Pope Francis will allow women to vote in the next meeting of bishops

Pope Francis (REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane) (GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANE/)

He Pope Francisco has decided give women the right to vote at an upcoming meeting of bishopsan unprecedented change that reflects her hopes for women and lay people to gain decision-making power in the Catholic Church.

Francisco approved the changes in the norms of the Synod of Bishopsa Vatican body that brings together the bishops of the world in periodic meetings.

The Vatican on Wednesday published the changes approved by the pontiff, which emphasize his vision for laymen to assume a larger role in Church affairs long confined to clergy, bishops and cardinals.

Women have been demanding the right to vote in synods for decades. The next one is scheduled for October.

From the Second Vatican CouncilIn the 1960s meetings that modernized the Church, popes have summoned bishops to Rome for a few weeks at a time to address specific issues.

Pope Francis celebrates the weekly general audience in Saint Peter's Square (REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane)
Pope Francis celebrates the weekly general audience in Saint Peter’s Square (REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane) (GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANE/)

At the end of each meeting, the bishops vote on specific proposals and present them to the pope, who then issues a document taking their positions into account.

Until now, the only ones who could vote were men.

But under the new changes, five nuns will join five priests as voting representatives of religious orders.

Francis also decided to name 70 non-bishop synod members, and has asked that half be women. Those participants will also be able to vote.

(With information from AP)

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