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Nathalie Becquart the Pioneer, Women in the Church

By: Gabriela Arce

“Women in the Church: The Challenge of Synodality”

The first woman in the history of the Church to be appointed undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops with voting rights, Sister Nathalie Becquart, participated in a worldwide online conference on Friday, June 18.

It was organized by the Latin American Academy of Catholic Leaders and by the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations. Also present were Monsignor Jorge Eduardo Lozano, Secretary General of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM); Sophie Gladima, Senegal’s Minister of Energy and the only Catholic in the Muslim government of her country; and Cristiane Murray, Deputy Director of the Holy See Press Office.

Women in the Church: synodality is the way

Sister Nathalie Becquart highlighted the path of synodality already begun as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. She also emphasized the recent measures of openness that Pope Francis has taken, with the possibility today of having women in instituted ministries, such as the acolyte, lectorate, and catechist.

Regarding this point, Moseñor Lozano emphasized that “The Church has a woman’s face: our assemblies, parish groups, liturgical celebrations, pastoral ministries in our communities, the quality of reflection and the warmth of dedication to the poor and abandoned, is woven mainly in the feminine womb, whose core is a space of shelter and protection.”

The vocation: being a woman, being the Church

Sister Nathalie worked for 10 years in the National Service for the Evangelization of Youth and Vocations within the French Episcopal Conference and referred to the issue of women in the Church saying that “it is a matter of helping women to discern, discover and listen to their unique vocation, because God calls everyone in a unique way. To find one’s vocation is to find one’s place in the Church, in society.”



She also stressed that: “Our vocation is the place where we receive the greatest joy, and at the same time, the one that makes us respond to the most crucial needs of women and men in the world.”

A challenge for the Church

One of the great challenges through this synodal mission, not only in the Church but also in businesses and organizations, is that we are invited to exercise responsibility in a new way in the form of service and participate in a vision of shared governance, Sister Nathalie pointed out. It is about exercising authority in a way that is at the service of the people we serve and their freedom, she added emphatically. This will put us to work as a team, men and women united and at the same time interconnected with the community. “I do not exist without those I serve and therefore I owe my life to them, thus making us engage in a vision of reciprocity,” concluded Sister Nathalie Becquart.


Nathalie Becquart

We do not want authority we want credibility

Cristiane Murray, deputy director of the Holy See Press Office, pointed out: “I feel that being a woman, in my role, is peculiar and different (…) I like to think that women in leadership positions do not want authority but credibility. Personally, I establish a relationship of openness and continuous listening with all colleagues, creating a synodal working environment.”

Finally, Sister Nathalie added that in this way we are advancing on the synodal path, “all of us together in this synodal Church, and the Church will be synodal, and women will be able to continue to unfold their charism, their vocation, at the service of all. Because a charism is always to be placed at the service of the community.”

To close Becquar  invited us all to participate, get involved and walk together wherever we are and enter the synodal journey bringing the voice of women to the next Synod of Bishops entitled “For a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission”, which will have an initial local and diocesan stage, in October of this year, and to which we are all invited.

“The path of synodality is the path that God expects from the Church of the third millennium. Church and synod are synonymous because the Church is nothing other than walking together”. (Pope Francis)


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