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Pope Francis receives a Pachamama statue in the Vatican gardens during the pagan indigenous ceremony, Rome, Oct. 4, 2019.Vatican News / video screen grab

VATICAN CITY, October 28, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – An explosive suggestion for a new ministry for women has been left out of the “unofficial” working English translation of the Final Document of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region. 

In Paragraph 102 of the document, the original Spanish reads: Pedimos revisar el Motu Proprio de San Pablo VI, Ministeria quedam [sic], para que también mujeres adecuadamente formadas y preparadas puedan recibir los ministerios del Lectorado y el Acolitado, entre otros a ser desarrollados. (We ask that you review the Motu Propio of St. Paul VI,  Ministeria quaedam, so that appropriately trained and prepared women may also receive the ministries of Lector and Acolyte, among others to be developed.) 

This section cannot be found in the “unofficial” working translation given to journalists during an Oct. 26 Vatican press conference.

In the English translation Paragraph 102 reads: 

Faced with the reality suffered by women who are victims of physical, moral and religious violence, including femicide, the Church commits to the defence of their rights and recognizes them as protagonists and guardians of creation and of our “common home” . We recognize the ministry that Jesus reserved for women. It is necessary to promote the formation of women in biblical theology, systematic theology, canon law, valuing their presence in organizations and leadership within and outside the ecclesial environment. We want to strengthen family ties, especially for migrant women. We secure your place in leadership and formation. [Missing text] In the new contexts of evangelization and pastoral ministry in the Amazon, where the majority of Catholic communities are led by women, we ask for the institution of ministry for “woman leadership of the community” be created and recognized within the  service of the changing demands of evangelization and community care.” 

There is no explanation for dropping the text concerning women being “properly trained and prepared to recieve” the ministries. However, there may have been concern about criticism from conservative elements in the English-speaking Churches. Traditionally the offices of Lector and Acolyte were received by men on their way to being ordained to the diaconate and then to the priesthood. 

The four “Minor Orders” a future priest received were Porter, Lector (or Reader), Exorcist, and Acolyte. These were followed by the three “Major Orders”: Subdeacon, Deacon, and the Holy Priesthood. 

LifeSiteNews has reached out to the Press Office of the Holy See for comment.

Although the Minor Orders were abolished in most Catholic communities, they have been retained by traditional Catholic priestly orders such as the Fraternity of the Priests of Saint Peter (FSSP) and the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX). 

When asked what this new “woman community leader” ministry was, as indicated in paragraph 102, Bishop David Martínez de Aguirre Guinea admitted that this had not been well-defined in the document. 

“In many Amazonian communities women are those who, in fact, lead the communities and they are the coordinators… and we pastors feel that there are some gaps in recognizing the roles of women,” he said. 

Martínez explained that men’s roles as clergy are recognized and so there is a “gap” in the recognition between their roles and those performed by “so many” women in the Amazon. 

“Maybe we haven’t defined it well, but the Pope is asking for us to be creative in these ministries that have already been created,” he said.  

Cardinal Michael Czerny, the other episcopal panelist in the Oct. 26 press conference, added that one potential ministry for women was an “ecological ministry.” 

The role of women in leadership and ministry in the Amazon has been a dominant theme during the Synod. Thirty-five women took part in the three-week long gathering, listening and giving testimony in what one female observer called “very active participation.” 

Sister Inés Azucena Zambrano Jara of the Missionary Sisters of Immaculate Mary and St. Catherine of Sienna stated yesterday that the women invited to the Synod sometimes called themselves the “Mothers of the Synod.”  

“As for our participation as women, I believe it was a very active participation,” Sr. Inés said. 

“We felt responsible throughout the synod. So, there were times when we heard and said to ourselves ‘Mothers of the Synod,’” she continued.  

 “I don’t know if that can be said. But that’s how we felt; that’s how we lived it.”