Sister Nathalie Becquart, who serves as an undersecretary for the Church’s ongoing Synod on Synodality, was recently named on the BBC’s list of 100 inspiring and influential women around the world. / Daniel Ibañez/CNA
Rome Newsroom, Dec 13, 2022 / 09:20 am (CNA).
The highest-ranking woman in the general secretariat of the Synod of Bishops has said that the ordination of women as Catholic priests is “not an open question” at this time.
Sister Nathalie Becquart, who serves as an undersecretary for the Church’s ongoing Synod on Synodality, was recently named on the BBC’s list of 100 inspiring and influential women around the world.
In an article published Dec. 13, the French religious sister said that there are many ways for women to serve the Church, but ordination is not an option.
“For the Catholic Church at this moment, from an official point of view, it’s not an open question,” Becquart told the BBC.
Becquart was quoted in a news report that featured the stories of invalid ordinations in the U.S. of Catholic women dressed in liturgical vestments in which one woman reflected: “Excommunication was just part of the journey.”
In response to the subject of the article, Becquart said: “It’s not just a matter of you feeling you are called to priesthood, it’s always a recognition that the Church will call you to be a priest. So your personal feeling or decision is not enough.”
She said: “I think we need to broaden our vision of the Church. There are many, many ways for women to serve the Church.”
The most recent working document for the Synod on Synodality published in October said that many reports submitted to synod organizers asked for discernment on “the possibility for women with adequate training to preach in parish settings and a female diaconate.”
“Much greater diversity of opinion was expressed on the subject of priestly ordination for women, which some reports call for, while others consider a closed issue,” the working document for the Continental Phase of the synod said.
Pope Francis has also addressed the subject of women’s ordination recently in an interview with America Magazine.
When the pope was asked for his response to a woman who feels called to be a priest, Pope Francis replied decisively: “And why can a woman not enter ordained ministry? It is because the Petrine principle has no place for that.”
“The ministerial dimension, we can say, is that of the Petrine church. I am using a category of theologians. The Petrine principle is that of ministry,” the pope said.
Pope Francis added that he believes that the Church should give more space to women in an “administrative” role, noting the appointments he has already made in the governance of the Vatican and the Council for the Economy.
“When a woman enters politics or manages things, generally she does better. Many economists are women, and they are renewing the economy in a constructive way,” the pope added.
Becquart is an example of female administrative leadership within the Church. The French religious sister is the first woman to hold a position at such a high level within the general secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.
Before this, the 51-year-old sister with the Congregation of Xavières was a general coordinator of a pre-synod meeting for the 2018 Synod of Bishops and served as the first female director of the French bishops’ national service for the evangelization of young people and for vocations.