide, Pope Francis, has amended the Code of Canon Law formally allowing (qualified) women to proclaim God’s word during Mass (Lector) as well as serve at the altar (Acolyte).
The changes were announced on Monday through an official release (Motu proprio) cited by the Vatican News.
“Pope Francis established that from now on the ministries of Lector and Acolyte are to be open to women, in a stable and institutionalized form through a specific mandate.
“Pope Francis changes the Code of Canon Law to institutionalize what is already allowed in practice: the access of lay women to the service of the Word and the Altar,” it stated.
Furthermore, the pope clarified that the new role for women is not the same as priestly ordination.
“What is under discussion are lay ministries “fundamentally distinct from the ordained ministry that is received through the Sacrament of Holy Orders,” it stated.
The pope explained that the reason for the decision was to ensure that both men and women in the church share responsibilities in ministering to the Lord.