On monday, in a proclamation of the “Spiritus Domini” (Spirit of the Lord). Pope Francis formally allowed women to serve as readers at liturgies and as ‘altar servers’, that has made clear that the roles of women are separate from all-male priesthood. The Pope said he had taken his decision after theological reflection.
“The choice to give women these offices too, which involve stability, public recognition and the mandate of the bishop, makes the participation of all in the work of evangelization more effective in the church,” the proclamation states. The Pope said that many bishops from around the world had said that the change was necessary to respond to the “needs of the times”.
This was a formal acknowledgement in the canon law of what has already been happening in many churches around the world where women serve in these lay roles. Now by introducing the change in the Code of Canon Law, it would be impossible for conservative clerics to block women from taking up those roles.